Baby Messenger Henley

Teal baby sweater with yellow stripes across the yoke and sleeves. Three purl snaps are used to keep the henley neckline closed.

Let me start by saying a few things:

1) I probably should have done a gauge swatch because I would have learned the correct needle size to use. Using a size 5 instead of a size 4 has left me with a size ~12 months instead of ~6 months.

2) You can’t tell, but I put the outie of the snaps on the wrong part (I prefer the outie to attach to the pearl snap side). That being said, this was my first time attaching snaps to a handknit and I have to say I’m a fan.

3) I cannot get enough of this blue yarn, seriously it’s gorgeous and reminds me of jumping in a cool brook on a hot summer day.

4) Where is this sweater in my size? Do I dare seek out a sweater’s quantity of Mad Hatter in Glow Worm for myself?

When thinking about baby sweaters, blue and yellow are such a classic combination. That being said, I love the depth that Glow Worm adds to the sweater — in fact, it was very difficult to choose which color to make the contrast color and which to make the main color. If one had a really hard time choosing or second-guesses the choice they made, there should be just enough yardage to make two inverse sweaters.

The other thing that I’ve learned to like about any baby top is the ability to create a large opening at the neckline. Pre-baby, this was because babies have large heads. Post-baby, this is because it takes a while for babies to be ok having garments go over their heads and a large head hole makes it quick and easy (and you can take it off by sliding it along their body if you’re not brave enough to go back over their head.

I’m tempted to knit this sweater again using the leftover yarn (this would mean a yellow sweater with blue stripes) for my new nephew, but there’s a crochet baby sweater I’m tempted to try. After all, why not keep working on my crochet skills this summer?

Want to make a Baby Messenger Henley of your own? Use the discount YARNVIP for 15% off your total purchase from Wonderland Yarns (discount not eligible on sale items, with other discounts, or on yarn clubs) :]

Tic Tac Toe Baby Sweater Pattern

Close up of the two colored tic tac toe sweater laying on a table.

Tic Tac Toe sweater is knit bottom up with the sleeves being joined before the yoke is worked. Though designed with positive ease in mind, it’s recommended that you knit one size up.

I’m going to be hosting a KAL in honor of our newborn! Use code three in a row (case sensitive!) from April 13th 2022 until May 13th 2022 to download the pattern for free.

Use #tictactoesweater on Instagram so I can see and appreciate your Tic Tac Toe Sweaters.

You can purchase the Tic Tac Toe Sweater from my store on Ravelry.

Yarn

Blue Sky Fibers Sweater (55% Superwash Wool / 45% Certified Organic Cotton; 100g/160yrds)

2 (2, 2, 3, 3) skeins

Gauge

20 sts & 26 rounds / 4” in stockinette using larger needles

Suggested Needles and Notions

  • US #6 (16 in circular & DPN or 40 in for magic loop)
  • US #5 (16 in circular & DPN or 40 in for magic loop)
  • Stitch markers
  • Cable needle
  • Stitch holders or waste yarn
  • Tapestry needle

Sizing

 3-6 months9 months12 months12-18 months18-24 months
Yardage Required240270320350380
Chest18 ¾ in19 ½ in20 ½ in22 ¼ in23 in
Body Length6 in6 ½ in7 ½ in8 in8 ½ in
Sleeve Length6 ½ in7 in8 in8 ½ in9 in
Upper Arm Circumference7 in7 ½ in8 in8 in8 ½ in
Neck Circumference11 ½ in12 ½ in13 ¼ in14 ¼ in15 in
Front Yoke Depth4 ½ in4 ¾ in5 in5 in5 in
Back Yoke Depth5 in5 ¼ in5 ½ in5 ½ in5 ½ in
Close up of the tic tac toe sweater laying on a table.

Madonna Sorrel Mini

Red Sorrel Mini in progress photo with the yoke and half the body completed.

Wool and Pine has been on my radar since the beginning, I love the way their patterns use color and texture to create beautiful knitwear pieces. It’s also hard not to love their body positivity and inclusivity model of designing. Despite my enthusiasm and owning one of their patterns, I had yet to sit down and actually create one of their designs. Some of this was knowing that we were trying for a baby and I didn’t want to make a garment that would never fit and some of this was having a queue of knits already in the works. Either way, I quickly added their Minis Collection to my queue and have loosely decided to work my way through the book.

The first pattern I started with was Sorrel Mini. I thought it would look super cute in a skein of madelinetosh TML + TWEED in Madonna from my stash (I was right!) and I have almost enough of a sweater quantity to make myself a larger DK version if I liked working the pattern. After finding gauge with a US size 2, I enthusiastically cast on size 6-12 months and worked my way through the yoke and down to the body of the sweater.

