Salt and Pepper Knit Cardigan

simple knit cardigan pattern

A simple knit cardigan pattern, the Salt and Pepper Cardigan, is a new free pattern here on the blog. Read all about my inspiration, the perfect yarn I choose, and how easy it is to make or scroll down for the free pattern and photo tutorial.

No time right now? Pin this easy to knit cardigan pattern for later!

Ladies cardigan knitting pattern FREE

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Scroll down for the free version but I recommend you purchase the ad-free PDF Pattern to get all the instructions and pictures in a nice PDF you can print and take notes on without relying on your phone or an internet connection, I’ve got you covered!

The Salt and Pepper knit cardigan pattern is now available in my Etsy shop and on Ravelry. Grab your copy now before you forget.

Easy to knit cardigan pattern

A simple knit cardigan pattern for everyday wear

Your wardrobe won’t know what hit it with this simple knit cardigan pattern. Designed for a classic fit, this casual button-up cardigan goes with any outfit to keep you feeling comfortable and looking stylish. It’s sure to be your favorite go-to piece. It’s mine already!

I might be pregnant on these pictures but the cardigan doesn’t have a maternity fit! Instead, it has a classic straight fit. You can wear it open over a simple top or a cute dress or close the buttons if you get chilly.

The yarn

Most of the time, I like to knit with worsted weight or thicker yarns but for this cardigan, I wanted something lighter. I really wanted to make a piece I can wear any time of year. I have a few storebought basic light cardigans in neutral colors, those garments definitely get the most wear. Now I can finally replace these with a handmade knit version.

click here to purchase the printable PDF of the salt and pepper knit cardigan pattern

Digging through my (scarily decreasing) stash I found my 4 skeins of Audine Wools Shine Sport yarn in their Sprout colorway from my KnitCrate subscriptions I was saving for something special.

The yarn is sport weight (3) and has this beautiful off white background with small speckles of golden brown and sage green. I knew instantly it would shine in the simple design I had in mind.

I got my skeins from my monthly KnitCrate membership but they also have it available in their shop right now. You can grab it here while stocks last. Fyi, members do get a 50% discount on any yarn from the shop (automatically applied once you’re logged in). You can read all about how obsessed I am with my subscription in this honest review post. And, if you want to try it, use the code CHOP20 at checkout for a 20% discount on your first month.

Cute wooden buttons for this simple knit cardigan pattern

This gorgeously soft and speckled yarn also matched perfectly with my favorite small leaf wooden buttons. I’ve been obsessively using these on all my baby makes and have been wanting to use some on a garment for myself for so long. They’re the perfect addition to this classic cardigan.

Easy Level

Sometimes when we see a garment that is not a giant oversized fit we panic and think there will be a lot of shaping involved, or at least that’s what I used to think. This is not the case with the Salt and Pepper cardigan!

There is only a little shaping (simple k2tog stitches) at the top of the front panels and at the cuffs. Everything else is simple straight knitting. It’s also constructed for minimal seaming as the front and back panels are knit in one piece.

You don’t need to be an expert to knit this easy cardigan, all you need is a little bit of patience (knitting with weight 3 yarn takes a bit more time).

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Before you Start


The Salt and Pepper simple knit cardigan pattern is available in the following sizes: XS to 5XL. Sizes are noted throughout the pattern in the following way: XS (S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL). The pictures illustrate the M (medium) size.

Final bust measurements are:

  • XS: 70 cm / 27.5”
  • S: 81 cm / 32”
  • M: 89 cm / 35”
  • L: 98 cm / 38.5”
  • XL: 108 cm / 42.5”
  • 2XL: 118 cm / 46.5”
  • 3XL: 128 cm / 50.25”
  • 4XL: 138 cm / 54.25”
  • 5XL: 148 cm / 58.25”

The cardigan is designed with a close fit, negative 2.5 cm / 1”ease around the bust.

Total length measurements:

  • XS: 62.5 cm / 24.5”
  • S: 62.5 cm / 24.5”
  • M: 63 cm / 25”
  • L: 64.5 cm / 25.5”
  • XL: 67 cm / 26.5”
  • 2XL: 68 cm / 27”
  • 3XL: 69.5 cm / 27.5”
  • 4XL: 71 cm / 28”
  • 5XL: 72 cm / 28.5”



The gauge for this pattern, in stockinette stitch on 3.75 mm / US 5 needles, is 23 st by 32 rows for a 10 cm by 10 cm square (4” by 4”).

Abbreviations & Instructions

  • st = stitch
  • k = knit
  • k2tog = knit 2 stitches together
  • p = purl


Work instructions between [] the indicated number of times or until the end of the row.

The final number of stitches is indicated at the end of the row between < >.

The Actual Simple Knit Cardigan Pattern

With your 3.75 mm / US 5 needles, cast on 158 (182, 200, 222, 244, 266, 290, 312, 336) stitches.

