Knitted Doll Sweater

Raglan Doll Sweater

If you’ve been interested in learning how to knit raglan sleeve sweaters, a doll sweater can be a fun way to start. With sport weight yarn, a doll sweater can be knitted quickly from a pattern that will teach you the same steps and techniques required for knitting a sweater for a child or adult. In addition, your finished product can be worn by most 18″ play dolls, such as those made by American Girl or Gotz.

This pattern is for intermediate to experienced knitters.  It assumes knowledge of various methods for casting on, increasing, decreasing, and casting off, as well as how to work double rib, single rib, and stockinette stitches in the round.  In addition, this pattern requires familiarity with the use of two circular needles for knitting in the round.  If you prefer the more traditional method of using double pointed needles, the pattern may be adapted to by replacing each circular needle with two double pointed needles, with a fifth needle then required for knitting.

OVERVIEW

The pattern begins with the lower body of the sweater. This is knitted in the round, ribbing followed by stockinette, up to the point where the underarms will begin. At this point, the stitches that will become part of the underarm seam are transferred to waste yarn, which will hold them until they are needed. The remaining stitches in the body of the sweater will be transferred to holding needles, as the main needles will be needed for knitting the lower portion of each sleeve.

The left sleeve will be knitted in the round, ribbing followed by stockinette, up to the point where the underarm begins. At that point, the stitches that will become part of the underarm seam are transferred to waste yarn, which will hold them until they are needed. The remaining stitches in the left sleeve will be transferred to holding needles, so that the main needles can be used to knit the lower portion of the right sleeve. Once this is done, the body and both sleeves are transferred back to the main needles. At this point, one needle holds the front of the sweater (including the front portion of each sleeve), and the other needle holds the back of the sweater (including the back portion of each sleeve). The stitches on waste yarn that will become part of the underarm seams are left hanging free for the time being.

Several rows of stockinette will be knitted all around, joining the body and sleeves, and markers will be placed for the raglan lines. You’re now working on the yoke of the sweater, and you’re ready to begin the decreases that will form the raglan lines. There are a number of methods that can be used for these decreases:

  • Raglan A: Knit to within 2 stitches of the first marker, K2tog, slip marker, SSK. Repeat for opposite sleeve.
  • Raglan B: Knit to within 2 stitches of the first marker, K2tog, slip marker, K1, SSK.
  • Raglan C: Knit to within 2 stitches of the first marker, SSK, slip marker, K1 K2tog.
  • Raglan D: Knit to within 3 stitches of the first marker, K2tog, K1, slip marker, K1, SSK
  • Raglan E: Knit to within 2 stitches of the first marker, PSSO, slip marker, PSSO-R.
  • Raglan F: Knit to within 2 stitches of the first marker, PSSO, slip marker, K1, PSSO-R.

Method A will give an unobtrusive, perforated raglan line, but highlights the fact that the K2tog and SSK are not mirror images. Method B will give a raised seamline. Method C is flat and good for lightweight yarn. Method D is raised and wide, giving a broad shouldered look. Method E will create a feather stitch look. Method F will create a wider and more pronounced feather stitch look.

For the doll sweater, you’ll need a placket in the back to make it easy for a child to get the sweater on and off the doll. You can create this while doing the raglan decreases (which will require you to begin knitting back and forth, still using the circular needles), or you can create one later by making a steek before picking up the collar.

The yoke of the sweater is worked around in stockinette, with raglan decreases, up to the neckline. There are no shoulder seams in the raglan sweater, so once you’ve shaped the neckline, you can pick up and finish the collar. To complete the sweater, you will graft the underarm seams and work in loose ends.

MATERIALS

  • Sport Weight Yarn: one skein
  • 2 16″ circular needles, US #2
  • 2 holding needles (these can be double pointed or circular needles; it’s best to use size US #2, but a smaller size can work if you carefully move the stitches from the holding needles back onto the main needles before you begin knitting them).

