A Special Knit-A-Long for knit-a-square!

by Dawne on September 10, 2010

Hello, and welcome to the KasCuddle Knit-a-long!  I am Helen Flagg, a member of the Square Circle Forum, and I will be your guide through this KAL.  Just what is a KasCuddle?  It is a knitted baby sack made for warming young babies in South Africa.

In January I asked Sandy, one of our Knit-a-Square founders, whether this knitted sack would be useful for mothers and caregivers of young babies in South Africa.  With a resounding yes, from Sandy and her co-founder Ronda in South Africa, the KasCuddle became an official knit-a-square item. It has proven to be a popular item with caregivers and our team is asking for more KasCuddles large enough to fit a baby up to nine months old.

Warmer babies snuggled in their KasCuddles.

I will be working with you to make the KasCuddle on a circular needle*. I think you will find that using the circular needle will be quite easy if you have never used one before.

There are only a few steps in making the KasCuddle:  knitting the collar, joining the two ends of the collar, knitting the body, and binding off and sewing the bottom.  Except for the collar, which is K2P2, the entire KasCuddle is done in stockinette stitch (knit every row when working in the round).

We will be knitting a basic KasCuddle in order to establish the basic KasCuddle form.  If you would like to add stripes, embellishments and/or texture, use your best creativity!

For the new knitters, I will knit along with you in one basic color as we master the process.  Along the way I will post photos of the steps, and I will be available to answer your questions. Simply leave your question in a comment on this post or on my wall over at the forum.

So come and join the fun, tell your friends, gather your supplies and come along with me to provide much-needed and appreciated warmth for very cold babies. This KAL starts officially on Saturday, September 18.


21 oz. worsted wool yarn
1 US size13 (9mm) — 29inch (70mm) circular knitting needle (a 24 inch needle will be too short.)
The circular needle may be metal, plastic, bamboo – whatever you prefer.
1 yarn needle for sewing the bottom after castoff

Although they receive loving care many children sleep on the floor because of a lack of resources.

A word about yarn:

The entire purpose of a KasCuddle is warmth.  In SA the temperature can drop to 0 degrees Farenheit in the winter. Shack dwellings are often made of corrugated tin, thin wood or cardboard with no heat, running water, and no flooring.  Some sleep on the ground with their babies in their arms.  Many are suffering from HIV/AIDS.

The KasCuddles may be the only covering these babies will have, and we must knit them to be as warm as possible.  A 100% worsted wool such as Paton’s Classic Wool is ideal. There are many brands of good 100% worsted wool to choose from.  As to color, the choice is yours.  Bright colors are recommended by KAS to stimulate the little ones who live in a very drab world.

And lastly, a few notes:

  1. There is no gauge for the KasCuddle.   Whether you knit tightly or loosely, the final size of the sack will come out fine if you use the number of stitches given and if you use doubled yarn.  It will measure on completion about 28 inches wide and 30 inches long.  If your dimensions are a half inch to an inch wider and longer, that’s fine.
  2. If you are not familiar with the “long tail cast-on” may I suggest that you familiarize yourself with this cast-on method and practice.  This cast-on is recommended for the KasCuddle because it is a strong edge, for the wear and tear of daily use, and it makes the collar stretchy.
YouTube Preview Image

I am really looking forward to knitting together with each one of you. Please join the fun!!

*(There is a straight needle pattern on the Forum posted by Robert Hoddy, however the directions there are still for the smaller size, and you will need to revise your number of stitches to agree with the number of stitches to be given here for the larger size.)

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen September 13, 2010 at 10:55


I’d love to join this KAL, but am going on vacation this Wednesday. If you could give me a heads up, i.e., how many stitches should I cast on, I can start this on the plane and be on schedule with everybody else.


Elrine September 13, 2010 at 15:12

I haven’t the vaguest clue about knitting with circular needles but would love to join in – can you please tell me the number of stitches I need for “straight” knitting? Thanks!
Much power to your needles!!

NuurdyGirl September 13, 2010 at 15:29

So….I have a TON of worsted weight yarn, but most of it is acrylic or an acrylic blend. Since acrylic (especially doubled) is still quite warm…would that be an acceptable yarn to use?

Barb Lavell September 13, 2010 at 15:51

Is there a particular time on 9/18? Also, will you be giving us the pattern at that time or is there a way I can get the pattern ahead of time? I look forward to knitting with you.

