Knitted Squares Do Not Have To Be Boring

My elderly mother rediscovered knitting a few months ago. She used to love to knit but has suffered from poor eyesight and short term memory problems in the last few years, so she is now restricted to knitting squares, or rectangles as she can no longer follow a pattern. These can turn out very random in size and consistency. I have been buying her multi dyed wool to make it more interesting for her and was amazed when I found that she had knitted hundred of "squares" in the space of a few weeks.
They looked so amazing that I wanted to find a good use for them and after looking online I found an idea for a poncho, which was basically 2 rectangles sewn together. I thought that from the assortment of shapes and sizes it might be possible to make one.
We were taking my mother away for a two week vacation, and I included packing the squares, matching balls of wool, knitting and sewing needles into the car. In the space of a few days we jointly put together this poncho, it was a real team effort and it was lovely to be able to make something between us.

Watching my mother knitting, I could see her knitting with her eyes closed, almost gently rocking backwards and forwards, she would be like this for several minutes then "wake up", during this time she seemed very relaxed. I began to wonder if knitting was beneficial and began some research. I was amazed at what I found out!

Knitting is very therapeutic and particularly beneficial to older people who may be suffering memory problems, stress, anxiety or pain as the soothing rhythm of the knitting can induce a relaxed meditative state which reduces stress and distracts from pain. Following patterns can be difficult in later years, but many lovely items can be put together from squares, rectangles and strips and I am amazed at the difference in my mother since she re-discovered knitting, it has given her a purpose and does seem to soothe her.
I have sleeping problems particularly when its a working week. I usually Squidoo before bed, but recently I have just knitted a few lines of a bright square and guess what?, I have been sleeping better. My theory is that knitting relaxes the brain, rather than stimulating it which is better at night time.
Here is a fascinating article on therapeutic knitting

Therapeutic Knitting
Image Credit Photo of me wearing the poncho.
All rights reserved Joanna Fell

Back View of Poncho

Knitted ooncho I like the back of the poncho as much as the front. It has some different panels sewn into it and I made a feature of the back of the neck.

Photo of me wearing the poncho All rights reserved Joanna Fell.

Knitted Square from Multi Colored Yarn

Multi Colored Yarn This is one of my favourite multi color mixtures it is a gorgeous mix of vibrant colors which knit into lovely patterns no matter the size of the square.

Universal Poncho Pattern

I found the measurements for the Universal poncho pattern from the following link
Universal Poncho Pattern

Basically you take just 2 measurements, depending on how long you want the garment. A measurement from your shoulder to your wrist, for one as long as the one in the introductory photo and the measurement from your shoulder diagonally to the bottom of your neck for the neck opening.

The first rectangle consists of a square of shoulder to wrist plus a strip of 2 X neckline measurement plus another square of Shoulder to wrist.

The smaller rectangle is width of shoulder to wrist and height of 2 necklines.

The First Challenge

The Large Rectangle

The next challenge once finding a pattern to use was actually fitting the odd assortment of squares and rectangles together. I started by taking my wrist to shoulder measurement, then my neckline measurement. Once I had those I started to construct the rectangles on a large table.
I began with the large rectangle which I calculated to measure 64″ X 22″

Here is the larger rectangle. We had to knit some strips to mix in with the squares to give the correct final measurements.

Image Credit Joanna Fell

The Small Rectangle

The small rectangle was much easier to put together and I managed to sew three rectangles together to get the correct size of 22″ X 10″

Image Credit Joanna Fell

Fitting The Rectangles Together

At last the two rectangles were assembled. I used the wool and a darning needle to sew the pieces together with an open stitch that made the edges lay flat.

To fit the poncho together the white large rectangle edge was sewn to the small rectangle white edge and the large rectangle edge to the small rectangle black edge.
and voila’.
I thought my work was done, but that was the easy part and just the beginning. The poncho looked the right shape but very tatty, and I realised that it would need to be edged to finish it off

Image credit Joanna Fell

Finishing The Front Neckline

The neckline turned out to be too big and hung off my shoulders so I recommend you don’t make it too big. For a closer fit, measure the circumference of your head and then divide it by 4 then add a couple of inches.
My mother knitted two borders of rib stitch for the front, which made it look much better.

Image Credit Joanna Fell

Finishing The Back Neckline

My Mother knitted a border in stocking stitch for the back of the neckline, but it still hung too low, so we knitted a triangle to fill in the gap. I was very pleased with the result, as it added a feature to the back of the garment.
Image Credit Joanna Fell

Adding The Edging Border

It felt as though the edges of the garment needed some weight to pull it down, so we knitted stocking stitch borders which I sewed on to the hemline with the embroidery chain stitch. This took some time because we needed such long lengths but the final result was worth it.
Image Credit Joanna Fell

My Next Project

A Smaller Version

I have learnt a great deal from making the first garment. It turned out a bit on the large size so for my next project I took the measurements from my shoulder to my elbow, and only 5″ for the neckline.
The proportion was much better, but a little short, so I will be adding a contrasting border as shown in the picture.

