Posts Tagged ‘baby knits’

Summer Romper for a Baby-to-be

July 5, 2017

I wasn’t really looking for a new project when I walked into Flock over the weekend, but it would have taken nerves of steel not to have purchased something. I know there are people who only knit one project a time — I even met a knitter who stated as much with great pride (stunning!) — but I’m not one of those knitters!

One of the employees at my local coffee shop is due with her first child at the end of August, and I’m a sucker for baby knits. I was tempted by the collection of cute toys in the shop window, but frankly, I was looking for something a bit simpler.

knit-toys

Then this adorable striped romper caught my eye. It’s OGE Designs’ Spring Into Summer Romper, available on Ravelry.

spring-summer-knit-romper

Sheila, who’d knit the sample, provided some additional notes for the pattern and a yarn recommendation. I don’t know if the B2B* is a boy or girl, so I chose a gender-neutral combination (even though I truly believe all colors are for everyone).

I decided on Anzula’s “Cricket,” a delicious DK blend of superwash merino with a touch of cashmere and nylon, in Gravity (gray) and Keola. Casting on will have to wait until I get home where my needles are. What’s on your needles these days?

anzula-cricket-yarn

* Baby-to-Be

Good Day for a Baby Sweater

March 24, 2017

I haven’t knit anything baby-ish in a while, but the Gidday Baby sweater (Tosh DK in Leopard and Maple Leaf) and reminds me how enjoyable such projects can be. Starting with the first few rows of garter stitch in alternating colors, I was hooked.

gidday-baby-sweater-neck

My recent spate of travels gave me lots of opportunities to work on the sweater — with the exception of my ill-fated Kentucky trip during which I found myself without the necessary next ball of yarn. In case anyone’s still wondering, my suitcase did arrive at the hotel — about an hour before I checked out and headed for flight back to Boston. Better late than never and all that.

Once I’d cast off and woven in the few ends that remained, I tossed the sweater into the sink for a pre-block soak. I’m a full-water blocker, preferring it to steaming, assuming that I’ve got the time, which I generally do. After I patted it into shape, I left it in the sunshine for a while.

Gidday-blocking

Something was missing, namely a couple of tiny buttons to hold the yoke together. So the sweater and I spent about 15 minutes at a nearby yarn store trying on different buttons before deciding on these stylish, square-ish pair.

Gidday-baby-sweater-buttons

It’s all come together quite nicely, and I’m looking forward to walking it down the street to my newest neighbor.

Gidday-baby-sweater

 

 

Knits for a New Life

February 28, 2017

There’s a new person our street, a baby girl born last month, and that is a cause for celebration! And how does (this) one celebrate a new life? By knitting something small that isn’t a pair of socks.

I showed what I consider remarkable fortitude by searching through my stash for yarn with which to make something for this new little one. It would have been much, much easier and more efficient to spend an hour at my local yarn store, perusing patterns and buying yarn. As much as I love to boost the local economy and support a local business, I’m trying to exercise some financial discipline when it comes to yarn. Plus there’s the space issue: how many plastic boxes of yarn can one person have?

I’d already decided against a traditional pink, preferring to go with a blend of bright and neutral colors. Gidday Baby by Tikki Knits seemed like the perfect match for the two skeins of Madeline Tosh DK that I bought last summer at the lovely fLoCk on Nantucket.

On my flight to Philadelphia this past weekend, I cast on and worked a few rounds.

gidday-baby-sweater-neck

Switching colors every two rows and bringing up the yarns along the side made for quick knitting. Of course, after two rounds of 20+ stitch increases, my pace slowed a bit. On the train down to Washington on Sunday afternoon, I managed a couple more rounds after doing some prep for client meetings.

gidday-baby-sweater-train

I think I’m going to like this project.

