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!

 

The Materials

  • 2 skeins of Anzula's Sebastian, 70% Superwash Merino and 30% Sea Cell. These colors are Au Natural and Charcoal. (For a solid color sweater, you'll only need one skein!)
  • A US # 3, 20 or 24 inch circular needle.
  • 4 buttons, size 19. (I used the color "Grey".)

The Pattern

Gauge

7 stitches = 1 inch in garter stitch

Finished Size

Newborn - 6 Months

Chest Circumference - 18 1/4 inches

Length from Bottom Hem to Top Shoulder - 9 1/2 inches

Length from bottom Hem to Underarm - 5 1/2 inches

Pattern 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.

The 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 * seven more times. (Piece measures 5 inches from bottom hem.)

With CC, knit 2 rows.

With MC, knit 5 rows.

Separate for Underarms

Still with MC (wrong side facing), k15, bind off 31, k31, bind off 31, k14 to end.

(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 * two more times. Bind off.

Back

Now working just the 32 stitches of the Back...

With right side facing, join CC.

*With CC, knit 2 rows.

With MC, knit 6 rows.

Repeat from * five more times. Bind off.

Left Front

Now working just the 15 stitches of the Left Front...

With right side facing, join CC.

*With CC, knit 2 rows.

With MC, knit 6 rows.

Repeat from * two more times. Bind off, but leave the last stitch on the needle. Cut the CC.

Left Button Band

Rotate the work and pick up 50 stitches along the button band edge. (51 stitches total)

FOR BOYS:

Knit 2 rows.

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

Knit 2 rows and bind off.

FOR GIRLS:

Knit 5 rows and bind off.

Right Button Band

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

FOR BOYS:

Knit 5 rows and bind off.

FOR GIRLS:

Knit 2 rows.

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

Knit 2 rows and bind off.

Right Sleeve

(When you begin picking up stitches for the Right Sleeve leave a 12 inch tail to use later for sewing.)

With right side facing and MC, start at the bottom right corner of the Back...

...and pick up 24 stitches.

Use a Cable Cast On to cast on 12 stitches.

Making sure the cast on stitches aren't twisted and with the right side facing you, pick up 12 stitches down the Right Front. (48 stitches total)

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

Knit 5 rows.

*With CC, knit 2 rows.

With MC, knit 6 rows.

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

Left Sleeve

(Again, when you begin picking up stitches for the Left Sleeve leave a 12 inch tail to use later for sewing.)

With right side facing and MC, start at the bottom corner of the Left Front...

...and pick up 12 stitches.

Use a Cable Cast On to cast on 12 stitches.

Making sure the cast on stitches aren't twisted and with the right side facing you, pick up 24 stitches down the left Back. (48 stitches total)

Repeat from ** of Right Sleeve.

Sewing the Sleeves

THE LEFT SLEEVE

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

Fold the underarm in half and insert the needle just under the bound off edge at the half way point.**

Sewing across the back, connect the back of the Sleeve to the Body. Remove the needle from the yarn.

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

FOR THE RIGHT SLEEVE

Repeat from * to ** of the Left Sleeve.

Then, sewing across the front, connect the front of the Sleeve to the Body. Remove the needle from the yarn.

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

Finishing

Sew four buttons onto the button band across from the buttonholes.

Weave in all your ends (click here for our tutorial telling you how!).

Gently block your Little Sweater, and then make a baby nice and cozy!