Straw-baby sweater knitting pattern

In my (totally not biased) opinion, it turned out pretty well.

Okay, two months later, I guess it is time for another blog post that nobody will read . . .

Earlier this year, I found myself between knitting projects and decided to use some of my stash to knit a sweater for my baby niece.  She looks super-cute in pink so I started with that and picked out a turquoise-y green for contrast.  Like I usually do, I made up a pattern based on theoretical sweater construction and math then made notes about what I actually did.  Initially, this sweater had no theme, it was just a tiny sweater with a placket in the back to make it easier to put on a squirming toddler.

About halfway through the sweater, I thought about how plain it would look, even in the awesome hot pink color, so I decided to do something with the contrasting green on the front.  It occurred to me that the colors were reminiscent of a strawberry, so I decided to go with that.  Also, that made me think of how my nephew used to say the word when he was a toddler, “straw-BABY” and it seemed especially appropriate as a motif!

I experimented a bit with embroidery and duplicate stitching but in the end, I decided the best way was to use a crochet hook and chain stitch the outline of a strawberry then duplicate stitch in some seeds.  This turned out to be harder than I initially expected and after trying and failing more than once, I decided to use waste yarn to make a rough strawberry using a running stitch then follow that shape with my chain stitching.  In my (totally not biased) opinion, it turned out pretty well.

leaf button
This green is so wrong!

The real challenge was finding buttons that worked with the theme.  I started out by going to JoAnn where I looked at pretty much every pink, green, strawberry, and leaf button I could find but nothing worked.

strawberry button
This button is too small.

The pink buttons were too boring and none of the greens were the right color.  The closest I came to matching my self-inflicted theme were still totally wrong.  I went to every store in town that I thought might carry buttons but had no luck at all.

misprint
I guess I can’t expect better quality control for the price I paid.

Eventually, I decided to try the internet.  I generally don’t like shopping online for supplies that need to match but by this point, I had become desperate for strawberry-shaped buttons that would do the job.  I found a promising set on Amazon that was inexpensive although would take a long time to arrive since they were shipping from China.  They did not arrive when expected so I went to visit my niece without the buttons and made her try the sweater on before taking it away for future finishing.  Eventually, my buttons came and while they were mostly as advertised, I have to wonder who the hell wants turquoise or blue strawberries?  Of course, I got more of the silly colors than anything else.  Also, some of the buttons were mis-printed but fortunately, mostly the aforementioned useless colors.

strawberry buttons
Nobody needs this many blue strawberries!

At least I got enough red ones to finish my project.  Well, they are supposed to be red and appear as such in the listing but they turned out to be dark pink instead, which is actually better because they ended up matching my pink yarn almost perfectly!  The green was totally off but you can’t have everything.  I think that these wooden buttons are a great match for the sweater, assuming they hold up over time.

button placket
The green isn’t exactly right but the “red” was faded just the right amount.

I used the long green yarn end that I had left hanging to sew on the buttons and I think that the end result was worth the wait.  I’m pretty sure my niece would think so too if she wasn’t too little to comprehend my weird strawberry-button obsession.  I am going to see her again in about a month and even though it will be the height of summer, I am totally going to give her this sweater and make her model it for me again.  That’s what she gets for being so darn cute and lovable!

cutest model ever
After I made her try it on and [sort of] pose for me, I cruelly took back this button-less sweater.
Okay, the pattern:  I have not done the math to write this up for various sizes so it is really only suitable for toddlers who are about one and a half to two years old.  My model was 16 months when this photo was taken and as you can probably tell, it is way too big for her but babies can always be counted on to grow, so that doesn’t worry me!  I think that this pattern could be adapted for any sort of motif.  When you are choosing one though, be sure to think about the difficulty of finding matching buttons!  This sweater is worked from the top down and has NO seams.  I abbreviate a lot of things, check the end of the pattern for definitions (and links)

strawbaby back
There is a little poof at the bottom of the placket but overall, I am quite pleased with this sweater.

Straw-baby sweater pattern by Kalyani

Size: 18 months – 2 years

Materials: Lily Sugar’n Cream (worsted, 120 yd/71g) 2 balls MC, 1 ball CC

Needles: Size 7 & Size 8 circular

Notions: Size G crochet hook; 4 1″ buttons; stitch markers; cable needle and/or stitch holders / waste yarn.

Gauge: 4 sts/inch on larger needles

NOTE(*): I like to cast on and off with larger needles even when using smaller ones to work the ribbing, this is mostly because I tend to cast on tightly and this keeps me from doing so.  Cast on and off with the smaller needles if this is not a problem for you.

strawbaby front
All ready for that adorable model!