This is a very silly observation to bring to the table because it should have been obvious to me just by looking at the sweater, but Sorrel is a lot of purling. In fact, the entire sweater minus the yoke and ribbing is worked in reverse stockinette. While it looks gorgeous, I had to pay a bit more attention to my stitches and the little sweater seemed to take longer due to my speed when purling vs knitting. That’s really my only complaint about the little sweater, and it’s not really a fair complaint to make because I should have noticed it going in!

To compensate or rather to take a break from purling, I ended up knitting the sleeves inside out. While this mentally solved the problem, it did change my gauge a little bit. The sleeve stitches are a little bit looser than the body stitches (baby doesn’t care!), so if I do end up making a DK version for myself that’s something I’ll need to keep in mind. The other modification that I made to the pattern was to knit the sleeves 6 inches with 1 inch of ribbing instead of 5 inches with two inches of ribbing. I have a feeling the longer cuff was used with the idea that it could be folded over, but my preference is to fold the ribbing over onto stockinette on little sweaters.

Since I don’t usually work with single ply yarn, I wanted to take a minute to note that I enjoyed working with the skein of TML + Tweed that I picked up from my local yarn store. It was a little bit of an impulse buy, but seeing as I was eyeing the skeins during our craft night it’s safe to say that there are more skeins in my future.

Sorrel Mini knit in madelinetosh TML + Tweed in the colorway Mondona.

Garden Party Flax Light

Fingering weight superwash merino wool with nylon is a reliable base across yarn dyers. It’s a workhorse that you can reach for with confidence regardless of whether or not you’ve heard of a brand before because fingering weight superwash merino with nylon is predictable. Each skein will have more or less the same amount of stretch and bloom when you block it. Each skein will handle textured stitches in more or less the same way and each skein will provide you with a thin but warm garment. What I’m really saying here, is that buying a skein of fingering weight merino yarn is one of the safest things you can do.

Honestly, I think my local yarn store only had the one color of Mitchell’s Creations when my husband and I went in to buy yarn a few weeks ago (actually I don’t think I need to correct how I said that, he enjoys choosing colors!). As I poured over the self striping sock yarn, the Garden Party skeins called to him. It was the first skein he picked up and proudly brought over, know that he was contributing to our hunt for gender neutral baby sweater yarn.

I got back and forth with how easy it is to find gender neutral colors as I think our industry is slightly slanted to those with more feminine tastes. So while I wasn’t reaching for pinks and blues (or whites… I’ve never understood why so many people knit white for babies), I was at least looking for vibrant greens and oranges. When he presented his skein of Garden Party, my initial reaction was “are those really baby colors?”. Me, the same woman who knit a hot pink and black baby sweater for her punk friend. Before he even replied with his “I mean I’d like to receive this so my child could wear it” I realized that my own color biases had set in. Adding the skein to the red one I was carrying, I realized that he was right for the same reason I made the right choice to knit a hot pink and black sweater: the baby doesn’t care.

It’s the same reason so many families probably hold first birthday parties for their little ones who won’t remember who was their or what their cake tasted like. It’s a moment for the parent where they get to see everyone surround the little one that they’ve managed to raise for a whole year. Or in the case of this little sweater, a moment where the parent realizes that you’ve paid attention to who they are as people and want them to know they deserve to be warm.

While I want to say that this is my last flax light for a little bit, it’s such a quick little sweater to crank out and has so many modification options that I can really only say it’s my last one for the immediate future. I have a lace shawl that needs to be finished and a cardigan that needs to be started. I’m calling this one Garden Party Flax Light after the yarn’s color way, the “only” pattern modifications is the addition of Justin’s Flannel texturing (I really need to knit myself one of those so that I don’t steal my husband’s all winter!). Despite the colors being more muted than what I typically reach for, I think this little sweater came out really cute!

A handknit multicolored baby sweater with a waffle texture.

Knitting outside the lines aka Flax Light Modifications

If you’ve read any of my previous posts you’re already aware that I have a tendency to modify whatever I’m working on. Sometimes the modification is small, like in my second Stonewall sweater, where I removed the waist shaping, or my Wish and Hope baby cardigan where I gave up on the lace panels. Other times I remake the original object and it still looks like the original object, like my Azalea top. And sometimes you look at something that I’ve made and think “I mean the basic shape is the same but I’m not really sure you captured the original pattern”, like my Warp Speed sweater. The point I’m trying to make here is that sometimes I set out with the intention to modify and other times it just happens as the project progresses. Which sort of leads to the question: am I creative or just coloring outside the lines?

