Materials Required: 4-ply worsted weight hand knitting yarn, or equivalent, which will knit to required gauge. This will take between 20 and 28 oz, depending on the yarn used.
NOTE: This garment ends between the elbow and wrist; 130 needles are required. For a longer poncho, more needles will be needed. ISM owners will need an extra extension kit.
Gauge: 4.5 sts, 6 rows = 1”
Try Keyplate 3 or Tension 7 for first swatch, check gauge, and change Keyplate or Tension if necessary. Different brands, dyelots, or types of yarn affect the Keyplate/Tension setting.
This poncho is made of four identical trapezoid pieces, that look like triangles with the top tip cut off. Begin at neck edge. Cast on 22 sts with waste yarn. Knit about 1”, ending at left. Set row counter to 000. Change to main color. Knit 1 row. *Increase 1 st next to the carriage by bringing a new needle into working position. K 1 row. Repeat from * 107 more times. RC 109. Bind off all 130 sts. Make 3 more pieces the same. Finished length of each piece is 18”; this will come well below the elbow for most people. If you want a longer poncho, more rows will be needed. Mid gauge owners may continue increasing 1 st every row, as established. ISM owners will need another extension to do this.
Assembly. Examine the side edges of each piece. There are a series of loops along each edge, formed by the increases. We will use these loops for a decorative seam. Thread needle with a 30” long piece of yarn; we don’t want to run out in the middle of the seam, even though it will be a bit awkward making the first few stitches. Place two of the poncho pieces, purl sides together, matching the side loops. Anchor the sewing yarn at one end. Now overcast (whip stitch) through each set of loops, being very careful not to skip any. Check the seam every couple of inches to be sure it is correct. If you have missed a loop, pick the seam back and correct now, because this will show as a mistake if you don’t. Join three seams, following instructions above.
Neckband. Knit side of fabric toward machine, pick up 88 sts around neck edge. Do not remove waste yarn yet. Knit 12 rows. Beginners, bind off all sts. Turn band to inside and hem to main color loops next to waste yarn. More experienced knitters, hang hem, picking up main color loops next to waste yarn; there will now be two sts on each needle. Bind off. Remove waste yarn. Sew remaining seam, leaving top few inches open if desired, for ease in pulling poncho over head.
Most poncho patterns originally called for running a cord through the neck, and finishing the ends with tassels or pompoms if part of the seam was left open at the top. If you don’t like the idea of a cord around your neck, a decorative button with a crocheted loop fastener, or a pewter clasp set, such as is used on Scandinavian sweaters, also work well and are very attractive.
Fringe. Wrap yarn around a hard cover book. Slide scissors along pages to cut. Take four pieces of yarn and fold in half, forming a loop. Using the latch tool or a crochet hook, pull the fold through the cast off edge, going under two strands for stability. Catch the yarn tails and pull them through the loop on the tool; tighten carefully so that all yarn strands snug up against the cast off edge. Repeat fringe in every second or third stitch around lower edge.
Using a double strand of 4-ply knitting worsted, cast on 18 sts (16 if using Homespun), ending with carriage on left. Set row counter to 000 and change to main color. Knit 1 row. *Inc 1 st next to the carriage by bringing another needle out to WP, K 1 row. Repeat from * 81 times. Bind off all 100 sts. Make 3 more pieces the same. Finish same as for the previous version. Now, the only tricky part about this is getting the row gauge loose enough. It needs to be no more than 5 rows per inch, or 20 rows per 4", or the poncho will be pretty short. Personally, I consider 16" the MINIMUM acceptable length for an adult.
Since I have metal bed knitting machines, I also have lots of coned yarn. In the past, I have combined several strands of these yarns and have been able to obtain a gauge of 3.5 sts, 5 rows per inch. If you only have the standard 100 needle ISM, it may be necessary to try several combinations of yarn to reach this gauge (3 strands baby yarn, 6 strands 2/24, 2 strands double knitting or worsted weight, in other words, whatever works.) Of course, if you have an extension, keeping the row gauge no larger than 5 rows per inch is not so important, and it will be much easier to keep knitting until you get the length you want.
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