PATTERN

Part 1 – Lower Body
  • Cast on 88 stitches using the slingshot method on two needles held together. 
  • Slide out one needle, then divide the stitches evenly between the two circular needles, taking care not to twist the stitches.  You may join the two open ends either before or after knitting the first row, depending on your preference.
  • Rows 1-5: Work in double rib
  • Rows 6-33: Work in stockinette
  • Row 34: Knit around 84 stitches (4 stitches remain on left needle)
  • Transfer 8 stitches from left needle to same color waste yarn.  These held stitches will be used later for the right under arm seam.  (Note: Using same color waste yarn will prevent discoloration if some of the fibers from your waste yarn are left behind.)
  • Take 4 stitches from each needle on the opposite side and transfer to same color waste yarn (for left underarm seam)
  • Transfer remaining stitches to holding needles.
Part 2 – Lower Sleeves

Left Sleeve

  • Cast on 36 stitches using the slingshot method on two needles held together
  • Row 1-3: Work in single rib
  • Row 4-19: Work in stockinette
  • Row 20: Knit around 32 stitches (4 stitches remain on left needle)
  • Transfer 8 stitches from left needle to same color waste yarn (for underarm seam)
  • Transfer remaining stitches to holding needles to the left of the sweater body, dividing the stitches evenly between the two needles and keeping stitches on waste yarn next to the sweater body.

Right Sleeve

  • Rows 1-20: Same as left sleeve
  • Transfer remaining stitches to holding needles to the right of the sweater body, dividing the stitches evenly between the two needles and keeping stitches on waste yarn next to the sweater body.
Part 3 – Join Body & Sleeves
  • Using main needles, begin at right side of sweater body and knit across
  • Continue knitting left sleeve, switching to second needle at halfway point
  • Continue knitting sweater body and then right sleeve, switching back to first needle at sleeve halfway point
  • Knit marker row
  • Knit two more rows in stockinette
Part 4 – Yoke (Raglan Decreases & Placket)
  • Work a paired decreases at each of the raglan line markers, then knit around in stockinette for three rows.  Repeat this two more time. 
  • Work a paired decreases at each of the raglan line markers, then knit around in stockinette for one row. Repeat this until 18 sts remain between markers for sleeves and 26 sts remain between markers for front neckline. 
  • Make a back placket while doing the raglan decreases, or make it later using a steek.
Part 5 – Neck Shaping
  • On a separate needle, work across, doing sleeve decreases + 6 knit sts
  • Turn and purl across back to placket (which you will continue to work in rib)
  • Work right-hand side 4 rows, decreasing 1 for collar every outside row.
  • There will be 12 sts on sleeve bt. markers.
  • Purl back across
  • Do left side to match
  • Knit across, picking up 3 sts along each collar selvege, and K2tog for sleeve sts.
  • Work in single rib for 4 rows.Cast off in pattern or using an elastic cast off method with a nice finish


SIMPLER NECK SHAPING ALTERNATIVE

Continue raglan decreases until 14 sts remain between markers for sleeves and 22 sts remain between markers for front neckline.  *K2tog, P2tog* all around

Dan’s Scarf

This was one of my projects for 2010. The body of the scarf is knitted in a seed stitch pattern from Red Heart yarn. It’s not a fancy yarn, but the color is nice. While acrylic yarn does not have the same hand as natural fibers, it washes easily and is less likely to cause skin irritation. This particular yarn has a nice, soft feel after it is machine washed with a little fabric softener.

Yarn from Sweden

When in Sweden, I had the opportunity to visit several yarn shops.  The Yllet store on Drottninggatan had attractive soft yarn made of Gotland wool.  I got a heavy worsted weight in varigated shades of blue, olive and brown.  Sticka, on Österlånggatan in Gamla Stan (i.e. Stockholm’s old town), was an attractive store with a large selection of yarns.  I came away with fingering weight rough spun yarn, again made of Gotland wool, and hand dyed in shades of deep red.  I also got two 50g balls of Drops Delight by Garnstudio in varigated shades of red, orange and brown, which I was told would be good for socks (it’s 75% superwash wool, 25% polyamid).  Garnstudio is a Norwegian company; the yarn itself was made in Turkey.

2021 Update

I understand that the Yllet store in Stockholm is now closed. You may be able to find some of their lovely yarn at other shops in Stockholm. If you want to see a greater selection of yarn from Yllet, look for them in Visby, Gotland.

As of January 2021, there is still a Sticka shop on Österlånggatan. If you want to check on its current status, try searching on “Sticka by Marie Victoria.”

Spinning by Hand

watermellon roving

Several years ago I learned how to make carded wool into yarn using a drop spindle. For many thousands of years, this was the primary method for producing the yarn and thread from which all cloth and clothing was made. Because it takes a long time to spin enough yarn for a garment, clothing was considered much more valuable in pre-industrial societies than it is today. My first efforts at learning to spin were not very successful. I’d purchased a “learn-to-spin” kit, which included a spindle, a small quantity of roving, and a book. Learning from a book is not the best method for this dynamic activity. When I had the opportunity to watch someone spin, however, it all became much clearer. I made further progress when I set aside the light-weight spindle that came with the kit and began to use a heavier spindle I made myself from two used CD-ROM discs and a dowel.
While I wouldn’t want to rely on it for producing my daily clothing, hand spinning as a craft activity is fun and relaxing. In addition, it allows for both control and creativity. To produce interesting patterns for colors, for example, one can dye roving using a technique known as “hand painting” and then spin it to produce a unique yarn.

