Day 1: Casting on your baby sweater

Here we go! This is the first post for the Easy As ABC Knit Along. I'll be showing you a step-by-step guide of how to knit Ewe Ewe Yarns' best-selling pattern the Easy As ABC Baby Sweater. We will have stripes, ribbing, increasing, circular needles and lots of our squishy Wooly Worsted yarn

If you're just seeing this knit along, here's the KAL intro and the supply list.

knitting supplies

Today we'll be starting at the top of the pattern where it says "begin". Awesome, right? Yes. Get your double-pointed needles and let's cast on! We are starting at the neck edge of the sweater and we want to make it very stretchy and flexible. If we cast on too tightly the sweater won't go on very easily, remember babies have big heads.

So here are two ways to cast on loosely by using the long-tail cast on method. If you know another stretchy cast on or are comfortable with a different method, you can always use that or modify yours with these tips. The long-tail cast on is not critical to this pattern, it's just what I am comfortable with.

making a loose cast on

It's good to know if you cast on too tightly. Do you ever have one end of a scarf that isn't stretchy enough? Or maybe you've knit something and one edge has been warped or looked pulled? Maybe you cast on too tight on that project. If you do this regularly a good way to overcome it is to cast on to two needles. Hold two of the suggested needles together and start with your slip knot.

Casting on loosely
Casting on to two needles for looser cast on

Cast on normally. Moving your needles around both sets of yarn and make sure not to catch the yarn in between. Don't try to be looser than normal, just tug as much as you always do, the extra needle is doing the work for you!

Casting on with a larger needle

I normally cast on a bit loose but maybe not loose enough for a baby's head so in this case I am going to cast on to my larger size US 8 (5mm) needle. This will give my cast on enough room to stretch and be flexible and comfortable.

Casting on to double-pointed needles

To cast on to double-pointed needles, just use one needle and cast on all of your stitches. They should all fit on one 8" needle no matter what size sweater you're making for this knit along. I'm making the 6 month size and here are my 48 stitches.

knitting with DPNs

Now knitting with double-points might seem intimidating but I assure that it is easy! You're only ever knitting with two needles just like normal. A trick I like to use to get started on double-points is to knit the first row flat. We will distribute the stitches onto three needles and will be sure not to have a twisted cast on. There will be a little gap where we started but a simple one row seam when we weave in the ends and nobody will ever know!

I like to distribute my stitches on to three or four needles. For my size I will have 16 stitches on each needle. If you're making the two larger sizes you may want to use 4 needles and work across 14 or 16 stitches. 

If you cast on to two needles, simply grab a third needle and K2, P2 across with your size 7 double-point. If you were like me and cast on with the size 8 needle MAKE SURE you pick up your 7s for this next step. K2, P2 across your stitches.

knitting with three needles

When you reach your count of 16(14, 16) stitches on one needles, go ahead and get another needle. Knit on to it normally. You just sort of pretend the first needle isn't there. Work the required number of stitches on to this new needle.

knitting on to DPNs

Our jumble is growing! Get another needle and work the last set of stitches. 

knitting with double points

You'll have a string of yarn and needles that looks something like this. I can hear you yelling. I know it looks insane but watch!

casting on to double pointed needles

Untwist those needles. Lay them flat! Line up the cast on edge so it sits neatly and nearly in a circle. Now we're going to connect them into a circle. This step is called "joining to work in the round" and it's not nearly as complicated as it sounds. That phrase just means that we're knitting from the righthand needle over to the lefthand needle with the yarn and POOF! This project just got in the round!

beginning to knit in the round

Get one more double-pointed needle. Knit into the first stitch on the lefthand needle using the yarn from the righthand needle on to the new needle. This first stitch takes of bit of balancing and making sure you don't get things twisted but once it's done you are on your way!

place a marker in knitting

When working in the round it is good practice to add a stitch marker so you know you've gone around all of the needles. When you reach the marker, you've knit and purled all the stitches for one row or "round".

Pro tip! Add your stitch marker after the first stitch and then it will stay on the needle. That one stitch holds your marker on those crazy double ended needles.

knitting in the round on DPNs

There you go! One needle knit across and suddenly our project is connected and in the round. Move on to the next needle and keep going!

knitting in the round

It looks and feels kinda crazy to have all of those needles floating around but it's ok. It looks like that for all of us. Keep at it. Your fingers just sort of find the places they need to go. Remember, you're only ever working with two needles and just take the rows one stitch at a time. You'll make it around before you know it. Knit two, purl two, knit two, purl two...

one row of knitting

One round done! Keep in mind this is actually our second row because we worked a single row flat when we distributed our stitches. You only need to work three more rows from this point to total your 5 rows of neck ribbing.

slip marker knitting

At the start of your next round, K1 and then simply slip the marker from the left needle to the right. Continue knitting the rest of the way around.

five rounds of knitting

Soon you'll have 5 rounds of knitting and that's a job well done! 

knit along part one done

Share your photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #EasyAsABCKAL. I can't wait to see them! If you have a question you can ask it in the comments here or in the Ravelry group. Email me if you want, heather@eweewe.com. 

I hope you had a great first day and I'll see you back here on Thursday morning for some stripes, leaning increases and lots more stitch markers!