What are the Best Tips for Making a Knit Poncho?

B. Koch

Making a knit poncho is an easy and fun project for both the beginning and the advanced knitter. Only basic knitting knowledge is needed, but more advanced techniques can give more design options. Any yarn can be used, but some types are more appropriate for different types of ponchos.

Yarn for knitting.
Yarn for knitting.

A garment worn for fashion or for warmth, a poncho is made of a square of cloth that has a hole in the middle so that it can be put on over the head. The poncho can be worn with a straight edge in front of the wearer or diagonally with a corner in front. Originally worn by pre-Columbian people in South America, the garment became popular in the United States and Europe in the mid to late twentieth century. Ponchos are traditionally made from woven fabric, but the knit poncho is also popular, as are ponchos made from waterproof materials.

Knitting needles and yarn.
Knitting needles and yarn.

To begin making a knit poncho, a number of supplies should be at hand. Yarn is essential to a knitted poncho, as are knitting needles. The size of the needles will vary depending on the type of yarn, so a swatch, or a test square should be knit before starting to find the best needle size. A measuring tape and a pair of scissors are also good tools to have on hand.

Knitters can keep a measuring tape on hand to make sure that the poncho is being made in the right size.
Knitters can keep a measuring tape on hand to make sure that the poncho is being made in the right size.

In order to make a basic knit poncho, one must know a number of simple knitting techniques. Knowing the knit stitch is essential, and knowing how to purl allows more freedom in design. It is important to know how to cast on and cast off as well as how to make basic increases and decreases. Learning more advanced techniques such as lace knitting or color work knitting is not necessary but would give a designer more options.

Knowing the right stitches is important for making a knit poncho.
Knowing the right stitches is important for making a knit poncho.

Any yarn type can be used to make a knit poncho, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each. Cotton yarns can create a light, breathable garment that is good for spring and summer but are sometimes not warm enough for cold winter months. Wool garments can be very warm and can even keep wearers warm after becoming wet, but some wool needs special care and may need hand washing. The ball band on the yarn will note the type of care needed. Acrylic yarns are made from a man-made fiber, easy to care for and usually inexpensive, but create a less breathable fabric that can cause the wearer to sweat.

Any type of yarn can be used to make a poncho.
Any type of yarn can be used to make a poncho.

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Discussion Comments


@JaneAir - A poncho does sound like a good project for a beginner. I would recommend beginners pay very close attention to gauge though.

As the article stated, before you start any project you should knit a gauge swatch. This lets you see how many stitches and rows you are getting per inch so you can make sure you're getting what the pattern calls for.

If you aren't getting the right gauge, either go up or down a needle size. Even a difference of a few stitches can be a big deal when you're knitting a garment. Pay attention to your gauge so you don't end up with a horse blanket instead of a nice, wearable poncho!


You know, I've been knitting for many years and I've never made a poncho! Not even one. I suppose it's probably because poncho's weren't really in style when I started knitting.

I started with scarves, and then I pretty much skipped right to sweaters. However, I think a poncho would be a great project for a beginner. I've seen some patterns where you basically knit a rectangle and then sew one seam to put it together.

I usually don't recommend difficult projects for beginning knitters. It's too easy for them to complicated and give up on an awesome hobby. So I think a poncho would fit the bill for a fun and easy project you can wear when you get finished with it!


If you are just learning how to knit, following a knit poncho pattern is fairly easy to do. Since there aren't any sleeves involved, most patterns are easy to follow.

You will need to make sure you have enough yarn, because depending on how big you make your poncho, you can go through quite a few skeins of yarn.

The fun part is deciding what colors to use and the pattern you will use.

I like ponchos because they are easy to knit, but they are also very warm and perfect for days that are not too hot or too cold. They are easy to slip on and off as well.

My favorite poncho was one I made with a plain off white yarn. This worked up quickly and since it was a solid color, matched everything too.


Many years ago my grandma knitted ponchos and matching hats for her 6 granddaughters. She gave them to us for Christmas.

We were scattered across the country and weren't often together at the same time, but we were all at her house for Christmas that year.

She loved to knit and was always making things for other people. We all loved these ponchos and hats and always remember that fun Christmas together.

I don't how long it took her to complete all of them. She was a very fast knitter, but she still would have had to start months in advance to make sure she was done by Christmas.

All of us have fond memories whenever we see the picture of all 6 of us modeling our knit ponchos and hats.

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