Although I’m partial to baby blanket knitting patterns and, I think, always will be, I do love knitting sweaters for kids as well. Kid sweaters are fun! You can try out embellishments or new stitches in knitting patterns without committing to an entire blanket. And unlike the sweaters I knit for me, kids’ sweaters almost always turn out adorable.
If you’re mostly a blanket or scarf knitter, it’s not too hard to switch over to sweaters. Most knitting patterns talk you through things like attaching sleeves and making buttonholes and more than once I’ve found myself dreading these parts, only to find out I already did them without realizing it.
My biggest advice for sweater knitting patterns, though, is this: measure, measure, measure. Except for the Quick Baby Sweater, I’ve never made a sweater according to the measurements in the pattern and had it fit. I often measure the kid’s chest and shoulders, then find the pattern size that’s closest to those measurements. To get the arm and torso length right, I’ll take one of their other sweatshirts to measure the length against and make sure I get everything long enough. Not even lying — when I knit the Chunky Cable Sweater for my 11-year old son, I used the measurements that said they were for a 4-6-year-old, and then knit the arms and waist longer.
Favorite Sweater Knitting Patterns for Kids:
(several of these patterns are available on Ravelry. If you’re a knitter without a Ravelry account, I recommend it. You can bookmark your favorite patterns, and upload pictures of your own finished projects. It’s a great way to keep track of patterns you love or make notes for how you’d do things differently next time.)
1.) The Olearia Sweater – I just finished making this for the 3rd time. It’s a simple sweater — no cabling or color-changing, but she provides so many variations you could make several and they’d all be different. Short-sleeved, long-sleeved, ruched sleeves, partial-ruched sleeves, straight sleeves, one-button, or buttons all the way down…and the choices go on. And all of it looking so classic that you can make them for older girls and they’ll still be stylish (and not babyish, if your daughter is at an age where she worries about that kind of thing…) If you don’t have a Ravelry account, you can also find the pattern here. It does cost $6 but I’m stingy about paying for knitting patterns and this one is worth it.
2.) Spring Garden Tee — a beautiful, lightweight short-sleeved sweater for cooler summer and fall days. In winter, we layer it over a turtleneck and keep wearing it, so it’s an almost year-round sweater. Again, a simple pattern that knits up quickly and looks so sweet for little girls. This one costs $6 as well, but since girls can wear the sweater almost all year, and you can knit up several in different colors, I again think it’s worth it.
3.) Quick Baby Sweater — My favorite baby sweater to knit up for newborns. I think sometimes it’s also called the 5-Hour Baby Sweater, and it is. It knits up so quick, with a simple, sweet pattern. A great one for your first attempt at knitting a sweater. The pattern is free, and according to the measurements of the final product, it should be the right size for a baby about 6 months old.
4.) Child’s Placket Neck Pullover — I’ve knit this one up several times for the kids as well. It’s a simple pattern, but by changing the yarn, you can change up the whole feel of the sweater. I did one in a hunter green with wooden buttons that looks very classic, and one in a rainbow yarn with parrot buttons that was a lot more whimsical. Definitely measure the kids to make sure you get the stitch count right…and since the torso and arms are stockinette stitch, it’s easy to lengthen them if you need to. If you don’t have a Ravelry account, you can find the sweater here.
5.) Lacy Sweater by Zoe Mellor — this is from the book “Adorable Knits for Tots: 25 Stylish Designs for Babies and Toddlers”. Like I mentioned, I’m a cheapskate when it comes to buying knitting patterns, so I won’t buy books unless there are several patterns in them I plan to use. This one is worth it. And I love that little flower on the front of this Lacy Sweater. Sure it’s cute and sweet, but it’s also the sort of detail kids’ clothes don’t have unless they’re handmade. You can tell this sweater is special. And it’s light enough to wear in early fall, but can take kids through winter with a long-sleeved shirt underneath.
6.) Chunky Cable Sweater by Zoe Mellor — from the same book (see? Several patterns that I love in that book!). I love the cabling in this sweater — not too complicated, but a little unusual and special. If you’ve never cable-knit before, just take it slow and give it a try. I promise you can do it (this was also the sweater that I knit for my 11-year old, using the 4-6 year old measurements, so make sure you check that).
8.) Berroco Jesse Sweater – this is a simple sweater knit almost entirely in stockinette stitches. The interest comes from choosing a variegated yarn that causes the sweater to slowly change colors throughout (without having to worry about changing colors yourself!).
9.) Flax Light – this one comes in sizes for newborns through adults (mens and womens). I think you could knit one up for each person in the family in varying colors without it looking too weird and matchy…unless that’s what you’re going for, of course.
10.) Carolina’s Sweater – a beautiful, delicate sweater. The lacy bottom is wonderful.
Once you’ve spent all this time knitting your projects, make sure you wash them so they stay nice, too.
For more knitting ideas and patterns, try one of these: