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!
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