I have spent a lot of time searching for the perfect poncho or cape pattern.
Maybe too much time! Sometimes when I'm in search of perfection, it obviously can't be found, but I keep searching anyway and then weeks and months have passed and I emerge, red eyed and unfulfilled at the end.
Not a happy sight really is it? Not a good look on me anyway. Yet I persevere. Like the proverbial dog with a bone. I am not a dog though, sigh, I digress...
As I was saying I am always on the lookout for nice knitted cover-ups, I find them less stressful to knit than jumpers and cardigans. I can never get the fit right, or I'm not happy with how I look in them at the end. This is why I think I stick to shawls and outerwear in general. More forgiving, and though they are generally larger than the average jumper, they are more interesting for me to knit.
I have also been dabbling with a lot of fair isle of late and wanted to include this into my criteria. It's very soothing knitting with 2 colours and watching a beautiful design emerge row by row. They seem to fly once I start and I enjoy every stitch. Comfort knitting, like Shepard's pie on a wintry day, yum!
I found a free pattern on Ravelry that I thought was suitable, it's an aran stranded poncho by Drops. I liked the general shape and design, though I was worried that the aran stranded would make a very dense and clunky fabric. I needn't have worried, it turned out perfectly.
I chose to use Jamieson & Smith's Shetland Aran in a navy blue, dark red and off white instead of the patterns original brown, beige and cream. I'm so glad I changed the colours, it's much more me!
The aran stranded is not really bulky at all, but boy is it warm, I'll be very toasty indeed this Spring. I have to congratulate the Jamiesons & Smith Aran as it's the softest pure wool I have ever felt. It was a dream to knit with, price and yardage is great (I sold my Brittany Birch straight needles on ebay and bought this yarn and the Sheep Heid kit with the proceeds) but it is so soft that I can't imagine ever using a non wool to make a jumper/cardigan with ever again.
Don't I look very casual?
It's a nice fit, a nice size and easy to wear, a winner methinks!
I mentioned above that I also received Kate Davies Sheep Heid kit and began it as soon as I could. I am sharing the kit with Doogarry and I wound off little cakes (or grenades as I like to affectionately call them) on my nostpinne from the 9 x 50g balls that came with the kit. It is a wondrous experience watching all the subtle shades blend and the pattern begins to come alive. I would heartily recommend only using the original colours per the pattern as I don't think any others can have the same affect. Though I've seen some colourful pastel/bright Sheep Heids and they look wonderful too, but for different reasons.
The tam did not take long to make, a few days and the pudgy sheep pattern is the least involved part of the whole hat. I saved this section for watching the Borgias (so I wouldn't miss any good bits:)
By mistake (and I should know better) I made my double decreases in the crown a different way that the pattern suggests, but I notice now that my hat has a pleasing star at the top rather than the straight lines of the original, so I'm pretty happy I messed up!
I would advise any Sheep Heid to-be's to deal with your ends in whatever way pleases you as you go along, as a 2 hour sewing session at the end is better to be avoided. Unless you're into that kind of thing :)
I bought the correct amount of yardage for my poncho, but found myself at the end with loads left over. I decided to make a little version for my 5, soon to be 6 year old. Naturally she's delighted to look exactly like her mother (err...this may be brought up in therapy in years to come) but I swapped my reds and blues and used a shortened version of the original chart.
She may forgive me some day, in the meantime, she'll be lovely and warm and the envy of her friends (as long as I don't turn up to collect her wearing the same thing!) we may have to time share usage.
Happy knitting xxx