Knits for a Knitter’s Baby

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.

Uh, no.

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!

8 thoughts on “Knits for a Knitter’s Baby

  1. Diane Baker says:

    Are you going cloth in the diaper area? Knitted wool covers are awesome! Knit, and lanolinize and the baby has a breathable backside…

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  2. Niki A says:

    I second the wool diaper covers. Also, I haven’t had a baby that can keep any socks on, so I don’t know about handmade baby socks 🙂

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  3. Jonica says:

    I know for knitted socks for Katie I ended up threading elestic thread through the top and middle that kept the suckers on. And expanded when her little legs swelled up at times durning the day.

    I already know several things I am going to sew for you! I am on a sewing kick now so knitting has fallen by the wayside. I do second the idea of making clothes or knitting things for the baby for when he/she is older.

    Also going to sew you a cloth or quiet book for church! so all in all I have some wonderful fabric and colors for you already and they are gender neuteral.

    At least Jared wants to know the sex! Mine did not want to know at all. I needed to know so I could knit for the baby.It was so hard to not say anything to him! He did not even want to think up of names until after Katie was born. And even then it was like pulling teeth.

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  4. admin says:

    haha, yes, I have an elaborate plan for diaper covers that will be revealed in due time. And yes… I should say more bootees are what I had in mind. I feel like for a baby born in winter I should at least make an attempt. Then again he/she may spend most of the time in a sling or moby, so maybe socks are silly. like i said i will get over it!

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  5. Alane says:

    Hah! I was going to ask about the diaper covers, too. I didn’t use them, though. I used cloth diapers for a few months. Diapers have changed a lot again, in the last 12 years.

    This was one of the cutest things I ever saw: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Jen-Ben/hungry-caterpillar

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  6. Joni says:

    Love the blog as usual! I miss your (slightly different then other people) way of expressing yourself!
    Now that I read it your opinion is logical but I have to admit I was one of those people thinking you might not want “lesser” knit wear!Snicker.
    I thought I would dissagree with you though: I must say that not all knitters need to know the gender, though I might be the only one! We are not finding out and I have a lovely multi coloured blanket on the go and a light blue stuffy, which I think will be fine even if it is a girl! Since we are having a close to Christmas baby I might make a christmas hat as well. However, If I did know it was a girl I think I would make a pink sweater.
    Have fun knitting!
    Joni

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  7. Linda says:

    That was VERY helpful and interesting. I just checked the yarn I WAS going to use to make a baby blanket for Ceryl(a) but it’s acrylic/nylon. It’s incredibly soft and I thought you WOULD want something you could throw in the washer and dryer. But I will make myself a scarf with it instead. Now that I know you prefer wool……that opens up a host of possibilities. Hmmm…

    It is also helpful to know you like clothes rather than blankets. When you were a baby I got only one sweater for you and literally 10 baby blankets. I loved them all and still have most of them. Since I enjoyed them all, I figured you would not mind getting a dozen. But now, perhaps I will knit an outfit.

    Yes, it’s so true that knitters appreciate other knitters work very much. When your Aunt Kathy gave me a little pink dress for Bethany…..that even had a little pink lining, I cried. I mean it’s gorgeous!!! I having it hanging on the wall of my craft room. And I hope you have a girl so she can wear it too. And she was really blessed to see how much it meant to me…..esp. since she knits for her non-knitting daughters and grandchildren who do NOT appreciate her work that much. (What was that story Kathy? You found one of your multi-colored baby blankets you had spent a hundred hours on in the give-away box for the thrift store!!!) No one’s fault. It just happens.

    However, thanks for all the tips. I have started believing in this baby and day dreaming over the knitting possibilities. Right now I’m trying VERY hard to finish a few projects first. Then I will start something wonderful for my first grand-baby. 🙂

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  8. admin says:

    Joni, I’m sure lots of other knitters don’t want to know the gender; after all there’s loads of time to knit pink stuff after the baby shows up right? But my explanation for wanting to know is still that I want to know what to knit 🙂

    Alane, OMG I LOVE the caterpillar!!! Did you write the pattern down?

    Well Mom it is nice to throw something in the washer/dryer… but since we bought a washer with a handwash setting, I am free to love on the wools! Which I do prefer.

    I guess i was largely expressing my own opinions and nothing general 🙂 And I’m sure my opinions will amend once there’s an actual baby in the house…

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