 

Wash and dry knits

April 19, 2015

Via my wonderful friend Cathie, a lesson in the resourcefulness of knitters and the durability of knitting. Picture this:

Skilled attorney, frequent flyer, intrepid knitter Cathie in the airport lounge where she’s passing the time during yet another Air Canada flight delay. Cup of coffee and suitcase by her side. In a perfect example of the domino effect, suitcase tips, knocks over coffee, which spills into open knitting bag at her feet, soaking her knitted baby blanket.

knit baby blanket variegated yarn

After some choice words (I wasn’t there but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t silent during said event), Cathie calmly takes blanket to wash room, rinses in sink (cool water, of course), squeezes excess water, and returns to lounge,

where the beautiful blanket is draped over the offending suitcase to dry.

knit baby blanket drying at airport

Topping Off a Baby Hat with a Tassel

March 2, 2015

Gillan, a fiber artist who’s one of the Fearless Knitters in my weekly knitting class, made an adorable baby hat. Don’t you agree?

Simple Colorful Knit Baby Hat

Since it seemed a little bare on top, she asked for advice for some kind of finishing detail. She had crocheted a flat flower, complete with multi-colored petals, but that didn’t seem right. Neither did a pom-pom. Either one would have hidden, or at least obscured, the beautiful detail of the decreases on the hat’s crown.

My recommendation was a two-color tassel, which would provide a nice finishing touch while allowing the crown stitching to shine through. Knitting designer and teacher Lisa McFetridge has a helpful video tutorial on how to make a tassel. Lisa was the instructor on last fall’s Sheep Ahoy Knitter’s Cruise. (Doesn’t a Boston – Bermuda cruise in July sound pretty tempting right about now?! Check it out. I believe space is still available.)

Look what a difference this topper makes!

Easy Tassel on Knit Baby Hat

Baby Steps Complete

July 23, 2014

There are few life events better than becoming a grandparent. At least, that’s what new grandparents tell me. It’s not a transition I expect to be making anytime soon.

My dear friend Pat is justifiably besotted with her first granddaughter, a lovely, bright-eyed sprite born in mid-May to Pat’s son and his sweet wife. As Pat’s own birthday approached last month, I pondered how to mark that occasion and decided that a baby sweater would be the perfect gift. I know, I know, it’s not an item she can use herself, but what’s a gift anyway but something with personal meaning that’s given with love?

Although the Baby Steps Cardigan is knit entirely in garter stitch, with nary a purl in sight, the construction is clever. I learned how to do a provisional cast-on (used white “waste” yarn), so I could pick up and make the sleeves. I just love the hues of the Mermaid colorway in the Manos Silk Blend.

Baby_steps_cardigan_progress

The back is knit from the center out with regular yarnovers that create a star burst (of sorts).

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Did I mention how much I love the colors?

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Choosing the right button took a while. I was drawn — as I usually am — to the blues and purples, but they didn’t stand out as much as the smooth, lemony one that I finally selected.

IMG_3777

I think the birthday girl will be pleased.

 

 

 

Baby Sweater in the Bath

June 26, 2014

I’m a proponent of full immersion blocking. In my mind, steam or a spritz just doesn’t give yarn the chance to “bloom” in the way that a good soak does.

After binding off the Baby Steps Cardigan yesterday, I plopped it into a big mixing bowl that I’d filled with tepid water and a few drops of Eucalan.

baby sweater soaking in soapy water

Why the mixing bowl? Because every sink in our house, except for the big kitchen sink, is missing its stopper, making them all unsuitable for filling. Why we’re a stopper-less household, I don’t know, but there we are. I left the sweater on top of the water and returned a couple of hours later to discover it had sunk nicely and was thoroughly soaked.

baby sweater soaking in bowl of water

After a couple of swishes with new water, I rolled the sweater into a towel. I gave it some good squeezes and shaped it on a dry towel, where it’s now drying and resting. The photo doesn’t do justice to the lovely colors, but I’ll remedy that once it’s  truly finished. Next step: find just the right button.

BabySweater_blocking2

What’s your take on blocking? And what’s on your needles these days?

 

One by one by one

May 26, 2013

The first time I saw the Illusion Cube Blanket in the WEBS catalog (which regularly occupies space on my bedside table), I put it on my mental “to do” list. I love the variety of colors — 8 in all — and the geometry of each individual cube and of the overall piece. With the completion of my most recent baby sweater and my neighbors’ second child on the way, the opportunity was at hand.

