To be honest, I’d never heard of these until a few weeks ago as I was preparing a design submission for Vogue Knitting. Now it seems I’m seeing them everywhere! I saw racks of Ruanas at Winner’s yesterday and since have found that designers from Kate Spade to Jules Smith are enjoying the craze.

RUANA [roo-ah-nuh] noun 1. a poncholike outer garment of heavy wool, worn especially in the mountains of Colombia.

I can understand why; they are a warm, stylish, useful garment, easy to knit and, as the editors of Vogue put it “this expanse of fabric allows for a blank canvas that can show off colorwork or experiments in lace and texture beautifully.” Add to that the drape and movement of knitted fabric and we’ve got a natural winner!

Make it something as simple as Yara from Lang Yarns. With zen-like repose, Yara presents the ultimate in TV knitting…yards of stockinette stitch in a mid-gray marl. This is hockey season knitting at its finest, and layers up beautifully with other simple knitted pieces.


Prefer a little more technique? Try this beauty, the Oakwood Poncho by Nikki Wagner, which incorporates Brioche elements and Columbian-inspired color work. Add a little boho fringe and think up-scale hippie. Style with good boots and a turtleneck sweater and you’re ready to go anywhere.

With all the neutrals we Canadian girls will be facing over the next six months, I’d like a little drama! Something in a bold, statement-maker that could be dressed up or down. Enter, the Wrap It Up Ruana by Lidia Karabinech


In addition to its stunning color play, I love the double moss bands featured in this design, along with the clever way the color blocks are joined. Choose a stand-out favorite color and play it against black, off-white or neutral grays, or opt for three striking shades. You’ll find elegant heathered neutrals in Cascade 220 and an unapologetic color palette in Estelle Worsted. Either would substitute well for String Yarns Classica.

So, belt it: Create a matching tie belt or purchase a wide one in leather. A belt will keep your ruana hands-free while you shop, walk or dine.


Wrap it: Throw one edge over your shoulder or use a shawl pin if you like. This look is super snuggly and allows for extra warmth around the neck.


Or leave it open: We’re all hoping for those winter days when the sun is warm and we can keep our jackets open. Imagine this with an adorable knitted hat!


Any way you wear it, it’s a great transitional layering piece that’s right on trend this fall.

Happy Knitting!

Cheryl Toy of Little Church Knits


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