Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sheep Yoke Baby Cardigan Pattern

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.
After you have completed row 34 of the chart (206 st), divide for the sleeves as follows:
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 bouclĂ© 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?


Jodi said...

Thank you so much for sharing your pattern! It's absolutely darling.

Anonymous said...

*jumps up and down*
I can't wait to knit this!!!
Thank you thank you for sharing!!!

Criosa said...

that is too cute!

Unknown said...

This is *so* adorable! My husband and I are trying for our first baby, and I've told myself that I'll not jinx it by starting any baby projects, but this pattern is really testing my will-power. Thanks so much for sharing it!

Knitcrazy said...

Oh That sweater is just Too Cute!!
Thanks so much for sharing your pattern.. Seems thats what I will be knitting for a long time.. Baby Sweaters..

I am also in Ravelry as

Anonymous said...

In looking at the sheep yoke cardigan, i can't seem to find what to do after the ribbing and before the yoke. am i reading this wrong? thanks.

vanessa said...

thanks so much for such an adorable baby sweater!

Jen said...

Hi Deb --

After the ribbing, you work one row of purl, which is marked on the chart as the "setup row." The chart basically just starts right after the ribbing.

Mandy Petersen said...

I just saw this on Ravelry!! I am ssoooooo adding this to my queue!! I love it. And my baby (who is in the making) should love it, too, given that it will be a knitter's baby, right?? :)

MoniqueB. said...

My friend from is knitting it currently: it's an amazing and gorgeous pattern!
I've got a nephew coming up, so I'll probably knit it soon.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the chart either Deb. What do you do when you get to the black blocks anyone ??

Jen said...

Jackie, the black sections are places where there are no stitches (yet -- as you increase the yoke, more stitches will be created). Just skip over them as if they weren't there at all.

Anonymous said...

Where and how many do I increase though ?, i've not used a chart like that before.

Jen said...

It's built into the chart -- any time the colored sections step out into the black sections, you increase that round by that number, in each repeat of the wedge. So for example in rows 1, 5, and 7 you knit the first eight stitches, increase by two in each of the four repeats of the first wedge, knit the middle six stitches, increase by two in each of the four repeats of the second wedge, and knit the last eight stitches, for a total of 16 stitches added. In row 13 you increase by 4 in each wedge repeat. Within these wedges it doesn't matter where you increase -- in fact you should do it in random places so that your increases do not line up on top of one another.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou, it all makes sense now !! Sorry i've not been knitting for long so i'm new to all this.

Anonymous said...

Very beautiful this jacket. Though not read the language, I will try to make the chart.

Unknown said...

i LOVE this sweater! i can't wait to get started on it. Thanks so much for sharing the pattern. Is there any chance you are working a version with toddler sizes?

Jen said...

Thanks, Michelle! I don't have any plans to adapt it to any bigger sizes, but it wouldn't be hard to do -- there are lots of kids' raglan sweater patterns available for free on the internet, and there has to be at least one that's knit top-down. It'd be totally easy just to smack this yoke onto a top-down toddler sweater pattern (a circular yoke like this and a raglan yoke are exactly the same, except that the stitches in a circular yoke are not lined up). Or smack it onto a bottom-up one -- just flip the chart upside down!

Maria said...

This is absolutely the cutest thing in the world. I love you.

Anonymous said...

I found this on ravelry and have just cast on. Thank you so much sharing this - it is absolutely adorable!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jen,

I have just started your sheep yoke cardigan. I think it looks amazing but i seem to be stuck on the chart. I am not sure where or how i should be doing the increases. I read your previous comment to Jackie P and tried to follow it. I have knit the first 8 st and then tried to do the increases by knitting the next 8 st after the black wedge four times increasing by 2 each time. But then i seem to run out of sts on my other needle as i had only 70 CO to start with.

Any help would be much appreciated.



Northern Ireland.

Jen said...

Hi Stephanie -- I wonder if you are reading the chart as if you have already done the increases before you do them, if that makes sense -- each "step" represents basically what you have on the needles *after* you have worked the increases. So the first increase row (when you switch from the MC to blue) will have eight stitches in each "wedge," but only after you have worked the two increases in each wedge to get from the MC row to the blue row. There are only six tan stitches in that first line of the chart -- so you should be spacing two increases out in those six stitches, eight times. The math on that should work out (6x8=48, +8 for each button band=64, +6 for center=70. I hope that helps!

As you are going along, remember that it really doesn't matter where in each section you place your increases, because you want them pretty randomly spaced anyway for a circular yoke.

Anonymous said...

Hi again Jen,
Thanks so much for your advice- i am now half way through it and it looks like its coming together nicely.

