Knitting Baby Stuff: Classic Cardigan

A very, very dear friend of mine welcomed a new baby to her family a few weeks ago and while I was one of the first people to know that she was expecting, the gender was a surprise to everyone the day baby arrived.

Having had a bit of revelation recently that knitting things in newborn size is results in them being packed away very soon after they are received, due to babies’ phenomenal ability to grow before one’s eyes in those first few months, my criteria for baby knits have been refined and clarified. A size for older than 6 months. Useful and practical garment. Easy to put on a wriggling baby. Machine washable yarn. And in this case, gender neutral!


Playdate Cardigan is classic and simple and seriously cute.

Pattern: Playdate Cardigan by Tin Can Knits

Source: Ravelry download (aren’t they all these days?)

Price: $7 USD

Yarn: Madelinetosh Feather in Favourite Pair

Needles: 3.25mm and 3.75mm circular & double pointed needles

When my Madelinetosh yarn arrived, I could not believe how deliciously soft it was. Shimmering and delightful. I’d chosen blue (I firmly believe it is gender neutral!) but the shimmer had me almost fearing that it might be too ‘pretty’ should it’s wearer be a boy.


Some suitably masculine buttons.

I eagerly cast on. I was a little nervous to ‘waste’ yarn swatching as I only had 420 yards and my pattern called for 400, so thinking myself rather clever, I decided to use the pockets as my gauge swatches. Two birds with one stone. Look at me and my expert level knitting go!

Having nailed my gauge first try, I picked up my smaller needles and cast on the ribbing for the body. Deciding to be very clever, I calculated row numbers based on my gauge for the lengths given in the pattern so I could keep track with a row counter and not be reaching for my tape measure—which I always forget to take with my when knitting on the move. My measurements—which I checked occasionally—were almost correct. I added a row or two (or if I’m completely honest, three or four!) here and there without thinking much of it. It wasn’t until I reached the back, where the pattern reminds me to use my larger needles when rejoining that I realised I had knit the whole project on the smaller needles! So, despite my too-clever-by-half swatching, I’d knit a very long and skinny cardigan on the wrong needles!


Trying to convince myself that all would be well—a phenomenon I call the gauge delusion—I pressed on and completed the back of the cardigan. Before joining in the right front, I took a long hard look at myself and my very skinny cardigan, and conceded that this was not going to be the useful and practical cardigan for a child over the age of 6 months that I dreamed of unless I pulled out and started fresh. So, I frogged.

Rip it. Rip it.


I cast on again and quickly regained my rhythm. Though having already knit most of the cardigan, I started to get itchy fingers and took a not-so brief hiatus while I focussed on my Peachy shawl instead.

With my friend’s due date looming, I returned to this gorgeous project and finished it off without incident. Not to mention 30g of yarn to spare!

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Blocking in progress.

The pattern is beautifully written and quite easy to follow, though I did need to get my paper and pencil out to calculate how to work button holes ‘evenly spaced’ along the button band.


Madelinetosh ball band lent itself quite nicely to being made into a care label.

I’m very pleased with the result. It’s light and seriously soft. It will be wearable throughout much of the year with a bit of layering. It’s machine washable. Useful. Practical. And with some lovely simple wooden buttons, not even remotely too ‘pretty’ for the beautiful boy who joined us recently.



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