Happy April, fiber fans! I’ve been updating my crochet pattern files bit by bit, some with larger tweaks and some with smaller tweaks – today I’ve finished going over my beloved Freewheelin’ Poncho pattern, a mesh poncho worked with an oversized hook to give it lots of graceful movement, and a fringed edge and keyhole collar to add texture and interest.
You can get the Freewheelin’ Poncho crochet pattern PDF in my Etsy and Ravelry shops, or you can take advantage of my series of pattern sales exclusively available in my Ko-Fi shop! This design is joining the Filigree Lace Cap at the discounted $5 price, to encourage people to buy through this venue which doesn’t charge me transactions fees 🙂 Both those patterns will be only $5 all the rest of the month of April.
This version was worked with the same size hook a the recommended (9 mm) but with bulky yarns instead of worsted weight yarns. The result is a really cushy mega-poncho, larger and thicker than the original, and I was drawn toward my many interesting red yarns for this one – resulting in a bright scarlet mantle that feels appropriate for this month 🙂
Why Red for April? Because April is Autism Acceptance Month, and the autistic community endorses showing support by Wearing Red. This is a cause dear to my heart. My meeting and befriending other autistic people was a blessing that I’m truly grateful for, as it helped me gain a deeper and more accepting understanding of my Self. So yes, we are wearing Red for Autism! Because neurodiversity is a wide spectrum and human difference is a blessing – not a threat we must “be aware of” but a truly special array of gifts we can only humbly accept.
“To support only one kind of beauty is to somehow be unobservant of nature. There cannot be only one kind of songbird, only one kind of pine tree, only one kind of wolf… There cannot be one kind of breast, one kind of waist, one kind of skin.” – Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With Wolves
This Freewheelin’ Poncho came out larger than the original, though the same size hook was used – most of the difference comes from “manual tension” not “technical tension”. When I am crocheting worsted weight with a 9 mm hook (a much larger hook than I’d normally use for #4 yarn) as for the original example, I keep my yarn tighter in my yarn-feeding hand and wrap and pull my loops through more carefully, keeping the tension applied to the working yarn and keeping my hook close to the already worked stitches and fabric. This is a method of changing gauge using just my hand motions and the way the yarn is manipulated, making it possible to crochet a yarn that’s a lot smaller than the hook. This results in a very loose drape making this poncho swing prettily! Here are some examples of the Freewheelin’ Poncho in regular worsted weight yarn.
This larger project’s finished dimensions are about 33″ length by 44″ width (laid flat), as opposed to the original design with the smaller yarn, which finishes at about 26″ length by 38″ width.
When I’m working the same pattern with the same sized hook but different sized yarn, the larger yarn AND my manual tension both change the outcome of the finished piece. Not only is the technical tension different (because the materials changed) but my manual tension is different too – I’m crocheting looser because it takes more pressure and physical space within the fabric to get that thick yarn wrapped the way I want it.For more on Gauge and how it can change, check out my Guide to Crochet Gauge and Yarn Behavior on this post. Here’s another example of a larger Freewheelin’ Poncho I’ve made.
And of course, there’s that one time I went crazy and stitched on a huge border of lurid red roses onto this heavenly blue mantle as a tribute to my favorite Catholic folk art, the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
That one was also made with scrap yarns, mixing bulky and worsted weights together.
I’m really grateful to have the outlet of crochet in my life. Crochet has, since a young age, soothed me through rhythm, repetition, sensory stimulation, and visual gratification. It allowed the mysterious beauty of geometry and ratio and number patterns to open up before me, whereas before through schoolwork I only found frustration in mathematics. Equally as important has been the chance crochet has given me to connect with others in an environment where I can feel comfortable and confident – and that’s because you, the crochet community, have been so tremendously kind and welcoming. Thank you, once again, for making art with me <3 <3