Sometimes I get cold, even in the summer. The first summer that my family moved back to the Pacific Northwest after my body had acclimated to 90+ days all summer for the previous twelve years was a major shock to my system. These fir trees block out a lot of sunlight. When there is sunlight. I’ve since become re-accustomed to the less-than-summery temperatures we often experience up here. And part of my survival is sweatshirts and jackets. What can I say? I’m a wimp when it comes to cold.
While functional, hoodies aren’t particularly chic. Since I’ve been making all these lightweight summery-type clothes (Take that, clouds!), I needed a way to keep warm without instantly demoting my outfit to “college student” (Not that there’s anything wrong with that. heh But my college career was many years ago and I milked the sweatshirt/flannel pajama bottoms ensemble for all it’s worth back then).
My first thought was a shrug — something to cover my shoulders and a little bit up top, just to add a tiny bit of warmth. I had found a pattern that I liked in one of my crochet magazines and bought yarn for it. First, the yarn.
It’s a Martha Stewart (Lion Brand) acrylic/wool blend (65%/35%). I liked the aqua color (called “igloo”), which is similar to the yarn pictured in the pattern. I’m easily swayed by suggestion, apparently. I also liked that it is a smooth yarn and, while the weight is listed as a 4, it’s not too thick or bulky. As far as working with it goes… eh, I’d be hard-pressed to buy this again. It tends to be splitty; I found knotted lengths within the skeins and one skein even started with several inches of dirty yarn — like it had been walked on! I was too far along at that point to want to abandon the project or deal with the hassle of returning and finding another skein in the right color lot. Besides, who’s to say the next one wouldn’t have some kind of weird issue, too? Obviously, I cut off the dirty part and forged ahead.
The pattern. Well, the pattern ended up consisting of block motifs joined together. If you know anything about me, you know I hate weaving in loose ends. Look, it’s one thing on a blanket, but on a garment? I’m pretty good at hiding those suckers, but there’s always a couple that will work loose eventually. I didn’t like the idea of sporting little fuzzy ends sticking out. Plus, there was the weaving to start with. So I nixed that pattern and went to my fallback — Crochet Pattern Central. I looked at all the shrugs, shawls, ponchos and capes. Some of them I looked at twice. I finally landed on Anke Spilker’s “Knock Knock Knock Penny.” I have no idea what the name is about, but I liked the look of the little poncho. It had enough coverage to offer warmth, but enough open stitching to keep things airy.
As you can see in the pictures, it is basically a series of fans, which really aren’t that difficult to execute, but look fancy. And, while the pattern isn’t difficult, I did find it a bit of slow going because the first 15 rounds are all slightly different, so I couldn’t get into that yarnworker’s zen-like rhythm (full disclosure: I can never spell “rhythm” correctly on the first try). Rounds 16-26 repeat previous rounds, but I only went to about Round 22 or 23 because I was running out of yarn and time (this was one of the projects I wanted to get done before my trip back East). I like the finished length, so it doesn’t bother me that it is a little shorter than how the pattern was written. If I fold my arms across my chest, the poncho is long enough to cover them for a quick warm-up. And, just like I had hoped, it’s warm without being too warm for a cool summer day.