lollipop

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Just a few days ago my stockpile of baby sweaters was down to zero!  Horrors!  The fastest and most fun way I know to whip up a cute baby sweater is a striped, top-down, cardigan.  I save money and time by using stash yarns and even raid my grandmother's button box for the buttons. This baby cardi can be knit with fingering weight, dk, or worsted weight, using leftover bits and pieces.  The cardi with the red buttons is my favorite and was a total accident: I ran out of yarn on the sleeves and had to dig down deep into the stash drawer.  The result was the unplanned red stripes right before the cuffs and became the inspiration to use the red buttons.  I fell in love with it as I was knitting and cannot wait to see a tiny toddler toddle around wearing it.  It's intended for my pastor and his wife who are expecting their first baby next month.  We don't know if it will be a boy or girl,  but I can see this for either sex.  A pair of blue-jeans or perhaps a white eyelet skirt?  Either will be adorable.

When I'm done with a knitting project and even if I have only a few yards left, I label it and save it, and if it's superwash it goes into a smallish drawer in my sewing room that is dedicated for baby sweaters. Machine washable is the key, as babies are messy--plus busy moms tend to throw everything in the washing machine and you'll want to make sure your treasure will survive and hopefully be passed on.

When I want to knit a baby sweater, I dive into the stash drawer and choose two, three or more coordinating colors that are the same weight.  I use one of the free patterns below and almost always knit the one-year old size.  I've been making scrappy baby sweaters for years.  I love how fun they are to knit and how different they always come out.  My original post, totally free/totally adorable baby cardigan is almost two years old and still gets at least 200 plus views a day so I know you must like free/adorable/easy/scrappy/stripey sweaters as much as I do!

I have a few knitting tips:  

1. Between the ribbing and stripes, work one row stockinette in the rib color before beginning the rib (when knitting the cuffs) or finishing the rib (when knitting the collar).   This extra row of stockinette in the rib color will make a neater looking transition.  You do not need to do this row of stockinette for the button band.

2. When picking up stitches for the button band, pick up 3 stitches for every four.  It will lay nice and flat. 

3.  Use the KFB increase for the raglan increases.

4.  For gentle sleeve shaping that narrows to the cuff, decrease 1 stitch at each end 4 times evenly spaced (8 sts. decreased total)

5. Make your button band first, then place your buttons where you want them, mark their placement, then knit the buttonhole band.  

6. Remember to use machine washable wool or cotton for baby items. My yarn stash is mostly wool and some cottons.  I don't bother with matching fiber content in these sweaters and happily mix wools with cottons.  As long as it's the same weight and machine washable, I have great success. 

7. As for weaving in the ends, I tend to do that as I go along.  After weaving the end in, I leave about 1/2" of yarn on the inside.  If I've cut the yarn too close to the fabric, the yarn end tends to poke out on the front side after washing.  Leaving it longer tends to insure it will stay on the inside.

8. When a baby sweater is completed, I turn it inside out and machine wash in cool water and tumble dry on low.  I want to make sure that it passes the "washer-dryer test", and luckily they always do.  When gifting, I always tie a little care-tag to the top button.  The care is simple, and even the busiest mom can manage:  Button up the cardigan, turn inside out, machine wash on gentle in cool water, tumble dry on low. 

Even though I've shared these free pattern links many times, I always pick up a few new readers so I will add the pattern links again.  All are free downloads and most are sized 3 mos. to 2 years.  Print out all these patterns and gather up your machine washable oddballs and put them in a zip lock bag with the patterns.  You're all set for some great travel projects, and of course, a most welcome gift.

I sew them in pretty much as I go. After weaving, I leave about 1/2" of thread on the inside. If I've cut the yarn too close to the fabric, the yarn end tends to poke out on the front side after washing. Leaving it longer, it will stay on the inside. - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-boy-lollipop.html?showComment=1446065487958#c7281798423550994988
I sew them in pretty much as I go. After weaving, I leave about 1/2" of thread on the inside. If I've cut the yarn too close to the fabric, the yarn end tends to poke out on the front side after washing. Leaving it longer, it will stay on the inside. - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-boy-lollipop.html?showComment=1446065487958#c7281798423550994988
I sew them in pretty much as I go. After weaving, I leave about 1/2" of thread on the inside. If I've cut the yarn too close to the fabric, the yarn end tends to poke out on the front side after washing. Leaving it longer, it will stay on the inside. - See more at: http://knitionary.blogspot.com/2015/10/my-boy-lollipop.html?showComment=1446065487958#c7281798423550994988
I'd like to give a big thank you to the kind ladies who have published these cute baby patterns!

The yarns used in the sweaters above were dk wieght.
I used 4 different whites, two were Rowan, plus a Sublime and a Cascade.
The others were bits of
 Rowan Wool-Cotton DK
 Sublime 100% Organic Cotton DK
Dragonfly Fibers Traveller
Miss Babs Kaweah DK
Tess Designer Yarns Superwash DK
Rowan Super-Fine Merino DK
Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK

I LOVED them all!


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9 comments

  1. Just darling! Thanks for letting me know about this pattern. I went to the projects and see you've knit quite a lot and think yours are the cutest! Love the one with the red buttons.

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  2. Lovely sweater! Glad I found this post. Thanks for sharing.

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  3. Hi Kristin,

    I also love to make baby sweaters, although my grandchildren have long ago outgrown them. Stash diving is, I agree, ideal. I see that the yarns you mentioned have different fiber content. I've always tried to match the fiber, and wonder if I've restricted myself too much. Would you care to comment further on this?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Venice. I never worry about the fiber content. I work mostly with wool and some cottons, and as long as they are the same weight and both machine washable, for me, it always works. I'll amend my post to include this.

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  4. That are both so very cute! My only hang up would be trying in all those ends. Do you have a trick how to make it look neat?

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    Replies
    1. I sew them in pretty much as I go. After weaving, I leave about 1/2" of thread on the inside. If I've cut the yarn too close to the fabric, the yarn end tends to poke out on the front side after washing. Leaving it longer, it will stay on the inside.

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  5. Thank you for your wonderful tips Kristin. I will print them out and place them in my pattern binder. I already have your pattern on Ravelry. If I ever become a grandmother it might motivate me to try a cardigan (button bands, yikes!). Until then I will try my hand at making it into a pullover. (I think you already did a post related to that, right?) Chloe

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  6. Sorry, just checked and the cardigan-into-pullover most have come from somewhere else (obviously the vast resources of my sleep-deprived mind). But I expect it is still doable! Chloe

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