All the best

Friend said...

Your help please.
After the ribbing and 2 rows of color stripe, directions indicate to start the chart right away. Then, when do I knit the main color section before the yoke? Do I start the increases right away while knitting the main color?

Thanks for the lovely pattern and your help.

Jen said...

Hi Friend --

This sweater is a top-down pattern -- so you knit the main body section after you finish the yoke.

maya | springtree road said...

this is the cutest baby sweater i've ever seen in my life! i'm nowhere near this advanced of a knitter yet - but now i've got something great to shoot for!

Becky S said...

can i ask why the sheep are on a separate chart? do i go back and do that after?

Jen said...

Hi Becky --

Yes, you add the legs and faces afterward using duplicate stitch. That's a lot easier than trying to work with three colors in a row or strand the black yarn behind like 18 stitches at a time.

TStone said...

Definitely my next Baby Sweater!
Thanks for the pattern.

Anonymous said...

Can someone please tell me how to determine the number of increases on each row? I've read the other explanations, but I'm not getting it. I understand that the increases are placed randomly, but I just don't get this chart.

Lisa said...

This pattern is absolutely adorable. Thanks for posting it.

Jen said...

Charlene, if you look closely at the chart, you'll see in row 1, for example, there are two more stitches charted than there were in the previous row (the setup row), in every repeating sheep section. So that means that you knit the first eight stitches, skip over the black part that means "no stitches," then increase by two stitches somewhere in the next section, repeat that 3 more times, knit the middle 6 stitches, then increase by two stitches in the next charted section, repeat that section 3 more times, then knit the last eight stitches. When you are done with that row, it will look like what is charted there for row 1. Every time the colored section "steps" into the black section, you have to increase by that number of stitches that "stepped" into the black, each time you repeat that part of the chart.

Jen said...

P.S. It might make it easier to place markers basically where the red lines are in the chart, so that you can easily see where each section begins and ends. You'd need 11 markers total.

Anonymous said...

I really love this pattern as I was not able to find many cute free patterns that did not have raglan sleeves and were worked in the round. What I would really appreciate is if the pattern actually told you when to increase. If the size only changes with the needle, then that would make it much easier to follow. So - if anyone out there has the knowledge and the patience to actually chart the increases that would be great! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I finally figured it out! I also realized that the sheep are knit right into the sweater! Cute!! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone please better explain how to do this pattern with the flowers? I know you are not supposed to repeat the bracketed section exactly, instead keep repeating the 8 stitch flower pattern but should I still only have 7 stitches between each flower or 9 because I am increasing 2 stitches in each repeat in that row??

I just had to pull out like 2 hours worth of knitting because I got so confused *cry cry*

If I can't figure it out I may just make it without the flowers because they are so confusing, or maybe I could just duplicate stitch them in?


Jen said...

Hi Shannon -- In the first row of the flowers, you should increase two stitches in each section, and at the same time, you should be alternating one pink stitch with seven blue stitches. So the easiest place to put your two increases in each section would probably be in the blue section between each flower.

You know, one thing you could easily do is to work the first row of the flowers (the one with the increases) with only blue, then work the next one with blue and pink (which is a purl row. It would be: p2blue, *p3pink, p2blue, p1pink, p2blue, repeat from * to 5 st. before end of row, end p3pink, p1blue) Then you could go back later and just duplicate-stitch the one stitch at the top of every 3-stitch flower "petal" section. That would keep you from having to increase and work the color pattern in the same row.

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

One more note -- as I said in another post, when you are increasing in each section, what is charted is what the section looks like *after* you have worked the increases. So you should definitely only have 7 stitches between each flower in the first row of flower pattern. So imagine you are working just what is charted for the first "wedge" of the flower repeat. Starting at the beginning of that row you might do the following:

k2blue, k1pink, k5blue [here is where the red line is] k2blue, k1pink, k2blue, M1, k1blue, M1, k2blue, k1pink...

and etc to the end of the row.

Shannon said...

Thanks for your help! What also helped me was using stitch markers to block off each section so I could see where the repeats were.

Now my sheep yoke baby cardigan is back on track!

Emily said...

Thank you so much for this pattern. I am knitting one for my friend's niece/nephew (to be born on saturday!) I've knitted the girl version, although they think they may have a boy, but i think that one is so lovely with the flowers.

This was the first time i knitted a yoke cardigan and it was such a joy! I was so excited to see how it progressed - and so clever how you suddenly have arm holes! I managed to convert the pattern for one for me (in fact used the same pattern, but chunkier wool and it came out perfectly!!)

I have a blog myself (i write it, but i don't know anyone reads it!) and was wondering if it would be okay to use a picture and mention you in it?


