Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

My son Bear is a rowdy, mysterious, extremely silly two and a half years old. I love his toddlerhood, its questions and observations, its vicissitudes and surprises, but there’s one thing I really do miss about his infancy. Those amazingly tiny little clothes! With their itty bitty sleeves and miniature proportions, they seem to me now like they were made for enchanted elves instead of babies! This irresistible cuteness makes baby gear almost everyone’s favorite thing to knit, me included.

And so to satisfy this hankering, I designed this charming Little Baby Sweater. It’s a simple knit, inspired by the no-nonsense engineering of knitting great, Elizabeth Zimmermann. Its inset sleeves pay homage to her genius Tomten Jacket, and its easy, low maintenance finishing would maybe please the guru herself! If you love Elizabeth Zimmermann’s style but have always felt a little intimidated by her approach, this is a very friendly place to start!

I was happy to have a great excuse to try out our newest yarn from Anzula, Sebastian, because it includes sea cell, a fiber I had never heard of.  It turns out that sea cell is a seaweed and cellulose blend with the rigor and breathability of a plant fiber, the feather lightness of wool, and the soft shine of bamboo. It also turns out that sea cell plus superwash merino makes Sebastian the perfect choice for a baby!

Update: New Yarn

March 20, 2019

Originally knit in a now-discontinued yarn, how could we resist bringing back our Little Baby Sweater in our soft, sumptuous, and machine washable Posy and Pocket Posy yarns? We had some fun and changed the color of the Pocket Posy stripes in each section. Do the same with our 3-Skein Pocket Posy Bundle, available in seven palettes, or try your own thing: alternating stripes, gradating stripes, rainbow stripes, whatever you think baby might like!

Materials

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

  • 2 skeins of Anzula’s Sebastian, 70% Superwash Merino and 30% Sea Cell. These colors are Au Natural and Charcoal. NOTE: This yarn is no longer available. Try this sweater with a skein of Purl Soho’s Posy, plus a skein of Pocket Posy, instead!
  • A US 3, 20- or 24- inch circular needles
  • Four 3/8-inch buttons. We used Purl Soho’s Small Round Buttons in the color Gray.

Gauge

7 stitches = 1 inch in garter stitch

Size

Newborn-6 Months

  • Finished Chest Circumference: 181/4 inches
  • Finished Length From Bottom Hem To Top Shoulder: 91/2 inches
  • Finished Length From Bottom Hem To Underarm: 51/2 inches

Note

For a lot less work at the end, instead of cutting the yarn when you finish a stripe, carry it loosely up the side.

Pattern

Body

With Main Color (MC), cast on 124 stitches.

Knit 5 rows.

*With Contrast Color (CC), knit 2 rows.

With MC, knit 6 rows.

Repeat from * 7 more times. (Piece measures 5 inches from bottom hem.)

With CC, knit 2 rows.

With MC, knit 5 rows.

Separate For Underarms

With wrong side facing you and still using MC, k15, bind off 31, k31, bind off 31, k14 to end of row. [15 stitches for Left Front; 32 stitches for Back; 15 stitches for Right Front]

Right Front

Now working just the 15 stitches of the Right Front and starting where you left off…

*With CC, knit 2 rows.

With MC, knit 6 rows.

Repeat from * 2 more times. Bind off and cut yarns.

Back

Now working just the 32 stitches of the Back, with right side facing you and joining CC and MC…

*With CC, knit 2 rows.

With MC, knit 6 rows.

Repeat from * 5 more times.

Bind off and cut yarns.

Left Front

Now working just the 15 stitches of the Left Front, with right side facing  you and joining CC and MC…

*With CC, knit 2 rows.

With MC, knit 6 rows.

Repeat from * 2 more times.

Bind off, leaving last stitch on needle, and cut CC.

Left Button Band

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

Rotate work to pick up and knit 50 stitches along the Left Front edge to bottom corner. [51 stitches total]

Traditional For Boys

NOTE: If you don’t care where buttons traditionally go for boys versus girls, just go ahead and pick either set of instructions (For Boys or For Girls). If you do care but don’t know whether the recipient will be a boy or girl, you can follow the boys’ instruction here and the girls’ for the Right Button Band, and then when the baby is born, you can sew up the holes you don’t need and place the buttons right on top!

Knit 2 rows.

Next Row: K11, *yo, k2tog, k10, repeat from * 2 more times, yo, k2tog, k2.

Knit 2 rows and bind off.

Traditional For Girls

Knit 5 rows and bind off.

Right Button Band

With right side facing you and with MC, start at bottom corner of Right Front and pick up and knit 51 stitches along Right Front edge to top corner.

Traditional For Boys

Knit 5 rows and bind off.

Traditional For Girls

Knit 2 rows.

Next Row: K3, *yo, k2tog, k10, repeat from * 3 more times.

Knit 2 rows and bind off.

Right Sleeve

NOTE: When you begin picking up stitches for Right Sleeve, leave a 12-inch tail to use later for sewing.

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

With right side facing you and MC, start at bottom right corner of Back…

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

…and pick up and knit 24 stitches.

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

Use a Cable Cast On to cast on 12 stitches.

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

Making sure cast-on stitches aren’t twisted and with right side facing you, pick up and knit 12 stitches down Right Front. [48 stitches total]

**Now working back and forth in rows, start by turning work so wrong side is facing you.

Knit 5 rows.

*With CC, knit 2 rows.

With MC, knit 6 rows.

Repeat from * 3 more times and bind off, leaving an 18-inch tail.

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

Left Sleeve

NOTE: Again, when you begin picking up stitches for Left Sleeve, leave a 12-inch tail to use later for sewing.

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

With right side facing you and MC, start at bottom corner of Left Front…

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

…and pick up 12 stitches.

Use a Cable Cast On to cast on 12 stitches.

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

Making sure cast-on stitches aren’t twisted and with right side facing you, pick up and knit 24 stitches down left Back. [48 stitches total]

Repeat from ** of Right Sleeve.

Sewing Sleeves

Left Sleeve

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

*Thread Sleeve’s bind-off tail onto a tapestry needle and, starting at bind-off edge, sew together four ridges of Sleeve (one MC stripe and one CC stripe).

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

Fold the Body’s Underarm in half and insert tapestry needle just under Underarm’s bind-off edge at its halfway point.**

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

Sewing back and forth between back Underarm and back of Sleeve, connect back of Sleeve to Body. Remove needle from yarn.

Little Baby Sweater | Purl Soho

Now threading tapestry needle onto first tail you left, sew together front of Sleeve and front Underarm.

Right Sleeve

Repeat from * to ** of Left Sleeve.

Sewing back and forth between front Underarm and front of Sleeve, connect front of Sleeve to Body. Remove needle from yarn.

Now threading the needle onto the first tail you left, sew together back of Sleeve and back Underarm.

Finishing

Sew four buttons onto Button Band across from buttonholes.

Weave in the ends and gently block your Little Sweater!