18” Doll Cardigan with Lacy Raglan Seam

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18” Doll Cardigan with Lacy Raglan Seam

After knitting two little baby sweaters in the “top down” raglan design, I decided to try a couple variations. One way to practice a concept is to make doll clothes. The 18” dolls, like the American Girl Dolls and those like them are large enough to judge results, but small enough to work the project up quickly without too much material. Here is picture of the finished sweater and the pattern for making it.

This is the story of this pattern for a lacy cardigan for an 18” doll. My approach to many projects is like sighting in a gun. Try it, fix it, try it, fix it again.

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I had been using US 5 needles for the baby sweaters so I had a gauge for them using baby yarn. I really wanted to use worsted weight since I have so much of it so I measured the dolls and guessed at the gauge. If you are a regular reader you know that I am lazy and optimistic when it comes to gauge.

My plan was to cast on some stitches (40), knit some ribbing (K1P1 for 3 rows), use a single stitch as the raglan “seam”, increase before and after each seam with a YO stitch (to create holes in a lacy pattern), create front plackets (K4) at the start and end of each row, create buttonholes with YO (4 evenly spaced), and finish the body and sleeves with ribbing (K1P1 for 4 rows). Easy peasy, right?!

Here’s how I came up with 40 stitches to cast on:

Front Placket – 4

Front – 3

Seam – 1

Sleeve – 6

Seam – 1

Back – 10

Seam – 1

Sleeve – 6

Seam – 1

Front – 3

Front Placket – 4

I first guessed that the raglan region should be about 16 rows. That would give me 8 increases since increases are only done every other row on the right (knit) side. Each increase row adds 8 stitches, one before and one after each of the 4 seams. Half of those stitches are in the body and half are in the sleeves. That gave me a body of about 58 stitches and that seemed like a good starting point.

When the body was done and the sleeve stitches were still on their holding yarn, I tried it on the doll. Big moment.

It was passable. If I were in a hurry to give the sweater to someone I would have finished it, sewn on the buttons and sent it away. But I was really interested in perfecting the pattern so I didn’t even finish the sleeves. There were several things I didn’t like about this first attempt and set out to fix them.

  1. The worsted weight yarn on the small size 5 needles was so bulky that it filled in the spaces around the raglan seam and holes obliterating them visually. The lace didn’t show up.
  2. The sweater is generally just too big.
  3. The buttonholes were created in the front placket by K2, YO, K2tog. To space them evenly I tried to recreate this look working back across on a purl (WS) row. As you can see from the picture, I did not get the horizontal spacing right. Sometime I will work on that issue, but for now, all buttonholes should be created in the same direction, at the start of the knit (RS) rows.

There really was not choice but to switch to a lighter weight yarn. I guess the worsted weight yarns will just have to wait for a different project. I chose a Lion Brand  Wool-Ease sportweight yarn (5 oz = 435 yards) color 232 “Wood” and knit the exact same pattern with no changes. There was really no quick way to tell how much effect the lighter yarn would have on the sweater’s fit. So this was shot number 2.

The sweater was too small. I was starting to feel like Goldilocks. So I decided to extend the raglan seam 2 rows, extend the length of the body 4 rows and extend the length of the sleeves.

This third attempt was pretty close to the target. I think the sleeves are still a little short. Four to six more rows and they will be perfect.

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I like the pattern and I think the details in the raglan seam show up much better with the lighter weight yarn.

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Just for fun, I have included these two pdf documents to show how to make a pattern reader that acts as both instructions and a row counter.

Doll Cardigan Reader Version

Pattern Reader

Full Disclosure – This was not my idea!

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Print the instructions and trim them. Print the reader and use a sharp cutter to slice along the lines. Insert the instructions into the gap. As you can see, only one row at a time is visible. At the end of each row, slide the instructions up to the next line. Using this device, there is no need for a separate row counter. In this example I figured out exactly how many stitches were in each row and described what to do with them. You may think this is excessive in detail, but I’m sure some new knitters (or those who get disturbed often) will appreciate it.

I hope you enjoy the sweater pattern. Post a picture of your sweater in the comment section if you make one. I would enjoy seeing them.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

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Confetti Baby Sweater

I don’t like to have more than one project on needles at a time, but babies just won’t wait. So I set aside the Fair Isle Sampler Scarf that I have been working on and decided to knit this sweater for my niece whose baby is due soon.

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I used a free pattern I found online. I had already made this sweater in a marl grey for another family baby.

 

sweater patternTop Down Raglan Baby Sweater     Designed by Carole Barenys

I am very grateful to those who share instructions online. I used her newborn size but it turned out bigger, maybe 9 month.

 

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I used the same kind of Bernat Softee Baby yarn that I used last time, in a different color. The sweater is VERY soft and cuddly.

 

 

 

 

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The yarn I used this time is confetti color and turned out really cute.

Note the little buttonhole (at the left in the picture above) created by a YarnOver stitch followed by KnitTwoTogether.

Here some more pictures.

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I love the way this pattern uses two purl stitches to delineate the raglan seam. It make a little “ditch” that is very pretty.

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The cuffs and collar are knit on smaller needles than the rest of the sweater to make the ribbing nice.

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I used white buttons. I would have preferred pink, but the local fabric store seems to have a more limited selection every time I go there.

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The design is top down, so there are no seams. Last time I used rigid stitch holders to hold the sleeve stitches while I finished the body. The stitches in the underarm area seemed to get stretched out. So this time I use yarn to hold the stitches. It didn’t help. I still had to reweave the area. Next time I will do a little research and see if I can find out what I am doing wrong.

I hope she likes it. It is so much fun to knit for babies. I will drop the package in the mail today.

Now, back to my scarf.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.

 

 

Baby Sweater and Hat – Expanding My Repertoire

 

Lately it seems I have been knitting a lot of easy hats, scarves, shawls, and cowls. They are fun and relaxing, but I have decided to try some new things. I have been trying to select projects that force me to practice new or more complicated techniques.

My nephew and his wife are expecting a baby soon so I decided to knit a sweater and hat. This Bernat Softee Baby yarn in grey marl color was hard to resist.

Those of you who are frequent readers know that I am rather lazy and over confident when it comes to gauge, so I wasn’t surprised when the sweater turned out a little bigger than expected. Nice that the baby can grow into it. I used a free pattern:

sweater pattern

 

Top Down Raglan Baby Sweater     Designed by Carole Barenys

I am very grateful to those who share instructions online. I used her newborn size but it turned out bigger, maybe 9 month.

For the hat  I used measurements (again, thanks to those of your who share your knowledge) to decide dimensions, used the same size needles and the same yarn as the sweater, so I already knew the gauge. The hat turned out newborn size. I thought about knitting a new sweater or a new hat so they would be matching size but in the end I just sent them both. Who can guess what size babies will wear in each season?

So here are the sweater and hat with a list of the new techniques I used to make each.

sweater with wordshat with words

I learned quite a bit with these items. I have started a new sweater for my niece’s expected baby. I am adjusting the size a bit. But I don’t want to tell too much because I want her to be surprised.

As always, your polite and helpful comments are welcome.