I’ve just added the free knitting pattern for these Norwegian Teddy Bear sweaters to my Kidsknits.com site. You’ll find links to this and a few other free knitting patterns I’ve designed on the left-hand side of my homepage, Kidsknits. You can also get to the pattern for the above sweaters by clicking here: Monkster Gets Stranded.
I’ve had a free pattern for a similar, but plain, Teddy Bear sweater (aka Monkster’s Sweater ) out there for a while:
Both of these wee sweater patterns use essentially the same construction method, with a few minor differences. The old one was made with worsted weight yarn; the new pattern uses sport weight yarn. The old sweater was solid-colored, (but you can add any motif your heart desires); the new sweaters, obviously, use “stranded” knitting technique, (but you can create your own Nordic motif, opt for stripes, or keep it simple and solid-colored, too.) Both patterns are worked circularly, from the bottom up, with raglan shoulders, in this fashion:
The fully-fashioned decreases in the old version were chosen to highlight the points at which the raglan shoulders were mitered. That method is especially nice for solid-colored knitting – the decreases form an interesting feature on an otherwise blank canvas. The decreases in the new version were chosen to minimize the visual disturbance of the raglan miters. I typically opt for subtle decrease methods for multi-colored, Nordic knitting so that my shaping and my motifs don’t visually compete with each other.
The new sweaters, at top, both use the same technique you’d find in most any life-sized raglan sweater: a few stitches at the base of the armholes are put aside on stitch holders while the yoke is worked as one circle. Once you’re all but done, those few held stitches are grafted together at each armhole base. This helps in two ways: it provides more flexibility at the underarm for the wearer (although I’m not sure guys like Monkster really appreciate that fact) and it makes the joining round, wherein the sleeves and body become one, a good bit more manageable. But, it also leaves a little bit of grafting work to take care of at the end. (See my “Grafting 911″ post, under “Technique”.)
In the original, plain sweater, I did not cast off any stitches at the base of the armhole. So, the joining round for that version has to be worked with the “circular” knitting flattened for a round or two, and it’s a bit trickier to wiggle your yarn and needles in and out of the flattened work. The most saintly among you may find yourselves cursing like sailors at that point, but it does save you a good bit of finishing work. It’s a nice shortcut for a quick toy sweater, but it’s not something I’d recommend for the opinionated, comfort-seeking, self-propelled types. Personally, I prefer the method in the new, stranded design.
At the bottom of the new pattern, in addition to the charts for the above motifs, you’ll also find an empty chart awaiting your own design. I’d love to see what you come up with, and I’m sure others would, too. Send a photo of your finished sweater and I’ll share it here. Have fun!