knitting

[KNITTING] Baby cardigan with pockets (free pattern)

It’s still pandemic season which means that quarantine projects are still going strong. As much as I miss the normal world back in March, I never would have made time to pick up my needles otherwise.

I’ve actually been knitting and crocheting for quite some time now, though I haven’t completed many extensive projects since a year or two ago. Given the amount of time I had on my hands and a burning desire to knit something for an actual baby that’s not mine, I thought a baby sweater would be the perfect project to keep me busy!

I spent a ton of time scrolling through patterns to try to find “the one”, but I ended up not satisfied with any I came across and decided to make my own. Not to say that they weren’t lovely patterns for a cute baby, just not what I was looking for. I actually never made a pattern before but thought that it would be fun to try anyway!

I basically wanted to make a simple sweater with a 2×2 rib, stockinette stitch, and some pockets. The main issue I had was trying to find a pattern that had the gauge I was aiming for since I was using a sock weight yarn. There’s probably a pattern out there but I never found it…so writing a pattern was my solution.

I based my sweater off of a different pattern that’s pretty different in terms of the pattern itself, but I just wanted some measurements to base mine off of (I probably could’ve chosen one that didn’t give me such a hard time with the sleeves, but I got it to work after a ton of trial and error). I started out by knitting up a swatch, calculating the gauge, then using this as a foundation for my pattern.

I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out! The sweater is so soft and made with a machine washable yarn which is perfect for a potentially messy 6 month old baby. The pockets are just so adorable and just large enough to fit a small toy or snack. Better yet, I only used one skein of yarn since it’s so small (bringing the project cost to ~$9 with the knitting needles)!

If I could go back in time I’d probably redo the last inch of the sleeves so it’s not a pain to figure out how to sew this onto the armhole properly. If you follow my pattern though, hopefully I can make that process a lot less painful for you. With that I hope you enjoy making this baby cardigan!

BABY CARDIGAN (WITH POCKETS) PATTERN

SIZE: 6-month old baby. Collar: 13″ , sleeve length: 8.5″, sweater length: 11″, sweater width (no ribbing): 19″. Pockets are 3″ wide and 3.25″ in length.

MATERIALS:

  • Woolike Simili-Laine, super fine weight yarn (85% acrylic, 15% nylon)
  • 3.25 mm double pointed needles (DPN)
  • Tapestry needle
  • Contrasting yarn/embroidery thread

GAUGE: 4 in = 31 columns, 3 in = 30 rows

ABBREVIATIONS:

  • k = knit
  • p = purl
  • dec = decrease
  • inc = increase

BODY:

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Cast on 136 stitches using the tubular cast-on technique. Work a 2×2 rib until the band measures up to 1.5″. Switch the pattern to a stockinette stitch (start with knit) and inc on every 17th stitch on the next row to obtain 144 stitches.

Continue working the body using the stockinette pattern until the body reaches 6″ starting from the top of the 2×2 rib band.

Dividing the back and front:

Work even 33 stitches. Cast off 6 stitches and keep the remaining stitches on a DPN. This will serve as one of the front panels. Work even 66 stitches. Cast off 6 stitches. Keep the remaining stitches on 2 DPNs. This will serve as the back of the cardigan. Work even 33 stitches. You can also slip the live stitches onto a scrap piece of yarn instead of using the DPNs.

FRONT (LEFT SIDE):

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Work even for the stockinette pattern for 2.5″ starting with purl. Be sure to end on the wrong side and adjust the pattern accordingly.

Cast off 13 stitches and work even until the end of the row. This will begin the shape of the collar.

Dec at the beginning of the cast off point for 3 rows (curving the neck of the collar).

Work even until the armhole reaches 4.5″, ending on the wrong side.

Cast off 10 stitches and work even.

Cast off the remaining stitches on the next row.

BACK:

Work even for the stockinette pattern until the armhole reaches 4.5″.

Cast off 10 stitches. Work even. Repeat for next row.

Cast off 8 stitches. Work even. Repeat for next row.

Cast off remaining stitches.

FRONT (RIGHT SIDE):

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Same as the left side except you should start your first row as a knit. Be sure to end on the wrong side and cast off the last 10 stitches of the row when starting to shape the collar! Not the first!

SLEEVES:

Cast on 42 stitches using the tubular-cast on method. Work a 2×2 rib until it reaches 1.5″.

Work even using the stockinette pattern for 4 rows. Work even and inc on the last stitch on the next row. Repeat these two rows again.

Work even.

Inc at the end of each row until 65 stitches are obtained.

Work even until the entire sleeve is 7.5″. Place marker. Work even for the remaining rows until the sleeves are 8.5″ long.

POCKETS (x2):

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Cast on 26 stitches.

Work the stockinette pattern until the pockets are 2.25″.

Work a 2×2 rib until the rib is 1″.

Cast off using the tubular bind off method.

ASSEMBLY:

Machine wash all pieces before sewing them together so the stitches can relax and the fabric can lie flat.

Sew the sides and shoulders together on the body of the cardigan. Sew the sides of the sleeves together. Using a basting stitch and a contrasting piece of yarn, align the sleeves and body arm holes such that the sleeves lie flat. There will be extra fabric near the armpit area (from working even for 1″). The place marker should be lined up with the bottom of the arm hole of the body of the cardigan. Sew the arm holes together.

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I actually sewed the pockets on after working the ribbing along the collar and opening of the cardigan, but you can also sew on the pockets at this point:

To keep the pocket alignment clean, use a contrasting piece of yarn or embroidery floss to mark out the dimensions of the pockets onto the cardigan (3″ W x 3.25″ L). I chose to bring my pockets up 1″ from the rib and 5/8″ from the cardigan opening. Follow the marked lines to sew on the pockets, starting with the bottom of the pockets.

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COMPLETING THE RIBBING:

To work the front ribbing: Pick up the stitches along the left opening of the cardigan. Make sure to pick up enough stitches so you don’t end up with gaps in between your stitches as you work the 2×2 rib.

Knit the first row.

Work a 2×2 rib for 6 rows.

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Bind off using the tubular bind off method. Repeat for right opening. If you want to add buttons, you’ll need to add button holes on one side of ribbing. To do this, I would recommend casting off 2 stitches on the third row of your 2×2 rib and casting on 2 stitches in the next round wherever you want the buttons to be placed.

To work the collar: Pick up the stitches starting from the right side of the cardigan.

Knit the first row.

Work a 2×2 rib for one row.

k2. [Dec. k2, p2, k2]. Repeat pattern in brackets until the end of the round.

Work even in the pattern for the next row.

k2. [p, k2, dec, k2]. Repeat pattern in brackets until the end of the round.

Dec, k1. Repeat until the end of the round to obtain a 1×1 rib.

Bind off using the tubular bind off method, skipping the instructions for converting the 2×2 rib to a 1×1 rib.

After sewing in the loose ends using a tapestry needle, you should wash the cardigan once more so the ribbing along the opening of the cardigan can relax. If you made it this far, I hope you love the cardigan you made as much as I do!

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