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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Voila! Sacque de Bèbè

CLICK HERE to get to the PDF version for easy printout!

I am so thankful for knitters and designers who offer their patterns to anyone who would like to use them, for free!  I want to give back in my own small way, and so:

Here is a free knitting pattern to make a cozy little sleep-sack style project for a newborn.  It is not so much a garment as it is a fitted blanket or a cocoon.  I found that my baby liked to be swaddled, and this was a quick and easy way to give her that sensation while I was holding her without having to mess with slipping blankets. Without modifications though, it probably wouldn’t work for sleep-wear, nor does it stay on a wiggly baby very well for very long.  It does make a very nice photo prop, especially if you care to whip up a matching hat.

  • Approx. 4 oz of soft, bulky-weight yarn such as LionBrand Homespun (used in models)
  • 9 mm knitting needles for knitting in the round (dpns, 2 circs, or 1 long circ for magic loop)
  • 3 stitch markers, distinguishable from each other
  • measuring tape
  • blunt sewing needle / tapestry needle
  • This project is seamless, and is worked in the round from the bottom up.
  • Gauge: sacque is knit fairly loosely – at about 2.75-3 stitches, and 4 rows, per inch, in stockinette.
  • Completed Measurements Laid Flat: 23 in. at top, back, 18 in. at front. Loses about 2-3 in. of height with rolled finish.  Width grows from 2 ½ in. at cast-on edge to 10 in. at widest point of opening.

Helpful links:

Cast on 12 stitches using Judy’s Magic Cast-On or figure 8 cast-on.  I find it easiest to do this magic loop style, or using 2 circular needles (both 9mm.)  You will have 6 on each needle.  (If you aren’t familiar with this technique, do try it!  It’s not as tricky as it looks, and has so many wonderful uses in knitting.)  If you would rather use something like the long-tail or cable cast-on, and then join in the round, you can do that instead. Just leave enough tail to cinch closed the bottom of the Sacque at the end.
Place marker at beginning of round. (BOR marker)
Knit 1 round even.
Increase round – (K1, M1, knit 4, M1, K1) repeat. You now have 16 stitches. (M1 = increase 1 stitch)
Knit 1 round even.
Increase round – (M1, K4) repeat to end of round – 20 stitches
Knit 2 rounds even.
Increase round – (M1, K5) repeat to end of round – 24 stitches
Knit 2 rounds even.
Increase round – (M1, K4) repeat to end of round – 30 stitches
Knit 2 rounds even.
Increase round – (M1, K5) repeat to end of round – 36 stitches
Continue in stockinette stitch till work measures about 6 inches from cast-on edge.
Increase round – (M1, K6) repeat to end of round – 42 stitches
Next round – place new (or move) your BOR marker after knitting the first 10 stitches. This marks the center front, and allows for short row set-up to be symmetrical.  (Note – if you used a circular cast-on such as the long tail and then joined in a round, you will not need to move your BOR marker.)
Continue in stockinette until work measures about 15 inches from cast-on edge.
Increase round – (M1, K7) repeat to end of round – 48 stitches (this will allow for a little flare out at the opening of the sacque.)
Knit 2 rounds, and place 2 short row markers (SR1 & SR2): K10, pm (SR1), K28, pm (SR2), K10
You are going to work 6 sets of short rows, which will raise the back of the sacque about 3 inches higher than the front. You can do more or fewer sets if you would like a higher or lower back edge.
Short Rows: Knit around to 1 stitch before SR2 (37 st). Bring yarn forward, slip next stitch knitwise, bring yarn to back again, and slip wrapped stitch back onto left needle. Turn work.  Purl across to 1 stitch before SR1 (26 st.) Bring yarn to back, slip next stitch purlwise, yarn forward, return stitch to left needle. Turn work.  Knit back across to 1st wrapped stitch. When you get to it, lift the wrap over the stitch and place it on the left needle behind the stitch, and Knit the stitch and wrap together, through the back loops. This will hide the wrap. Slip marker, and continue knitting to end of round.  Next round, after slipping SR1, you will come to the 2nd wrapped stitch (that you wrapped when you were purling).  Again, lift the wrap up and over the stitch onto the left needle so you can knit them together.  The pictures on the woolywonder forum linked above are very helpful for this technique.  If you have a short row technique you prefer, by all means, use it instead!  This completes 1 set of short rows. 
Continue to knit even to the end of the round.  Knit 1 more round before the next short rows.
Set 2 -Knit around to 4 stitches before SR2.  Wrap the 4th stitch from SR2 as described above, and repeat the purl row, wrapping the 4th stitch from SR1.  Turn and knit, closing the wraps as above.
Set 3 – no extra row between set 2 and 3.  Knit to 5th st. from SR2, wrap it, turn, purl to 5th st. before SR1, wrap it.  Turn, closing the wraps on return knit row again.  Knit 1 extra round here.
Set 4 – Knit to 6th st. from SR2, wrap it, turn, purl to 6th st. before SR1. Wrap & turn, close as above.
Set 5 – Knit to 8th st. from SR2, wrap it, turn. Purl to 8th st. before SR1. Wrap & turn, close wraps on return row. Knit 1 extra round here.
Set 6 – Knit to 10th st. from SR2, wrap it, turn.  Purl to 10th st. before SR1. Wrap & turn, close as above.
Knit 2 rounds even. 
Bind off loosely, weave in ends, and pop your baby in there!

Disclaimer: I am publishing this in response to a number of requests for directions or a pattern for the first Sacque I knit for my own newborn.  I certainly don’t claim to have invented the idea, however, since I didn’t have a pattern or an example on hand either, just a couple of photos of similar projects, I dub this my “UNvention,” to borrow from Elizabeth Zimmermann.  This is my first time writing out a pattern intended for someone else’s (your!) use. I’ve tried to be thorough, yet concise.  I hope my directions are clear and comprehensible, but please do feel free to ask questions, point out any errors, or make helpful suggestions and other comments.  You can reach me on Ravelry, Yarnucopia, or by commenting on my blog at:  or by email:

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