How To · Knitting pattern · Tutorial

Squidlet Newborn Sweater · Free Knitting Pattern

Knitting garments is one of my favourite things to do, but I sometimes get a bit put off by the hard work invoved! Aside from the actual time-consuming knitting part, working out the sizing and paying special attention to stitch count, gauge and all that jazz can really make me stress out. I told you I was a lazy knitter! However, when my bestie told me she was pregnant, I just new that I had to make something extra-special and unique, and the pattern for the Squidlet Newborn Sweater was born!

What I love most about this sweater – apart from it being cute and the colour palette – is that it’s very simple to knit, takes very little time and is wonderful for newbie knitters who want to expand their skills quickly. Plus it fits babies from newborn all the way up to six months, so it’ll last and last. What’s not to love? Feel free to adapt this pattern if you’re a more advanced knitter – you can leave out the stripes if you wish or make it longer at the body section – but this pattern will give you all the basics you need.

All measurements are approximate and will depend on your tension, but feel free to knit as many rounds as you like on the body section for a longer, more relaxed look. Why not make it into a sweater dress?

Above are all the measurements you need. It’s always a good idea to keep a tape measure with you (or a measuring app) to keep track of lengths and widths as you go. Nobody wants to unravel tentacle-like sleeves that you’ve got carried away knitting whilst bingeing on a series!

You will need:

  • 100g of white DK/Worsted/8 ply weight yarn, 15-20g each of four other DK weight yarns in different colours. I used a mixture of wool/acrylic and cotton/acrylic blend yarns for the stripes and a 100% acrylic yarn for the white sections. I recommend using 100% wool or a wool blend yarn for this project, only using cotton if it is blended with acrylic or wool.
  • A pair of 3.5mm & 5.00mm 16″ circular needles, a pair of 3.00mm & 4.00mm 9″ circular needles (or a long circular needle for the magic loop method or DPNs. Instructions are given for working with 9″ needles).
  • Four stitch markers, one in a different design or colour to indicate the beginning of the round.
  • A tape measure, scissors, a yarn needle, two 30cm scraps of waste yarn (the thinner the better).

Gauge: 19 stitches, 27 rounds to 10cm square.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced Beginner (See below for skills needed).

You will need to know:

The long-tail and ‘thumb’ cast on, Cast/bind off, simple Fair Isle (knitting with two colours), knit stitch, purl stitch, slipping stitches purlwise, kfb (knit front and back) increase, using circular needles, picking up stitches, changing colours, the invisible join in the round. It’s also a good idea to know how to steam block (if using acrylic yarn) or wet block for natural fibres.

Notes:

If you are not comfortable knitting Fair Isle, you don’t have to! Simply change colours the regular way instead of using the technique I have used. The result will be almost identical.

As this pattern uses more than one colour, the different colours are referred to as colour one (white), colour two (yellow), colour three (light pink), colour four (dark pink), and colour five (blue/green). These colours may differ on your project depending on the shades you have chosen, so it’s worth making a note of your colours before you start. This can avoid mess ups!

Remember it’s always better to cast on and bind off loosely. If you are a particularly tight knitter, consider casting on your stitches onto a needle one size bigger (so a 4.5mm needle in this case) and then slip the stitches onto the 3.5mm afterwards.

You don’t have block a finished sweater, but it makes it look 200x better. I always recommend doing it to add a great, neat finish that evens your stitches out. Steam blocking is recommended for man-made fibres, but remember to hold your iron at least 20cm away from the garment to avoid melting.

Method:

  • Cast on 55 stitches on the 3.5mm needles. Join using the invisible join method, leaving 54 stitches. Place a marker to indicate the beginning of your round.
  • knit one, purl one (1×1 rib) for four rounds, or for 2cm. This is the collar of your sweater.
  • Change to the 5.00mm needles by slipping all stitches purlwise.
  • Knit four rounds plain (knit every stitch around).

