Post sponsored by Red Heart
It’s interesting – I’ve never really been one to crochet clothing, and when I do I hardly ever wear what I make. I think some of it has to do with the thickness of the stitches and the drape. I guess it’s just not my jam. But when it comes to knitting, I’m drawn to clothing. I enjoy knitting sweaters and tops and wearing them proudly.
Any time you take on a project like a sweater for the first time, it feels like you’re walking into a dark and creepy hallway. There are so many doubts and what ifs – at least that’s how it was for me.
“What if I buy all this yarn and I can’t figure out the pattern?” “What if I make a mistake midway through and I can’t live with it? Or my personal favorite, “What if I spend the next four weeks of my free time devoted to something I hate in the end?”
If your first sweater is a baby project, so many of those what ifs aren’t nearly as scary.
I had an epiphany one afternoon (it seems kind of obvious as I’m typing this but for whatever reason, it didn’t come to me right away). If the scale of the project is a fraction of a full-sized sweater, the time, yarn and worries should be a fraction too, right? So even though I don’t have kids of my own, a baby sweater seemed like the perfect first sweater knitting project. Once I put those silly fears aside and just tried it, I found so much enjoyment in knitting sweaters!
In episode 22 of The B.Hooked Podcast, I explain this theory (diving into a new venture like a sweater in a scaled back approach). Check it out if you need something to listen to while you work! The premise is, it’s really tempting to make your first sweater experience one for yourself. But from one friend to another, it’s so much easier to start off with something smaller to practice the basic shaping techniques involved in knitting garments.
This works so well because we need practice and we need gratification.
Making a sweater for yourself could take weeks. You’ll feel like your knitting your little heart out and getting no where. BUT – when you knit a baby sweater, you can typically have it done in a weekend. You’ll get the nearly instant gratification you need to see just how much you like this new style of project. Make sense?
Because I whole heartedly believe this is the best approach for new knitters, I wanted to make sure you have a place to start your garment-making adventure. To do so, I’ve teamed up with my friends at Red Heart to bring you a tutorial for their super cute Year Round Baby Cardigan.
This cute little cardi is about as basic and all inclusive as a cardigan can come. You’ll start off with a simple rectangle (the lower body portion of the cardigan) to ease into the pattern and move into the left and right sides from there. This section will walk you through basic shaping for sleeves and necklines that are used in nearly every garment you’ll knit from here on out. The sleeves will teach you how to pick up and knit and how to keep track of slow and steady increases.
I spent between 25 and 28 hours knitting my year round baby cardigan. It calls for the lightweight version of Baby Hugs yarn, so the growth is a little bit slower but still so much quicker than adult-sized cardigans. Small investment if you think of the heirloom I’ve created. Totally worth it in my book.
This is a great first time knit sweater – even for a beginner.
It uses the garter stitch throughout the entire pattern aside from the bands which are worked in a simple rib pattern. If you know how to work a knit and a purl and have a good sense of tension, I’m pretty confident you’ll be able to make it no problem. Will it be perfect if it’s your first garment and the first time you’ve done some of the increases/decreases and pick up and knit techniques? Probably not. But it’s the best place to start in my opinion.
So when you’re ready to dive in, you can download the free pattern directly from the Yarnspirations website by clicking here (Yarnspirations acquired Red Heart back in 2019) and don’t forget to check out my tutorial to walk you through the entire project. It’s a longer one so I have it broken down into two videos. Click here to watch part 1 and click here to watch part 2.
Cheers and happy knitting, friend