Selecting the colors was fun.

YarnColorsButtons

Plus I found a terrific bumper sticker.

KnitHappens

The blanket is a compilation of separate “cubes,” two of each color combination with alternating borders. Like these — magenta and green.

IMG_1923

Some of you will recall from math class that 8 individual items paired twice will yield 56 possible combinations. Right? Yeah, I didn’t remember either. But that’s how it works out — 56 individual cubes that will be sewn into a single piece. Blankets can be daunting because of their size and because it’s not uncommon to reach a point where you knit and knit and, as if in some sort of time or space warp, the piece seems to stay the same size. Not so with this blanket. There are 56 chances to finish a part. 56 chances to bind off. And 56 chances to weave in the ends on each piece.

CubeSpider

That’s a lot of ends. According to my calculations, 448 ends. But who’s counting?

Next year already

May 22, 2013

As a Boston Red Sox fan, “there’s always next year” has been my defense mechanism fan philosophy for decades. Each spring, I relish the return of the MLB season. The game radio broadcast is the aural wallpaper of my home: the play-by-play commentary, the background sound of the crowd as voices rise, fall, and cheer, the pause between pitch and swing, between hit and defensive play.

cubefirstinning

Baseball season is also prime knitting season. The slow pace of the game is the perfect complement to whatever is on my needles. On weekday evenings and weekend days, I knit at Michael’s baseball games — glancing up regularly to watch a play or pitch, usually (but not always) when he’s involved. I learned long ago that my kids don’t really care — or even know — that I’m watching their game or performance, so I feel no guilt if I miss a line drive or strike.

cubesixthinning

There’s a new life in the neighborhood, so I’m making a blanket, the Illusion Cube Blanket, something I’ve had on my radar screen for several years, just waiting for the right time (and the right human). Takes me about six or seven innings to knit a single “cube” depending, of course, on how exciting the game is or how often I put down the needles and cheer or how much I chat with fellow parental fans.

The Best Container for Love

March 12, 2013

“Knitting is still the best container for love” — Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot

I can’t remember what I used to give as baby gifts before knitting. As soon as I learn that a friend, colleague, neighbor, or family member is expecting, I immediately begin to think of what I can knit for the wee one.

A hat is lovely and relatively quick to make. Blankets have a longer useful “life” since it takes years for a baby to outgrow a blanket. All three of my children had special blankets (none handknit) that they fondled, carried, draped, and loved for years and years. My youngest still has remnants of his lovely soft woven blanket on the bookshelf near his bed – a childhood version of the Shroud of Turin!

Sweaters are somewhere in between. Depending on the size, they fit the baby for longer than a hat. And they almost knit up faster than a blanket.

close-up of buttons on baby sweater

When I learned that a coworker was expecting her first child, after several years of trying, I just had to make a sweater. Every time I knit — whether at a hockey rink, basketball court, medical office, or curled up in the rocking chair keeping company with a late-night homework doer — I thought of this child-to-be. “You are so lucky to be born to such loving parents who’ve waited so long just for you,” I’d silently whisper into each stitch, imagining the finished garment as a talisman of sorts, something that could gird this tiny person in those first weeks of life with a special strength that might last for years, long after she’d outgrown the garment.

IMG_1629

It’s my second Puerperium Sweater (by Kelly Brooker), named for the period immediately after a baby’s birth. I made a striped one last year, and this time chose a solid dusty grape — my description, since I can’t find the yarn label — and some delightful buttons that remind me of sprinkles on frosted donuts.

Tessa arrived last week and is as perfect as perfect can be. I was delighted to see that she was sporting a handknit hat in her first day of life.

babynap

Baby Stripes

February 26, 2012

I got a new neighbor just before the New Year when young Parker arrived into the world. What perfect timing since I’d finished my quick and sparkly scarf and was on the look out for a new project.