Image Credit Joanna Fell

Completed Smaller Poncho

This is the finished smaller version with contrasting borders. It was also made from my mother’s original squares and the scaled down version fitted her perfectly. She even wore it a couple of times when it was chilly whilst we were away so we both ended up with a poncho of our own.

I think it has turned out really well, and my mind is full of ideas for future projects we can do together.
Image Credit Joanna Fell

Designing a Poncho Template

This is the pattern for the smaller version poncho.
It is ideal for smaller to medium sizes 5’2″ – 5’4″

Once you have designed your pattern you can actually knit the squares and strips to fit, if you like the patchwork look or have lots of odd balls of wool. This is an ideal way to build up a garment as you go, or can be a team effort with more than one person knitting towards the finished poncho.

Image Credit Joanna Fell

Poncho With Fringed Edges for a Child

I decided to trim this little child’s poncho with fringed edging, which took much longer than I first thought it would, but I was pleased with the end result.

To make the fringing I wrapped matching wool round a strip of card, then cut along the top edge. I then pulled the ends of the wool through the edge of the poncho with a crochet hook. I added the pocket for interest.
Poncho’s are ideal for children to snuggle in, as they are so easy to wear around the house or in the car, a great alternative to a dressing gown over PJ’s.!
Image credit
Joanna fell

