When I began drafting this post over a year ago, it was to take notes on my first attempt at some of the beautiful and colorful knit ruanas I had seen floating around online. Unfortunately for me, that first attempt (which took over a year for me to finish!) just didn’t turn out. It happens. The final product was pretty, but just too big to conceivably wear, even after several attempts at damage control. It makes an incredible blanket, however. And since the point was to use up small scraps of leftover yarn, it was indeed effective.
Maybe it wasn’t so unfortunate. After all, I had an incentive to try to do it again, and this time I had a few additional touches I was excited about trying. So, I started the NEXT one. Good thing too, because if there is one thing I love to have around, it’s a big colorful knitting project that requires zero brainpower.
My favorite projects do tend to involve recycling and reusing stuff, and this thing has supreme scrapbusting capabilities. Especially on the two skinnier front panels, you can really use up fairly small lengths of leftover yarn with ease, because you don’t have to weave in those ends! At least, not as many ends as you’d think, as long as you change yarns at the end of the row. I mostly hit the mark on this, usually with just a yard or two to spare on whatever tiny yarn ball I was using. Occasionally I gambled on a small length and lost, and had to change mid-row.
Since the yarn ends on the outside edges of the ruana are left knotted and then blended in with the added fringe, you save a ton of time doing that much-maligned finishing work. But you still have to weave in the ends for the grannies 😛
I hope you enjoy the free tutorial I whipped up for this project – it’s more of a guide than a pattern, since the dimensions/materials/yardages are left somewhat variable and a lot of it is open for (and it fact demands) personal interpretation and creativity! Of course, if you have any questions about how I did mine, don’t hesitate to ask 🙂 And, if you like it, throw me a favorite on the Ravelry project page.
Oh, and this thing is COZY. Basically this wrap cocoons you in soothing waves of color and texture and mind-melds you with the universe. Basically.
Final dimensions: Roughly 65″ x 65″ when laid flat.
Part 1 (Knit):
8 mm (US size 11) knitting needles (24″ circular and 40″ circular)
A whole buncha yarn – I used mostly #4 and #5 weight from leftovers. If you’ve got thinner yarn you want to use up, remember you can always double it up with another strand! I used 4 skeins of a silver bulky weight (I Love This Chunky from Hobby Lobby) as my “base” yarn, using a little in the main body and 3 skeins for the trims and collar.
Part 2 (Crochet):
4.50 mm crochet hook
DK weight yarn – I used a variety of colors (20 skeins) from Drops Lima, a wool/alpaca blend, and had plenty left over.
Part 1 (Knit):
Cast on (CO)
Stretchy bind off (tutorial video here)
Standard bind off
Picking up stitches from the edge of the row (tutorial video here)
Not absolutely necessary but I found to be extremely helpful: this tutorial on speed knitting by RJ Knits.
Part 2 (Crochet):
Magic Ring (MR)
Double crochet (dc)
Slip stitch (sl st)
Granny square join-as-you-go (great tutorial here)
Part 1 Instructions: The Main Body
Using spare balls of scrap yarn / orphan skeins / leftover yarns
1.CO 50 sts to the 24″ circular knitting needles
2. Turn, K every stitch across
3. Rpt Step 2, changing yarn at the end of the row whenever you think you don’t have enough for another full row (or whenever you feel like it). Tie the old yarn tail and the new yarn tail into a knot. Work until you have 130 rows. Transfer your piece to a stitch holder – this completes the first front panel, one of the two skinny halves of the front.
4. For the second front panel, repeat Steps 1-3 until you have another full 50 st x 130 row piece.
5. Switch to your 40″ circulars and knit your first rectangle onto the new circulars. Cast on 10 extra stitches, then knit your second rectangle on. You now have both of your front panels, plus 10 new stitches in between for the collar, on the 40″ circular needles.
6. Turn, knit every stitch across, continuing to change & knot yarn as before. Work 130 total rows.
5. Bind off. My favorite is the stretchy bind-off, directions for which are in this great video from Knitting with Cheryl Brunette.
1. Using the the 40″ circular, pick up sts along the edge of the piece – I used my bulky “base” yarn and got about 180 stitches (1 stitch per 2 rows). Here’s a great video from the indomitable Purl Soho on picking up stitches from the side of garter stitch rows.
2. K for 10 rows. Bind off using the standard method – to make the Part 2 joining easier, I would not recommend stretchy bind-off here.
3. Repeat trim on the other side, making sure that you work the second edge with the same side facing, positioning all ends to the back of your work (so that the fringe will be all on the same side).
1. With 40″ circular needles, pick up stitches on the side of the rows beginning on the inside of the front panel up to the collar, then around and down the inside of the of the opposite panel (remember only 1 stitch per 2 rows)
From this row of picked up stitches we’ll work a 4×4 rib. If you are picky about not ending up with partial ribs, you could go to the trouble to make sure the amount of stitches you pick up is divisible by four, but I didn’t – and was divisible by four anyway! Lucky me.
2. For the 4 x 4 rib, *K 4, P 4* across the entire row. Work 8 total rows in the rib by knitting the knit stitches and purling the purl stitches in every row. Cut yarn and tie off. Weave in any ends from the main body left on this inside edge.
PART 2 Instructions: Granny Square Trim
4.50 mm crochet hook
Assorted DK weight yarns
Gauge: 1 square = 6″
Next we’ll make TWO separate strips of 11 granny squares (about 6 inches in length each). You can definitely use scrap yarn here too, but I used a set of colors from Drops Lima yarn for a more uniform appearance.
