Why I knit for a new baby?
What happens when you hear that a friend or relative is having a baby? I know that some of us start to look in store windows, checking out the latest fashions in those “oh so cute” baby grows. Some of us reach for our knitting needles or resolve that this time we will complete that baby cardigan. We can't form an excuse or complain of "not enough time" because we usually get the best part of nine months notice!
It’s said that a women’s smile can be enigmatic, check out that cheeky smile from the Mona Lisa. She was probably day dreaming about the beautiful cardigan she had just knitted for a friends baby! So still in this day dream we find, we trip off to the nearest wool shop. The local wool shop, when we can find one, is a source of colours and textures that our mothers could only have dreamed of. Having sorted through the maze of 3ply, 4 ply, double and chunky we then have to consider the ethics of buying the chosen yarn. Is it fair traded? Is it spun in a foreign sweat shop? If it has natural fibre was the animal well treated? Having decided on a yarn we may need to take advantage of the carefully placed stool left for shoppers who have just found that their naturally dyed alpaca yarn has just cost £12, but, coos the assistant "it should make a cardigan". An important point is that is not worth buying cheap yarn as it looks cheap when it is knitted up and all that work you have put in is likely to be confined to the back of a drawer. If you can't get to a wool shop or there just isn't one near you, have a look online. The great thing about buying online is that you have a wide selection of yarns and colours. It is not usually the case where they turn around and say that they don't have enough balls of yarn, as they have so vast stocks. At first sight delivery charges may put you off but when you add up the cost of petrol and parking it really can make sense to buy online!
What colour do I knit?
Colour? When I was a baby mum said that it used to be easy, Pink for a girl, Blue for a boy and Lemon, Cream or White if not sure. Now it's anything goes! Brown, Purple, Red and Navy! My advice is to check with Mum before you buy the yarn. There is nothing more galling than spending hours making a garment only to find out that mum wants the baby to wear a specific colour. I am still a sucker for white and have at times noticed a beautifully knitted cardigan before the baby! Whoops! However those of us experienced in these matters know that babies dribble on any colour and seem to have no marked preference. I knitted a striped pram blanket as in the photograph. It was in browns and reds but at least it would not show too much dirt!
Size matters but how on earth do you know what size the unborn baby is. You could of course wait until the baby is born but mothers get out of hospital so quickly these days that it would be a stressful time completing the cardigan whilst at the same time trying to avoid mum and baby. A little detective work can avoid disappointment. Is this the first baby? How big were any others? Failing that, was she a big baby herself? My babies were all 9 lbs plus and knitting anything less than 18" chest will end in tears, probably yours, when you try and stretch the garment over the baby whilst balancing a camera in the other hand.... I have spent twenty hours on this garment and it will fit is the usual mental attitude!
We all need to follow a pattern, even experienced knitters. However your eyes will be drawn to the most pretty and complicated matinee set, probably in 3 ply. One word of advice at this stage unless you are an experienced knitter, "STOP"! Look again and choose the pattern marked "easy", making sure that it uses the same type of wool that you have taken a fancy to. Knitting kits can be a good buy. They contain everything you need to make the item and step by step "how to" instructions. They are usually graded, so if you are a beginner select one marked for beginners only. Remember we all have to start knitting somewhere!
The stunning pram blanket shown in the first photo was surprisingly easy to knit and made a spectacular present.
Ready to Go! You have the pattern, you have the knitting wool and you are ready to start! Good luck!
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