I confess, I watch too much television. My mother loves to tease me about how as a young child I couldn’t tear my gaze from the TV screen – whether it was fishing, home shopping or my dad’s favorite handyman programs. As a much wiser, more mature adult (you can stop laughing now, Mom) I’d like to imagine that I’m over the TV infatuation of my early years. But the fact is, the TV is still on. I might listen more than watch nowadays as my hands are always busy with a project, but I can still easily spend a day in front of the boob tube without remorse. Sometimes it pays off though, like when I was inspired to create the Fortitude Ponchette Pattern.
Have you ever fallen in love with a knitted item you saw on screen? I’m going to guess that most people have, fiber artists or not. This happens to me all the time, and often even the vastness of the internet can’t help me hunt that garment down. By the time I give up the search I’ve already imagined myself wearing the item in different scenarios – and thus convinced myself that I cannot possibly go on a hayride, for example, without that ecru Aran sweater that Patrick wears under his leather jacket in a 1989 episode of Degrassi High. Maybe we’ll come back to that one…?
This leaves me with no choice but to knuckle down and make this garment the hard way. Not too long ago, Gretchen and I each came in to work with a TV wardrobe inspiration. As we both excitedly began to describe this garment to each other, we realized we had both fallen in love with the same item! Enter: the Fortitude Ponchette Pattern.
Fortitude is a unique, reversible accessory that’s soft enough to wear over a sleeveless top and roomy enough to layer over your winter coat. Knit out of Juniper Moon Farm Stratus Yarn, this piece is light as a feather and surprisingly warm. I love the squishiness of Stratus’ chainette construction, not to mention the luxurious feel of this wool, yak, alpaca and nylon blend. Chainette yarn’s hollow center collects and retains heat; this type of construction also allows a yarn’s softness to stand out – a definite plus when you’re talking alp-yak-a.
The Fortitude Ponchette Pattern was designed to fit a broad range of shoulder sizes. The front and back flaps are worked back and forth separately to begin, then joined at the shoulders and worked in the round until finishing with an I-cord bind off. Open sides help to accommodate wider shoulders (or bulkier layers), while also allowing your arms to move freely. Can’t decide which side of the fabric you like better? That’s ok – this piece is fully reversible so you don’t have to choose. The stitch pattern repeat is easy to remember and it knits up relatively quickly on a size US 9 circular needle (24″). And don’t be deterred by the I-cord bind off! Instructions on how to do this are included in the pattern, and I promise it isn’t as hard as it might sound.
This lovely garment is so versatile, I’ve been imagining what it would be like knit up in a number of different yarns. There’s no denying the cozy softness and warmth of Juniper Moon Farm Stratus Yarn, but this yarn happens to share a display with Heirloom Romney Yarn in the shop – so of course I can’t help but picture a woolier, slightly more rugged version in any of Heirloom’s muted, heathered shades. If you’re a fan of color, you could also use Malabrigo Merino Worsted Wool Yarn for some variegated fun.
Just in time for fall, the Fortitude Ponchette Pattern is the perfect size – smaller than a sweater, but with more impact than a simple cowl or scarf. Wear it at your desk, out to brunch, curled up on the couch or out walking the dog. You may even consider making this as a gift for a very lucky loved one, although I certainly won’t judge if you end up deciding to keep it for yourself.
p.s. The dark Nordic thriller Fortitude is NOT for the faint of heart, but if murderous zombie polar bears and stark arctic landscapes are your thing – enjoy! (Either way, knit this up now for a cozy fall!)