To begin the granny square, make a magic ring.
Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc into the ring, ch 3. (3 dc into the ring, ch 3) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.
Rnd 2: Join new yarn to any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in the same sp, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same sp, ch 1) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.
Rnd 3: Join new yarn in any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc) 2 dc in the same sp, Ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. 3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. 3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round.. Cut yarn and tie off.
Round 4: Join new yarn in any ch-3 space. Ch 3 (counts as first dc), 2 dc in the same space, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) twice. [3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) twice] 3 times. Join with a slip stitch to the first dc of the round. Do not cut yarn.
If this is your first square for the strip, work as normal. If this is not your first square, connect ONE of the sides to the previous square on the strip by beginning with any chain-3 corner and ending with the next, using this join-as-you-go method from Attic 24. If you prefer, you could also make all squares individually and seam them later 🙂
Sl st in the next 2 dc and in the next ch st so your hook is positioned to begin the next round at the ch-3 corner. Ch 3 (counts as first dc) 2 dc in the same space, ch 3. 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times. [3 dc in the next ch-3 space, ch 3, 3 dc in the same space, ch 1. (3 dc in the next ch-1 space, ch 1) 3 times] Repeat [bracketed] instructions 3 times total. Join with a sl st to the first dc of the round. Cut yarn and tie off.
Once you have your 2 strips of grannies, check to see if they are roughly the length of the sides of the ruana by laying the strip against the edge of the trim. Ballpark is fine here, you just want to make sure neither piece is overly stretched or scrunched to match. You may end up needing one more or less granny, depending on your gauge and yarn choices.
Weave in all your ends and block if desired. Lay out the main body of the ruana and settle your granny strip up against the trim, the RS of the granny facing the same side as your ridge (where the fringe will be). Thread a tapestry needle with some spare DK weight yarn and use a simple whip stitch to attach the granny squares to the trim of the ruana all the way down across. Repeat on the other side.
Clean up any ends remaining from your joining seam.
Using a 6″ piece of cardboard, book, or other object to wrap yarn around, cut a bunch of lengths of yarn for your fringe. Fold each length in half, then loop through the ridges made from picking up the stitches along the edge of the main body.
Catch the leftover ends of knotted yarn in your fringe as you go, repeating across the edges on either side of the ruana. Once you have finished, cut the fringe down to just a little longer than the garter edge trim (you don’t want it covering your pretty grannies too much).
Hunt down any stray ends that may need weaving in, then sink into the cozy rainbow bliss.
Kudos to model Daisey Denson for keeping that hat on her head like a champ despite the very GUSTY winds coming off the lake!
LOVE this ruana. Normally I’m not a fan of granny square anything, but these granny squares with the multitude of color changes give it the perfect bohemian/wayfarer look and feel. And it looks SO comfy. But I don’t knit, so I will replicate in crochet and tell everyone where I got the fabulous idea. Thank you for the pattern and the inspiration.
Thank you! I would love to see this in an all-crochet version! 😉 🙂
I dont hsve leftovers lol a guess on how much yatn ? Was thinking of picking up skeins here and there. I dont knit so this will be a learning experience thank you !
Unfortunately I haven’t the foggiest on how much actual yarn it would take, but I would guess for the knit part at least 800-1000 yards? 🙂
Great project. It’s always great when you can learn from a project even when it isn’t quite what you want the first time. Sometimes it is the only way you can figure out how you want to do something.
That’s so true! I am usually not quite satisfied with something until I’ve done it multiple times 🙂 🙂
I love this, but I currently have a grudge against granny squares (its the ends. I hate the ends). How would I alter this to leave off the grannies? Do I need to cast on more for the knit part? Work more rows?
Hi Julia! There are two ways that I would do that – the first is to just cast on more stitches to each side so that you have the equivalent inches (I think the grannies are 6″ squares if I remember right?) I would do at least 10-15 extra knit stitches on each side, but that’s just an estimation. The second way would be to pick up knit stitches into each side of the ruana after you finish the main part, then knit on a border just like the one used on the collar.
Thanks and I hope that helps, let me know if you have any more questions!
I love it . I have some scrap yarn to start just need to find the time and practice a little.
Glad you love it! It’s a great project for just picking up and messing with in your spare time since it’s such an easy stitch pattern! 🙂
Knitting every stitch leaves that bumpy stitch on the sides. Should I not do what I always do? Knit the first, slip the last for cleaner looking sides?
You definitely can! Although, the sides are covered by edging so it may not be noticeable, but if you like the look better then go for it 🙂 🙂
I’ve been admiring this ruana for a while & can’t wait to start it. A couple of questions:- regarding the length do you know how tall the model is? I’m petite so I would think I could make it a little shorter & maybe not as wide? And did you mix wool, cotton, & acrylic of different sizes? I think the cotton might stretch out. And for this pattern I will force myself to learn to crochet – it’s that good!
Hi Carol! I believe the model is 5’7″ or so, she’s a bit taller than me and I’m 5’6″ 🙂 Thanks so much for visiting and I’m glad you like the pattern!
As I don’t knit, was wondering if this could all be done in crochet. Have a ton of yarn scraps and I think this is beautiful!
Definitely! I have seen similar pieces done in all crochet – my advice would be to use a big hook to keep your gauge loose so it drapes well 🙂 good luck and is love to see it if you do it!
Is there an all crochet version of this pattern??
Hi Karen! I’m so sorry to have missed your question for so long, it must have slipped through the cracks – there is not an all-crochet version of this pattern, but I’d say it wouldn’t be too hard to imitate in all crochet 🙂