Free pattern: Green Zebra baby sweater
I made the prototype for this sweater for my younger niece. I was pressed for time and didn’t have a chance to shop for new yarn, so I dug into my stash and used up leftovers. Of course, I didn’t have enough of any one kind of wool to create a solid-colored sweater, so this stripey creation was born.
The body of the sweater is knit seamlessly in one piece, bottom up, using intarsia to create the knitted-in buttonband. Cutting the yarn for each color change would have produced far too many ends for me to want to weave, so I carried the yarn not in use up the edge of the work, tucking it behind the working yarn. The sleeves are knit on DPNs in the round. The sleeves are then joined to the body and a circular yoke is knitted using the principles established by Elizabeth Zimmerman. Once the knitting is done, you’re almost finished – just the underarm seams to close and a few ends to weave in. Add the buttons, and you’re all done.
Of course, you can make variations of this sweater. Ignore the intarsia and striping and knit it all a solid color. Or knit the body all one color with a contrasting buttonband and collar. Or go crazy and make a solid buttonband with more than two colors of stripes for the body. Do whatever you feel like and have fun!
Copyright: This design is mine, and while you’re welcome to use it to knit from, you may NOT republish it, sell it, or give it to a friend. If someone wants the pattern, send them to this site and they can have it for free. You may not distribute my intarsia and yarn-carrying tutorials, claim them as your own, republish them, give them away, or use them to teach a class without my explicit permission. You may, however, link the pattern and tutorials on your blog and send people to this site.
Please do not sell the sweaters knit from this pattern without contacting me and asking me for permission first.
As always, don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions or problems, or, better yet, to show me the finished sweater!
To fit baby: 3 (6, 12, 18, 24) months old
With chest circumference: 16 (17, 18, 19, 20) inches/ 48 (50, 53, 55, 58)cm
Actual finished garment circumference: 19 (20, 21, 22, 23) inches/ 55 (58, 60, 63, 65) cm
-200 (250, 250, 300, 300) yards of worsted weight yarn in color A
-200 (250, 250, 300, 300) yards of worsted weight yarn in color B
-Size US8/5mm circular needle (you won’t be knitting in the round for this, but a circular needle accommodates the stitches better) or needle needed to achieve gauge
-Set of 4 or 5 size US8/5mm DPNs or needle needed to achieve gauge
-7 (7, 8, 9, 9) buttons, up to ½ inch diameter
-Scrap yarn or stitch holders
Both sweaters were made using leftover balls of yarn, so I wasn’t sure of the exact yardage I used. Using the yardage guidelines given here, you should have more than enough yarn to complete your project, and you can make a cute matching hat with the leftovers!
Green sample made to fit 18 months, using Swish Superwash Worsted in Dublin (dark green) and Paton’s Classic Merino in Leaf (light green). Blue sample made in Knitpicks Wool of the Andes in Blue Bonnet (darker blue) and Knitpicks Merino Style in Frost (aqua).
18 stitches and 25.5 rows = 4 inches
My intarsia tutorial
How to carry yarn.
Techknitter's jogless join tutorial
With color A, CO 90 (94, 100, 106, 112).
Work seed stitch bottom band:
Row 1: (k1, p1) to end of row
Row 2: (p1, k1) to end of row
Row 3: k1, p1, yo, p2tog, (k1,p1) to end of row -- buttonhole made
Row 4: as row 2
Begin striping (You will continue to work a buttonhole every 12 (12, 12, 14, 14) rows, as above):
Row 5: With color A, k1, p1, k1, p1. Switch to color B and k to last 4 stitches. Switch to separate ball of color A and k1, p1, k1, p1. Turn
Row 6: With color A, p1, k1, p1, k1. Switch to color B, remembering to twist the strands (see my intarsia instructions here). P to last 4 stitches. Switch to color A, twisting the strands, and p1, k1, p1, k1.
Rows 7, 9, 11: repeat row 5
Rows 8, 10, 12: repeat row 6
Now you will work a stripe of color A while carrying color B along the wrong side of the fabric along the right-side buttonband (see illustration below).
Row 13: with color A, k1, p1, k1, p1, k to last 4 stitches. Switch to the second ball of color A, twisting the strands, and k1, p1, k1, p1.