Becka Westcott September 14, 2010 at 15:16

Can’t wait to add to my KAS patterns – this will be such fun to learn together.

Dawne Smith-Sliming September 14, 2010 at 15:22

Welcome Becka!

I think this is shaping up to be quite a fun event :)

Helen Flagg September 14, 2010 at 16:19

Hi, All! To answer your questions:
The number of stitches for knitting on size #13 circular and size
#13 straight needles will be the same. The straight needle pattern
is on the Forum, however we will not be decreasing the bottom
but just knitting straight down and binding off straight across.
I will post the pattern on Sat. when we launch. The dimensions
and # of stitches will be applicable to both straight and circular
needle patterns.
Acrylic yarn doubled is warm but is a problem in the shack
settlements when it gets wet; it will lose its warmth factor. But
I recommend you go ahead with your acrylic yarn doubled and
label your KASCuddle as acrylic when you send it. The KAS
team will know to distribute the acrylic cuddles to nurseries
where there is some heat and better roofing.
We will all have the pattern at the same time when we launch on
Saturday. Dawne is our computer specialist so the pattern will
be up when she has it ready to post………..
Looking forward to having all of you with us on Saturday!

Becky Zolt September 15, 2010 at 03:25

Thanks, Helen for holding our hands as we try something new. I mostly crochet because it seems more forgiving– no dropped stitches. I’m excited to try this project. I bought the needles and some wool. If I think I can manage it, I’ll get another color for some stripes. Otherwise, it will be all blue. Can’t wait for Saturday to get started!

Helen Flagg September 15, 2010 at 21:27

The first step goes up Saturday so come and join us! We will
take it slow and easy. Should be fun!

Dochas22 September 17, 2010 at 14:15

Looking forward to joining in with the KAL! I can’t begin until Sunday afternoon when I return from a conference but I’ll catch up as quickly as I can!

Dawne September 17, 2010 at 16:26

Glad you’re able to join in. Don’t worry about catching up. We’ll all be working at our own pace and each set of instructions will be ready when you need them. :)

Meghan October 5, 2010 at 00:06

This sounds silly, but I just want to triple check… the cuddle should be 28 inches in circumference (14 inches across), and 30 inches long, correct?

Helen Flagg October 7, 2010 at 13:02

Meghan, you are absolutely correct. The circumference can
even be 29 inches for loose knitters and that’s fine. The
30 inch length is necessary to accommodate the larger babies
up to nine months. Ronda has requested the longer size than
we made at first in order to give the larger babies more foot room.
So glad you have joined in to make a Cuddle!

Brian October 17, 2010 at 15:58

Helen, would it be acceptable to do a 3 needle bind off at the bottom edge of the cuddle instead of seaming the bottom? When I use this bind off on shoulder seams of sweaters and toes of socks it is very, very sturdy. Thanks so much for this wonderful work!

Dawne October 19, 2010 at 17:48

The 3 Needle Bind Off is a great idea; seaming and binding off all at once. Go for it!

ALiceMarie August 18, 2011 at 03:16


Ruth January 8, 2012 at 21:28

I have made two cuddles, and I was using the 25 in. pattern, but will do 30 on the next. I lined the last one with an inexpensive cotton flannel baby blanket, because I was afraid some child could be sensitive to wool. I tried to secure it in a way that the wool could still stretch. Please let me know if that isn’t a good idea, before I line the next one. Thanks!

Sandra January 12, 2012 at 12:36

where can I find the rest of the pattern?

Helen Flagg February 23, 2012 at 23:17

AliceMarie…………I just saw your question as I have not been on this site for many months. There are no different sizes for the KASCuddle. There is only one size and the number of stitches to cast on is given in the pattern on the Knitalong. The only difference is that the pattern says to knit the body 25 inches long and that has been changed to 30 inches for the body. The pattern should be corrected shortly.

Jean Reynolds March 1, 2012 at 04:42

Okay, this may seem like a silly question,—but I see absolutely nothing but comments and instructions on here for KNITTED items. What about crochet?? Is there some reason you don’t mention this method of making squares or other items?? Are these not just as useful to the cause—or for some reason do you want only knitted things?? I both knit and crochet, but find crocheting much more to my liking. Please may I use crocheting to make squares, cuddles, and other items?? And if this is acceptable, please mention that in your columns and instructions so others know this is okay.

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