Neck Ribbing:

With CC, cast on 45 stitches using long-tail method on larger* needles

Switch to smaller needles

Row 1 (ws): k4, *k1, p1, repeat from * to last st, k1

Row 2 (rs): s1, *k1, p1, repeat from * to last 4 sts, k4

Repeat rows 1 & 2 1x more

Row 5 (ws): k4, switch to MC, p4, pm, p8, pm, p12, pm, p8, pm, p8, k1 [45 sts]

Switch to larger needles

Short Rows:

Row 1 (rs): s1, k2, yo, k2tog, *k to 2 sts bef m, kfb, k1, sm, kfb, rep from * 1x, k2, w&t [bh made]

Row 2 (ws): p to last st, k1, turn

Row 3 (rs): s1,*k to 2 sts bef m, kfb, k1, sm, kfb, rep from * 1x, k5, w&t

Row 4 (ws): p to last st, k1, turn

Row 5 / 1 (rs) : s1, *k to 2 sts bef m, kfb, k1, sm, kfb, rep from * 3x, k to end

Row 2 (ws): k4, p19, w&t

Row 3 (rs): *k to 2 sts bef m, kfb, k1, sm, kfb, rep from * 1x, k to end

Row 4 (ws): k4, p26, w&t

Row 5 (rs): as row 3

Row 6 (ws): k4, p to last st, k1

Yoke:

Row 1 (rs): s1, *k to 2 st bef m, kfb, k1, sm, kfb, repeat from * 3x, k to end [8 sts inc]

Row 2 & all ws rows through 24: k4, p to last st, k1

Row 3 (rs): s1, k2, yo, k2tog, *k to 2 st bef m, kfb, k1, sm, kfb, repeat from * 3x, k to end [8 sts inc & bh made]

Row 4 (ws): as row 2

Repeat rows 1 & 2 3x

Row 11 (rs): as row 3

Repeat rows 4 – 11  [bh made on row 19]

Row 20 (ws): as row 2

Repeat rows 1 & 2 1x

Row 23 (rs): s1, *k to 2 bef m, kfb, k1, sm, k to m, sm, kfb, repeat from *, k to end [161 sts]

Row 24 (ws): as row 2

Row 25 (rs): s1, k to last 5 sts, slip 5 sts to cable needle, do NOT turn

Join in round (rs): hold cn behind work, *k 1 st from cn tog with st from beg of last round, repeat from * 4x more, k to end of round, pm

Divide for Sleeves & Body:

Round 1 (rs): s1, *k to m, sm, place 36 sts on holder, co 8 sts, sm, repeat from * 1x, k to beg of round [100 sts]

Round 2: k around

Round 3: *k to m, ssk, k to 2 bef m, k2tog, repeat from * 1x, k to end

Repeat round 2 3 x

Repeat rounds 3 – 6 3x

Round 19: k around [84 sts]

Repeat round 19 until body measures 6” from co sts at armpit

Switch to CC & smaller needles

Bottom Ribbing:

Round 1: k around, sm

Round 2: *k1, p1, repeat from * to end, sm

Repeat round 2 7x more

Bind off with larger* needle

Arms (with MC & larger needles):

From the armpit sts on the body, pu & k 4 sts, k 32 sts from holder, pu & k 4 sts, pm

Round 1: k around, sm [40 sts]

Round 2: k3, k2tog, k to 5 sts bef m, ssk, k3, sm [38 sts]

Repeat round 1 2x

Round 5: k2, k2tog, k to 4 sts bef m, ssk, k2, sm [36 sts]

Repeat round 1 2x

Round 8: k1, k2tog, k to 3 sts bef m, ssk, k1, sm [34 sts]

Repeat round 1 2x

Round 11: k2tog, k to 2 sts bef m, ssk, sm [32 sts]

Repeat round 1 4x

Round 16: ssk, k to 2 sts bef m, k2tog, sm

Repeat rounds 12- 16 until sleeve measures 6” from armpit [sts mayvary]

Switch to CC & smaller needles

Cuff Ribbing:

Round 1: k around, sm

Round 2: *k1, p1, repeat from * to end, sm

Repeat round 2 7x more

Bind off with larger* needle

Repeat for 2nd arm

Strawberry Motif & Finishing:

tracing
It turns out I am incapable of chain-stitching a strawberry shape totally freehand.
strawbaby inside
In retrospect, this may not have been the best idea, the long bits of yarn may catch on buttons and the like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holding yarn inside sweater use crochet hook to chain stitch the outline of a strawberry on the front.  Cut a long tail and duplicate stitch “seeds” inside the outline.  (It may help to use a long running stitch made of waste yarn to vaguely outline the shape before you begin chain stitching.  Each chain should be no more than 1 ½ stitches long.)

strawbaby motif
I think this turned out as well as it possibly could under the circumstances.

