Rodeo Drive Poncho

rodeo with scarf sm
mannequin poncho sm
Time for some luxury! This poncho design was inspired by a stroll down Rodeo Drive on a recent trip I had to California. It is knit in a cashmere-blend yarn, for the ultimate in softness and stitch definition. The techniques used are very simple – this pattern is appropriate for anyone with at least advanced beginner skills, meaning you’re comfortable with both knitting and purling. All of the other techniques are demonstrated in the four-part video tutorial.

Sizes: Two sizes, one with a deeper neckline, one with a shallower neckline. (See photos below.) Finished poncho is about 25.5” long from front of neck opening to bottom front, and 23” long at the sides.
Needles: Size US 7 (4.5mm). In a perfect world, you will have both 16” circular needles and 32” circular needles. In the video, I demonstrate how to complete this poncho with only 32” circulars. It is also useful to have a needle one size larger to complete a loose bind-off.
Yarn: Knit Picks Capra (85% Merino Wool, 15% Cashmere), DK weight (also called 8 ply), 123 yards each ball, 10 balls. The color I used is called “Caviar”. (See note below on yarn substitution.)
Additional Materials: 7 ring stitch markers, cable needle, tapestry needle for weaving in ends
Gauge: 5 stitches per inch (20 stitches over 10cm)

This pattern is available in three different formats, each includes links to 4-part video tutorial:

1. PDF Pattern, traditional and printable. $6.00 via PayPal

2. Amazon Kindle digital download (suitable for Kindle devices and devices that use the Kindle app): $6.00 US.

3. eReader (For non-Kindle eReaders, like Sony eReader and Barnes & Noble Nook, or any device using the Google Play Books app) $6.72 US

Note on Size: Pattern has been updated to include two different necklines – see photos below. Bust size isn’t an issue, and you can easily modify the pattern to be longer or shorter. I’m nearly 6’ tall myself, and you can see how it fits me. In contrast, my friend who is just over 5’ tall tried it on – and the amount of fabric was far from overwhelming on her. It looked decadent.

deeper neckline…
…and shallower neckline.

Note on Substituting Yarn:
This pattern will “work” with any yarn you choose, as long as you’re able to get the correct gauge (stitches per inch). The weight of the yarn I used is DK weight, also called “8 ply” outside the US. When choosing a yarn, I encourage you to stick with an animal fiber or animal fiber blend, so that your finished poncho will block out nicely around the cable twist and at the increase points. Other fibers that will look great in this pattern are wool – especially merino wool, alpaca, or a silk/wool blend.

rodeo without scarf sm
Instructions for knitting the swatch I show in the video:
Cast-on 28 stitches
Knit 5 rows.
Row 1 (RS): K all stitches
Row 2: K 4, P 20, K 4
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 nine times (18 rows).
K 4 rows.
Bind-off on right side of work.

back detail sm
cable detail sm
shoulder detail sm
Information on things you’ll see in the video:
The gloves I’m wearing in the photos are my Learn to Knit Gloves, pattern + video tutorial, with one modification. Instead of knitting a ribbed cuff, I knit a plain stockinette (knit every round) cuff for 9 inches before starting the thumb gusset.

The scarf I’m wearing in the video is called Hitchhiker, knit with Hazel Knits DK Lively Yarn.

The 16″ circular interchangeable set I use is by Knitter’s Pride, and is available on Amazon.

The cable needles I prefer can be found here on Amazon.

The bulky yarn I use for demonstration is Malabrigo Chunky.

The ball-chain ring markers I use are by Rycrafty on Etsy.

The green row counter I use can be found here.

96 comments on “Rodeo Drive Poncho

  1. This is just lovely. Thank you for the surprise Friday video release! Hoping 2014 brings you and Parker continued success. Happy Holidays!

  2. Ooooooooh, I LOVE ponchos and this one is so glamorous! I’ve been wanting to learn to cable, and this will be a perfect holiday break project for me. I’ve been hoarding a Cashmerino DK for years that will be a lovely treat to knit and wear. Thank you so much!!

