Hand Knit Baby Sweater

 
 

(Yes, you’ll need to know how to knit already for this one, or watch a YouTube video for help! :D)

My wonderful co-worker and friend Celie welcomed her first baby in May - little Henry! For her baby shower earlier this year, I decided to make a baby sweater and get in touch with my inner grandmother. Plus, it gets cold on the East Coast, and I wanted to give something that would be used often!

I'm by no means an expert knitter, but I did learn how to knit in high school and have done a few projects here and there that have given me enough experience to follow a pattern. (I may or may not be that odd person that knits on public transportation.) If you're interested, I found the following tutorials helpful when I began knitting: this tutorial for more on knitting, and this tutorial for stitching pieces together. For this sweater I modified a pattern I found on Lion Brand’s website here. See below for my instructions!

This sweater is for a 9-12 month baby. 

Things you will need:

  • 2-3 balls of cotton yarn
  • Size 5 knitting needles
  • Crochet needle (optional)
  • Split ring stitch markers
  • 3 buttons

Instructions:

GAUGE: 20 sts + 24 rows = 4 in. (10 cm) in stockinette stitch

Note: I also used 3 different colors of yarn to make stripes; switch yarn colors every 8 rows.

1. Knit the back piece

  1. Cast on 60 stitches.
  2. Rows 1-6: Knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches.
  3. Row 7 (outside, or RS): Knit.
  4. Row 8 (inside, or WS): Purl.
  5. Continue in stockinette stitch by repeating rows 7 and 8 (knitting on RS, purling on WS) until piece measures 13 inches from the beginning. Bind off.

2. Knit the left front piece

  1. Cast on 30 stitches.
  2. Rows 1-6: Knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches.
  3. Row 7 (RS): Knit 22 stitches, purl 8 stitches.
  4. Row 8 (WS): Knit 8 stitches, purl 22 stitches.
  5. Repeat rows 7 and 8 until the piece measures 11 inches from the beginning, and end with a RS row (it should be an odd number row).
  6. Now to shape the neck: Next Row (WS): Bind off 8 stitches for the neck, and finish knitting the remaining 22 stitches.
  7. Continue in stockinette stitch, decreasing 1 stitch at the neck edge every row 4 times, until you have 16 stitches remaining. Knit in stockinette stitch (alternating knitting and purling) until the piece is the same length as the back piece. Bind off.

3. Knit the right front piece

  1. Cast on 30 stitches.
  2. Rows 1-6: Knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches.
  3. Row 7 (RS): Purl 8 stitches, knit 22 stitches..
  4. Row 8 (WS): Purl 22 stitches, knit 8 stitches.
  5. Repeat rows 7 and 8 until the piece measures 11 inches from the beginning, and end with a WS row (it should be an even number row).
  6. Now to shape the neck: Next Row (WS): Purl 22 stitches, and bind off 8 stitches for the neck.
  7. Continue in stockinette stitch, decreasing 1 stitch at the neck edge every row 4 times, until you have 16 stitches remaining. Knit in stockinette stitch (alternating knitting and purling) until the piece is the same length as the back piece. Bind off.
Step 4. Sewing shoulder seams together

Step 4. Sewing shoulder seams together

4. Sew front and back pieces together: Sew the shoulder seams together (the top of the two front panels to the top of the back panel). For stockinette stitch, remember that you will be sewing the panels together with the right side (outside of the sweater) facing you.

5. Knit on both sleeves

  1. Place stitch markers 5 inches down from the shoulder on the front and back. From the outside of the sweater (the RS), pick up and knit 46 stitches evenly between the markers. Knit in stockinette stitch for 2 inches.
  2. Decrease rows: Begin to decrease rows by knitting (or purling, depending on what side you’re on) two together on the first and last two stitches of the row. (You should now have  ff stitches.) Continue in stockinette stitch, repeating the decreasing row step every 4th row 8 more times. (By the end of it, you’ll be at 28 stitches in your row.)
  3. Work in stockinette stitch until the row measures 7 inches.
  4. For the last 6 rows, knit 2 stitches and then purl 2 stitches, and then bind off.
Step 6. Sewing sides and sleeves of sweater together

Step 6. Sewing sides and sleeves of sweater together

6. Close the sweater by sewing the sides and sleeves: Sew the sides and sleeve seams together. Weave in the ends of the yarn you used to stitch. 

7. Knit on the hood

  1. From the outside of the sweater,, pick up and knit 62 stitches evenly spaced around neck edge.
  2. Increase 22 stitches (to make a total of 84 stitches) evenly spaced across the row. Work in stockinette stitch for 8 ½ inches, and bind off. Fold bound-off edge in half and seam for top of Hood. Weave in ends.

8. Attach buttons and button loops

  1. Sew buttons onto the sweater, evenly spaced.
  2. For the loops, I crocheted 5 inch strands to create loops for the buttons. If you don’t know how to crochet, you can probably just cast on 25 rows, and bind off on your next row to create the strands.
  3. Placing the loops evenly spaced opposite the buttons, pull the ends of the loops through the sweater, right where the stitch changes from purl to knitting, and knit the loop ends down on the inside of the sweater, being careful to stitch where it won’t be visible from the outside. Weave in ends.

9. Add an optional pocket (I found great instructions here)

 
Steps 8.3 and 8.4. Diagram from Vogue Knitting on how to attach pockets

Steps 8.3 and 8.4. Diagram from Vogue Knitting on how to attach pockets

 
  1. Cast on 18 stitches, knitting in stockinette stitch until the piece is a square. (For an added challenge, you can add another color to create an initial or design. You simply have to switch yarn colors when needed.)
  2. To attach the pocket to the sweater, first iron the sweater pocket so it’s flat. 
  3. Then, weave one of your knitting needles in and out of one-half of every other row along both vertical edges of the pocket, and one-half of every stitch along the lower horizontal edge of the pocket.
  4. For the first side of the pocket, use overcast stitch to sew one stitch that’s around needle together with one stitch from the pocket. Along the bottom, use duplicate stitch on the bottom row, and then use overcast stitch again for the last side of the pocket.

Now you're finished, and have a miniature sweater for a miniature person!