Sew 4 buttons to garter stitch band opposite buttonholes

Weave in ends

Abbreviations

  • bef – before
  • bh – buttonhole
  • CC – contrasting color
  • cn – cable needle
  • co – cast on
  • inc – increase(d)
  • k# – knit # sts
  • k2tog – knit 2 together
  • kfb – knit into the front & back of the stitch
  • m – marker
  • MC – main color
  • p# – purl # sts
  • pm – place marker
  • pu – pick up
  • rm – remove marker
  • rs – right side
  • s1 – slip 1 stitch
  • ssk – s1, s1, k 2 slipped sts together
  • st(s) – stitch(es)
  • sm – slip marker
  • w&t – wrap yarn around the next stitch and turn the work (note, on row after w&t, work wrap together with stitch)
  • ws – wrong side
  • yo – yarn over

Yooper hat knitting pattern

I don’t actually like hats. Despite knitting them fairly regularly, I almost never wear them. They tend to look weird on me.

with tag
Really completed, with a tag and everything.
side blue
An awkward photo of me but that’s to be expected. The hat looks kind of helmet-y but I was going for something that could be worn under a hood, so I think it works.

I have not been keeping up well with this blog although honestly, I’m doing better than I thought I would, by which I mean I haven’t totally forgotten about it.  I am calling this a pattern but even as I type this, I am not sure I can actually come up with coherent instructions.  I did not keep good notes while making this hat.  I do think that my original plan worked out pretty well although I probably should have knitted a few more rounds before decreasing.  It fits me but I won’t know for sure if it is actually too short until I give it to its intended recipient.

ponytail_hat_2_medium2I don’t actually like hats.  Despite knitting them fairly regularly, I almost never wear them.  They tend to look weird on me, although I do have a hat with a hole for my ponytail that I wore occasionally until I lost it.  What I liked about that hat is that my ponytail going through the back held it in place so that it didn’t come down in the front and cover my eyes.  I decided to try a different route to the same end and add some earflaps for good measure.  I spent kind of a while pondering the whole idea before I decided to just grab some yarn and have at it!  I did have a couple of false starts but eventually I decided on double knitting because I figured that earflaps should be extra warm.  When I got to the hat itself, I kept on with the double knitting because I decided it would look weird otherwise – and if you’re double knitting, you might as well make it reversible and different on each side.  Of course, double knitting provides the additional challenge of finding subtle ways to weave in yarn ends since there is no wrong side, but I like to let issues like that be problems for “future me”.

done white
The white side is puffier than the blue side and looks all wrong when not being worn.

What I did not count on was the difference between my tension when knitting and purling.  Like many people, I purl more loosely than I knit.  At the beginning, I did not realize this was a problem because I worked the earflaps and the start of the back of the hat in rows, back and forth.  When I added the front, however, I joined it in a round, although it still took a few inches for me to catch on to the problem and even when I did, I persevered.  In the end, I decided that the white was definitely the inside and I put a label on it although that could easily be removed if a mostly white hat was desired.  Anyway, let’s see if I can remember how I made it.  By the way, a “Yooper” is someone from the U.P., or upper peninsula of Michigan.  It is notoriously cold there, so it seemed like a good name for a doubly thick wool hat with earflaps.

Yooper Hat Pattern by Kalyani

Materials: Patons Classic Wool (worsted, 220 yd/100g) 1 ball each, Color A & Color B.

Needles: Size 8 circular and / or DPNs

Gauge: 4 sts/inch (double knit)

NOTE: When working the first and last stitch of a row, hold both strands together and treat as one stitch.  For all other pairs, treat each strand as its own stitch.

Earflap (make 2)

Holding a strand of A & a strand of B together, cast on 5 stitches

Row 1: s1 (A & B), wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, k1 (A & B)

Row 2: s1 (A & B), wyb pick up & k1 A, wyf pick up & p1 A, wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, wyb pick up & k1 A, wyf pick up & p1 A, k1 (A & B)

Row 3: s1 (A & B), wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, *wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, repeat from * to last st, k1 (A & B)

Row 4: s1 (A & B), wyb pick up & k1 A, wyf pick up & p1 A, wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, *wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, repeat from * to last st, k1 (A & B)

Repeat last 2 rows 5 x more until there are 17 pairs of stitches between the edge stitches

just starting
The inside and outside are much more even when knit in rows than in rounds.