  3. Your new poncho is fabulous! I can’t wait to get started! At the present time I have a broken finger so my start will be delayed. But I can order the yarn at least in preparation.

    You didn’t mention which bind-off would be most appropriate and the direction only say to bind off. Which method would you recommend?

    Thank you for designing such a beautiful garment. Sally

  4. Hi Tina – yes, a superwash yarn should work. Just be SURE to wash and block your swatch according to the washing directions on the yarn label, before you measure gauge.. Some superwash yarns go nutso and stretch out to twice their normal size when they get wet!

    S t a c i

  5. I have to make this………’s beautiful! Staci, I am curious if you know about how many hours it took you to knit it. Thanks.

  6. Looking forward to knitting this poncho. The pattern mentions that the length can be adjusted . Can you elaborate a bit on that ? Do I knit fewer rows of the bottom without shoulder shaping increase rows or should I do fewer rows I the section with the shoulder shaping ?

  7. Hi Karen – that’s hard to say! I went through a few different designs, and ripped out and started again a few times. I always estimate that a woman’s sweater takes about 30 hours…that’s probably pretty accurate.
    S t a c i

  8. Hi Diane – the shoulder shaping is a small part of the whole poncho, and should be completed without adjusting. The bulk of the knitting is after the shoulder shaping, which is where the length can easily be adjusted. Hope that helps!

    S t a c i

  9. Hello Ann Marie – thank you for the note. I set this pattern to “one size fits most” because there is really very little difference between shoulder widths on the smallest sizes to plus sizes, and this poncho smooths out nicely over narrow and wide shoulders. If you’re concerned about it, you can always knit through the shoulder shaping part, slip the stitches to scrap yarn and try the poncho on to see if you like the way the shoulders are fitting. If you want wider shoulders, you can continue with the shoulder shaping, then move on to the rest of the pattern.

    I hope this helps – one of the great advantages we have with hand knitting is the ability to tailor-fit everything we make. As a 6′ tall woman with long arms, I love this flexibility!

    S t a c i

  10. Hi Staci, I am in love with this pattern already ! You’re a genius – this is just the thing for my next project!
    Living in the Uk I can’t get my hands on the knit picks yarn 🙁 and they don’t ship out to the Uk. I’m finding it hard to find a merino cashmere yarn without silk. Could you tell me what difference silk would make to the yarn ?
    Thanks a million

  11. Miriam – the important thing with the yarn for this poncho is that it is soft, holds stitch definition, and feels like a nice yarn. I think a merino/cashmere/silk sounds perfect!
    S t a c i

  12. Love the cable used! Stays in true Texas fashion. So many great patterns to choose from. I can’t decide which to start with! Keep up the good work! I look forward to seeing more!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  13. I have the two different sized circular needles. Could you explain how to, and when to, switch from the 16 in. to the 32 in.?
    Merry Christmas! And thanks for making me a more confident knitter!

  14. Sure, Cindy…while you’re knitting around and increasing, eventually the stitches are going to get pretty crammed on the 16″ needle. When that happens (or before that happens), you can grab the longer needle, put the longer needle into your right hand, and knit straight off the shorter to the longer. At the end of the round, all of your stitches will be on the longer needle.

    There is no set time to switch from one to the other. Work on the shorter needles as long as it is comfortable, then switch.

    Hope that helps!
    S t a c i

  15. When I hear “poncho” I used to cringe but seeing this I am drying to knit it! It is so elegant. (My fear in knitting is creating the awful tacky looking things that no one would dare wear in real life.) Now I am adjusting my queue to fit this in this year! One of my resolutions this year is to use local yarn. Living in Ft Worth, I am thinking that a MadelaineTosh yarn might be a good substitute but I can see how the softness of the yarn you show and the blooming of it makes it elegant. Any thoughts?

