Walking Through a Sweater

April 13, 2007

Part tutorial, part normal verypink post...
Let's start with Ike. He has nothing to do with the sweater, but he's looking very supermodelish, isn't he?
This is the Letterman-Style Hooded Baby Cardi. The free pattern is available here in PDF format.

The rest of this post will walk you through the construction of this sweater. My hopes are that I can make this clear enough for beginner knitters, too.
This sweater is sized for a 12-month old baby, and is knit from the top down. The hood is knit separately and seamed on later - but that is the only bit of seaming.

This photo shows a detail of the dual-colored stitches that run along the raglan sleeves.
You'll only need two hanks of Cascade 220 (220 yards in each) for this project, or any worsted-weight yarn. When you're finished, you'll have very little yarn left. No leftover stash!
The yarn needs to be wound into 5 separate balls. Three in the main color, and two in the constrasting color.
To get the balls about the same size, I first wound the hank into a ball, then put the ball on my kitchen scale. I attached the yarn back to the winder and kept on winding until I knew that the ball winder was holding the correct weight.

Just a little bit of subtraction. Easy math.
The most difficult part of the sweater is the beginning, but it's easier than it looks. You'll need to cast-on all five balls at once.

This is because you'll be knitting (from the top) the left front, the left sleeve, the back, the right sleeve, and the right front - in alternating colors.
The easiest thing to do is to get a box and line up the yarns as they are on the needles. Then when it comes time to turn your work, you just give the box a 180 degree turn, and there are no twists or tangles.
Once the raglan shoulder section is finished, you narrow it down to just one ball of yarn, put the sleeves on scrap yarn to hold the stitches for later, and knit the rest of the body.

When you finish knitting the body, you put the sleeve stitches on double-pointed needles, shown here.
Baby sleeves are small, and go really quickly.

But you do have to knit two of them.
I chose to use Cascade 220 for a few reasons:
  • They have a huge range of colors.
  • It is inexpensive (this sweater costs about 16 bux to make).
  • Using worsted weight yarn makes this a quick knit.
  • The flame-retardant nature of 100% wool is a good idea for a baby.
  • Cascade 220 is such a lovely, forgiving yarn. You just think about steam while you're holding the sweater and it relaxes into shape.
Here's the back.

This sweater is simple enough that it would do well with some additional creativity...with the closure, with appliques, etc.

Or, leave it open and simple. Let the colors do the work.
Taking away Ike's modeling gig in Wednesday's post must have made him take it up a notch.

Such a ham, he is.
I tried to get Lou to model, but as you can see, he will NOT be offered any modeling gigs in the future. Yes, that really is the sweater.

Have a good weekend!

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Chris' email - barkless3@yahoo.com