Knitting Pattern for Baby Cardigan in Fisherman's Rib

This pattern gives instructions for knitting a cardigan for a baby or toddler, with the option of either a round or V neck.


Babies varyIt took my daughter nearly a year to reach the weight my son had reached by 4 months.  Rather than give conventional sizes by months, the small, medium and large sizes might better be described as tiddler, crawler and toddler.  The actual dimensions of the cardigans I have knitted can be seen here.


Any good quality baby yarn in double knitting weight is suitable.  Yarns vary, and among double knitting yarns there is a variation of weight and thickness that can have an effect on the finished size of the garment.  As babies are constantly growing, provided the cardigan is big enough when first worn, the natural stretch of knitting means that to a degree, it can grow with the baby.

As for colour, I knitted all my sample cardigans in 2 row stripes of random yarn.  A plain colour will look just as smart.


The stitch used is fisherman's rib, which gives a snug texture ideal for outdoor wear in colder weather, and also a generous amount of stretch giving ample room for growth.


UK old size 10 / 3.25 mm / US size 3 throughout.

All pieces are transferred to a circular needle for the raglan shaping.  I prefer to use two circular needles rather than just one. 


recise measurements are not given for the length of the fronts, back and sleeves.  To allow for the variations in tension (mine is tight), I have not given the length of the pieces to be knitted.  Instead, I have given the number of rows, which are easy to count with this stitch.  This means that despite differences in tension between knitters, the garments will be in proportion as the ratio of rows to stitches will be the same.

For reference, when knitting fisherman's rib, my tension works out as 56 rows of 32 stitches to make a 4 inch square.


On edges that are to be joined to make a seam, every last stitch on a row is a knit stitch, and the first stitch of every row is slipped knitwise.  This gives a neat edge and can be easily sewn to give a flat seam


k - knit                                          yfwd - yarn forward          
p - purl                                         ws - wrong side
sl1k - slip 1 stitch knitwise           rs - right side
sl1p - slip 1 stitch purlwise          inc - increase 
tog - together                              psso - pass slipped stitch over

The Back

Cast on 67 (71, 75) stitches.  Leave a tail about 10 inches long to be used later to sew up the side seam.

Plain rib border

1st row: k2, then p1, k1 until 1 stitch remains, knit last stitch.
2nd row: sl1k, p1, then k1, p1 until 1 stitch remains, knit last stitch.
3rd row: sl1k, then k1, p1 until 2 stitches remain, knit last 2 stitches.
4th and 6th rows: same as 2nd.
5th row: same as 3rd.

Fisherman's rib

7th row: sl1k, k1, then yfwd, sl1p, k1 until 1 stitch remains, knit last stitch.

If using a contrasting yarn for the main body of the garment, change yarn on the next row.

8th row: (ws) sl1k, (join new yarn), p1, k1 until 1 stitch remains, k1.
9th row: (rs) same as 7th.

These two rows are repeated from now on.

If knitting in 2 row stripes, change colour again on 10th row and every following even row, ie. when the back of the work is facing you.

Continue until a total of 68 (74, 80) rows of fisherman's rib have been worked.  This easy to count, by counting the large Vs on the back of the work.  Therefore, continue until you have
34 (37, 40) large Vs, ending with a right side row.

Next row: (ws) cast off 2 stitches, and continue in pattern until the end of the row.
Last row: (rs) cast off 2 stitches, continue in pattern until 1 stitch remains, purl last stitch.

Transfer the back to a circular needle and leave a tail (or tails) of at least 6 inches when cutting the yarn off.  Now knit the sleeves.

The Sleeves

Cast on 31 (33, 35) stitches.  Leave a tail about 10 inches long to sew up the seam.

Plain rib border: worked in the same way as for the back.

Fisherman's rib: worked in the same way as for the back.

13th row: (rs) begin sleeve shaping as follows:-

sl1k, k1, inc 1 stitch, continue until 2 stitches remain, inc 1, k2.

