Beekeeper Cardigan Tutorials

Tips, tricks, support and resources to knit the Beekeeper Cardigan

(also known as the 2nd Annual 4 Day KAL Sweater). 


Technique: k1b

How to K1 Below (“knit 1 stitch, two rows below”) – keep reading below for video links

You will feel as though you’re losing the stitches above you when you slide them off the left needle (and it will look as though you dropped a stitch if you look on the back side), but rest assured – your stitches are safe as long as you knit through the center of the stitch.


How to work the little bee stitch in simple videos. Click on the steps below to see the videos.

Step 1. Step 2. Step 3.


Please refer to the swatching section of your pattern, including the “Note” which explains how the repeat is worked. You may also use this chart for reference to see how the pattern unfolds. Please make note that you can decide how close the bees should be to your raglan seams – if in doubt, you can wait until the next set of bees begins to add another bee to the row so it is spaced further from the raglan. The orange lines provide an example of increases and how the bees work within them. Your exact number of stitches from the raglans may vary – use this tool as a guide, but adjust as needed for your sweater. I am not including a key here – if you refer to the swatching instructions (flat) in your pattern, this chart follows the instructions row by row. Keep in mind that this chart is designed for knitting flat, so the rows are worked back and forth (right to left on the rs, then left to right on the ws, as shown on the chart). What you see below is how the stitches will be represented if looking at them on the front of the sweater.


Here’s a quick fix for missed bees. This works best if you do it when you’re all finished, but before you block your sweater. I’ve used contrasting yarn so you can see the process more clearly. You’ll need to use the tip of your needle to trace the placement for your bee from the last bee you worked (and if you get it slightly wrong the first time, just try again until the new bee lines up nicely).

Step 1: With matching yarn and a darning needle (or yarn needle), work two horizontal wings so they are about a row apart.

Step 2: Bring the needle up under the “wings”.

Step 3: Draw the yarn up through the wings as shown.

Step 4: Bring the needle back down into the fabric of the sweater to finish the bee “body”.

This is not an exact science – it’s called “fudging” and it’s easy to work and re-work until you get the look you want. Weave in the ends underneath once you get it right. No one will ever know the difference. 🙂


I discuss the unique semi-saddle construction and how to properly work the neckline in this Facebook Live video in my Student Lounge. (I also talk about sleeve decreases, prizes and more!)

The unusual construction creates a tidy fit on the shoulders and back so that – even without front closure – the sweater will stay on. To pick up your neckline stitches, simply follow the entire trail from edge to edge (including the jogs) when picking up stitches. While it may feel strange at first, the stitches settle in beautifully with blocking and wear. You will see me say this often, but please resist the temptation to overthink this process. This is not much different from adding ribbing to any cardigan neckline – the only difference is that you are following “jogs” as you work around the front neckline, up the front edge and along the increase at the raglan, then along the top of it, and onto the back of the neckline, then back the other side in the same manner. If you have gaps, it means you need to go back and try again until you have one continuous neckline edge for ribbing. As I mentioned, it will look a little unusual at first, but have faith. The ribbing will train the shoulders into place and blocking will smooth everything beautifully.

How to Work the Sleeves Flat

If you prefer not to work the sleeves in the round as shown above (lots of purling!), you may work the sleeves flat and seam them under the arm, instead.
With US Size 7/4.5mm (12 in/20 cm) circular needle, pick up sleeve st from waste yarn, as well as st cast-on under the arm. Pick up an additional 2 (0, 1, 3, 1, 1, 3, 3) st or as needed to obtain a multiple of 4 st and so that both sleeves have the same number of st. 60 (60, 64, 72, 72, 72, 80, 84) st. Work back and forth (flat) in established Little Bee pattern for 1 in/2.5 cm. Note: As you decrease stitches, eliminate the repeats of the Little Bee pattern when you are no longer able to work them.
Dec row (rs): P1, p2tog, work in pattern to last 3 st, p2tog, p1
Continue working sleeve in the flat in pattern, maintaining Little Bee pattern as you progress down the sleeve, and working a dec row as established every 1½ in/3.75 cm until sleeve measures 10-13 in/25-33 cm from underarm, working a last dec row as needed to end with a multiple of 4 st (your stitch count will vary based on the length you choose – I also recommend trying on the sleeve as you go to see how you like it). On the next row, transition to US Size 5/3.5mm (12 in/30 cm) circular needle or DPNs and work one row in pattern, then join to work in the round (you will seam under the arm later) and transition to [k2, p2] ribbing until sleeve measures 13-15 in/33-38 cm. Bind off in pattern with medium tension. Using a yarn needle and matching yarn, use mattress stitch to seam the sleeve together underneath. Repeat for second sleeve.
Note: To lengthen sleeves, simply continue the same pace of decreases (approximately every 1½ in/3.75 cm) until sleeves measure the length you prefer (remember it will grow) and begin ribbing from there (you will need a multiple of 4). Try it on as you go to help you decide.


Other Helpful Topics:

Questions about how to block a sweater? Click here.

Questions about ease? Click here.

Questions about how much your yarn will grow? Click here.

Questions about how to participate in a knitalong? Click here.

Questions about how to prepare for a 4 DAY knitalong? Click here.

Questions about the original 4 day sweater? Click here.

Questions about how to calculate your knitting speed and plan your project timeline? Click here.

Are you looking for the Olive Knits Student Lounge on Facebook? Click here.



(Only for patterns purchased prior to 6.18.18)

Top of pg 4, first paragraph (row 27) third line should read: to 2 st

Top of pg 5, first paragraph, fifth line down should read: m, p2, sm, p2

Finished ease: 3-4 in/7.5-10 cm positive ease included in finished sizing

Swatching (flat):

Row 8 (ws): K1, slwyif, [k3, slwyif] rep bet brackets to end, ending k1

Swatching (round):

Row 8: P1, slwyib, [p3, slwyib] rep bet brackets to end, ending p1

Row 1 (rs): Kfb, smA, k2, p to 2 st before mB, k2, smB, k2, M1L, p to 2 st before mC, M1R, k2, smC, k2, p to 2 st before mD, k2, smD, kfb (4 st inc)

Row 11 (rs): K1, p to 2 st before m, k2, smA, k2, M1L, p to 2 st before mB, M1R, k2, smB, k2, M1L, p to 2 st before mC, M1R, k2, smC, k2, M1L, p to 2 st before mD, M1R, k2, smD, k2, p to last st, k1 (6 st inc) [Note: The original row was correct, but did not work as a repeatable row.]

Row 37 (rs): K2, p1, k1b, [p3, k1b] rep bet brackets 4 (5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6) times total, p2 (2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 4), M1R, k2, smA, k2, M1L, p4 [k1b, p3] rep bet brackets to 3 st before mB, p1, M1R, k2, smB, k2, M1L, p1, [p3, k1b] rep bet brackets to 6 st before mC, p4, M1R, k2, smC, k2, M1L, p4 [k1b, p3] rep bet brackets to 3 st before mD, p1, M1R, k2, smD, k2, M1L, p2 (2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 4), [k1b, p3] rep bet brackets 4 (5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6) times total, k1b, p1, k2 (8 st inc)

Finished bust measurements in cm: 87 (96, 99, 104, 110, 117, 130, 137)cm

Row 44 (ws) and remaining ws rows before sleeve divide should read: p2, sm, p2 around each marker instead of k2, sm, k2S