scarf to a poncho and some print too!

I got these scarves a few weeks ago in the local charity shop.   They were a donation of seconds from a woolen mill in Mayo (this charity shop sometimes gets donations from this mill), and I find it hard to pass up on wool , but I also find it hard to sew everything I pick up so I dithered for a while on whether I should get them at all.  Most of the scarves were thicker, and ‘normal’ size, but there were two wraps that were incredibly fine – and these I could not leave behind.,  I was wondering what to make, and was wondering if I should cut into them, but they work so well as shawls and scarves (I started wearing them pretty much straight away).  I decided to try another poncho!

I thought multi-coloured buttons would be a bit of fun, so got a selection and made a number of buttonholes.  As the wool is so fine, I used scraps of vilene to stabilize, and made all buttonholes the same size, but did not cut them all up the same size until I checked each button (buttons were either 14mm or 16mm).  I did 7 buttonholes each side, but it was only AFTER I thought that the 2 rows of buttons I did for the last one would not look so good here, so I zig-zagged them closed!  (they don’t look too obvious, and as its a line of 7 it has a pattern to it, so I am thinking -wishfully- it looks deliberate!)

Some Print, Some Pattern

We (sewing group) also did 2 workshops for voluntary arts week.  One was pattern drafting, and the other was hand printing fabric.  I did a pattern drafting one for a few of us, and as all good plans, they changed.  I had intended to show skirt drafting, but we ended up trying out the pattern magic book, which was good for me as I keep meaning to try the bamboo shoot top.  So I prepared the pattern again at home, and cut a toile,  printed it, and made it up.  I originally printed it with white but it looked rather dull, so I did a speckle repeat in red/orange/yellow.  The folding and sewing needs some refining, but I am glad I got to try it.  Its unlikely I will make it up as I don’t wear waist seams much, but I may use it again in another context.

The other print I did was on a dress.  The pattern I drafted was for a dress based on one I saw on the Finery London website (I just love their clothes).  I thought it would make a handy work (as in gardening etc) smock style dress, and cut it from a sheet.  I drafted a quick pattern,  and thought to do a plaid style pattern.  The single line looked effective (and out of line) but I left as was, and did the plaid effect for the pockets.  I have not bothered to finish this as I forgot that these shoulder darts can look severe – too much like the 80s and in all the dress is a bit of a sack!



Ultimately, I am not too bothered these are still at toile stage as it was good to change it up a bit, as I forgot how much I like printing by hand, and repeat patterning…. so much so, that we are planning another print session for later in the summer!

a scarf to a poncho to a shrug to a shawl

I made a poncho shrug shawl for my sister some time back and I love it.  The colour wasn’t quite right for me, but it was so perfect for her.  I had made an unbuttoned version some time previous to that and I was going to remake it but still have to get around to it, as its a lot of crochet…… which was a pity, as all summer it would have been the perfect piece as our weather never got really warm.

I did remember I had a long scarf got some years back (2008) which was packed away with the winter wools so as I unpacked some sweaters and put away some summer clothes, there it was…….

scarf to poncho remake - remake a scarf

This scarf measures about 180 x 70cm approx and its a viscose mix.     I always like this colour.  The scarf seems to curl in on itself, and it was also a bit long, it was handy for evenings but rarely worn.  

The measurements of the crocheted ‘pillar to post’ I made for my sister, were 150cm x 60cm, so I cut the scarf  to 155 cm and put some iron-on lightweight vilene strips along the hems at each end, and hand stitched each hem.  This also seems to have stopped the ‘curling’ and now the hem sits flat.

Sewing the button-holes was a nightmare.  I knew I would be placing 6 button holes along approx 30cm on each end (diagram below not to scale but shows the placement), and the buttonholes would be opposite.  

I wasnt sure how I would make the buttonholes.  My machine buttonhole tests were a disaster, and I had more success sewing through paper each side, but this was still distinctly dodgy, so in the end, I hand stitched them.  In truth, the are a bit lumpy, and perhaps its as well that I now use reading glasses as in practice I don’t notice them (and now they are done, I don’t inspect them either!).  The buttons came from the button jar, one set of 6 is from an old suit I have to remake, and the other from a coat from last year.  If it was a white or cream scarf, then various multi-coloured buttons could have been good fun.  This poncho has been worn twice as much since I made it a few weeks ago, than its whole life time as a scarf. 

scarf to poncho remake - remake a scarf

and the only non blurry photo of me wearing it (better try and get a better one)

pillar to post, cardigan to poncho

Some years ago, I learned how to crochet properly.  and the one thing about crochet, for me at least is, it instills patience, and shows that all mistakes can be undone.  Another nice thing about crochet is that you are making the garment and fabric up at the same time and if you crochet in the round, you can try on as you go and wear when you do the last stitch!  

Crochet turned out to be easier than I thought, the big bit is learning to hold the yarn correctly, its like the tension control of a sewing machine, (thanks to Collette Burke for showing me that) and after mastering that and the chain stitch, my sister Eithne (a left handed crochet-er) showed me the double and treble stitch – all you need is to know are the 2 stitches, and everything else is a variant after that.  

I was very precious of all pieces crocheted at first but over time, if I didn’t wear them, they were frogged and remade to something else,all garments becoming functional storage for yarn!  It is not to difficult to unmake a homemade item, but its a bit trickier to undo a store bought, so I rarely try.  When I saw this cardigan in the charity shop I was drawn to the quality of the yarn , the cardigan was a bit pulled in places, and also.had a stain, but when you unravel yarn, these parts can be taken out then.  This cardigan yarn was quite luxurious being a mix of cotton, silk and linen, so it would drape well (cotton) and have some warmth to it (silk) and yet have a coolness (linen) – the best of all three, so worth a try.  

It came apart well enough, there was some yarn lost due to a strange stain on sleeve that didn’t come out.  The cardigan was machine knitted with two shades of yarn (you can see there is a small piece beside the balls of yarn), the darker yarn stayed at the front and the lighter to the back so when it unravelled, I got the two yarns together so its more of a tweed effect.  I could have split them back into two, but that would have halved the amount so I thought the tweed would be fine for a multi-functioning poncho wrap, and perfect for my sister Eithne who is blond and suits these shades, and also dislikes wool (in scarves as they can be scratchy), and likes the drape of cotton, and has some very early morning starts this winter.

so with the help of buttons,  its now a shrug, poncho, cardigan, scarf combo…………………the photos below were taken in natural light, so are slightly darker, whereas the ones on top were taken with flash so are lighter.  the silk in the yarn reflects light easily.

If you wish to have a copy of this pattern, please use the contact form and include your email address and I will forward it to you –please note this pattern is a first draft.  I have put it in chart format as I prefer charts. I have done some small charts of the pattern, and not the full thing, so you can increase the diamond pattern to the amount you would prefer.  There are written instructions for the charts on the last page.