Dove Knits

Thursday, April 24, 2008

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
-Darning needle
-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

Handy links:

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.

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At 9:34 AM, Blogger Jodi said...

Thanks for posting it! It's super cute and I'm looking forward to knitting one up.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Sourire11 said...

So cute! Thanks for sharing the pattern!

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Great pattern! I'm a sucker for 1-piece construction. I don't have a baby to knit for at the moment, but I'll keep it in mind when the opportunity arises!

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the pattern. The sweater if super cute.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

That really is adorable! Thanks for sharing the pattern!

At 12:47 AM, Blogger The A.D.D. Knitter said...

Hip hip hooray! And thanks for the tutorial links as are such a gem!

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Jennie said...

Fantastic pattern! :) I'm nowhere near ready to make actual garments, so I can only admire your work. :)

At 8:51 PM, Blogger craftivore said...

Holy cow, that is cute. I thought you were fishing for baby garment patterns and then you go ahead and create your own. You go girl!

At 6:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this! I'll definitely have to make a few for my little nephews! Thanks for sharing!

At 9:27 AM, Blogger KR said...

Its just lovely!! :)


At 10:03 AM, Blogger Philigry said...

oh, thank you for taking the time to posast this! i love sweaters knit in one piece! i just may have to try this!

At 3:08 PM, Blogger Hayley said...

wow i have a blanket that i knitted up a while ago and it looks just like this

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Knitcrazy said...

LOve it !!!!

Thanks for posting the directions....I am definately going to make some of these!!!

At 5:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for a nice pattern, I have tried this in Blue and White stripes for my two months baby and this looks marvelous. Thanks again.

At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for so generously suppling a pattern. I am in Italy, and have restarted after nearly 30 years of not knitting, because my daughter is pregnant and has asked for handknits. Yours is my second project. Thanks agains!!

At 4:18 AM, Anonymous Anna said...

Thanks for sharing the pattern!
It is very beautiful.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Carmen said...

I made two of these sweaters and they are ADORABLE!!!!! Thank you so much for the pattern!

At 8:13 PM, Blogger Amy Hodgman said...

I am making the pattern for the 6 month old size...and I found that when I cast on the number of stitches for the sleeves they were big enough for me (an adult) to wear. So I just made up a number to cast on that seemed more normal....did this happen to anyone else?

At 11:46 PM, Anonymous Nancy said...

Thank you so much for generously allowing me to use this pattern. I'm working on the sleeves now and it looks adorable. I also had difficulty with the amount of stitches cast on for the sleeves. Mine started out too large also. I am working on the 6 month size and I had to reduce the cast on amount from 36 to 26 stitches. I love it, thank you again! Nancy

At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a lovely looking sweater. But I can't seem to make it look like that from the pattern!

I'm having the same problem with the arms. They're just ENORMOUS!

I'm also completely confused by the instructions in the Yoke section. If I do k1 p1 k1 p1 k1 k2tog, I end up with a lot more than 84 stitches. What am I doing wrong?!

At 10:44 AM, Blogger anna said...

@ Amy Hodgman, Yes, I knit the 3 month size and the whole thing seems really large - like for a 6 month to a year old. I did think the arms seemed wide, but in the picture it looks like they are wide so I figured it was OK. It's cute and well proportioned, but huge!

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Viagra said...

Very cute sweater!

At 1:20 AM, Anonymous hotel in downtown louisville ky said...

I also like some of the comments too. This has been a good help. Thanks for sharing such an article where education of people matters the most.

At 7:07 PM, Anonymous Carol said...

Have been looking for days for your pattern! Wanted stripes for the lovely wool yarn daughter gave me...and can't wait to get started - tonight. Thanks so much!

At 4:07 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

On my second sweater using your pattern and I LOVE it. Tell all the people who say they're not ready to actually tackle a sweater I said give it a try. Very well written! And the links really taught me a lot!

Thank you for sharing!

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Harriet said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the sweater pattern. I was looking for something to go with the baby "monster pants" on ravelry.

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At 2:55 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This may be a stupid question, but how I do knit sleeves when my ball of yarn is attached to the body of the sweater??? I only have one ball of yarn (doing it solid instead of striped)

At 9:46 PM, Blogger 三重古天樂 said...

nice !good!

At 2:42 PM, Blogger 三重古天樂 said...

very good!

At 9:19 PM, Blogger 三重古天樂 said...


At 11:26 PM, Blogger Julie E said...

Repeat the k1, k2tog. I also had a moment of confusion until I realized how many stitches I needed to drop.

At 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


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