Introducing the Ballet Wrap Cardigan pattern, sized from preemie to 12 mths.

I’ve spent part of the lock down working on a new pattern collection for babies. Emma Sadler and working together on this to create a collection which will be released in the Autumn. I’ve knitted a few items so far, but the first pattern ready for testing is this one, the Ballet Wrap Baby Cardigan in five sizes.

The smallest size will fit a preemie baby up to around 5lb in weight, the largest size is to fit a 12-18 mth old baby.

I used Stylecraft Special Double Knit yarn for the sample shown here, in the colours 1064 Mocha and 1080 Pale Rose, with Mocha as the main colour.

Blissful Ballet Baby Wrap Cardigan by Loraine Birchall
Blissful Ballet Baby Wrap Cardigan by Loraine Birchall, photo by Emma Sadler Designs

Ballet Wrap Cardigan Pattern Essential Design Elements

I was trying to minimize the number of seams in the design of the cardigan, partly for the ease of the knitting but also to make it much more comfortable for a tiny (or large) baby.

The Ballet Wrap Cardigan pattern uses a slip stitch or mosaic design, it’s a very easy way to get into colourwork as you only knit with one colour every two rows with the non working colour being slipped. I chose a slip stitch pattern to provide a really warm and soft fabric for baby.

It was a very quick knit. The body is worked bottom up to the armholes, then fronts and back and worked separately. They are joined later with a three needle bind off/cast off at the shoulders.

The sleeves are picked up from the armholes and worked in pattern down and in-the-round to the simple garter cuffs. The border for the fronts and back is picked up after the rest of the knitting is completed and works up in no time. Buttons, or snaps, fasten the fronts on both sides, with one side folded over the other to make the ‘wrap’.

I don’t recommend ribbon fastenings for babies, but snap fasteners or buttons are perfect.

Chest Sizes

SizeSize 1 3-5lb 1.5-2.5kgSize 2 5-8lb 2.5-3.5kgSize 3 0-6 mthsSize 4 6-12 mthsSize 5 12-18 mths
To fit Chest12 in14 in16 in18 in20 in
31 cm36 cm41 cm46 cm51 cm
Chest Size – (All around at underarm when finished)13 ½ in15 in17 ¼ in19 in21 ¼ in
34 cm38 cm44 cm48 cm54 cm
Length from back neck – (below neckband)6 in6 ½ in7 ½ in8 ¾ in9 ½ in
15 cm17 cm19 cm22 cm24 cm
Sleeve Seam Length3 in4 ¾ in6 in6 ½ in8 in
8 cm12 cm15 cm17cm20 cm
Stylecraft Special DK MC11111
Stylecraft Special DK CC11111

It is important to ensure you work to the stated tension/gauge of 20sts and 60 rows per 4in/10cm to create a fabric which is warm enough for a low birth weight baby.  If you have less sts per inch try a smaller needles size, if you have more sts per inch try a larger needle size.

The slip stitch pattern creates a warm fabric that’s also very light for baby to wear, it is super cozy and you can have a lot of fun with the colour. I went with a soft, muted Mocha brown and used a rosy, pink contrast but you could go high contrast in brights, neutrals or monochrome if you prefer.

Ballet Wrap Cardigan preemie to 12 mths
Baby / Preemie cardigan close up of slip stitch pattern and front borders.

If you’re interesting in testing the pattern, there will be a notice in the Woolly Madly Deeply group on Ravelry where you can sign up.

Test knitters will be required to set up a Ravelry project page with details of the yarn used, quantities and at least one photo of the finished item, deadline 12th August 2020 for all sizes.

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