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.
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.
- 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).
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
- 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.
- 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