I’m a sucker for babies and a cleverly designed knit. This one fit the bill. It’s knit in one piece. Nary a seam on the whole thing. The Yarn Harlot was my inspiration yet again. She knit several kimono-style baby sweaters last year while awaiting the arrival of a friend’s baby. I loved the style — no over-the-head wrestling needed since it buttons up the front side. Plus it has a few clever-but-not-difficult design features and stitches which always makes a project more intriguing.

picking up a few stitches along the edge

It’s called the Puerperium Sweater (by Kelly Brooker), named for the period immediately after a baby’s birth. I was running a bit late since wee Parker had been around for a while, but that didn’t faze me.

I even managed to find some cute buttons to complete the look.

blue and white star-shaped buttons

I used Cascade 220 Superwash in Aran and Navy. I hope he hasn’t outgrown it already….

finishes Puerperium Sweater

A lovely wee hat

October 11, 2011

When my now-teen children were younger (three under the age of five), a wise neighbor encouraged me to reignite my love of knitting. When I explained how I didn’t have a moment to spare and couldn’t possibly find the time for such an indulgence, she waved my cares away. “That’s exactly why you should knit. You’re at a time in your life when you’re doing the same thing over and over again — making meals, doing laundry, changing diapers — all of it. You need to finish something. Finishing something is a wonderful feeling.”

Once I got over my pique at her complete disregard of what I accomplished in my professional life, I realized she was right. You’re never really finished raising children — at least, not for a decade or two. And finishing a project at work, while an accomplishment, doesn’t always bring a sense of completion because the next item on the to-do list is waiting.

Enter baby hats — endless variety of patterns, made with any variety of yarns and colors, and able to be finished in several hours (or so).

Tomato hat for baby

My dear sister-cousin Meg recently picked up her needles after many years and created this beautiful wee tomato hat for a soon-to-be human.

Seasonal hats are great fun. Babies grow so quickly they’ll only get one season out of any item of clothing, so why not go all out?!

Baby flag hat

Baby pumpkin hat

Wee Pumpkin Hat

October 21, 2010

There’s a new life in the neighborhood, so the Every Way Wrap has been cast aside in favor of a hat for the newborn. I chose something seasonal because, well, it’s fun.  (We won’t speak of the two not-fun times that I had to rip back the green on top because I hadn’t read the instructions carefully enough. Baby hats can make a knitter cocky.)

Pattern is from LabPuggleChi; she’s got a host of free patterns for your personal use.

orange infant hat with green stem, leaf & vine

So what if he’ll only be able to wear it for a few weeks?!  His head will grow quickly.

Making a baby hat is like a palette cleanser — a short, sweet break from a more complex experience (like the cabled wrap). Plus it feels so good to finish a project even a small one.  Kind of like including daily basics, like “brush teeth” or “put in contacts,” on your to-do list.

Perhaps a snowflake hat will be in order in December….

What We Celebrate

July 2, 2010

I had occasion to read the Declaration of Independence earlier this week.  While packing some glow-in-the-dark necklaces and red-white-&-blue tattoos to send to Hannah, Kevin, and cousin Phoebe who are away at overnight camp, I was struck by a wave of motherly geekiness.  Perhaps it’s the New Englander in me or maybe the lifelong learner, but I got the urge to send each of these wonderful kids (ages 16.5, nearly 15, and nearly 13) a reminder in what we celebrate on the Fourth of July.

There it was: the announcement of the birth of a nation, in beautifully crafted prose.  A well articulated and supported argument for why those colonies should be able — indeed, had the right — to govern themselves.  Thank you very much, dear monarchy, but we’ve got this one covered.

National Public Radio continued its tradition of reading the Declaration aloud.  Just beautiful, really.  Give a listen and read the text here.

Speaking of birth, Michael’s favorite teacher of all time — the wonderful Niles from the after school program — became a Daddy last week.  Michael designed a special hat for wee Aria, something seasonal.

A very simple cotton hat.  All stockinette, 56 inches around, with evenly spaced decreases to create the lovely swirl on the top.  The brim, such as it is, curls up as stockinette does (which is why all-stockinette scarves don’t turn out right!).  I added 50 “stars” on top — at least, I think I did.  I counted about 4 times and got 50 three times and 48 once.  I hope Alaska and Hawaii don’t feel slighted.