Row 14: with second ball of color A, k1, p1, k1, p1. Switch to first ball of color A and p to last 4 stitches, then k1, p1, k1, p1
Rows 15, 17, 19: repeat row 13
Rows 16, 18, 20: repeat row 14
Repeat rows 5-12, then 13-20 (carrying color B as before) until the piece measures 7 (8, 8.5, 9, 9.5) inches from cast-on edge. Place all stitches on holder or spare needle and set aside.
Sleeves are worked on DPNs in the round, with the same striping pattern. Make two sleeves the same way.
CO 34 (36, 38, 40, 42) in color A
Distribute somewhat evenly to 3 DPNs (you’re welcome to use a set of 5 DPNs if you prefer, of course). Join stitches, being careful not to twist.
Round 1 and 3: (k1, p1) to end of round
Round 2 and 4: (p1, k2) to end of round
Switch to color B and knit 8 rounds, carrying color A up the back as you did for the body.
Please refer to Technitter’s excellent jogless join instructions to make the color changes as smooth as possible.
Switch to color A and knit 8 rounds, carrying color B up the back as before.
Continue striping until sleeve measures the same as the body from the CO edge. Make sure you end the sleeves on the same row of the same color stripe as you ended the body.
When finished knitting, place the last 5 (5, 5, 5, 6) stitches and the first 4 (4, 4, 5, 5) stitches of each sleeve onto scrap yarn. Place the rest of the stitches onto spare needles, a holder, or a separate piece of scrap yarn.
Joining the sleeves onto the body:
On the body, with right side facing, work across 20 (21, 23, 23, 25) stitches in pattern as set (remember to work the seed stitch buttonband in the appropriate color). Use the stripe color that comes next in the sequence (e.g., if you’ve just finished all 8 rows of striping in color A, you will use color B to work across the stitches).
Place the next 9 (9, 9, 10, 11) stitches on scrap yarn.
Work across the 25 (27, 29, 30, 31) remaining stitches of the first sleeve.
Work the next 32 (34, 36, 40, 40) stitches across the back.
Place the next 9 (9,9, 10, 11) body stitches onto scrap yarn.
Work across the 25 (27, 29, 30, 21) stitches of the second sleeve and across the 20 (21, 23, 23, 25) remaining stitches of the body.
122 (130, 140, 146, 152) stitches on needles.
The sleeves and body are now joined.
Work in pattern as set for 2.5 (2.5, 2.5, 2.5, 2.75, 3) inches. Remember to continue twisting your yarns when working intarsia and to knit button holes!
Shaping the yoke:
Next row: k1,p1,k1,p1, (k1, k2tog) to the last 4 (6, 4, 4, 4) stitches, k 0(2, 0, 0, 0), k1, p1, k1, p1. 84 (90, 96, 100, 104) stitches remaining.
Work 6 (6, 8, 8, 10, 10) rows as set.
Next row: k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 (1, 1, 2, 0), (k1, k2tog) to last 4 stitches, k1, p1, k1, p1. 59 (63, 67, 70, 72) stitches remaining.
Work next 6 (6, 8, 8, 10, 10) rows as set
Next row: k1, p1, k1, p1, (k2, k2tog) to last 7 (7, 7, 6, 4) stitches, k3(3, 3, 2, 0), k1, p1, k1, p1. 47 (50, 53, 55, 56) stitches remaining.
Work 1 row as set.
If you are on the 2nd or 6th row of a stripe color, work two more rows in that color before proceeding to the collar.
If you are on the 4th or 8th row of a stripe color, proceed straight to the collar.
in color A, work 2 rows seed stitch.
Row 3: k1, p1, yo, p2tog, seed stitch to end of row.
Row 4: work in seed stitch.
Bind off in seed stitch.
Remove underarm stitches from scrap yarn and place on DPNs. Graft together using kitchener’s stitch. There may be loose stitches at the edges of each set of underarm stitches; you can tighten those as you weave in the ends.
Weave in all ends.
Sew on buttons.
Wash and block if desired. If making this for a young baby, use baby shampoo to wash to avoid irritating the little recipient’s delicate skin.
Place on adorable baby and enjoy.