“Lilla Koftan” Little Cardigan

April 7, 2017

Lilla Koftan sleeve and front

I love going into yarn shops wherever I travel, don’t you?  Ever since I walked into my first yarn shop in Chapel Hill, North Carolina when my oldest son was a baby in 1988, I was hooked.  I love the women in yarn shops – so eager to help you and so excited about the yarn they sell. A good yarn shop has a big table where knitters come and work on their projects, either for the help or just for the friendship. Recently while visiting our son in college, I walked into a yarn shop in Evanston, Illinois – CloseKnit – and this shop was one of those great little yarn shops.  The women were having a great time and laughing and there was a big table right in the middle of the shop.   I saw this yarn on display with a little sample swatch knitted up and was so intrigued with it that I bought a couple of skeins.  It’s a German yarn called Schachenmayr Extra Fine Merino 120 and, when knitted up, kind of looks like Fair Isle.  I love it.  But what’s really great about it is the texture – it’s extra fine merino, but has a really nice firmness to it that I like.  It held up so well after blocking – sometimes wool can relax too much after blocking and I hate that.  This yarn retained its structure.

Lilla Koftan top

Lilla Koftan upside down

This free (!) pattern is called “Lilla Koftan” which means “Little Cardigan” in Swedish.  It is a pattern by Petra Orrbeck and I really liked it.  It’s my favorite technique for a sweater: top down, seamless, sleeves put on holders and then knitted in the round. And it has a little garter yoke and garter trim.  Perfect!

Lilla Koftan start of sleeve

I knit the whole thing on #4 circular Addi Lace needles and then did the sleeves using Magic Loop, instead of DPNs.  If you need a tutorial on Magic Loop, here is mine (along with a video to help you).  Magic Loop is my favorite way to knit in the round.

Lilla Koftan sleeve on needles


Using #4 needles and DK yarn, this made a tiny sweater – probably a 6 month size.  So cute.

I modified the pattern just a tad:
1.  I only did 3 buttonholes (because I like that look)
2.  I did M1 increases instead of the yarn overs she suggested.
3.  I did 22 rows for the body instead of 17 as the pattern says.
4.  I did 11 rows of garter stitch for the trim instead of 9.
5.  I did 22 rows stockinette for sleeves before garter trim

Lilla Koftan cardigan side view

Lilla Koftan stitches detail

This pattern, making it the size I did, took exactly 2 skeins of this yarn – I only had about 7 yards left!  It was a close call.  So that’s about 260 yards.  This yarn is a DK weight although the company web site lists it as a Lace weight.  That just is a mistake.

Lilla Koftan buttons


This is all the yarn I had left!    If I want to make a little hat, I’ll have to get another skein.


Lilla Koftan leftover yarn


Thanks for stopping by and
I hope you’re making something!

Pattern:  Lilla Koftan
Needles:  U.S. #4 circular
Yarn:  Schachenmayr Merino Extra Fine Color 120 in Helsinki (494)
Ravelry Page



  1. Very pretty! I love the pattern, especially with the yarn you used. What size did you end up with?

  2. What gorgeous yarn! I will have to try to find some. Love all the details in your review of it. Isn’t CloseKnit the best? We live in Tennessee now, but only moved here from Chicago four years ago. I used to love going into CloseKnit. Happy memories! 🙂

  3. […] a través de “Lilla Koftan” Little Cardigan — Italian Dish Knits […]

  4. I am learning how to knit socks , would this wool be to fine to use ?

    • This particular wool is a DK weight, so it’s a little bigger than a sock yarn. However, Schachenmayr makes sock yarns – just go on their site and you will find yarns more suited to knitting socks.

  5. I love this little sweater and I love that variegated yarn! Thanks for the links to the pattern and the yarn.

  6. Dear Elaine – (being German snd “at the source” so to speak) I knit a lot with Schachenmayr’s yarn. (Merino in particular but their sock yarns too). Did you see their new yarns designed by Arne & Carlos? Very hard to resist 🙂
    The little cardigan turned out beautiful! You may want to check the Chachenmayr link though as it seems to be broken.
    Cheers – Carina.

    • Carina: Thank you for the heads up about the broken link – don’t know what happened, but I fixed it! I will be sure to check out Arne & Carlos’s yarns. Schachenmayr has so many fun yarns!

  7. Super good Wlaine, i love the yarn and the pattern reminds me that my sista is expecting and i should start knitting one for her baby. Is there any Yarn for the newborns? Thanks again for the pattern. I will be subscribing for more posts like this.

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