Posted by on Jun 24, 2016 in Knitting | 32 comments

This is a very personal pattern, in the sense that it was designed specifically for Willow, and with specifics in mind.

Maile is a fragrant vine endemic to Hawaii, and it is traditionally used as a kind of very special lei; Dave and I wore maile leis on our wedding day.  The lei is traditionally worn open, draped over the shoulders, and the leaf pattern in this sweater echoes that.

So this pattern probably won’t speak to most people the way it does to me and Willow, but it’s pretty, and I thought I’d share it.



Size: 3 months, 20-in chest circumference.  (I know.  It would be nice if I provided multiple sizes.  But I find baby sizes to be completely insane–Willow currently fits “newborn” and “3 months,” but not “0-3 months.”  She fits this sweater.  She is two months old.  I leave it to you to determine.  Also, raglans are pretty easy for mucking around with the sizing).

1 skein Dream in Color Smooshy, Happy Forest
Size US 4 circular needles
stitch holders (3)
stitch markers (several)
buttons (4)

6 sts and 9 rows = 1 inch

Lace Pattern #1:
Row 1: k3, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, skp, *k5, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, skp; Repeat from * to last 3 sts, k3
Row 2 and all even: purl
Row 3: k2, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, skp, *k3, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, skp; Repeat from * to last 2 sts, k2
Rows 5 & 7: As row 1.

Charts courtesy of Sarah Missingham at SilkyDoll–thank you Sarah!!


 Lace Pattern #2:

Row 1: (k1, yo)2X, sl-k2tog-psso, k3, k3tog, (yo, k1)2X.
Row 2 and all even: purl
Row 3: k1, yo, k3, yo, skp, k1, k2tog, yo, k3, yo, k1 (2 sts increased)
Row 5: k1, yo, skp, k1, k2tog, yo, sl-k2tog-psso, yo, skp, k1, k2tog, yo, k1 (2 sts decreased)
Row 7: k1 (yo, skp, k1, k2tog, yo, k1)2X
Row 9: As row 7
Row 10: purl

Charts courtesy of Sarah Missingham at SilkyDoll–thank you, Sarah!!


CO 131 sts.

K 11 rows

K5, p to last 5 sts, k5

K5, work Lace Pattern #1 to last 5 sts, k5.

Repeat the last two rows until Lace Pattern #1 has been completed.

K5, p to last 5 sts, k5

K33, pm, k65, pm, k33

K5, p to last 5 sts, k5

(K to 3 sts before m, ssk, k2, k2tog)2X, k to end

Work 7 rows even.

Repeat the last 8 rows 2X more, then work even until piece measures 4.5 inches, ending in a WS row.

(119 sts).

Place these stitches on a holder, leaving the markers in place.

Sleeves (make 2):

CO 30 sts

K 10 rows

K1, m1, k to last st, m1, k1

Work 3 rows in stockinette.

Repeat the last 4 rows 3X more.

K1, m1, k to last st, m1, k1

Work 5 rows in stockinette.

Repeat the last 6 rows 3X (46 sts)

Work even until piece measures 4.75 inches, ending in a WS row.


Place body stitches back on needles.  K to 8 sts before marker, ssk, pm, k6, remove m.  K7 sts from 1st sleeve, pm, k2tog.  K to 3 sts before end of sleeve, ssk, pm, k to end of sleeve.  K 1 stitch from back, k2tog, k to 3 sts before marker, ssk, pm, k1, k 1 st from second sleeve, k2tog, k to 9 sts before end of sleeve, ssk, pm, k to end of sleeve.  K 6 sts from left front, pm, k2tog, k to end.

Note: Yes, this is exceedingly hard on your hands and needles, and it would be so much easier if I’d bound off sts to be sewn up.  But I don’t like the way that feels under my arms, so I prefer to struggle through.  Feel free to bind off a few sts on either side of the sleeves and at the markers in the body to free up some space for yourself.

Buttonhole row: K2, yo, k2tog, k1, p to last 5 sts, k5

K to 2 sts before m, ssk, work Lace Pattern #2 between markers, k2tog, (k to 3 sts before m, ssk, k2, k2tog)2X, k to 2 sts before m, ssk, work Lace Pattern #2 between markers, k2tog, k to end.

K5, p to last 5 sts, k5

Repeat the last two rows until there are 83 sts on the needles, working a buttonhole row every 10 rows.

K 1 row.

K 1 row, decreasing 6 sts evenly spaced.

Repeat the last two rows 4X more (53 sts).

BO all sts.

Block lightly.


  1. What kind of yarn is Dream? Worsted Weight, Sport/Baby…?

    • It’s a sock yarn! But fingering would work fine, too.

  2. Reblogged this on nash knits & crafts blog.

  3. This has just popped up on my FB feed and it’s absolutely beautiful! I’m in love with it. The story behind it makes it even more special. All I need now is for one of my friends to have a baby so I can make it for them!

  4. Do you have the pattern for the sweater shown at the top of this blog? Looks to be a deep purple. I made the green one shown above in a baby blue. It came out nice but I did have to do some decreasing at the underarm. Would be great to figure this pattern from the top down. I may try that next. Thanks for a great pattern.

    • Ugh, I just redid the blog and I can’t tell which sweater you’re talking about…happy to direct you to the pattern if I can!

      • Is it possible to print these directions for the green fingering weight baby sweater with charts ?

        • Well, you can print the whole post, but it’s probably easiest to take a screenshot of the charts and print from there…otherwise it ends up being a lot of paper!

