Knitting the Playdate Cardigan For Kids

Fox buttons on baby sweater

The Playdate Cardigan pattern comes from Tin Can Knits. I bought and printed out the pattern a few days ago and have since been working my way through this cute sweater. The pattern has size adjustments from 0-3 months to 4XL…. so you can knit it for just about anyone.

I chose to knit the 6-12 months size. I’m using a 16-inch circular and 5 double-points in the same size. Another smaller needle (with same size dpn’s) is needed for the ribbing. My yarn is Emma’s Yarn, fingering weight, Super Silky in “Malibu”. I would not have chosen silky yarn if I was buying a skein to knit a sweater, but I wanted to use stash yarn for this first attempt. I would choose a favorite baby sweater yarn next time.

Creating Pockets

This is a bottom up pattern, but it begins with pocket sections. As I read through the pattern, the pockets were confusing to me. I’ve never done pockets. HINT: To knit a 2-color sweater begin the ribbing with the contrast color. But the pre-made pocket sections will be behind the work, so the main color can be used.

First thing to do was to knit two little rectangles which would become part of the pockets. I almost decided not to add pockets just in case I couldn’t figure it out, but I’m glad I used them. Because first, they are easy to add, and second, they make the sweater look cute!

Baby sweater
Getting started on “Playdate” baby sweater

Once the bottom of the sweater is begun, the little rectangles will be added to the long needles and create the backing. The top stitches will be knit into the regular line of knitting.

Adding the pocket to the Playdate cardigan
Placing stitches of pocket onto long needles

The K1P1 ribbing for the top front of the pockets is created first, then bound off. See the back of the pocket above and the front below. The little rectangular backs will later need to be sewn down to actually create the pocket.

Playdate sweater pocket knitting
Ribbed edge of pocket with backing added to needles

The Back and Shoulders

Once the front is knit to length, the back stitches and one shoulder will go on hold. I used some metal stitch-holders (they were my grandmothers) which work well for holding small amounts of stitches. I always have trouble picking up my stitches when I hold them using yarn. From here, each shoulder area will be knit, along with the back – separately.

Knitting stitches on hold
Shoulder and back stitches on hold while knitting other shoulder stitches

I used DPNs to hold the shoulder stitches because my sweater is so small. The pattern directions say to work the stitches, ending with a RS row and then “break the yarn leaving a long tail”. I guess they figure you will know enough to keep those stitches on hold, but you need an extra needle for that (or yarn). So it helps to have double-points handy with good stitch stoppers (Mine are by Cocoknits and they work great). The same thing happens for the neck and I left my stitches on the main circular needle for that longer section of knitting. I used 2 double-points for straight knitting the first shoulder section.

Top edges of sweater on hold
Shoulder parts of Playdate on hold using three needles

Once the back and shoulders are the correct length, they will be stitched together. I tried 2 different methods here, and decided I liked the Kitchener stitch – as shown in slow motion by Very Pink Knits – which came out pretty smooth. I sat in front of the computer while I did it so I could watch her video.

Playdate sweater knitting in progress
Ready to connect at shoulder seams
Shoulder seam in kitchener stitch
Kitchener stitch joining back and front at shoulder
Ridge on wrong side of kitchener stitch
Shoulder seem, wrong side of kitchener

All the edges are curling up badly, which is par for the course when knitting stockinette. I had the same problem on the Fine Sand sweater, but after washing and blocking it looked great.

Baby sweater with pockets
My front and back knitted sections are now attached at the shoulders

On To The Sleeves

As I went around the armholes picking up stitches, I picked up a few more than was suggested just so there would be no holes. On the next couple of rows I decreased back to the correct number. I was able to knit one sleeve within a few hours time. I think I like making this little sweater. It’s finishing up fast and looking pretty cute!

Playdate with button band started
Getting there!

A long, circular #3 needle was used to pick up the required stitches around the sweater front opening. A #3 was suggested for the bottom ribbing and sleeve cuffs, but I used a #4. The rest was knit on a #5. I didn’t check gauge because the end size did not matter to me.

Knitting a Button Band and Doing Buttons

This is my first attempt at doing a button band around a cardigan. It means placing the buttonholes evenly and making each hole the correct size for a button. Thanks so much to Tin Can Knits and their excellent page all about knitting a button band. I will definitely be referencing it during this phase of knitting. My buttons are on order from an Etsy shop (Ginger Mint Collection) because I have no place local (that I know of) to buy buttons.

In the meantime, I decided to knit a little swatch and try out a couple of buttonhole sizes. Once my buttons come from Australia I can see which of the sizes to knit on this cardigan. I’m not sure which set of buttons I will use, but hopefully one of the button designs will match well.

I’ll keep this swatch for reference and have added a tag with info as a reminder. I did the 2-stitch buttonholes because a good size button will fit through.

Buttonhole knitting practice
Measuring buttons

Until my buttons come, and I’m sure they will fit the size holes I make, this sweater will be on hold…. changed my mind. I decided to add 5 buttonholes and continue to finish the band. Today I washed the sweater and when the buttons arrive I will pick the ones I like and add them. *Update: chose the fox buttons!

Finished! My Thoughts on Knitting the Playdate

This was a fun sweater to knit and I got it done quickly. Here is a link to the pattern once again: Playdate by Tin Can Knits. I learned to make buttonholes and pockets, so that was nice. It’s good to learn new things. I would love to knit this one again – and in October / November 2022 I am, using blue yarn this time.

Tin Can Knits has a book out called Strange Brew with loads of options for knitting pullovers and maybe other things. I just found it for sale at Jimmy Beans Wool and ordered a copy.

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