Now we’re going to place the markers that will indicate where we need to increase and form the raglan part of the sweater. Remember to use markers that are the same colour or style and different from your beginning of round marker.

  • From the beginning of the round, knit 11, place marker, knit 16, place marker, knit 11, place marker, knit 16 to end of round.
  • Change to colour two by knitting one stitch in colour one, one stitch colour two.

The next step will be known as your increase round (in bold). It will be referred to as your increase round from now on, so follow this step whenever you see ‘increase round’ in the pattern.

  • From beginning of round, kfb (knit into front and back of stitch), knit until two stitches before raglan marker, kfb, knit one, slip marker, kfb*, repeating this until your reach the beginning of round marker, This pattern will form your raglan increases. Knit one round plain.
  • Work an increase round followed by a plain knit round three times (six rounds).
  • Change to colour three by knitting one stitch in colour two, one stitch in colour three.
    Work an increase round followed by a plain knit round three times (six rounds).
    Change to colour four by knitting one stitch in colour three, one stitch in colour four.
    Work an increase round followed by a plain knit round three times (six rounds).
    Change to colour three by knitting one stitch in colour four, one stitch in colour five.
    Work an increase round followed by a plain knit round three times (six rounds).
    Change back to colour one by knitting one stitch in colour five, one stitch in colour one
  • You are now back to colour one and have worked 24 increase/raglan rounds. You should have 142 stitches on your needles, working out as 38 stitches on the body sections (front and back) and 33 stitches on the sleeve sections. Your raglan increases should measure approximately 11cm. If it doesn’t, no worries! Just work another round or so of increases separated by a plain knit round until it does. If your increases measure a bit more than 12cm that’s also fine, it’ll just mean that there will be a little extra growing room around the sleeves and that’s a good thing.

Now comes the trickiest bit: separating the sleeves. Here we go…

From the beginning of the round, slip the first 33 sleeve stitches onto scrap yarn and tie a knot. Cast on five stitches using the thumb method. Remove the raglan markers as you go, but keep the beginning of round marker in place. Knit across the next 38 body stitches, slip the next 33 sleeve stitches onto scrap yarn as before and tie a knot. Cast on five stitches and knit across the remaining 38 body stitches as you did previously. You should now be at the beginning of the round and have successfully separated the sleeves. Have a glass of wine at this point!

Now lets work the body section…

  • Knit every round plain (knit every stitch for 33 rounds. We’ve almost finished the body – woo!
  • Change back to your 3.5mm needles and knit one, purl one for five rounds. This is the hem.
  • Change back to the 5.00 mm needles by slipping every stitch purlwise (like we did at the collar) and bind/cast off loosely. Using a larger needle means that the hem will be slightly stretchier and less tight, great for slipping on and off a baby’s wriggling body!

We need to knit the sleeves now, so grab your 9″ 4.00mm needles and we shall carry on.

  • Slip all the 38 stitches held on the scrap yarn onto your 9″ needles (or onto longer needkes for magic loop, or DPNs) and knit across all the stitches.
  • When you reach the underarm section, pick up three stitches, place a stitch marker, pick up two stitches. You have no picked up and added the five stitches you cast on earlier. Knit until your sleeve measures 23cm from cast on edge (top of collar). Slip all stitches onto your 3.00mm 9″ needle and knit one, purl one every stitch for five rounds. Slip all stitches onto your 4.00mm 9″ needle once again and bind off.

Repeat the above section for the second sleeve.

To finish, sew up any holes on the underarm area of the sweater – don’t worry, this is normal when knitting raglan sweaters – and weave in all ends carefully and securely. I always follow this game-changing guide by Purlsoho when weaving in my ends.

And that’s your sweater. You’ve done it! Now to make 20 more of them…

I really hope you enjoyed this wordy pattern and found it useful! Don’t forget to tag me @emmaknitty of Instagram if you tried this sweater, and use the hashtag #squidletsweater to share your work.

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