Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tres chic poncho. Not an oxymoron.



I have to say it again:  blocking.  Blocking!  Look at that edge, it’s like a knife.  You could cut yourself on that edge. 


As I squint into the setting sun and the 30+ mph wind hurls my hair in every direction, let me point out that this pattern is nothing more than a rectangle in stockinette stitch.  With a slipped stitch at each edge.  So there’s nothing to keep the edges from curling, which—and this is the truth—they always will.  Also—and this, too, is the truth—there’s nothing you can do about it.  Paradoxically, though, a good blocking will fix that curl, whip it right into shape, lay it right out.  I am wearing the proof right now.  The edges of this poncho are not curling.  I have the power of Zeus!  I am the boss of my knitting.  Success in this case is mostly due to the use of blocking wires (thank you, Deb!) which take an hour to install, but which in the end made all the difference in the world. 


Not to mention the fact that this pattern achieves the impossible feat of making a poncho—one with the simplest possible construction—look chic.  I mean, really, honestly.  Don’t judge it by these photos of me, I beg you.  The wind was blowing it all over the place and I was frozen to the bone.  It is tres chic, I promise.  My husband used the word “elegant” without irony, and no little amazement.  An elegant poncho. 


This is, of course, the Easy Folded Poncho, by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas.  I’ve gotta be straight with you.  It is hardly a revolutionary idea, the folded rectangle poncho.  You probably wore one when you were eight, and if you are from Peru, you are probably wearing one right now.  The savvy among you will be thinking what I also thought: Why the heck should I buy a pattern for a rectangle?  Which is all this is, a rectangle.  In stockinette stitch.  There are no size options. There is a cowl collar you can add if you're inclined to do it, but that’s nothing fancy, either.  There is talk of a provisional cast-on, leading one to think perhaps there is going to be an interesting construction element at work, but I am here to tell you that the provisional cast-on is utterly unnecessary in this case.  So, what does your five bucks get you, then?  I suppose it gets you the satisfaction of knowing you’re supporting a small yarn company, and that somebody went to the trouble of figuring out some basic dimensions that will fit some people.  I don’t know.  Is it a great pattern?  I mean, the end result is certainly a big win, helped a lot here by the gorgeous yarn [Chickadee by Quince and Co. in “Frost”.  Egad, that stuff is a dream.]  But it’s a rectangle, the simplest and most unfettered of all rectangles.  In any case, because this is a pattern that somebody is selling, I am not able to divulge its finished dimensions, mainly because I wouldn’t want somebody to do that to me, if I were selling something.  I hope that makes sense.  Anyway, enough with that.  I send the Churchmouse Yarns people all the love in the world.  This poncho is the best, most wearable thing I’ve made in a long time.   Love to the yarn people. 


Perfect for springtime, no? 

In other news, look at this:


I am so thrilled!  I took about four hundred pictures of it, because every time the sun moved an inch, the thing seemed to glow a little more. 


You wouldn’t believe the pampering this plant gets.  So ridiculous.  I’ll probably be sending it away to finishing school soon, so it can learn to speak French. 

By way of comparison, I also have this orchid:


I know, right?  I mean, isn’t that just inspiring?  One healthy leaf.  Sheesh. 


  1. Well, your flowering orchid is beautiful!!! Perhaps you should put the two of them together so the one with the flower can inspire the other one to greatness!!! xx

  2. hee hee kristen, your talents are equal as a comedian and knitter! your poncho is completely lovely on you! i also questioned the pattern too, and by the same reasoning, purchased their mohair rectangle wrap. unnecessary, but good to support the lovely knit people as you say.
    you should come here this weekend, your poncho will be the perfect weight for the cool ocean breezes we will encounter, while we walk to the orchid and flower show down the road from me! sorry! shall i knit you a magic carpet?!

  3. Lovely poncho and lovely orchid !!!!
    Try putting the other orchid in a sunny place! Seeing how it looks now it may take a while before it responds, but orchids love sun and warmth!! I know, because orchids are the only plants i seem to treat right!! And they forish wonderful on the window sill facing South !!!