  5. When I got to the part where you place the 2 markers, near the beginning, I didn’t have 131 stitches on the needle anymore. I also did not have the same lace pattern even though I followed the chart carefully. Has anyone else had problems with this? I love this patten and am trying to make it as a gift. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  6. Well, my fault. I think I solved the problem. I think I was doing the yarn over wrong which resulted in less stitches and then the lace pattern was not correct. Sorry to bother you. Ha ha. Thanks for listening.

    • No problem!!! Sorry I didn’t see this sooner!

  7. Hi Could you please tell me what the wool is I can’t work it out. Is it 3ply, 4ply or double knit? Thanks Jeanette

    • Sure! It’s sock weight–so 4-ply would work!

  8. Whoops Jeanette here again, it is the pattern you have written for Willow (in green)

  9. Hello,
    I’m trying to understand how the sleeves get attached. I understand that I need to make 2 sleeves, put the body back on the needles, but then I get confused. Not sure how to attach by knitting the first 7 stitches from the first sleeve. I’m having trouble visualizing and any further help would be appreciated. Thanks so much!

    • It’s a little tricky, but really that’s all you do! Knit to the gap, then start knitting the first sleeve. You’re only knitting 7 stitches because you’re about to place a marker and do some decreases…

      If you’re feeling uncomfortable–because it is tricky!–try calling in a friend or taking it to your local yarn store, and they can help you through it.

  10. I’m also having a little trouble visualizing the sleeve join, but I’m excited to try it and I’m sure it will become clear once I’ve got it in front of me. My question is, would it be okay to work the sleeves in the round? Will that interfere with the joining process?

    • It is totally possible to knit in the round, but it will make the sleeve join a little tricky. What I’d suggest doing is working them in the round, and then switching to rows a little bit before the join.

      Visualizing the join *is* really hard, but once you get there it’s not so bad.

      • Ok, I’m in the same boat, struggling with visualizing this part (probably because I’m a new knitter and like to bite off more than I can chew!). Just to clarify, when I start the stitches in the “yoke” section, is it implied that when I move the body stitches back on my needles that I move the sleeves to a holder? then, when it says “k1 from back” after knitting across sleeve 1, does that mean go back to knitting on the next stitch from the body? Thanks for the hand holding… I’m really enjoying this project and just want to make sure I move forward with some idea of the path.

        • OK, so you’ll actually want both your body and sleeve stitches on needles now, unless you’re comfortable knitting from a holder. You’re going to be knitting all the stitches, so that you get them all on one set of circular needles.

          And yes, k1 from back means go back to knitting the next stitch from the body!

          You got this!

  11. I just love this sweater and made it for my daughter from leftover sock yarn. I’m just wondering how you feel about people making and selling this sweater. Thanks for such a great sweater!!!

    • Well, the sweater is copyrighted, so no one is supposed to make the sweater to sell without specific permission. But I do love when people make it as a gift or as a donation!! And I’m so glad you made it for your daughter–that makes my heart happy.

  12. I love this pattern..and can’t wait to start it for a gift..but my questions is this..I am having problems seeing the sleeves you put the sweater on a stitch holder..and do one sleeve and then the cut yarn between the two sleeves?? then when you add the sweater back on…how do you knit between the sleeves and the sweater..that is where I am can always email me if longer..I know..I’m still new at this. But thanks so much for the beautiful pattern!!

    • OK, so this is really tricky, and hard to explain in writing. What I should do is make a video, but I won’t have time to do that before you would like to move on with your sweater! Let’s try here. Once you’ve finished working the sleeve and put it on a holder, you can cut the sleeve working yarn. Attach the yarn at the body and work to where you’re supposed to add the sleeve. Then, continuing to use the yarn you’ve been working with, knit the stitches from the first sleeve. This seems impossible, because that’s a lot of stitches to squeeze in a very small space. There are a few ways to make this easier–you can try using double-pointed needles, to help the stitches curve like they will in a finished sweater, or use a very long circular needle, so they can rest on the wire. If you’re stuck, phone a friend. Take your project over to your local yarn store, and they’ll be able to walk you through it.

  13. Can this be done on straight needles or does it have to be done on circular

    • Honestly, I think it would be really hard on straight needles. You kind of need the curve and ease that circular needles give you.

  14. I made this sweater for my new niece before she was born! She ended up wearing it when she was five months old with her new Easter dress. My sister is in love with the pattern, and wants me to make her another one, but she is now 18 months old, and I would have to do a 2 year old size. I don’t feel very confident in my re-sizing ability! Is the pattern available in any other sizes? Thanks so much for your help!

    • Hi,

      I’m so sorry, it’s not available in any other sizes! But I think you could do it, really easily! Just cast on more stitches at the bottom, work it longer, cast on more stitches for the sleeve, work them longer, and then basically just follow the pattern, adjusting the stitch counts. It’s really easy!

  15. Hi Nikki,
    I am having a predicament! I found a pattern that I made years ago. No picture, no name of what the project was, just instructions.
    At the top of my print0out it says “Little Leaves” In the mood for knitting 2010″. At the bottom of the page it says, “with authorization of Nikki Van de Car.”
    I’ve looked on your site and didn’t find anything that says Little Leaves. Could you possible get ahold of me and let me know what this is a pattern too??? I would appreciate any help you can give me.
    Thank you,
    Judy Sutton

  16. I wish someone would translate this pattern into Norwegian!

  17. The rest of your comment got truncated!


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