Jen said...

Hi Emilia,
Thanks for your kind feedback! Of course you can post about your sweater, and use any pictures you want of your own work. Were you wanting to post my picture of the sweater?


Emily said...

Dear Jen,
That is grand. Thank you. I just wanted to put in a link to your page - but wanted to make sure you knew my plan and that it was okay. It is not so well established yet, but it is in the spirit of knitting (and other textile based endeavours!)so in-keeping with you.

I'll send you a link when i've mangaged to take a successful picture of mine. I am pleased with it, although my fairisle always ends up a bit tight (needs practice i think!) It has been a very educational experience though. And knitting small things for small people is so much fun!

Emily said...

Hello again -
it took me longer than i thought to finish as i got sidetracked knitting one for myself :)
Here is the finished result though incase you would like to have a look:

I haven't given it to baby yet, but i think she's going to be so smart and warm in it.
Thank you again for your lovely pattern.

Emilia. xxxx

Susan said...

This is one of the cutest baby sweaters that I have EVER seen! Thank you so much! The different variations of sheep... ooo so cute! :)

Unknown said...

Love the pattern, could you please tell me if you have the pattern for the matching booties as shown in the pictures?
Thank you

Unknown said...

Love the pattern. Could you please tell me if you have the pattern for the matching booties as shown in the pictures?
Thank you

Unknown said...

Love the pattern. Could you please tell me if you have the pattern for the matching booties as shown in the pictures.
Thank you

Jen said...

Hi Mandi,
No, I don't have a pattern. I used one of the free ones available through Ravelry.

Valerie said...

I am making this sweater for the 3rd time I just think it is so cute.
One problem I am running into is making sure my stranded yarns are not pulled too tight as that causes a lot of puckering across the yoke. with one sweater I decided to intarsia knit the sheep and that helped with the puckering but was a wild and crazy mess of yarn and ends and but once cleaned up looked good. My latest sweater I decided to strand the colors but it was so puckered I pulled it out and redid it very very loose better but not great. how often do you catch the other color yarn behind as you go. I tried to do it every 4 or 5 stitches but noticed that you can see the green yarn behind the sheep. Also, I have not mastered the duplicate stitch so I just satin stitched the legs and head on the sheep and it looks nice as well. Jen, please advise on how to keep the sweater from puckering with all the increases and stranding? Thanks,Valerie from Virginia

Anonymous said...

I have a really dumb question, but I am new to knitting....I have completed the yoke (love it!) and knitted the 29 stitches, then placed the 44 stitches on a holder,,,,and now I am stuck! I don't know what to do ! lol. Am I supposed to just continue knitting the next stitches without cutting the yarn? Do I pull it tight so the separated stitches meet? Omg i don't know how to do this! any help is so appreciated!

Jen said...

Hi anonymous --
Yes, you pull tight, without breaking the yarn, so that the part you just knit before the stitch holder meets the part you are about to knit. That's why I often recommend putting the sleeve stitches on a piece of waste yarn rather than a stiff stitch holder, so that they can curve and allow you to make the stitches meet more easily. When you get to the second set of stitches to put on a holder, you do the same thing -- you'll see how those parts you put on a holder become "loops" that will be the arms later on.

Anonymous said...

wow, thank you so much for your quick response! I am so in love with this sweater that I checked for a response even before my morning coffee! And even though I knew I was not ready for this sweater I did it anyway and heck, it is actually looking good!I LOVE your site, you are an amazing knitter! thanks again!

Anonymous said...

This is my first sweater & first fair isle (stranded knitting). Since you use stranded knitting for the sheep, I wanted to ask about the length of the floats between sheep. Will they be a problem? Is there a way to tack them down, or carry the float so it is secure?

Is there a neater way to do the sheep? I'm at a standstill until I figure out what I am going to do about the long floats.

Such an adorable pattern - thank you!


sandy said...

Thank you for the pattern, it is just what my grand-daughter wanted. I shall make it a bit bigger because she's not a baby any more!

Anonymous said...

What increase stitch do you suggest?

Anonymous said...

Hi, what are size 5 needles? Does it mean 5mm?


Anonymous said...

I love your baby sheep cardigan! But Im very confused with what im suppose to do with the skipped stitches. Am I suppose to bind them off or slowly work them back in to the pattern? I want to knit this for my baby so bad but Im just stuck on those stitches. thanks :)

Jen said...

Those black squares on the chart represent stitches that are not on your needles yet. As you make increases in the increase rounds, you will have fewer and fewer black squares. You should treat them as if they are not there at all -- just skip from the last charted stitch in a row to the next one after the black area.