Let’s start knitting

June 23, 2010

I get great joy from teaching others to knit. Pure and simple. There’s something very rewarding about watching someone create something they’ve envisioned and finally be able to hold it in their hands.  All from a very long piece of string (well, yarn).

Earlier this year, I taught a beginner knitting class through the local community education program.  We had a terrific group of women, about 6-8, the maximum number that’s manageable for a class with one teacher.  They were fun, adventurous, warm, and persistent — one cast on the stitches for her hat 4 or 5 times until she got it right. THAT’S a fearless knitter!

Learn a bit of open-work (lace) and make a poncho for a lovely niece:


Knitting in the round with circular needles to make a baby hat:


Garter stitch baby bonnet with banded edge (learn how to pick up stitches).

How about a golf club cover?  Basic stockinette stitch in the round with some decreases, yarn changes if you like, and a pom-pom:


One student completed a baby hat and started another in between two classes!

Adult hat in process:

Lovely lilac baby hat:

What’s your favorite first project?

Beyond Scarves: Ideas for a First Knitting Project

June 12, 2010

When asked what they’d like to make for their first knitting project, many of my students suggest a scarf.  I encourage them to try something else.

It’s not that I’ve got something against scarves (in fact, I’m particularly partial to the Noro Stripe).  It’s that a scarf takes so darn long to finish.  By the time you’ve gotten the hang of knits and purls, you discover that you’ve got about 3 feet more to go before you finish. And the thought fills you with dread…. (A tip: if you’re sick of your starter scarf, turn it into a neck warmer. Finish it at 22″, add a couple of buttonholes, and you’re done!)

Finishing is the key to a successful first project. A first knitting project should be something:

  • you can finish in a reasonable amount of time (over the course of 3 or 4 weekly classes or about a week);
  • that gives you the chance to learn something more than casting on, knit, purl, and binding off — like increases, decreases, or mixing colors and stitches;
  • most importantly, you should finish with a sense of accomplishment and excitement about your next project.

Some examples:

A cotton facecloth with changes of color, garter and stockinette stitches, slipped stitches across rows.

Cotton knit facecloth

A golf club “cozy” with a pom-pom — knit by a student in my beginning knitting class.

knit golf club cozy

Baby hats — in any color, multiple designs, colors, yarns. If you don’t know a baby, make a hat and send it to your local hospital.  They have babies whose wee heads need to be covered in love.

four knit baby hats

A hat for yourself or a friend.  As you can see, Ashley was thrilled with her first project — she’s radiant!

Log Cabin Baby Blanket

May 25, 2010

There’s a new life in the world!  I know that thousands of babies are born each day, but I always feel a special zing when one is born to someone I know.  Michael’s fifth-grade teacher, the wonderful Ms. Ellis, had her first child on Sunday.  Both mama and baby are healthy, and really, what else matters?!

This good news prompted me to put the finishing touches on the blanket that I’d knit for the occasion.  Actually, I started the blanket without having a baby-to-be in mind.  I was looking for something easy to knit as a break from the lace, something I could work on at fast-moving basketball and hockey games over the winter.

Thanks to the wonder women at Mason-Dixon Knitting, I discovered the joys of the Log Cabin Blanket several years ago. Directions and lovely photos here (scroll down to the Feb 15 entry).

first "round" of log cabin blanket

You knit from middle outwards, starting with a rectangle of garter stitch, and building outward from each edge. I started on a work trip; here’s an early shot from the lovely Philadelphia airport.

It’s dead easy to knit — garter stitch all around, plenty of binding off and picking up along the edges.  You finish when it’s as big as you want or when you run out of yarn. I used some cotton Sugar ‘n Cream from my stash, white and a pastel mix.  I’m not thrilled with the spacing of the color, but I’m delighted that it’ll soon be covering a lovely wee little boy.

Log Cabin Baby Blanket

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