The roving shown above was created by carefully pouring red, orange and green dyes across a wet 4′ wool bat laid flat on a sheet of plastic wrap. The dyes used were a type known as acid dye, which sounds dangerous but is not. An acid dye is simply a dye that requires in acidic environment, usually in combination with heat, for the dye to set and become colorfast. In this case the acidic environment was created by soaking the bat in water with 1 cup of vinegar added. It’s important to soak the bat for at least an hour to make sure all the fibers are wet, and then to drain and gently press out excess water so the bat remains wet but not dripping. Once the dye has been painted on, the bat will need to be heated to the point of steaming to complete the process of setting the dye. I do this by first soaking up unabsorbed dye with sponge or paper towels, then wrapping the bat in the plastic wrap and heating it in a microwave. Since microwaves vary, its best to heat in 1 minute bursts until you see indications of steaming. It’s important not to overheat, as this may burn the wool or melt the plastic wrap. Once the bat has been steamed and allowed to cool, I unwrap it and rinse it in lukewarm water to remove excess dye. I then press out as much water as I can (making sure not to wring, twist, or stretch) and leave the bat to air dry. The yarn that resulted from spinning this bat and plying it back on itself is shown to the right.

Knitted Doll Socks

Striped Doll Socks

If you’ve been interested in learning how to knit socks, doll socks can be a fun way to start. With sport weight yarn, doll socks can be knitted quickly from a pattern that will teach you all the steps and techniques required for knitting a comfortable and well-fitting pair of socks. In addition, your finished product can be worn by most 18″ play dolls, such as those made by American Girl or Gotz — or used to decorate holiday trees, wreaths, etc.

Materials

To knit one pair of striped dolls socks like those pictured, you will need the following materials
Sport Weight Yarn: Color A, Color B
2 sets circular needles, US #2

Steps and Techniques

Each sock you knit will have four sections: leg, heel, foot, and toe. To make counting easier, the pattern below restarts the numbering of each section with Row 1. This approach also makes it easier for you to make changes to part of the pattern, such as shortening the leg to for crew-length socks.

Pattern

Part 1 – The Leg

Cast on 40 stitches in Color A using slingshot method on two needles held together.
Rows 1-4: Work single rib in color A
Rows 5-6: Switch to color B, work in stockinette
Rows 7-8: Switch to color A, work in stockinette
Rows 9-16 Repeat rows 5-8 two times
Row 17: Switch to Color B, K 2 together, K around until two stitches remain, SSK — decreases 2, 38 stitches remain.
Row 18: K across
Rows 19-20: Switch to Color A, K around
Rows 21-24: Repeat rows 17-20 — 36 stitches remain
Rows 25-26: Repeat rows 17-18 — 34 stitches remain
Row 27: Switch to Color A, K 2 together, K across until two stitches remain, SSK — decreases 2, 32 stitches remain.
Row 28: K around
Rows 29-30: Repeat rows 17-18 — 30 stitches remain
Rows 31-32: Repeat rows 27-28 — 28 stitches remain
Rows 33-34: Switch to Color B, K around
Switch to Color A; cut yarn for Color B leaving a tail for later weaving in
K 7, turn work, P 14; place remaining stitches on a holder.

Part 2 – The Heel

Heel Flap
Row 1: Slip 1, K across
Row 2: Slip 1, P across
Rows 3-14: Repeat Rows 1 & 2 six times.

Turn Heel
Row 15: Slip 1, K 8, SSK, K1, turn
Row 16: Slip 1, P5, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 17: Slip 1, K to 1 stitch before gap, SSK (one stitch from either side of gap), K1, turn
Row 18: Slip 1, P to 1 stitch before gap, P2tog (one stitch from either side of gap), P1
There will be 10 stitches remaining on your working needles (and 14 stitches still on the holder)

Heel Gusset
Knit across all heel stitches with one circular needle (Needle 1)
Pick up 7 stitches by knitting in the back loop of the chain edge stitches on the first side of the heel flap (Note: knitting in the back loop will twist the stitch and create a tighter fabric at the join)
Place a stitch marker on the needle
Pick up 1 stitch
Still using Needle 1, K7 from stitch holder