    Thanks for the video. If i didn’t have the video, I would have been too fearful to try this pattern. Your videos are wonderful!
    Happy New Year!

  16. Jenifer – thank you for the note! Yes, the word “poncho” doesn’t normally bring up ideas of an elegant garment. 🙂

    I think Madeline Tosh yarn would be very nice for this pattern. I’m very familiar with that yarn, and the way the plies are twisted should really show off the stitches in the cable (and the rest of the poncho). Any lovely yarn will make this pattern work. I’m excited to see how it looks and drapes in other yarns!

    Hope you love knitting and wearing it!
    S t a c i

  17. Love tos poncho, but also fell in love with the scraf you are wearing in the video. I can’t find it on your page. Can you tell me where I can get the pattern? Happy new year!

  18. Yes – the links to everything you see in the video are always listed (and linked) here below the video – The scarf I’m wearing in the video is called Hitchhiker, knit with Hazel Knits DK Lively Yarn.

    Happy New Year!
    S t a c i

  19. Hi Staci,
    As usual, the pattern is so b’ful. My sister looked at the video and what caught her attention was your beautiful scarf and she requested me to knit her one. Could you please provide the pattern for it especially the noticable “picot” edges. It just looks wonderfully elegant. !! Looking forward to it 🙂

  20. Staci,

    In doing a raglan sweater KAL recently (well starting it at least), one of the members mentioned a chant that she learned from another knitter that might help others when making this for M1R and M1L increases in regards to which way the needle goes under the bar.

    M1R “I’ll be RIGHT BACK.”
    M1L “I LEFT the FRONT door open.”

    Thank you for posting this. I will be making at least one of these this year for Christmas 2014!

  21. Staci

    I love the elegant look of this poncho and would love to knit it….

    In the UK DK wool is knit with 4mm needles with a tension of 22 stitches.
    Using 4.5mm needles doesn’t give the polished stitch I am looking for, any suggestions?
    I’m assuming our dk wool is a little thinner than your.

  22. Hi Staci, I love all your tutorials. Learning from you is like knitting with a friend! I just started the Rodeo Drive Poncho and made a mistake on the third row of the cable. I held the stitches on the cable holder to the front instead of to the back. Would it be ok to switch cable rows 3 and 7 throughout the poncho? I would have to tink back stitch by stitch so as not to loose my marker place, but I would do that if it makes a difference in the looks of the poncho or the cable. Thanks for the help.

  23. Hi Joyce – Hmm. There is more to that cable than just the way the cable is twisted, so I’m not sure what the cable will look like if you twist each one the opposite way from here on. There are 3 knit stitches at the beginning of one of them, and three knit stitches at the end of the other twist. You can always put your knitting down and knit up a sample to see if you like the look of the cable the way it would be if you continue on…but if you don’t do that, I recommend tinking back and correcting it.

    Good luck!
    S t a c i

  24. I was wondering if the poncho you are wearing is the same one that is on the form. They look like two different colors and I wasn’t sure if that was due to the lighting or not. Both colors are pretty. I noticed a change in the color of the poncho on the form at the end of your video too. It is beautiful. I think I may try it. I haven’t done cables yet, but your video makes it look easy. Thank you for all that you do! Karen Brouillet

  25. My friend is allergic to all wool. I don’t know how she’d be with Alpaca. Are there other yarns or yarn blends that might work well? You mention animal fibers. Does that mean modal or bamboo or cotton blends wouldn’t work as well? Can you suggest other yarns that might work well? She really likes this poncho. Thanks.

  26. Cindy – I explain this in the video…I really recommend sticking with animal fibers for this pattern. There may be some synthetic yarns out there that will substitute well for the drape in wool, but I don’t know any of them off the top of my head.

