Summer Petals Cardigan for Emma

Autumn Leaves Yoke Closeup

Pattern: Autumn Leaves [Ravelry]
Yarn: Sublime Organic Cotton DK, 1.5 balls, slipper pink
Needles: US 5, 32" circular
Recipient: Baby Emma Narcoleptikov* Bartling

Notes: First, can we get this part out of the way? SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! The concept and finished sweater are just as darling as their recipient, whom I haven't met yet, but will soon. She's my dear friend Jenny Narcoleptikov*'s 2-month old daughter, Emma. Jenny already has a son, the very entertaining Connor, but you could just tell she was dying to acquire a collection of froofy headbands with which to adorn an infant girl. Jenny's that kind of lady. So something wildly darling was in order.


this here's our gal, Emma, wearing pink of course (Jenny's photo)

I knitted this one twice. First, the smallest pattern size is 6-9 months, and I was going for 3-6 months. I decided to attempt this by downsizing my needles from US 5 to US 4. Turns out I either overcompensated (likely) and/or the age ranges given on the pattern are wrong, because the chest of my finished sweater came out around 15.5" even with aggressive blocking. I suspect the latter is true too, given that a lot of the modeled shots for this on Ravelry look snug. I try not to be too hard on free patterns, but designers: you are encouraged to give chest measurements for your finished sizes because babies can be very different! (I typically refer to this sizing chart as a rough guide)

Autumn Leaves

cute sweater . . . hey, there's the debit card I melted in the dryer!

There's another issue though, which could contribute to this sweater looking tight on America's baby girls. The pyramid shaping that results from the pattern as written is awkward, and results in a narrow chest and weirdly disproportionate (yet somehow still small) sleeve openings. Also, for some reason the back and front of the sweater were not nearly an even number of stitches. You sometimes see this when you're attaching a separate button band later, but the button band is integrated in this pattern. Plus it meant the flower motif in the yoke wasn't centered over the sleeves.


ANYWAY. Did I say I tried not to be too hard on free patterns? Constructive feedback! Thankfully when you're working on a teeny sweater that ends up being kitten-sized, you haven't wasted much time when you decide to redo it with modifications.

Main modifications: First, I did all the increases in the chest in one row, spaced out every five or six stitches. I ended up increasing at least a few stitches more than the pattern suggested (sorry, I wish I'd taken more specific notes! but you get the idea). For the record, this came out to about 18" in chest circumference after blocking. Second, I redistributed the number of stitches in the front and back to even things up and center the pattern over the sleeves. I did this by shifting some stitches from the back piece to the front, and casting on a couple of additional stitches under each sleeve. The modifications here were a guide, and give some specific numbers. And finally, I used only three buttons. This is a summer sweater, made of cotton, not something to bundle up in, and an open cardigan will give some extra room. Oh also I worked the sleeves in the round, but that goes without saying.

Autumn Leaves Sheepified

This is a "Summer Petals" cardigan instead of "Autumn Leaves." I chose cotton yarn so Emma could have something to wear right away, and because this delicate ballet-slipper pink seemed too perfect. Sublime Organic Cotton DK is simply my favorite cotton yarn for baby gifts. I just learned as I write this that it has been discontinued, which is a bummer. This yarn comes in amazing soft colors that are baby-flattering pastels without being cloying, and for a cotton yarn this stuff is really not splitty. I'm going to have to start looking around for the stuff and hoarding it. So forget I said anything! It's terrible, don't buy it!

Sneak Peek Autumn Leaves Fancified

The buttons are vintage, a gift from my thoughtful mother-in-law, who has a great eye for findings! I'm starting to rely on her for my supply.

It's quite the pretty thing, isn't it? I couldn't resist grabbing the white feather fascinator I've had on my dresser and clipping it to the front. Maybe Jenny will buy one for little Emma's baby head. . . I wouldn't put it past her! ;-)

* Jenny earned the nickname Narcoleptikov years ago by falling asleep regularly in public places.

ETA: Here's Baby Emma modeling her new sweater. I'm relieved that it still fits!!

Emma in her Summer Petals Cardigan Emma in her Summer Petals Cardigan

Thank you for the photos, Jenny! Note the sassy headband!

Posted by jess at August 9, 2012 9:54 PM | TrackBack

SO sweet!! And the buttons are perfect. :)

Posted by: Mary-Heather at August 15, 2012 11:07 AM

Kitten-sized cuteness! I have also used the Sublime Cotton DK for baby gifts are really like it a lot and am chagrined to learn it's being discontinued!!

Posted by: Heather at August 15, 2012 11:25 AM

Love this! And I love Sublime Organic Cotton - so sad it's discontinued! I bought up all the pale pink they had over the summer, but Yarnbow has some Maize left, I think!

Posted by: Jennifer at August 15, 2012 1:26 PM

it's so super and she's adorable!

Posted by: carolyn at August 15, 2012 1:40 PM

So cute! I want to make this...

Posted by: Liza at August 20, 2012 4:06 PM

That is stunning! I really like your modifications, too. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: Rachel at August 21, 2012 6:26 PM

Aww, love it! Both the sweater and the baby are adorable!!

Posted by: Karen at September 2, 2012 9:54 PM

Aww, love it! Both the sweater and the baby are adorable!!

Posted by: Karen at September 2, 2012 9:54 PM

LOVE that cardigan! great color and pattern :)

Posted by: Amanda Thornton at September 21, 2012 3:02 PM

This is sooo pretty. Lovely knit dress and lovely baby!

Posted by: katie metzroth at October 20, 2012 12:50 PM

I love your version of this sweater. I am not sure if I found yours first or the one on 'What to Knit when you're Expecting'

I also think yours looks so much better,,( shhh... wouldn't want to step on free pattern toes )

If you wouldn't mind sending your version (pattern) i would love to knit from that! Thanks :)

Posted by: Paula jo Rotert at January 14, 2013 1:13 AM

I followed the Ravelry version up to the chest increase. As I read the directions I sensed something going wrong. I read your blog post very carefully to see what you had done differently and found your alterations. Your increase is far more sutle than the other version.

Posted by: Gin at March 24, 2013 11:44 PM

Adorei este casaquinho, gostaria de obter a receita.
Sou tricoteira e gosto muito dos seus trabalhos.
Um abra├žo,


Posted by: alayr at November 2, 2014 7:44 AM

Such a beautiful sweater - well done! Any chance you've made it again since your original post, with more fulsome instructions for the modifications? Thanks!

Posted by: Beth at March 18, 2016 12:22 PM

I love this sweater !!! I am looking for a pattern for a hat that matches any suggestions?

Posted by: paula at October 27, 2016 9:36 AM

I love this sweater !!! I am looking for a pattern for a hat that matches any suggestions?

Posted by: paula at October 27, 2016 9:37 AM

Do you have your version of the pattern? This sweater is adorable! I'd love to knit it. <3

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