Row 15: as row 3

Row 16: s1 (A & B), wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, *wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, repeat from * to last st, k1 (A & B)

Repeat last 2 rows 1 x more

Cut yarn (leaving enough to weave in) on 1st earflap only.  Do NOT cut yarn on 2nd earflap.

Back

Setup:

With 2nd earflap still on needle, s1 (A & B), wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, *wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, repeat from * to last st, k1 (A & B)

Use attached yarn to cast on 19 stitches (holding a strand of A & a strand of B together)

Join second earflap, s1 (A & B), wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, *wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, repeat from * to last st, k1 (A & B)

earflaps
I guess it does look a little like a bra.

NOTE: From this point forward, the former edge stitches of each earflap which abut the cast on stitches will be treated as two stitches and only the first and last stitch of the whole row will be treated as a single stitch.

Row 1: s1 (A & B), wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, *wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, repeat from * to last st, k1 (A & B)

Row 2:  s1 (A & B), wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, *wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, repeat from * to last st, k1 (A & B)

Repeat last 2 rows 2x more, after row 6, DO NOT TURN!

Main Hat Portion (or whatever you want to call it)

NOTE: From this point forward, the hat will be worked in the round.  You can use double pointed needles or a circular needle to do this.  (All of my circular needles are too long for hats so I work with an extra loop sticking out between stitches, whatever works for you!)  Also, with the exception of the first stitch of round 1 which helps to close a gap, no more pairs of stitches will be treated as a single stitch.

in progress
I did a weird thing with the first stitch because there are an even number, I think it worked out though.

Setup:

Cast on 21 stitches (holding a strand of A & a strand of B together)

Place marker for beg / end of round

Join the work by positioning the beginning of the last row on the left needle, being careful not to twist stitches

Round 1: s1 (A & B), wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, *wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, repeat from * to end marker, sm

Round 2: *wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, repeat from * to end marker, sm

Round 3: *wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, repeat from * to end marker, sm

Repeat last 2 rounds 1 x more

Round 6: *wyb k1A, wyf p1B, repeat from * to end marker, sm

Repeat last round 11 x more (in the photo, I only did it 9 x more but the hat is a little short)

Round 19: as round 2

Round 20: as round 3

Repeat last 2 rounds 1 x more

Round 23: *[wyb k1A, wyf p1B] 13 x, pm, repeat from * to end marker

mistake
Fortunately, I was able to correct this on the next round so there is not a weird bit of blue in the white space. Avoiding this is why the strands have to be moved together back and forth during the work.

Crown

p2tog
A p2tog with color B actually decreases one of the knit (color A) stitches.

Round 1: *wyb k1A, wyf p2togB, wyb k2togA, wyf p1B, [wyb k1A, wyf p1B] to marker, repeat from * to end marker (6 x total)

Round 2: *wyb k1A, wyf p1B, repeat from * to end marker (slipping all other markers), sm

Repeat last 2 rounds 5 x more

Round 13: as round 1 (36 sts remain)

Round 14: *wyb k1 A, wyf p1A, wyb k1 B, wyf p1B, repeat from * to end marker (slipping all other markers), sm

k2tog
A k2tog with color A actually decreases one of the purl (color B) stitches.

Round 15: *wyb k1B, wyf p2togB, wyb k2togA, wyf p1A, wyb k1B, wyf p1B, wyb k1A, wyf p1A, wyb k1B, wyf p1B, sm, wyb k1A, wyf p2togA, wyb k2togB, wyf p1B, wyb k1A, wyf p1A, wyb k1B, wyf p1B, wyb k1A, wyf p1B, repeat from & to end marker (30 sts remain)

Round 16: as round 14

Round 17: *wyb k1B, wyf p2togB, wyb k2togA, wyf p1A, wyb k1B, wyf p1B, wyb k1A, wyf p1A, sm, repeat from * to end marker (24 sts remain)

decreased
The decreased stitch sort of disappears between its neighbors.

Round 18: as round 2

Round 19: as round 1 (18 sts remain)

Repeat last round 2 x more (6 sts remain)

Cut both strands of yarn.  Thread each strand through all 6 sts of the same color and pull tight (keeping color B inside the hat).

Weave in ends, which I find to be a particular challenge on a reversible object.

Abbreviations

top white
I think the decreasing swirl looks nice in white.

 

  • beg – beginning
  • k1 – knit 1
  • p1 – purl 1
  • pm – place marker
  • s1 – slip 1 stitch
  • st – stitch
  • sm – slip marker
  • wyb – with yarn in back
  • wyf – with yarn in front