Make a Poncho From Knitted Squares

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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

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