I found this pattern in a newsletter sent out by Red Heart this fall. At first I had no idea what a Ruana was so I did some digging. Basically it is a poncho that is open down the front and not completely seamed. It is a perfect wrap for anyone who doesn’t want a huge jacket but needs something more than just a little shawl. I see these being a big deal with moms who sit in bleachers watching their kids play sports in the cold.
This is a great beginner pattern that you can download for free from Redheart.com (Pattern Link). I love this website because they love their customers. They put everything you need to successfully complete this pattern right there. They even have several tutorial videos by Marly Bird on how to do this specific pattern!
If you don’t know Marly Bird – personally I think she is a pretty big deal in the crochet world. She has several classes on Craftsy where she teaches different levels of crochet and knitting skills. I have taken them all and love her. She will show you how to do everything from choose colors you like (in case you want something lighter than the black in the pattern), how to swatch it, how to stitch it, and then how to finish it up.
This is the first pattern I have tried from designer Cristina Mershon. Which is actually pretty surprising. I looked her up and she is a prolific pattern writer. She has been published in Vogue Crochet, Crochet Today, Cascade Yarns, Red Heart Yarns, Cooperative Press, Crochet Magazine, Inside Crochet, and Interweave Crochet. She also has several pattern books published under her name. I have found patterns from every category – fashion accessories, wraps, shawls, blankets, kid’s items, and a few home accessories. If you want to follow her she has a designer page on Ravelry with links to a lot of her patterns.
With the pattern being from Red Heart they of course want you to use their yarns. There are three different colors and two types of yarn that you will need. Two colors of Red Heart Soft, and one color of Red Heart Unforgettable. Both types are acrylic but they are extremely soft and remind me of an expensive luxury yarn but better. How can it be better? Besides averaging $5 a skein they are machine washable. You are never going to get that silk/ angora blend in the washer and dryer.
The pattern for this ruana is a pretty straight forward repeat of (sc, ch1, skip next st) that is repeated for every row. On the up side this means that it uses the yarns to make it look more complicated than it really is, and you can binge watch your favorite shows while working on it. On the down side you are stuck with the same stitch for the whole pattern – and it is a pretty big pattern.
I found three main things that I changed.
1. The hook size recommended is to small. I used a “I” hook and was able to work it to the correct finished size. This hook is a lot larger than the recommended “D” hook.
2. If you work the pattern as instructed and cut and finish off each row you will end up with almost 300 tails to weave in after you finish the ruana. I don’t know about you but I would never finish weaving all those tails in. It would take longer than it did to crochet the thing to begin with. Instead I worked the rows in sets of four. If you work four rows from right to left without binding off each and then carry up the yarn on the side and work four rows back you will only have 10 tails! This might be a bit complicated for a beginner, but someone with a few projects under their belt should know what I am talking about. (See row guide for help ruana-row-guide-pdf)
3. The pattern calls for the border to be done in black with the crab stitch. I tried this and it seemed unfinished to me. Instead I used two strands of the grape color together in the same pattern repeat as the body (sc, ch 1, skip next st).
As a bonus if you carry the yarn up, instead of finishing off each row you will only need 2 skeins of each color – saving you appx $17 in yarn.
Overall I give this pattern 5 stars. It is easily understandable, and with all the tools provided by Red Heart I think you will be able to work it without issue and love your finished product for years to come.