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Break That Garment Stitch Record! Bowland Poncho by Martin Storey

What makes an 'epic' knit? I find myself calling a lot of my knits 'epic', but when I put a list of them together here, I realized that there was no real trait that bound them together! The overlying theme is colorwork and "omg that took a stupefyingly long time to make." But there are definitely some that didn't take that long, like this full length coat in bulky yarn:

Faeroe Wrap by Marie Wallin

Why was that 'epic'? Because it was gigantic! The needles were huge, the cables ran across 12 STITCHES and moving that thing around in my lap was like trying to get a tarp to lay flat on a windy day. Just. not. happening.

My newest knit is epic, too, and I'll explain.

This is the Bowland Poncho by Martin Storey.

It's made in a rustic all-British wool from Rowan called Moordale, which I reviewed here. The colors are really rich, and if you want to stand out on a Fall day get this shade called 'Bronzed'.

The shape of it isn't particularly epic. You knit 3 panels on each side and then link them together with a garter stitch yoke.
But look closely at the panels and you start seeing what a challenge this behemoth really is! First, there's this incredible cable panel, that you must do twice. A bit of a look makes you realize that the way the cables weave in and out doesn't repeat very often at all... in fact, it's 48-rows between each one!

I like to use an erasable Frixion highlighter to mark where I am on a chart. However, because I had to repeat the chart nearly 8 times to get the length I needed, I massacred my first print-out, sheesh!

I *thought* the cable panel was epic... but then I started the stockinette panels. And they kept going. And going and going and going and going and... was this a story without end?!

Look at that. That's a lot of mileage. In fact, I used all 10 skeins of Moordale that was called for. That's 1 kilogram of yarn and 2,510 yards of yarn!!

I didn't even get to finish the full neck because I ran out of yarn. But by then I thought I had done quite quite enough, thank you.

The neck is quite lovely, if you do take a crack at this gorgeous poncho. Buy that extra skein probably, but you'll get to do the full version of the ribbing which starts with K1,P1 then steps to K2, P1 and then finishes with K2,P2.

Finishing the neck will probably let it fall lower to almost cover the shoulders. Hey, if I come across a skein that matches my dyelot, I just might continue it someday!

Me, thinking of 'someday'

Here's a tip for matching length in panels using different stitch patterns. On Instagram, a lot of you asked why this was done in panels instead of in the round. Good question. The answer has to do with the gauge and drape of different stitch patterns. Firstly, cables make a very firm fabric that drapes more like a board than fabric. Stockinette, on the other hand, drapes very loosely. So even if the two panels had the SAME EXACT GAUGE, you'd find that the way they hang might not work if you sewed them to match every row.

And anyway, these two stitch patterns don't have the same gauge so you need to get crafty.

I did something that tailors sometimes do for panelled garments (like skirts). I hung my pieces upside down to force them to drape the way they would when worn.

I found this to work relatively well! You'll see below there is always going to be a noticeable drape difference between the panels, it's just the nature of putting two entirely different fabrics together (think silk next to corduroy!).

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But I think this technique lessened the issue. Obviously blocking is important, too, before hanging to measure. While I did block my pieces, I found that giving them an extra steam iron before hanging got them really stick straight. Don't worry, this yarn can take it.

About the yarn, now that I know what it's like worn. Moordale is a blend of 70% Bluefaced Leicester and 30% Alpaca. The alpaca really does change the drape of it, so you will find it quite smooth to the touch, but hairy/fuzzy. Bluefaced, in my opinion, is often scratchy, and this yarn is no exception. Think of it as yarn as yarn used to be. Don't expect this to be something to wear right next to your skin. In fact, I will probably add a fleece strip to the inner front of my neck to make it more comfortable. Before you say "oh, not for me", let me tell you something. The rougher your yarn, the very much longer it will last.

Ask me how I know.

No, don't! Triggers of sweaters that take millions of hours, pill horribly and then break! noooooooooo!

Really, though. This is a lovely yarn that will keep you warm and make you shine in a rich wooly aura. Try it!

I took these pictures on Spectacle Pond, where my camp is in Osborn, Maine. However, I have to admit I snuck onto the next door neighbor's property for the beautiful views. This is true camp wear for the Fall... LOOK AT THIS OUTFIT!

And yes, this was a bear of a knit, but the final result is gorgeous, warm and yes, totally epic.

See my Bowland Bear on Ravelry

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Bowland Poncho


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