Continue shaping by increasing one stitch at each end of every 4th row until there are  7 (8, 8) new ribs on each side, ie. a total of 59 (65, 67) stitches.

Then continue knitting until a total of 68 (74, 80) rows of fisherman's rib have been worked, and complete the sleeves in exactly the same way as for the back.

Transfer the sleeves to the circular needle on either side of the back, leaving 6 inch tails.  Now knit the fronts. 

The Fronts

Cast on 31 (33, 35) stitches.  Work in exactly the same as for the back until 68 (74, 80) rows of fisherman's rib have knitted.  Make the right front first.

Right front:-
Next row: (ws) cast off 2 stitches, and continue in pattern until the end of the row.
Last row: (rs) continue in pattern until 1 stitch remains, purl last stitch.

Transfer the right front to the circular needle. Leave a 6 inch tail.

Left front:-
Next row: (ws) continue in pattern.
Last row: (rs) cast off 2 stitches, continue in pattern to the end of the row.

Transfer the left front to the circular needle.  To do this, slip all the stitches purlwise (this prevents twisting the stitches), and be sure to slip the yarn that is carried over the needle leaving the yarn attached, ready to join all five pieces into a single row.  

Joining All Five Pieces On The Circular Needle

At this point you can decide whether you want to make the V neck or round neck version.  The V neck is easier, and takes a little less yarn.  If you think you may be getting a little low on yarn, but would still prefer to make the round neck version, a contrasting yarn can be used to great effect to make a band across the chest and shoulders over the next few rows.

You can work the stitches all on one needle, or use two circular needles, which give the extra length for the long rows.

The yarn is still attached to the left front ready to work a wrong side row as follows:-
Continue in pattern. When the last stitch of the left front and first stitch of the left sleeve are reached, knit these 2 stitches together.  Repeat this at every join between the pieces.

On the right side these 2 stitches become 1 purl stitch, and is the centre point of the 5 stitch sequence for the raglan shaping.

Raglan Shaping

The raglan shaping is worked in exactly the same way for both the V neck and round neck versions.  The first row of the shaping immediately follows the joining up row described above.. This is also the first row of shaping for the V neck, so the instructions for the 5 stitch sequence only are given here.  The following 4 rows are repeated.

1st row: (rs)  k2 tog, p1, sl1k, k1, psso.
2nd row: (ws) p2, k1, p2.
3rd row: (rs)  same as 1st.
4th row: (ws) k1, p1, k1, p1, k1. 

To be continued...


  1. Hi, have you ever finished writing this pattern?

    1. Well Karen, this is embarrassing. No I haven't. The fact that I have managed to mislay the notebook full of all the scribbled instructions hasn't helped. Have you started, or are you waiting to start knitting a cardy? If so, I will get my skates on and finish the pattern. Just let me know. I need a kick.
      Love, Muv

  2. would love to make this for my new grandson but would like to know if you did indeed finish the pattern.
    Great and easy to follow so far.

    1. Hello Donna,

      Congratulations on the little grandson!

      Have you actually started knitting? You might be just the person I need to make me finish the pattern.
      In the reply to Karen above, you will see that I lost my notebook. This was when we had to clear a room when a chunk of ceiling fell down. Chaos. I still have some of the cardies, so I can work out how I made them and write out the instructions properly. I shall put up the V neck instructions first - it's quicker and easier.

      Love, Muv

  3. Hi Muv,
    Our grandie is a beautiful babe. Thank you for your congratulations.
    Have bought my wool and am looking forward to getting started.
    Hope you have some luck in working out the finishing touches to the cardigan.
    Keep my fingers crossed.
    Many thanks, Donna M

    1. OK Donna, I'm going to have to do it now there's a baby waiting!

  4. Many thanks Muv.
    Will look forward to the finished pattern. No pressure!!!!!



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