Ponchos are everywhere right now. Here in Oregon it’s still warm enough to be poncho weather. I’m sure we will move on to bitterly damp soon enough, but in the meantime I’ve been daydreaming about knitting up a good poncho. Rachel has even said to me, “Sal, there is no good reason for you not to have a poncho.”
So I’ve been looking in my back issues of Vogue Knitting, and on Ravelry, and it’s true, there are a million poncho patterns out there. OR ARE THERE?
When I was a very small child in the 70’s, my mom and I had matching ponchos, that were handwoven! for us by a family friend of my grandmother’s. They were bluish, with mauve-y pink plaid, and I believe mohair because of the general hairy-ness of them. Then my cat got sick on my poncho, and that was the end of that. Cats are the worst.
So your basic vintage poncho is a bias-draped afghan with a hole cut in the center:
Now let’s look at the modern take on this.
Hey modern poncho, I get you. You’re a blanket that’s been folded in half with a neck hole added in. BIAS DRAPING IS SO LAST CENTURY !
But there are also some articles of clothing that are masquerading as ponchos:
Nope. This is a caftan. Note the deep v-neck: this is not a repurposed blanket.
Tres chic! But not a poncho. The button-up front indicates that this is a cape.
Rachel sent me this pattern. I love the geometric detail, but this is the worst offender as far as non-ponchos go: those sleeves someone added in mean this is clearly, NOT A PONCHO. This is unfortunately a very weird dolman sleeved…sweater. I have issues with sleeve fit in knitted garments. Ponchos bypass this by having no sleeves.
I hope this helps.
2 thoughts on “A Field Guide to Ponchos”
Which poncho are you going to make? If I were going to knit a poncho I would opt for some bulky yarn that knits up quickly and is cosy.
I agree, none of those are really ponchos. They’re either wraps or capes and the last one is definitely a sweater!!
I’m sure I had a handknit poncho when I was a kid–reading your post gave me some flashbacks. I may have had a matching tam too.
I wish there had been an extant picture of my old poncho. I made my mom go through her old photos, but no luck.
It’s interesting that when you search for “poncho” on Rav, the net is cast so wide. As if to say, “maybe you only THINK you want to make a poncho. Here are some nice alternatives.”
I really wish that Pickles pattern *was* a poncho! because I love that patterning, but those sleeves give me the willies.
I think what’s holding me back on most of these is that I don’t have sufficient yardage in my stash, so I’d have to spin up basically a blankets’ worth of yarn to make one.
Maybe I’ll opt for a cape.