Skylark Stole

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Introducing my latest finished project: Skylark Stole from the book, Custom Knits Accessaries, by Wendy Bernard. It was knit with four skeins of Frog Tree Meriboo MW yarn in purple (7511).

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My friend T visited me from Portland a few months ago, and brought with her four skeins of lovely, 70% merino wool / 30% bamboo blend from her neighborhood yarn shop called Dublin Bay Knitting Shop for my birthday. The awesomeness was two-fold: I’ve never worked with these soft blends before and I was dying to try; and this wonderful gift came from a non-knitter! How cool is this? Someone who’s never knit got me one of the softest and lovelies yarns I’ve ever owned!

She told me that staff at the shop who recommended this yarn was confident that I would love it. They were absolutely correct about that!

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Blocking an intricate lace is such a treat. I love watching the design come to life simply with a pull of the blocking wires. This is when you realize your time and energy spent knitting this garment was totally worth it. (It can also be a major heartbreak, however, when you discover a mistake or two you didn’t notice until now … eek!)  By the way, I folded the stole in half to block because I didn’t have enough room to stretch out the entire thing flat.

As for the knitting, I have to confess that I got confused by the pattern at first. Looking back, I’m a bit embarrassed to even admit this since Wendy’s patterns are always, always impeccable, and this one was no exception. I just didn’t read the direction carefully enough. Mea culpa.

My confusion was from the eyelet pattern repeats. I needed to add this 4-sitch eyelet repeat before each, 21-stitch chevron pattern plus one at the end  (for a total of four times) and not just at the beginning and the end of each RS row I incorrectly interpreted. Because of this, I had eight wandering stitches that I just could not find a home for!  Once I figured it out, knitting this stole was a breeeeeeeze.

The pattern is simple but interesting enough that kept me engaged throughout the entire project. I think placing markers after each pattern is key. I recommend that you utilize those little rings as much as possible. I even put one after two garter stitches at the beginning and end of rows for good measure!

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I had to think of an interesting way to photograph the finished stole. I thought about just laying it flat on the floor to showcase the design but I was afraid that my two year old will get to it and rip it out before my eyes (and she will)! So I decided to just hold it against the white wall.  I hope you can see the lovely lace pattern from these photos.

Here are other ways that I’ll be enjoying this stole.  It’s so versatile, I can wear it as a stole or a scarf.  I have a feeling that I’ll get a good use out of this garment all year long!

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Lace Poncho

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I love ponchos. They’re an ideal accompaniment to any outfit and I just think they’re simply the perfect piece of clothing. There was one autumn / winter, around 2006, when I lived in a poncho. I purchased the said poncho for about $15 at a very unsexy shop (it might have been Target) and I wore it every. single. day, and didn’t take it off until spring. It was a perfect wrap to wear over whatever I was wearing that day to keep me warm and comfy at the office, but perhaps the main reason for my poncho obsession is that it covers my problem areas like my arms and stomach beautifully, without having to hide behind an oversize and often unflattering sweater.

I actually didn’t intend to knit a poncho when I first casted this project onto the knitting needles. I was going to make yet another lacy scarf but realized that I was over scarves. I wanted something different and decided to stitch the two sides together and make a poncho instead!

So here it is – my first project of the new year!

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pink lineHow to Knit a Lace Poncho

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This pattern was inspired by Debbie Bliss’ Lacy Scarf.  I doubled the number of stitches to make the piece wider and turned it into a poncho by sewing two sides together. 

Supplies needed:

  • A pair of size 6 (US) knitting needles. I used Addi Turbo circular needle in size 6.  I love Addi because it really helps speed up my knitting!
  • 3 skeins of yanrs, at 50 grams each. I used Cascade 200 Sport in Orange Sherbet (7825) that I purchased from WEBS yarns.  
  • Tapestry needle for binding and sewing two sides together

Techniques used:

I would say that the level of difficulty for this project is “easy,” but if you’re not sure of any of these techniques below, I recommend you checking out Youtube for wonderful tutorials.  I’m a self-taught knitter, and I could have never done it without the tutelage of amazing online teachers!  

  • Cast on
  • Knit
  • Purl
  • k2tog (knit 2 together)
  • YO (yarn over)
  • Bind off
  • Blocking
  • Mattress stitch seaming

Instruction:

Using size 6 (US) needles, cast on 76 stitches.

Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: * Knit (1 time), [k2tog] (3 times), [yo, k] (6 times), [k2tog] (6 times), [yo, k] (6 times), [k2tog] (3 times), knit (1 time). Repeat from * one time.
Row 4: Knit

stitchRepeat these 4 rows until it measures about 45 inches (three skeins of yarns). Bind off.

Note:  If you want a smaller poncho that doesn’t fall off your shoulders, simply make it shorter.  Try it on as you knit, so you can make a desired length / size.  Also note that the garment stretches significantly when you block so it’s important to take that into consideration.  One more thing — bind off very loosely; otherwise, it becomes hell when you try to mattress stitch a very tight piece. 

Block the piece, if using wool yarns.

Note:  I recommend that you don’t skip this step.  Blocking your finished project is not my favorite part of the process, but it makes all the difference in the finished product, especially in lace knitting.  Blocking will help define the intricacy of the lace and makes the piece look more sophisticated and professional.

Using the tapestry needle, mattress stitch the pieces as shown on right.

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I’m so in love with this poncho.  I can see myself wearing it all the time, both inside the house and when going out.  I’ve always liked orange and I especially love this hue. I like how the yarn drapes nicely on the back too!

I hope you give this pattern a try, and let me know how it turns out!

poncho 4Looking forward to crafting wonderful projects in 2014!

Updated: Another poncho in beautiful Cerise. smile

cerise poncho