It’s another fun miniature project – taking a regular knitting pattern sized for child or adult and making it …roughly… the same proportions by gnawing off a math challenge with no fear. Well, maybe a little fear.
My starting point was a cute pattern with clear, excellent instructions:
Somewhere in the essence of my math-oriented brain, I must have realized that to use size 4 needles instead of the prescribed size 13 would render a finished length in proportion if I also kept to the number of stitches in the original pattern but reduced the length in rows to about one-third. This assumption was either intuition/experience or sheer dumb luck.
I made the pink trial model accordingly, but it turned out pretty large for a Christmas ornament. (Unless you live in Texas, maybe.)
Besides wanting to get the miniature a little smaller, I saw that the rate of slant on the front neck edges was too shallow. Instead of the less-than-45-degree angle you see above, I needed something closer to 45. Tweaking for these corrections, and going for buttonholes instead of crocheted ties, I got the result shown below. BTW, I absolutely stink at crochet. Even a simple chain stitch comes out pretty awful, as you can see on the pink sweater.
HOW TO MAKE your Miniature Kimono Sweater
Approx. finished size 5.5” tall, 3.75” across at lower hem
First off, gauge is not highly important for this project. (Hooray!)
Second off, send a comment if you need any of my instructions clarified. I’ve used a number of abbreviations without explanation, such as “work a stitch f/b.”
With size 4 needles, c/o 24 sts. The alternate cable cast-on is recommended. It gives a nice, loopy/scalloped lower edge that is ideal when you’re starting off in ribbing. Work 3 or 4 rows single ribbing — IN CONTRASTING COLOR, optionally, then 1 row in stockinette stitch in CC then change to MC and work 17 rows in st st — or simply work 18 rows in st st if knitting the entire sweater in one color. Work should measure approximately 2 and 2/3″ from cast-on edge. End with a WS row.
RS: Using knitted c/o method, cast on 8 sts for sleeve, then knit entire row. (32)
WS: Using knitted c/o method, cast on 8 for other sleeve and work purl row. (40)
Continue in stockinette stitch until work measures 4.5″ from cast-on edge, ending with a WS row.
DIVIDE FOR FRONT SECTIONS
RS: Knit 14 and move these sts to scrap yarn or a stitch holder for right front. Attach a new yarn ball and bind off 12 sts for back neck; complete row in pattern. Illustration below shows right front stitches held on gray scrap yarn, back neck bound off (in center of photo), and left front continued as described in upcoming instructions.
### – return to this point to complete right front, later
Work 3 rows on left front stitches, then begin increasing at front edge on a RS row:
>A. Inc row (work a stitch f/b at edge, plus a yo next to that)
>B. Inc row (ditto)
>C. Work 1 row with a yo within 2 sts of front edge, but DO NOT INCREASE the total # of sts:
For RS rows: k2, yo, k1 [into the previous row’s yo], k2tog, knit to end.
For WS rows: purl to last 5 sts; sl 1, p1, psso, p1, yo, p2. I went this route to avoid p2tog. Purling 2 together is just plain difficult. Why do this if you don’t have to?
Repeat rows ABC until there are 28 sts, ending with a row A (a WS row). Work 1 row even.
Here’s a photo of my Instagram post at this point. I was so tickled to have come up with a strategy to correct that slant after the pink attempt came out too shallow because I had increased on every row:
BINDING OFF SLEEVE EDGE
On next row (WS), bind off 8 sts, then purl to end of row. (20)
Work in pat until piece measures approximately 9.25″** from cast-on edge OR until the front in progress lines up with sweater back (above ribbing) when sleeve seam edges are held together. OPTIONAL BUTTONHOLES: If working small buttonholes into the left front (for a “man’s” sweater closure), refer to instructions below while completing this section. However, buttonholes may be made in RIGHT FRONT instead, for a “woman’s” sweater.
When left front is long enough to match up with sweater back at the same point, begin single rib on a RS row, working same number of rows of ribbing as for sweater back. OR, having worked to needed length minus one row if using a contrasting color for ribbing, work 1 ROW st st in CC, plus the ribbing rows. Why the one row of stockinette in CC? I explain that a little farther down, under TIP.
**For me, in my gauge, completing the front after sleeve edge bind-off was approximately 15 more rows from this point, before changing color and starting the ribbing.
Work several small buttonholes, evenly spaced, on RS rows by binding off the 3rd stitch and then casting it back on when purling the next row. In practical terms, this means: k4, lift 2nd loop over end stitch and off needle tip, knit to end. On next row, cast 1 stitch back on before purling the second-to-last stitch. Backward loop method may be the easiest way to do this.
Here’s how I spaced 4 buttonholes within a 16-row area:
Work rows 1 & 2 in pattern.
Row 3 (RS) = buttonhole row. See above paragraph for method.
Work rows 4,5,6 in pattern.
Row 7 (RS) = buttonhole row.
Work rows 8,9,10 in pattern.
Continue in this manner, working a buttonhole on rows 11 and 15, completing the final buttonhole by casting on a stitch at the appropriate spot on row 16. On my blue and white sweater, row 16 was a purl row worked with CC. I had determined that I wanted the buttons to go on down close to the lower edge.
TIP: when changing colors, I’ve found it looks better to do so NOT on the same row that you switch from ribbing to some other stitch or vice versa. The purl bumps tend to stand out awkwardly if there is a yarn color change at the same time.
After completing 3-4 rows of ribbing, ending with a RS row, bind off in Miraculous Elastic Bind-off with WS facing you. The pretty side of this bind-off is the side that faces away from you as you work.
I got so excited about figuring out where to place the buttonholes that I went ahead and did them in the left front, which supposedly makes this a male’s sweater (buttons on the right), but that’s perfectly fine, because this miniature is a Christmas ornament for a special family that includes a dad and a son.
Slip stitches for right front from holder back onto needle, with yarn source on same end as needle tip. See point marked ### above and begin right front starting with a WS row: work 3 rows even, then begin increasing at neck edge in the same manner as for left front, reversing the shaping and omitting the “work 1 row even.” Note that sleeve edge will be bound off at the start of a RS row.
Seam the sides, weave yarn ends in, and attach a button under each buttonhole. Or, work a chain stitch or narrow i-cord and attach to both sides of front for tie closure.
Your completed mini kimono sweater will add a handmade touch to someone’s Christmas tree, and it just might dress up a doll or a small stuffed animal, too!