Switching to the second circular needle (Needle 2), K7 to take remaining stitches from holder
Pick up 1 stitch
Place a stitch marker on the needle
Pick up 7 stitches by knitting in the back loop of the chain edge stitches on the second side of the heel flap
Still using Needle 2, K5 heel stitches from Needle 1
There are now 40 stitches, and the heel stitches are now divided between the two needles

Staying with Color A
First Gusset Row
On Needle 1, K to 3 stitches before marker, K2tog, K1, transfer marker, K2tog, K to end of Needle 1
On Needle 2, K to 2 stitches before marker, K2tog, transfer marker, K1, SSK, K to end of Needle 2
Second Gusset Row
K around

Switch to Color B
Round 1
On Needle 1, K to 3 stitches before marker, K2tog, K1, transfer marker, K to end of Needle 1
On Needle 2, K to marker, transfer marker, K1, SSK, K to end of Needle 2
Round 2
K around

Switch to Color A
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 as above

Switch to Color B
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 as above

Switch to Color A
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 as above

Switch to Color B
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 as above

Part 3 – The Foot

Switch to Color A
K around 2 rows

Part 4 – The Toe

Round 1
On Needle 1, K to 3 stitches before marker, K2tog, K1, transfer marker, K1, SSK, K to end of Needle 1
On Needle 2, K to 3 stitches before marker, K2tog, K1, transfer marker, K1, SSK, K to end of Needle 2
Round 2
K around

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until there remain 16 stitches

K 4 stitches from Needle 1 onto Needle 2
Transfer 4 stitches from the back end of Needle 2 onto Needle 1
Cut yarn leaving a 4″ tail
Graft stitches from two needles together using Kitchner stitch

Knitted Afghan Square

You can knit a bunch of these and join them to make an afghan. You also can use an individual square as a dishcloth.

MATERIALS

worsted weight yarn
size 7 straight needles, US 7


PATTERN

Cast on 45 stitches

Rows 1-7: k45 (bottom border)

Row 8: k4 (left border); p1, *k3, p1; rep from * to last 4 stitches; k4 (right border)

Row 9: k across entire row

Rows 10-11: same as rows 8-9

Row 12: k4 (left border); k2, p1 *k3, p1; rep from * to last 6 stitches, k2; k4 (right border)

Row 13: k across entire row

Rows 14-15: same as rows 12-13

Rows 16-63: repeat rows 8-15 six times

Rows 64-67: repeat rows 8-11 once

Rows 68-73: k45 (top border)

Bind off in knit stitch.

 

Each square will measure 9.5 to 10″ on a side.

Knitted Winter Hat

This is a simple pattern for a winter hat.  For a thick fabric, use bulky weight yarn or worsted weight double stranded.  For a thinner fabric, use worsted weight single stranded.

MATERIALS
3.5 oz skein of bulky or worsted weight yarn
straight needles, US 10 or size needed for gauge
markers
yarn needle

GAUGE:  In ribbing, 4 sts = 1″, 5 rows = 1″

BODY

Cast on 72 stitches and work in ribbing for 7.75 inches

TOP SHAPING

Row 1 (decrease row): k 10, k2 together, *place marker, k10, k2 together; repeat from * across (you will have 66 stitches on your needle when you finish Row 1)

Row 2: Purl across

Row 3 (decrease row): Knit to within 2 stitches of the first marker, k2 together, *slip marker onto other needle, knit to within 2 stitches of the next marker, k2 together; repeat from * across.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 eight times (until you have 12 stitches remaining on your needle when you finish the row).  Break yarn, leavin a 25″ tail end.  Thread a yarn needle with the tail end and run through the remaining stitches, pulling firmly to close the top of the hat.  Use the remaining tail end to sew a seam that will join the two edges.

NOTES:

This hat is stretchy enough to fit most adults and older children.  The pattern can be adjusted to fit younger children by stopping the ribbing after 7 inches (child medium) or 5 inches (child small).

Knitted Socks

Knitting can help to pass the time while traveling.  Socks are a good project for this purpose, as they are are compact both in the materials you need to carry and in the space you need to work in.  You also end up with incredibly comfortable socks.  While you might be tempted to use them for daily wear, I recommend reserving hand-knitted socks for those times when you want to relax and perhaps put your feet up.  Even when you use a sock yarn that includes some nylon for durability, hand-knitted socks will wear out faster than those produced by modern factories.

The first time you knit socks, I recommend choosing a time and place where you can fully concentrate on your knitting.  Also, if you are just learning to knit, I suggest starting with easier projects, such as scarves and hats, before you take on socks.  Socks like the ones pictured here are easy to knit, once you get the hang of it, but they require a comfort with circular knitting and paired decreases.  They are best as a project for those ready to transition from beginner to intermediate level of knitting.

