Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The No-Crochet Crocheted Poncho!

A little while ago I was mooching around a craft market.  I spotted some beautiful crocheted kid's ponchos.  They really were lovely, but at around £15 each they were a bit pricey for my budget.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not begrudging the price, I'm sure they took hours and hours to make and when you take that into account, £15 was actually very reasonable.

However, I know I can pick up hand crocheted granny blankets for a couple of quid in almost any charity shop I go in, and these were essentially little crocheted granny blankets with a hole in the middle...

(did you hear the penny drop then?)

I present to you, the cheat's crochet poncho...

First you need to find a suitable granny blanket.  We have loads of these, I can't resist buying them, but to be honest apart from letting Ruby use them to make little beds for her dolls all over the house, I was never entirely sure what to do with them!

Search in charity shops, you can usually find them for £3-4 or less depending on size.  The animal rescue shelter shops seem to be a good place to look. They must have an army of crocheters making blankets to chilly canines and cold cats.

So, you'll need a blanket with a central square.  Once found, fold in half diagonally into a triangle to gauge the size - chase your small child around the shop in an attempt to see if it will be the right size - fend off disapproving looks from shop staff.

Once back home, gather your supplies. You'll need your blanket, some matching or contrasting wool and scissors.  A large needle will also help.

Real crocheters should probably look away now. You'll either be horrified at what I'm about to do, or you'll be wetting yourself laughing at my total lack of understanding of the mechanics of crochet.

So, check your central square will fit over the head.  You can just do this by eye, but Ruby thought it was funny for me to measure her head (as well as making little beds everywhere, she's also obsessed with measuring things).  For the record, her head measures 52 cm.

You'll need a length of yarn about twice the length of the circumference of the square (do squares have circumferences? Or is that just circles? Oh, you get what I mean!).

I wanted my yarn thicker than a strand of wool, so I took three lengths and plaited them together.  If you can't find matching wool, you could always use ribbon instead.

Fold your blanket in half into a triangle again, and starting at the bottom point of the internal square, thread your yarn through the last loops of the preceding square (see what I mean about lack of crocheting technical ability? I have absolutely no idea of the terminology, so why don't you look at the picture instead).

Continue threading all the way around.  In hindsight, when I realised that it wouldn't actually unravel before my eyes, you could do the cutting first, then threading.  This would give you a bit more room to manoeuvre, but I was too scared!

Now comes the scary part.  Start cutting the middle square away from the rest of the blanket, careful not to cut through the other colour or your yarn you've just threaded.

Keep cutting all the way around, until you have completely removed the interior square.

I'm sure there's probably a thriftier way of doing this so you can re-use the wool from the centre, but hey, I'm just a snippy snappy happy kinda girl.

Your poncho is now basically complete.  I made some pompoms to add to the ends of the ties, but you could thread on beads or tassels - anything really to decorate the ends and stop them from pulling back through.

Hey presto!  I'm not sure if I should admit this, but although I made it for Ruby, I've actually been wearing this around the house myself!  It's lovely and cosy and the old man is pleased because he's muttering something about turning the central heating down.

Hope you liked this little tutorial, and apologies to real crocheters out there!

Linking up here:

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Inspire Me Beautiful

also featured on the Thrifty Families Blog Carnival  


  1. This is Completely Genius!
    I am the world's worst at seeing really incredible, beautiful craftpersonship and thinking "Meh, I can tooootaaly do that for 50p in half a spare hour"
    But you did actually nail this!

  2. your poncho it gorgeous! a very cool piece of recycling... I'm just wondering now how many granny blankets are for the chop this weekend ;)

  3. How clever are you ! I would have just gone ahead and cut a hole in the middle and then watched as it fell apart ! Good job I don't have any girls.

    Absolute Genus xx

  4. What a great idea! You are too clever! Thanks for linking up to #handmadethursday x

  5. What a great idea! And so simple too, love your directions they are so easy to follow. Am now on the lookout for a similar blanket...

  6. I CAN crochet and I don't think there's anything technically wrong with what you did as there was a colour change so it shouldn't unravel *crosses fingers and hopes the person that made it did a good job*

    Nice make, btw do you often wear your daughter's clothes around the house? x

  7. Hmm, I will be doing a magpie next week, and it's a crochet blanket of all things....I wouldn't dare do this, you are brave!!

  8. Thanks for your comments!

    I was quite chuffed with myself for figuring this out all by myself!

    Gidders, I spent quite a long time looking at it and double checking before I snipped it, so actually, when you have the blanket in front of you, you can see it will work. Well, it did for me! Don't come running to me if your heirloom unravels before your very eyes! x

  9. You're too clever. Now I'm going to find myself in the PDSA (lots of animal-types making doggy blankets) and the hospice shop (jumble sale full of old ladies & musty smells) in search of granny blankets. Squeaky won't know what's happening!

  10. THAT is BRILLIANT! I learned to crochet but I'm still rubbish...I'm going to do this my DD will be over the moon!

  11. Haha, I just spent the evening making 2 yellow pompoms. See that grey and sunshine yellow blanket in the picture above? I can TOTALLY pull that off! :0)

  12. Fab! I wondered what you were planning to do with those blankets and I'm really impressed with the results.

  13. What a GENIUS idea! You should link up with one of the thrifty fashion parties - Erica Louise at Recycled Fashion does one (her blog url is on my profile somewhere). Love this, perfect colours for a little girl too. I may have to try this for my niece if I ever find any more blankets (they are obviously all round your way, I hardly ever see any)

  14. Loving this idea! I don't have girls but do have nieces. If I spy a blanket in a charity shop, they may be getting a poncho for Christmas!

  15. This is great. Right up my alley - cheap, quick and easy! And so pretty!