Saturday, January 30, 2016

Why couldn't I design a HAT?!?

For several years, I have wanted to knit myself a poncho. If I voiced that wish out loud, it usually brought quizzical looks. Then this season, ponchos began appearing in department stores. Although I doubted I could get one knitted before winter's end, I embarked on this journey.

First, I pulled out a pattern from my Ravelry queue, then bought the required amount of yarn. Given the size of a poncho, I went economical and purchased Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool, in Oak Tweed, on sale. Only later did I realize the "tweed" would not work with the big fat cables of my desired poncho, as the stitch definition is non-existent. That's when I veered into design-it-yourself territory.

One advantage of DIY knitting is if I don't like something, I can change it up. Unfortunately, that is a disadvantage as well, as I keep second guessing my design decisions. Currently, the poncho has three panels, front and back, with the center ones in seed stitch. The side panels are 5x1 ribbing, with the plan to pinstripe the purl columns in contrasting yarn. During a brief period of insanity, I considered switching from the wide rib to a lattice stitch, but swatching again revealed that lack of stitch definition.

Why panels? For one thing, I think sewing them together will provide some "backbone" to the fabric, hopefully preventing too much stretching. Also, I can knit the panels on straight needles, which I find easier when having to purl much. The width of the poncho will be elbow-to-elbow, with each "sleeve" ending in ribbed cuffs, like the original pattern. The back will be a bit longer than the front.

Another plan is to use i-cord in contrasting color for edging and for the seams. We'll see how that goes. The front center panel includes short-row shaping for the neckline. I'm debating on either a cowl collar or a hood.

Oddly enough, as the design was taking shape in my head, my daughter showed up with a store-bought poncho that greatly mimicked what I had in mind, purchased for about $20 at the mall. *sigh* But mine will be better, warmer, and a work of art (I tell myself).

Meanwhile, I'm slogging along, wondering why I couldn't be inspired to knit something smaller. Thank goodness for books on CD.

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