Like many sock patterns, this one calls for “sock yarn.”  While you can use any yarn of similar weight, you will get the best results by using a yarn designed to be resilient, durable, and comfortable against the skin.  The yarn specified in the pattern below is 41% cotton, 39% wool, 13% nylon, and 7% elastic.  The elastic allows the yarn to stretch and retain its shape, which a yarn with this much cotton would not do otherwise.  As this is a hand-painted yarn, each sock will look a bit different.  In general, though, this yarn produces spirals and pools of colors rather than stripes.

The pattern below produces a stretchy sock that should fit most adult feet.

MATERIALS
Patons Stretch Socks Ombres, Olive – 2 skeins
1 set double point or 2 sets circular needles, US #2
2 stitch markers to fit needles

PATTERN

Part 1 – The Leg

Cast on 80 stitches in Color A using slingshot method on two needles held together.
Rows 1-10: Work single rib.
Rows 11-40: Work in stockinette
Row 41: Dec 4 sts evenly so that 76 sts remain

Rows 42-100: Work in stockinette


Part 2 – The Heel

Heel Flap
Row 1: K 19 onto other needles, turn
Row 2: P 38, transfer remaining sts to holder
Rows 3-38: Repeat Rows 1 & 2.

Turn Heel
Row 1: K 21, SSK, K1, turn
Row 2: Slip 1 pwise, P5, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 3: Slip 1 pwise, K to 1 stitch before gap, SSK (one stitch from either side of gap), K1, turn
Row 4: Slip 1 pwise, P to 1 stitch before gap, P2tog (one stitch from either side of gap), P1

Repeat rows 3 & 4 until all heel sts have been worked, ending with a WS row, and ending p2tog if there are not enought sts to end p2tog , p1.
There will be 22 stitches remaining on your working needles (and 38 stitches still on the holder)

Heel Gusset
Knit across all heel stitches with one circular needle (Needle 1)
Pick up 19 stitches by knitting in the back loop of the chain edge stitches on the first side of the heel flap (Note: knitting in the back loop will twist the stitch and create a tighter fabric at the join)
Place a stitch marker on the needle
Pick up 1 stitch
Still using Needle 1, K19 from stitch holder

Switching to the second circular needle (Needle 2), K19 to take remaining stitches from holder
Pick up 1 stitch
Place a stitch marker on the needle
Pick up 19 stitches by knitting in the back loop of the chain edge stitches on the second side of the heel flap
Still using Needle 2, K11 (half the heel stitches) from Needle 1
There are now 98 stitches, and the heel stitches are now divided between the two needles


First Gusset Row
On Needle 1, K to 3 stitches before marker, K2tog, K1, transfer marker, K2tog, K to end of Needle 1
On Needle 2, K to 2 stitches before marker, K2tog, transfer marker, K1, SSK, K to end of Needle 2
Second Gusset Row
K around

Round 1
On Needle 1, K to 3 stitches before marker, K2tog, K1, transfer marker, K to end of Needle 1
On Needle 2, K to marker, transfer marker, K1, SSK, K to end of Needle 2
Round 2
K around
Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until there are 76 sts


Part 3 – The Foot
K around until piece measure 8″ from back of heel, or about 2″ less than desired total foot length


Part 4 – The Toe
Round 1
On Needle 1, K to 3 stitches before marker, K2tog, K1, transfer marker, K1, SSK, K to end of Needle 1
On Needle 2, K to 3 stitches before marker, K2tog, K1, transfer marker, K1, SSK, K to end of Needle 2
Round 2
K around

Repeat Rounds 1 and 2 until there remain 40 stitches

Repeat Round 1 only until there remain  12 sts

K 6 stitches from Needle 1 onto Needle 2
Transfer 6 stitches from the back end of Needle 2 onto Needle 1
Cut yarn leaving a 4″ tail
Graft stitches from two needles together using Kitchner stitch

Danish Yarn

During a visit to Copenhagen, I enjoyed a visit to Uldstedet on Fiolstræde, where I got this beautiful yarn created by a Danish fiber artist Karen Noe.  The yarn is Rustik Naturgarn, Kobber.  It’s composed of a gray and white noil silk single plied with mercerized cotton thread in copper brown and moss green.  I knitted this up into a scarf that I gave to my sister-in-law.  I later used the swiss darning technique to decorate a black stocking cap with the same yarn so my sister-in-law would have a coordinated set.  The feel of this yarn made it a pleasure to work with, and the colors reminded me of Copenhagen.

close-up of yarn