New Guestbook Comments

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  • Frischy Jan 24, 2014 @ 7:10 am
    I love this idea! The ponchos are really terrific! It's a great look! Congratulations on LoTD!
  • VeroniqueX Jan 24, 2014 @ 6:07 am
    got to bookmark and learns this, i think knitting is fun <3
  • TheRopesToKnow Jan 23, 2014 @ 9:17 pm
    I use to work at a senior center and always wanted to learn how to do this! You inspired me to go back and visit a center and learn!!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 24, 2014 @ 4:34 am
    Great, thank you! enjoy!
  • DebMartin Jan 23, 2014 @ 5:46 pm
    I like your idea of multi-colored yarns. They make the project so much more interesting as you never know just how it's going to turn out.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 24, 2014 @ 4:32 am
    Thats why I love them, they are so colorful
  • Susan52 Jan 23, 2014 @ 3:57 pm
    Back to say congratulations on your well-deserved Lens of the Day. I love this lens!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 23, 2014 @ 4:36 pm
    Thank you so much for your support!
  • d-artist Jan 23, 2014 @ 9:00 am
    Congratulations on LOTD! What a great project! Thanks for sharing...
  • PaynesGrey Jan 23, 2014 @ 2:46 pm
    Thank You Glad you liked it!
  • shaheda Jan 23, 2014 @ 5:19 am
    Congratulations on LOTD.I also love to knit,long forgotten your page has returned me back to the craft.Thanks for sharing such a touching and useful lens.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 23, 2014 @ 7:43 am
    Thank you, yes it's nice to take up knitting again, and so much fun with all the lovely yarn around these days.
  • Charito1962 Jan 23, 2014 @ 1:08 am
    What a nice design! Good job knitting!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 23, 2014 @ 7:41 am
    Thank you!
  • Jan 22, 2014 @ 7:56 pm
    Very creative stuff. Congratulations on getting LotD!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 23, 2014 @ 7:41 am
    Thank you very much!
  • RoadMonkey Jan 22, 2014 @ 6:21 pm
    Lovely! What a great idea.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 23, 2014 @ 7:40 am
    Thank you!
  • MiddleSister Jan 22, 2014 @ 5:01 pm
    What wonderful mother/daughter creativity here! Being excited to create something new and beautiful is one of the things that makes life worth living. I certainly enjoyed reading about your ponchos!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 23, 2014 @ 7:40 am
    Yes you are quite right, the little things are so important! Thank you!
  • StephenJParkin Jan 22, 2014 @ 4:43 pm
    My Grandmother used to knit as she aged for blankets hats mittens etc. It is a useful skill and the products are always much appreciated by the recipients. Well done on the LOTD!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 23, 2014 @ 7:40 am
    Thank You!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:44 pm
    Thank you all for your lovely comments, I feel privileged to be part of the Squidoo community.
  • ItayasDesigns Jan 22, 2014 @ 1:40 pm
    What a lovely pass time to help keep your mother occupied, relaxed, and feeling like she is contributing! I can't knit as it causes me wrist pain but I can crochet most days. I'm thinking this would be just as soothing to crochet as it is to knit. Thank you for sharing this pattern and the story of your joint creations. :)
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:40 pm
    Thank you, the template would be just as good for crochet squares as knitted squares, and the beauty is you can build it up gradually instead of making it all in one go.
  • favored1 Jan 22, 2014 @ 1:33 pm
    The colors you selected are great, because you can match it with anything. Thanks for the info and congratulations on LotD.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:39 pm
    Thank you, the multicolored wool is just fantastic, I am fascinated by the way the colors come together.
  • bloomingrose Jan 22, 2014 @ 1:22 pm
    I am not a knitter but I can imagine that it is therapeutic. I also know it is cool and it considered chic in classy circles. My son goes to an Industrial Design/Art school and one of his classmates said to him derisively "You mean you are an art school student and you don't knit?" Congrats on the LOTD - pinned onto my knitting board as well as my aging board because of the emphasis on using knitting with the elderly or cognitively impaired.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:38 pm
    Thank you, it's actually quite surprising to see how many men knit too. I"m glad you have found my lens useful.
  • seahorse60 Jan 22, 2014 @ 1:12 pm
    Thanks for sharing your poncho pattern. I'm not a very experienced knitter but I think I could manage to make one. I'm pleased that your mother has found a creative hobby that also relaxes her and it's great that you can make things together! Congratulations on LotD!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:35 pm
    Thank you, I'm glad I found the template in the first place that gave me the idea.
  • esmonaco Jan 22, 2014 @ 12:39 pm
    Congratulations on LOTD and a great lens, with a beautiful poncho. I can't knit, but do admire someone who can create such beautiful things.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:33 pm
    Thank you, my knitting is really basic, but it's surprising what can be made.
  • Mellithorpe Jan 22, 2014 @ 12:36 pm
    Oh, and I forgot to congratulate you on being LOTD. :)
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:32 pm
    Thank you again!
  • Lewisgirl Jan 22, 2014 @ 12:35 pm
    What a wonderful way to create a wearable art garment, love it!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:31 pm
    Thank you, its quite good fun too, like putting together a jigsaw!
  • Mellithorpe Jan 22, 2014 @ 12:32 pm
    How beautiful and you have brought back some memories. I don't knit but I made a few of these by crochet. So wonderful to hear that your mother could still do what she loved to calm her down and you created something together. Great lens.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:31 pm
    Yes the projects have certainly bought my mother and I closer. Thank you!
  • badmsm Jan 22, 2014 @ 12:23 pm
    Thanks for sharing your ideas!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:30 pm
    Thank you!
  • VenusPsychic Jan 22, 2014 @ 10:46 am
    thanks much .. for sharing this.. it looks so great.. i will just change the color . venus
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:30 pm
    Thank you, any color combination is possible using this template.
  • audrysarkar Jan 22, 2014 @ 10:34 am
    realy lovely!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:29 pm
    Thank you
  • magpie_feathers Jan 22, 2014 @ 10:14 am
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:29 pm
    Thank you so much
  • partybuzz Jan 22, 2014 @ 10:12 am
    Beautiful poncho! I wish I knew how to knit! Congratulations on LotD!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:29 pm
    Thank you, knitting is quite easy once you master a few basics.
  • ranchoigroup Jan 22, 2014 @ 10:06 am
    It looks nice!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:28 pm
    Thank you!
  • CherylFay Jan 22, 2014 @ 9:57 am
    Very nice! I love the colors in your poncho! Nice lens explaining the how to go about it.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:28 pm
    Glad you enjoyed it, thanks
  • KathyT Jan 22, 2014 @ 9:13 am
    Congratulations on LOTD! You are very talented and creative!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:27 pm
    Thank you for your kind comments
  • RenaissanceWoman2010 Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:59 am
    I would love a knitted poncho like those featured here. Congrats on Lens of the Day!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:27 pm
    Thank you, I have plenty to spare, :-)
  • Bidnessetc Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:28 am
    This article is awesome and love your taughts :)
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:53 am
    Thank you so much.
  • Merrci Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:05 am
    Love your lens--Congrats on LotD! It's wonderful that your mother is able to knit and that it helps her relax. I can imagine how it must comfort her, knowing she can make the squares. She must have been pleased to see her squares put to use in something so pretty! Thanks for sharing this.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:51 am
    She felt useless because she couldn't do any thing creative, but she is a changed person now! I highly recommend knitting as therapy. Thank you for your comments
  • marley101 Jan 22, 2014 @ 7:54 am
    realy nice :)
    Cogratulations on LOTD
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:49 am
    Thank you!!
  • bercton Jan 22, 2014 @ 7:33 am
    Great work!
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:48 am
    Thank you!!
  • stylishimo Jan 22, 2014 @ 5:31 am
    Congratulations on LOTD :)
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:48 am
    Thank you XX
  • LynnKK Jan 22, 2014 @ 5:08 am
    Lovely. And what a great memory for you.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:48 am
    Yes it was lovely being able to make something together, since then wev'e made cushion covers as well.
  • eva_writes Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:56 am
    This poncho is really beautiful and now I think I could manage to make one, thank you very much for sharing it with us.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:46 am
    Good luck with the poncho.
  • NiagaraGhostWalks Jan 22, 2014 @ 3:11 am
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:46 am
    Thank you!
  • DebW07 Jan 22, 2014 @ 12:16 am
    What a beautiful poncho! I wish I knew how to knit.
  • PaynesGrey Jan 22, 2014 @ 8:45 am
    Thats the beauty of this, you can just use learn one stitch, knit a square and off you go!
  • Susan52 Dec 20, 2013 @ 5:33 pm
    I absolutely love the ponchos, but I love the story behind them even more. Wonderful lens!
  • PaynesGrey Dec 23, 2013 @ 1:36 pm
    Thank you so much for your kind comments, Mum and I are quite the expert at making Poncho's. Guess what we will be giving for Christmas presents. :-)

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