Here are my instructions for knitting a baby cocoon.
Note the short row shaping at the back edge, to accommodate the baby's head.
I don't have a baby handy to model this for you (my son is 12 now, 5' 9" tall, so he's a bit too large!), so I took a few pictures with one of my son's stuffed animals in it to give you the idea.
Baby Cocoon Knitting Pattern
Size 13 straight or circular needles
Size 13 double-pointed needles
Heavy worsted (approx. 4 st/inch) yarn - about 170 yards
(I used Valley Yarns Rainbow, 85% wool, 11% acrylic, 4% polyester, available at Webs, www.yarn.com, 2 balls each of colors 20 and 35 held together)
One (I) large button.
Gauge: 3 stitches and 4.5 rows to 1” over stockinette stitch.
Explanation of Shaping:
The baby cocoon is shaped like a cornucopia. You start knitting in rows back and forth to make a garter-stitch cuff which will go around the baby’s head. Then, switching to stockinette stitch, you will work short rows to create a curved shape, making the cocoon longer at the back than at the front, to cradle the baby’s head.
Then, you will go back and forth for a few rows and make a buttonhole on one edge, and decrease 6 stitches at the other edge; and then you will join the stitches in a circle and work in the round, making decreases every 4 rows until only 12 stitches remain, then decreasing and drawing the remaining stitches up in a circle.
Garter Stitch Cuff:
With straight or circular size 13 needles (or size needed to get gauge), cast on 66 stitches – work in garter stitch (Knit every row) for 17 rows (approx. 3.5”).
Change to stockinette stitch (knit on front rows, purl on back.
Row 1: Knit 35 stitches, holding yarn in back, slip next stitch purlwise, wrap yarn to front and slip wrapped stitch back onto left-hand needle, turn (one wrapped knit stitch).
Row 2: Purl 4 stitches, holding yarn in front, slip next stitch purlwise, wrap yarn to back and slip wrapped stitch back to the left-land needle, turn (one wrapped purl stitch).
Row 3: Knit to wrapped stitch, knit wrapped stitch together with wrap at its base, k1, wrap next knit stitch, turn.
Row 4: Purl to wrapped stitch, purl wrapped stitch together with wrap at its base, p1, wrap next purl stitch, turn.
Continue Rows 3 and 4 in this manner until only 12 stitches remain unknitted at each end of the needle. Work next knit row all the way to the last stitch, knitting wrapped stitch together with wrap at its base, and purl next row all the way to the last stitch, knitting wrapped stitch together with wrap at its base.
Body of Cocoon:
Row 1: Knit sts.
Row 2: Purl all sts.
Row 3: Knit all sts.
Row 4: Same as Row 2.
Row 5: Buttonhole Row: Knit 2 sts, cast off 2 stitches, knit across remaining sts.
Row 6: Purl to cast-off sts; cast on 2 stitches, purl last 2 sts (buttonhole completed).
Begin decrease rows: Knit 10 stitches; place marker (PM), k1, sl 1, psso (one dec. made); )knit 18 sts, PM, k 1, sl 1, psso) twice (second and third dec. made); knit to last three stitches, k 2 tog, k 1. (62 stitches remain).
Row 7: Same as Row 2.
Row 8: Knit to last 3 stitches, k2 tog, K1. (61 stitches remain)
Row 9: Same as Row 2.
Row 11: Knit to marker, k1, sl 1, psso; repeat across to last 3 stitches, K2 tog, K1. (57 stitches remain)
Row 12: Same as Row 2.
Row 13: Same as Row 8. (56 stitches remain)
Row 14: Same as Row 2.
Row 15: Same as Row 11 (53 stitches remain).
Row 16: Same as Row 2.
Row 17: Switch to double-pointed needles, dividing onto 3 needles and knitting with the fourth, working a decrease in the 2 sts after each marker, and then slipping last stitch in the row, knitting the first stitch from the first double-pointed needle, and then passing the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch.
Rows 18 – 20: Knit 3 rows straight.
Row 21: knit across, working dec after each marker.
Continue in this way, working 3 decreases every 4th row, until 12 stitches remain.
Knit 2 rows.
Knit 2 sts together across, then cut yarn and draw through remaining 6 stitches.
Weave in ends; sew button opposite buttonhole.
Find really cute newborn (is there any other type?) and take photos of them tucked cozily inside.