    S t a c i

  27. Hi Staci..I just ordered your poncho through and got it in the kindle form and I wanted it in the pdf. could you help me..I did pay for it..but have no clue how to fix this.. I have never used Amazon except to buy a book once.. thank you very much…Shirley

  28. Shirley – the eBook version is Kindle only, and not printable. If you’d like the printable version instead, you can return that version through Amazon (I can’t help you with that), and then purchase the PDF version through the link on this page.

    S t a c i

  29. Hi Staci! I’m about to order your Rodeo Poncho pattern, but before I do if I were to add the the cable to the back would that change the sizing? I’m sure it would change the yardage. Also, does your pattern include instructions for short people? I’m 5′ – 1/2” tall and it appears to be a perfect length for you, I think you are much taller.

    Thanks for all you do for us knitters! Knit on!


  30. Hi Belinda – adding a cable to the back won’t change the sizing, as long as you maintain the increases as explained in the pattern. You can easily make the poncho shorter, and there are sizing notes in the pattern…I’ve seen my poncho on a friend about your size, and it looked perfectly sized for her, too. But you can make it any length you like.

    S t a c i

  31. I had a question on the cable pattern. I just wanted to make sure I was correct. When you did the video, were you working on row 3 of the cable pattern? I just keep doing rows of eight, but do the actual twisting on rows 3 and 7? Thanks! Renée

  32. Renee – please refer to the pattern for an exact, row-by-row answer to your question. Yes, you are correct – the cable twist rows are Rows 3 and 7.

    S t a c i

  33. Staci -love the poncho. Just finished the knitting part and I am now at the part of a project that is my least favorite! Blocking. Any suggestions on how best to block a project this size? Truly enjoy your videos and have more of your projects already started.

  34. Hello Staci~I have made this poncho for myself and love it…..and so does my mom. I knitted mine on the size 7 needles you recommend and it fits perfect. My mom would like me to make her one too. She is much smaller then me. I am 5’8″ and usually wear between a M to L shirt. My mom is only 5’3″ and usually wears a S shirt. I was just going to use a smaller needle. Do you recommend a size 5 or 6 needle. Any advise you might have would be great. Thank you….

  35. Tanja – I’m glad you really like your poncho! Regarding one for your mom – I really can’t offer you advice on modifications. I haven’t test knit it using any other needle size, so I can’t answer your question. But the pattern is written as “one size”, and I’ve seen it fit well, as written, on a variety of sizes. I am nearly 6′ tall, and my poncho looks great on my friend who is just over 5′ and a small size.

    You can always knit a swatch with a smaller needle, and do the math (stitches per inch) to see if that will get you what you want.

    S t a c i

  36. Hi Staci! I am a HUGE fan of your Very Pink website. Using your website, I was able to teach myself how to knit. I have spent months trying to find a poncho pattern I was capable of doing; when I saw you post this, I cannot explain my excitement! I have spent days trying to track down 32″ circulars and I cannot find any stores that carry them. I am trying prevent from ordering them online, is it possible to knit this poncho using size 7 29″ or 36″ circulars? I can easily find these lengths. Thanks for your advice!

  37. Hi Beth – yes, 29″ or 36″ will work just fine for this pattern. If you get a choice, I’d probably go with the 36″.

    S t a c i

  38. Hi, Staci. I love this pattern and can’t wait to get started on it. I know it’s one size fits all but I was wondering if you could give me instructions on making it a bit smaller. I’m a petite 5’3″ and I already feel like I’m swimming in most things.

  39. Hi Jody – I’ve seen my finished poncho on a friend of mine who is about your size, and it looks great on her. Additionally, you can slip all of the live stitches on to scrap yarn at any time and try the poncho on for length.

    I’m afraid modifying the pattern to a smaller size (starting at the neck) would require writing an entirely new pattern. But so far, the “one size” has looked great on everyone who has tried mine on, or knit their own!

    Hope that helps!
    S t a c i

  40. Hello I was just wondering where I can find a mannequin like yours. I have tons of knits that I like to show off and yours is the only nice one that I like. 🙂

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