My Adventures in Knitting, truly my Yarn-escape!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Technique Thursday- Doing up a Poncho and How To Follow a Knitting Pattern

Here I am with two beautiful skeins of re-claimed Lion's Homespun from a shawl partially made that I frogged (ripped out) in an unknown color. It's a green and teal and purple dusky blue on a white background. Thankfully I seem to have 2 skeins worth, or else I'll have to find something to match it to finish my poncho.

The poncho first caught my eye when I did Friday Fantasy Knits- I Dream Of Ponchos!  It appears to be a simple & easy design that should go up fast.  I'm particularly fond of the drape and the overall length of the poncho which is unique.  The description from the designer says it's been designed long and yet the sides are high for easy movement of the arms.  It sounds like a real winner.  Hopefully I can finish it by my trip back East for my daughter's graduation from college in Vermont Memorial weekend.  I'll be staying in the family Cottage in the Adirondack Mountains and it'll still be cold at nights.  It'll also be nice for the plane trip- I like something to easily drape over me, and take off and put on my lap to keep me warm.

So here's a guide to following the directions if you are a newbie to knitting. I still have to check the charts for abbreviations of knitting terms- Knitting and Crochet Abbreviations.

So here's how the pattern starts:

Pacific Breeze Poncho Palm Tree Designs copyright 2014 (download available free- Ravelry- Pacific Breeze Poncho)

"BEFORE STARTING You will need: 
Lion Brand Homespun 98% acrylic, 2% polyester; 6 oz/170 gr; 185 yd/169 m 2 skeins Waterfall 
Size 15 circular knitting needle (piece is worked side to side but circular needle is needed to accommodate width)
 2 large stitch holders or 2 smaller size circular needles stitch marker
 yarn needle"

So first things first- do I have all my supplies?  I have my 2 skeins and I don't have the circular needles that are long enough, but I do have some very long size #15 needles so I'm going to start with that and see if it's got enough room.  I could use more stitch holders, but in a pinch using a bit of yarn and threading with a large holed yarn needle I can hold my stitches that way.  So I'm all good to go.

Let's say that  you don't want to use the recommended yarn or the pattern just asks for worsted weight. Here's a guide to yarn weights to help you search for the right yarn. You want to have the same weight to use the same needles and get the same results, unless you have the expertise to switch yarn wts. and adjust the needle size.  So if you need worsted wt. yarn that is rated a 4 or Medium Weight and called- Worsted, Afghan or Aran yarn.  Look for these numbers and description on the wrapper of the yarn purchased or the online description of the yarn.  The lingo gets easier as you get used to knitting, someday it'll be old hat.  Note the two different types of bulky yarn- Bulky or Super Bulky, don't interchange them- there is a huge difference in them.

     Next I should check the gauge- that means knitting a swatch that should make a 4 X 4 sample to check to see if I am knitting with the proper needle size, or do I need to just tighten up or go looser?

So the pattern next tells me the gauge and finished size of the garment is:

"Gauge: 10.5 st = 4 inches and 7 rows = 4 inches"

This swatch is a tad bigger width wise- but just by a whisker and I think with this garment I'll be all good. It's totally off on the number of rows equaling 4 inches, but I can knit to the measurement that I want.

I want a gauge swatch a tad bigger than the 4 inches because the edges can be less accurate, so I'm going to cast on 12 stitches and knit away on size #15 needles and see what is the measurement of my swatch and if I need to make adjustments.  Use the same pattern of knit that the pattern is in.  This one is a garter stitch- Knit on both sides.  Different knit patterns will use the yarn  differently and measure differently.  I have skipped this stage and rued the day.  Sometimes its not necessary- let's say you're making a blanket and you've got all the recommended materials for that pattern and you're willing to chance it.  But it's also good to see what the swatch feels like- you might want a looser gauge, a more flexible drape and you decide to go up a needle size.  Or else the swatch is just too loose and you don't like it- then going down a size might be necessary based on what you like.  We all knit at a different tension so it's a really good idea to swatch first.  

Here's the rest of the pattern:


Front CO 4 st 

R1: K1, k1 k1tbl (increase), insert st marker, k1 k1tbl, k1

R2: K 2, k1 k1tbl, slip st marker, k1 k1tbl, k2 

R3: K to 1 st before marker, k1 k1tbl, marker, k1 k1tbl, k to end

R4: k3, p to last 3 st, k3

Repeat rows 3 and 4 until there are 90 st on the needle ending with R4. 

With right side facing, place 33 st on st holder or smaller circular needle. 

Bind off 24 st. Place remaining 33 st on other st holder or circular needle. 

Back Work same as front up to final row 4. With right side facing slip 33 st knitwise. Bind off 24 st. Slip remaining 33 st

Finishing Sew shoulders together. Kitchener Stitch will weave them together without leaving a noticeable seam. (Check out YouTube for tutorials.) Allow front and back to roll at neckline to form collar.

Notes- THe first row you're going to knit one stitch, then knit in the front of the next and keep the stitch on the left needle and go into the back of the stitch to do "tbl". Then slip both off- so you have done an increase. Repeat, then knit 1. Remember you are dealing with knitting 4 cast-on stitches. You'll have 6 stitches by the time your done.

I went over the knitting basics on my first Technique Thursday- Technique Thursday- Put Your Knit On! How to Knit from finding patterns on Ravelry, shopping for yarn and an exhaustive list of tutorials on how to do the knit stitch.

Here's another key guide I find helpful and I love this company-Tin Can Knits. They have lovely wonderful tutorials and their patterns are liberally seeded with these tutorials and made for beginners to more advanced.  I really enjoy them- Tin Can Knits Patterns and their learning to knit collection (I love their Maize Mitts) Tin Can Knits- The Simple Collection.

So looking at the above guide from Tin Can Knits you will be doing a few knits, then- 
K1-tbl - which is knit through back loop (this twists the stitch), you also K2, which means you knit 2 stitches together. M- means placing a marker.

So here I go- I'll post updates as I knit.

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