[k1, p1] across for 4 cm / 1.5″.

Bottom k1 p1 edge of the simple knit sweater pattern

Knit in stockinette stitch (knit on the right side, purl on the wrong side) until total length is 42 cm / 16.5”.

Decrease for the neck shaping: Keep working in stockinette st decreasing on both extremities to shape the neck area:

[Decrease row: k2, k2tog, k until last 4 st, k2tog, k2.

Work 3 rows in stockinette stitch.] 5 times. <148 (172, 190, 212, 234, 256, 280, 302, 326) st >

From here onwards, work in 3 separate sections dividing the stitches as follows:

  • XS: 35, 78, 35.
  • S: 40, 92, 40.
  • M: 45, 100, 45.
  • L: 51, 110, 51.
  • XL: 58, 118, 58.
  • 2XL: 64, 128, 64.
  • 3XL: 67, 146, 67.
  • 4XL: 73, 156, 73.
  • 5XL: 80, 166, 80.

Leave the remaining stitches on the side (on a stitch holder, cable or alternatively a piece of yarn) while you work one section.

Divide the cardigan in 3 sections and work separately to form the front and back panels.

Section 1: Right cardigan shoulder

Work the following 4 rows 4 (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) times:

[Decrease row: k2, k2tog, k until end of section.

Work 3 rows in stockinette stitch.] <31 (36, 40, 45, 50, 55, 57, 62, 68) st>

Work the next 2 rows 14 times:

[Decrease row: k2, k2tog, k until end of section.

Purl 1 row.] <17 (22, 26, 36, 41, 43, 48, 54) st>

Cast off and leave a long tail for sewing.

Section 2: Back Panel

Work in stockinette stitch until you reach the same length as section 1: 44 (44, 48, 52, 60, 64, 68, 72, 76) rows.

Cast off and leave a long tail for sewing.

Section 3: Left Cardigan Shoulder

Work the following 4 rows 4 (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12) times

[Decrease row: k until last 4 st, k2tog, k2.

Work 3 rows in stockinette stitch.] <31 (36, 40, 45, 50, 55, 57, 62, 68) st>

Work the next 2 rows 14 times:

[Decrease row: k until last 4 st, k2tog, k2.

Purl 1 row.] <17 (22, 26, 36, 41, 43, 48, 54) st>

Cast off and leave a long tail for sewing.


Make 2.

Cast on 65 (65, 70, 75, 85, 95, 105, 110, 115) st. Knit in stockinette stitch for 44 (45, 45, 47, 47, 47, 47, 49, 49) cm / 17.25 (17.75, 17.75, 18.5, 18.5, 18.5, 18.5, 19.25, 19.25)”.

On the next row on the right side decrease to shape the wrist:

Decreases for the cuffs of the simple knit sweater

[k3, k2tog] across. < 52 (52, 56, 60, 68, 76, 84, 88, 92) st>

Purl one row.

[k2, k2tog] across. <39 (39, 42, 45, 51, 57, 63, 66, 69) st>

Purl one row.

[k1, p1] across. Repeat for 7 cm / 2.75”.

Block and Assemble

Before assembling the cardigan, carefully block the separate parts.

Don’t skip this step as it can make a huge difference. Read my detailed tutorial on why block, how-to, and all my tips and tricks if you need help.

With the cardigan inside out, make the shoulder seams. Attach and sew the sleeves.

Ribbed Button Border

Starting in the bottom right corner, pick up 367 (367, 375, 383, 391, 395, 399, 403, 407) stitches all around the edge (up then around the neck and back down). This is approximately one stitch per row. The exact number is not critical.

If you’re not comfortable picking up stitches, I recommend this tutorial.

Alternatively, you can cast on the border as a separate part and sew it on to the cardigan.

[k1, p1] across for 3 rows.

On the next row, make the buttonholes: [k1, p1] until last 110 st (start of the front right straight section), [yo, k2tog, knit 18 in pattern] 5 times, yo, k2tog, k8 in pattern.

[k1, p1] across for 2 rows. Cast off and weave in the ends.

Finishing Touches

Sew the buttons in front of the buttonholes.

You’re all done! Go rock your Salt and Pepper knit cardigan around town.

If you enjoyed this pattern, share it with your yarn loving friends.

Knit Cardigan Pattern FREE

This pattern, as well as a lot of my other patterns, is featured on AllFreeKnitting (my favorite online library of thousands of free patterns).

free knitting and crochet cheatsheets

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  • Gena
    June 4, 2020 at 1:26 am

    🌼 🌻 👼🏼 🍼 💙 🤰 Congratulations 🤱 💗 🍼 👼🏼 🌼 🌻 & I Love ❤️ the Salt & Pepper Cardigan another Beautiful Creation to add to your collection. 🌼🌻🌼🌻🌼🌻

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