    Gr. Jacomijn

  4. Woops, the word on the last sentence should be: flourish !!!

  5. I keep making crochet wraps. Maybe I should move on to ponchos. Yours looks good.
    And your orchids is a beautiful colour. I'm nurturing two plants. Healthy leaves but no sign of any flowers. I really should give up and buy another.

  6. Its really lovely, simple, elegant and tres chic !
    Kate x

  7. I like your poncho very much and the orchid is very pretty.
    Tracey xx

  8. It is indeed very elegant Kristen, simple and you could wear it with anything. Amazing the difference blocking makes.
    Love it!
    Gill xx

  9. It is stunningly simple but as you say tres chic. I read that wire tutorial and am mighty impressed as I am close to finishing a shawl and want it too to be tres chic! Will give it a go. Keep knitting Lady! Jo x

  10. Beautiful poncho and practical too!
    I ordered the pattern (!) and found out that the shop itself is beautiful too. A bit far away for me to visit so only the internet is my option.
    Good luck with the bottom plant, may be it will flower someday. Sometimes it takes a long time. My mum always says: don't look at it for 4 6 months...

  11. I just finished the poncho too and I totally agree with you about how well the pattern turned out. Did you know that if you bought the original pattern you can get the version 2 of it for's also very nice.

  12. those blocking wires are brilliant!

    pretty poncho

  13. I'm so glad you made this! I had this pattern bookmarked figuring it would be doable for a beginning knitter like me, and now I get to see it in action. I like how it is described as an elegant kind of garment right there.
    Your orchid is so pretty! I have two that look like that last picture, just a pot of leaves, not a blossom in sight.

  14. What a great poncho. Looks comfy and cozy without being slouchy and frumpy. Great for when you really need to have your "chic" on.
    Isn't it funny how a simple rectangle can look just right or all wrong?
    Love your orchid. I keep thinking I need one, too.

  15. You do look elegant, even with the 30 mph winds whipping you all over the place. Your orchid is gorgeous.

  16. I've been following your blog for a while. When I saw the poncho you'd knit, I bought the pattern immediately. Two weeks ago, I'd had a shopping/eating/theatre trip to Manchester with my daughter. We went into Whistles, where Sarah saw a poncho she loved, in dove grey. £75. It's easy to knit one like that, said I (then thought what ply, how many stitches etc. etc) When I saw yours, I couldn't believe my luck! Exactly like the one in Whistles, but I didn't need to work it out after all. And it will be some easy 'in-car' knitting when we travel to France in May. KnittingNorma

  17. Hooray! Hooray! Your orchid is flowering! I adore your poncho and and I'm seriously thinking of buying the pattern - might be simple but I'd still like a pattern for simplicity ;) By the way, just a thought, re orchids... you may know this anyway but apparantly they like light to their roots, so a glass pot is a good idea. Mine is quite old now and I can't find a proper clear pot that's big enough, so I have it in the biggest glass vase from Ikea I could find...I have to be very careful not to overwater. Right, off to look for that pattern...Jen

  18. hahaha your too funny with your "in comparison, look at this orchid..." :) The picture of the blooming orchid look great and the knitted poncho really does look elegant, at least I thought so before reading the post.


  19. Great poncho. I am looking at the flower with longing because it is snowing outside this morning.

  20. A lovely poncho, will go and search for the pattern. We are heading into cooler days now and have the desire to start knitting again.Wandered where I would get blocking wires from, think I will contact a yarn shop here in N.Z. and see if they can help. Have wanted them for sometime and the puzzle like soft tilesfor blocking . Have got 2 shawls waiting to be blocked. Shirley N.Z.

  21. Wow... I think you got it just right ... Elegant is the name for this poncho, nothing but elegant and inspiring. Simple and as they say in this case less is more... Much, much more. Love your flower also. Very beautiful.