3/29/08 note: this pattern is also available as a free PDF from Ravelry. Click here to download it if you'd rather have it in that format!
4/8/10: cliquez ici pour la version française de ce patron (PDF), traduit par Louise Robert pour Biscotte & Cie.
Here is the pattern for my sheep-yoke baby cardigan, which was inspired by a sweater "recipe" in Gibson-Roberts and Robson's Knitting in the Old Way. My version has a much simplified yoke pattern and is sized for a baby.
Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan
General pattern note: as with my other patterns, I have given directions for two sizes using different size needles. Doing so means that the stitch counts and fair isle patterns can stay the same across sweater sizes. Make sure you choose the size needle that will give you the proper gauge! Since babies grow so fast, however, it's really not particularly important to make a sweater in an exact size.
Size: 6-9 months or 9-12 months
Yarn: DK weight superwash wool (I used Knitpicks Swish DK) in tan (220-250 yards); blue, green and cream (60-90 yards); black (less than 20 yards); for girl's version, pink (less than 60 yards).
Needles: size 5 (smaller size), size 6 (larger size) straigh or circular needles.
Gauge: 6 stitches and 9 rows = 1 inch (smaller needles); 5.5 stitches and 8 rows = 1 inch (larger needles)
Shown in size 9-12 months.
With tan yarn (MC), CO 70 stitches. Work 7 rows of k2, p2 rib. Work 1 row of purl. Break yarn and join blue.
Begin working Sheep Yoke Chart. The row marked "setup row" is the purl row you have just worked. Chart guidelines:
- Be sure to repeat each bracketed section four times as you work across the rows, and be sure also to space increases across each section without lining them up vertically -- lining increases up along the red "fault lines" of the pattern will result in ugly and obvious increase "seams." You can pretty much put the increases wherever you want in each section -- some knitters have complained that they have to do math to get the increases evenly spaced, but you don't have to -- if you just make sure that you work the right number of increases anywhere you feel like it in each section, they'll end up spaced pretty evenly across the yoke. Seriously!
- The black wedges on the chart indicate "no stitches." Just jump across these areas to the next stitch in the row.
- Only work the pink flowers if you are making the girl's version. For the boy's version, just work these two rows in blue.
- For the flower pattern ONLY, do not repeat each bracketed section exactly as pictured. Rather, keep the eight-stitch repeat of the flowers continuous across these two rows. You will also need to work in the required increases as you do so, so be careful!
- For the rest of the chart, you can work the repeats exactly as pictured.
- If you are making the boy's version, use blue yarn for the checkerboard pattern. If you are making the girl's version, use pink yarn. I have shown both on the chart for a visual aid.
K29, place 44 st. on a holder or piece of scrap yarn, k60, place 44 st. on a holder or piece of scrap yarn, k29.
Work straight in stockinette with MC until piece measures 10.5" [12.5"]. Then, work 2 rows with blue (boy's version) or pink (girl's version). Work one more row with MC, then work 7 rows k2, p2 rib and BO.
With black yarn, duplicate-stitch heads and legs to sheep as charted in the Duplicate Stitch Chart (sheep should be facing toward the button band on each side). Use blue yarn to make french-knot eyes for the forward-facing sheep in the center back.
Return stitches from one arm to needles and join MC. Work 9 rows stockinette. In the next row, decrease by one stitch at each edge. Repeat these ten rows two more times (38 st). Work 7 more rows, then join pink or blue and work two rows with this color, then work 1 more row with MC. Work 7 rows k2, p2 rib and BO. Repeat with other arm.
With MC, pick up 3 stitches for every 4 rows along the right front edge. Work 8 rows k2, p2 rib and BO. Check out your button band and decide how many buttons you would like and where you would like to put them. Pick up the same number of stitches along the left front edge. Work 3 rows k2, p2 rib, then work a row of buttonholes as follows: work 4 stitches in rib, *YO, k2tog, work in rib to place you'd like the next buttonhole, rep. from * until 6 stitches from end, k2tog, YO, work 4 stitches in rib. Work 4 more rows of k2, p2 rib and BO.
Seam arms, weave in ends, and block. Sew buttons to button band to match buttonholes.
Notes and suggestions for modifying:
- I stranded my sheep, but you may find it easier to use intarsia.
- If you are averse to knitting it flat, you can certainly feel free to knit in the round and steek. If you’re using superwash wool, the best way to reinforce would be with a sewing machine.
- If you are a little nervous about the garter stitch sheep, there is no reason why you could not knit them in stockinette. This will only affect the texture detail. If you want to try other ways of adding texture, you could try bouclé yarn or something fuzzy like angora. If you wanted lots of texture, you could add some bobbles! I’ve also fantasized about making one – or all – of the sheep black (doesn’t every flock need a black sheep?