Knitted poncho…sort of

poncho4I don’t know what to call this. A poncho. A sweater with no arms. A turtleneck shawl. I’ll just call it comfortable and leave it at that.

This was a Karen Bradley a/k/a Kaloula knit-a-long, with week-by-week clues, in the Cynthia’s Too Ravelry Group. Bradley generously left the thread open and you can still work through the clues if you’re hankering to work up this item.

The pattern calls for worsted weight Malabrigo Rios for the feather-and-fan top and Berrocco Ultra Alpaca Fine for the lacy bottom. That’s fine, not light. I first stocked the light and that weight is too heavy.

I’m not sure I came up with the best color combination, but I’m still proud of the finished item. I love to work feather-and-fan patterns. For years I avoided them because it looked so difficult. But it’s actually a piece ‘o cake. As for that lace bottom, well, for lace-impaired me, that was a challenge. I soldiered on and it came out quite nice. All those pesky yarn-overs lined up just right.

If you decide to knit this, don’t panic when it first comes off your needles. You will think you’ve just knitted a lampshade cover. But with somewhat aggressive blocking, it turns into a poncho-like garment.

Honestly, I’ve not yet had the courage to wear this outside the house. Strictly speaking, that’s not exactly true. I wore it to my knitting guild meeting. That’s outside the house, but in knitting-friendly territory where we keep our chuckles to ourselves. I’ve been a little worried–much as I like it–that it has a bit of a frump-factor going. What do you think? Would you wear it?


Cascading Leaves Shawl Recipe


MIx one 8 ounce, 560 yard cake of Michigan Indie dyer Karen Bradley’s Petite Rayure using needles that get you to about 5 stitches per inch in stockinette. A size 8 worked for me.

Follow the directions supplied in Bradley’s Cascading Leaves Shawl, available (unfortunately) in not-too-many places. But you can still read the clues Bradley posted for it in her mystery knit-a-long on Ravelry. If you can’t find the right ingredients, give her LYS Cynthia’s Too a call in Petoskey, Michigan. Cynthia carries all Bradley’s Kaloula Yarns and also has a paper copy of the pattern for sale.

Your shawl is done when you are beginning to fear that you will run out of yarn. But with 15 yards left in the cake, your creation will be complete.



cascading_frontThese gradient yarns really produce some show-stoppers.


Portuguese Fisherwoman’s Shawl

pfs copy

I am drawn to shawls that stay put. Apparently I don’t have whatever it takes to keep a shawl in place. And I don’t like to deal with shawl pins. This is Vermont Designs by Shelagh’s re-creation of a traditional Portuguese Fisherwoman’s Shawl from Nazare, Portugal. The pattern is available on Ravelry or direct from Vermont Yarn Company‘s shop. I knit mine to include the garter stitch tie band. The band crosses in the front and ties in the back. It also stabilizes the construction.

It’s cool from the front and from the back:

pfs2 copy

You can knit it without the band and it will make an excellent shawl that stays on the shoulders without shawl pin help. You’d lose it out in a boat fishing, though.


Mine is knit in worsted weight Kaloula Yarn “Grande Merino.” It’s a wonderful hand painted “100% organic merino wool,” dyed by Karen Bradley of Harbor Springs, Michigan. Cynthia’s Too, in Petoskey, sells the yarn, along with others from Bradley. Here’s Grand Merino all caked up and ready to go.


I haven’t done any fishing in my shawl yet, and don’t expect to, but it’s already kept me warm and cozy in the last few weeks since I finished it.


On me, it doesn’t make much of a style statement. But that’s one of the things I like about it.