Welcome to week 5 of our Sand Waves Poncho knitalong! Wow, time has really flown by, hard to believe we have been at this well over a month. I have started on ball six of the natural and am starting to get excited, I can see the end in sight! It’s a good time to talk about finishing techniques. If you are not this far, don’t worry, it doesn’t matter where you are in your project, this information will be here when you need it! Just keep on knitting.
There is one thing I want to mention before we go into details on finishing. The pattern states that very little yarn remains of the six balls and that if you are running short, you are to drop off a pattern repeat. That was the case when I knit the poncho the first time. I had so little yarn left on the ball that I wondered if I was going to get to the end. I did get to the end, but I did have fewer repeats of the cabled pattern. If you think you are going to run short, you can also knit to row 16 and then begin the decrease and cast-off rows. It looks a little different when you match the ends and put buttons on, but both looks are pleasing.
Here is how it looks if you knit to the end of the cabled pattern and then decrease and cast off, as written in the pattern. The button side wows out in the large swell of the fabric and nests into the cabled button hole side. The overall effect is that the cable pattern continues to alternate.
Here is how it looks when you knit to row 16 and then skip to the end to decrease and cast off. The cables come together and the cabled pattern on either side of the buttons is the same all the way up. I think both look great.
Now, on to the finishing!
I sew the buttons on with the same yarn used for the poncho, I think there is less chance of damaging the fabric it is sewn onto than using thread. Holding the shank button on the front side and flat button on the back side, use a small darning needle threaded with the yarn to sew them onto the fabric together. That way they are secure to each other as well as to the fabric and pull minimally on the fabric when the poncho is worn buttoned. I leave a tail of yarn at the beginning behind the flat button and tie it to the yarn at the end behind the flat button, wrapping it around the thread once or twice.
Reinforcing Button Holes
Because the button holes are actually the holes made by the cabling, they can pull away and stretch out with use, especially the top two button holes at the shoulder. You can either reinforce them with an overcast stitch around the opening, again with the same yarn used for the poncho and a darning needle, or you can use a crochet hook and actually crochet an edge around the button hole as shown here.
Once you have the buttons on, the button holes reinforced,and all the ends woven in, the final step before wearing is blocking the fabric. Washing the fabric, rather than just spraying it wet as some knitting sites recommend, allows the cashmere to bloom and soften. Your garment is not finished until you have washed it.
- Fill a clean sink with tepid water.
- Add a small amount of mild shampoo or delicate wash detergent.
- Add your poncho gently and let soak, don’t pull or wring as this will stretch it out.
- Remove the poncho and gently press it to remove the excess soapy water – don’t wring! You can set it in a colander or salad spinner to prevent stretching and press the water out.
- Discard soapy water and add fresh tepid water to sink.
- Put the poncho in the clean water to rinse. One rinse should do it but repeat if you want to make sure.
- Remove the poncho and press out the rinse water as you did the soapy water.
- Lay the poncho on a white clean towel and lay another over top, pressing gently to remove excess water
- Lay poncho on a flat surface and shape to the correct size.
- Allow to dry fully.
That’s it for today! One more blog next week and we’re done! I plan to have my poncho finished for you to see. Happy knitting and as always, if you have questions, please submit them to me using the form on this site.
Until next Friday,