Folks who know I knit can be quite perceptive at times. They know that having a baby on the way is pretty exciting for a knitter… especially one who really likes going SQUEEEE! at adorable small baby clothes. How can you not love this? Oh yes, I’m excited. (Also, DUH we’re finding out the gender. We’re knitters. Even Jared is looking at yarn to make another baby surprise sweater.)
But I’ve gotten a couple interesting reactions from fellow knitters. They seem to think that because I knit a lot, or design things, or have a website, or am in some sense a professional (I mean I think of myself as one, but you might not if you saw what I make), that I don’t want other knitters to knit things for our baby. That I would turn down the work of other knitters that wasn’t “as good” as mine, or that I want to do it all myself.
I mean, I’m good, but I’m not like the Julia Child of knitting, and I don’t care. If I actually admitted to not wanting lesser knits (as if that were real) in my house, wouldn’t that make me kind of a jackarse?
Here’s reality: because I am a knitter, I will appreciate other people’s knitted gifts more than any other human alive. Also, as a knitter and full time student with a part time job, I don’t have a lot of time! Plus I’m nearly full up on commissions ’till Christmas (if you think you might want something, email me asap). So sure I want to knit a ton of things, but I won’t be able to knit finish them in time. And after Christmas I will be so tired and large that I might not even want to knit (gasp!) and those of you with kids know that after baby shows up, knitting energy has a good chance of dropping through the floor.
So at the risk of sounding selfish: please! Knit me things!
But since I am asking, I guess I can be specific, eh? I imagine some of these guidelines will apply to knitting for other knitters with babies too, so chime in if you agree/disagree, or if you were/have been in my position.
1) Like I said, we are finding out the gender, probably late sept./early oct. But I have no problem with green or yellow; gender-specific design choices go way beyond pink vs. blue. Ruffles? Lace? Little trucks? Stripes in rich primaries or rosey fall tones?
2) In my experience, folks tend to get a lot of blankets. Blankets are awesome! But if you want to experiment, think about knitting something other than blankets. (They take less time, for one.) I have a fantasy that my baby will be able to wear all hand-knit socks… this is very silly. I will get over it. But babies in knitted outfits? LITTLE KNITTED DRESSES!? SO CUTE. Sorry. the all caps got away from me there.
3) This might be me-specific, but I’m asking for no acrylics or other artificial fibers like nylon. I know they are cheap and supposedly washable, but I would rather not put a baby under an acrylic blanket at night or in the car (will melt and burn in a fire instead of being flame-resistant like wool). And for things next to sensitive baby skin, acrylic just isn’t nice. I’m not saying it has to be expensive wool; far from it! And some acrylic content (less than 50%) is okay; otherwise soft yarn can get pricey. Of course you don’t want a baby hat made out of donegal tweed with hay still in it, or anything you wouldn’t hold against your neck. But I have a hand wash setting on my washer than I use all winter, and I will hand-wash puke out of things. Again, an advantage of giving knits to a knitter.
4) This is true even if you’re giving something to a non-knitter: think about making something in a size other than newborn. If I get anything done, it’ll be newborn stuff, and kidlet will be 4 months before sweater season is over for small people. Summer is the perfect time for cotton sweaters in 3-to-6-month size. Not to mention that by his or her first fall, 9 months! Still small enough for a quick knit. There are also some patterns for adjustable booties or hats with tie cords or fold-down rims that can extend the life of a knitted thing.
5) Beyond that, I have no opinions. I will love anything you make me. We’re not painting a nursery; we’re not going to be fussy about a colors scheme. Especially now that I’m a parent, I hope I never put some fictional sense of aesthetic unity over real creativity.
So that’s me, hoping I don’t sound too demanding. Board books are good gifts too!