Sometimes, I think I’m creative (re: Winter Moss Hat). Most of the time, I think I take pieces of things that I like and put them together. This would lean the answer to the above question heavily to the side of coloring outside the lines. While not trying to discredit myself, I genuinely don’t think that I have the vision that a lot of my favorite designers have. I feel a strong appreciation for what they do and they inspire me, but that ah-ha moment that I imagine happens when they sit down to knit doesn’t happen for me. When I design, I design something that I want but can’t find elsewhere.

Enter Flax Light and my current pandemic knitting habits of the baby sweater. There seriously could not be a better free pattern out there for knitting outside the lines. I’ve added three more Flax Lights to my project page and tried out some new yarn with each.

A teal baby sweater with a waffle texture throughout.
Jo Flannel Flax Light, Knit by iswimlikeafish

Justin’s Flannel Flax Light, knit with Boss Sock by Junkyarns in Jo is perfect. I love the way that the colors and texture look like the ocean. Alicia Plummer is currently working on a children’s version for her flannel series, so I do feel a little bad that I’ve done the modifications required to knit a baby sweater, but I also can’t help but loving the final result. Boss sock was nice to work with as well, soft and silky as it slipped through my fingers. Not a lot of blooming during blocking, but that doesn’t really surprise me because of the general springiness of the yarn.

Jo Flannel Flax Light, literally named for each component because this is my 8th flax light (according to Ravelry), knit up in five days and the only thing I changed about the pattern was adding the texture to it. This version, and all of the other versions I have knit, does not take advantage of the short row options that have been added. This version is one that I can see myself knitting again, partially because I’m obsessed with the textured stitching of Plummer’s Flannel series and partially because it was so much fun to knit.

A lime green knit baby sweater with purl rows every fourth row to create a textured stripe.
Kryptonite Flax Light, Knit by iswimlikeafish

The next flax light I started was knit using Birch Dyeworks 80/20 Sock in the color Kryptonite. When I chose the colorway for this sweater, my goal was for something fun and gender neutral. AKA something that wasn’t pastel or gray. If the color alone didn’t get me excited, the name of the colorway (Kryptonite) did. Is it wrong to love the idea that a baby is wearing a sweater in a colorway named after Superman’s one weakness? How can you not appreciate the idea that the bundle of joy being wrapped up in this sweater brings the strongest of the strong to their knees?

If I compare Birch Dyeworks 80/20 Sock to Junkyarn’s Boss Sock, and am honest, there isn’t a huge difference in the way that they knit up. This comparison is particularly interesting because I haven’t knit the same project with slightly different yarn back to back like this before. Even considering the amount of time I spend knitting socks in graduate school, I tended to bias my purchases towards a particular brand of sock yarn (*cough cough* Alegria). This observation either means I’m not enough of a yarn snob to notice the difference (entirely possible!) or that the fibers are similar enough that purchase comes down to color (slightly more likely). Both yarns should hold up well during machine washing and I anticipate just a little bit of shrinking.

A light blue, dark blue and grey stripped baby sweater with orange cuffs.
Sunfish Flax Light, Knit by iswimlikeafish

In terms of sweater modification, I purled a row every 4th row to give the sweater a textured stripe. Honestly, not as interesting a knit as my Jo Flannel Flax Light — I hit the first sleeve and started wondering why the project wasn’t done yet. The second sleeve involved a lot of “you’re almost done!”, which ultimately implies that I felt the sleeves should have knit up faster.

Flax light number three (or number 10 according to Ravelry) is the least gender neutral if you’re focusing strictly on the idea that blue is for boys. Knit in Woolens and Nosh Targhee Sock, the body of the sweater is blue and gray stripes with the ribbing boasting a bright orange color. When I think of a sock yarn, Targhee sock is what I think of. This yarn feels durable and soft, which probably means that the final result will be a stiffer (less drapey) sweater. Though still superwash, Targhee Sock feels more like a wool than the merino yarns above (I’m not sure why that’s a thing for me these days, Merino is wool too!). Please don’t make me pick a yarn that I enjoyed the most, I can see myself buying all three again!

The only modification I made in this sweater was to eliminate the sleeve garter stitch panels. The stripping felt like enough of a design element on this tiny sweater.

Three folded baby sweaters, the top left is a lime green knit baby sweater with purl rows every fourth row to create a textured stripe. The bottom left is a teal baby sweater with a waffle texture throughout. The final sweater is folded to the right and in the middle of the previous to, it is a light blue, dark blue and grey stripped baby sweater with orange cuffs.