Shetland Baby Robe by Hazel Carter

Shetland Baby Robe

November 2000
Cobweb ?
32 stitches and 48 rows = 4 inches
in garter stitch using size 2 (2.75mm) needles (blocked)
US 2 - 2.75 mm
1350 yards (1234 m)
Underarm: 20"; Length: 29"
Flag of English English

Pattern Description from A Gathering of Lace: “Robes or gowns of this kind were fashionable during the Victorian age for such events as christenings. Since they were intended as heirlooms, hence expected to be worn by babies of various sizes, they were fairly loose, and able to be fitted to the individual infant by means of draw-strings or ribbons. The preferred construction for knitted gowns had no gathers, whether at the waist or elsewhere, since this would have made it difficult to wash and dress in the future, after the gown was made up. Both of these features are replicated in the present robe, which is based on a Shetland christening gown illustrated in The Art of Knitting, having a front central pattern, where most of the decoration is concentrated, and which gradually decreases in width towards the waist. Instructions are also given for making a dressing board. Cardboard is preferable to wood, as the arm pieces have to be folded back when the dress is taken off the board.”

Skill Level: Experienced

Finished Measurements:

  • Underarm: 20”
  • Length: 29”

Yarn: Jamieson & Smith Cobweb-weight Shetland (½oz/14g; 225yds/205m; wool) 6 skeins White


  • Size 2 (2.75mm) needles, or size to obtain gauge
  • Optional: Two size 2 (2.75mm) double-pointed needles (dpn), for edging


  • Waste yarn for cast-on
  • Stitch markers and holders
  • Cardboard for dressing board, 22” x 40”
  • White satin double-faced ribbon: 2 yds, 3/8” wide and 1 yd, ¼“ wide
  • Powdered starch or cornstarch
  • Tapestry needle
  • Optional: Two 12” blocking wires

Blocked Gauge: 32 sts and 48 rows to 4”/10cm in garter st using size 2 (2.75mm) needles

Construction Notes: “This baby robe, knit back and forth in rows on a garter st ground, has almost no bound-off edges. The bottom edging is knit first, then sts are picked up along the inside of the edging for the skirt. At the underarm, 40 sts each side are placed on holders, more sts invisible cast on for the sleeves, and the work continued over the shoulders, dividing for the neck. The sleeve edgings are picked up and knit last. The bodice sts at the back are grafted to those on hold, as are the cast-on to the final sts of each sleeve.”


  1. The central panel chart is a half-chart. Each row, whether RS or WS, is worked from right to left to the center pivot st, then worked backwards from left to right. This center pivot st is worked only once. The 12-st rep in the first 192 rows is worked twice in each direction.
  2. The short rows in the edging provide needed elasticity. Shetlanders call this process “lengthening the edge.” This is most easily done by knitting (or purling - it makes no difference) the 2nd short row backwards to avoid turning the work.
  3. See Techniques, p. 162, for double yo, invisible cast-on, and grafting.