Ah knitting for babies! I’ve just discovered – when my own babe is an all grown up 18 year old – how utterly delightful knitting for babies is.
See, my Nanny taught me to knit when I was 8. Mum and Dad had gone to Singapore for a week’s holiday and Nanny and Grandad came up to stay with us – such a treat. Learning to knit, Nanny playing us the old dance hall tunes she used to play as a pianist at a pub on the Brisbane wharves, and being accidentally left at school until almost 6pm are the stand out memories of that week :-) Nanny started me off an a scarf – of course, she did – using a ball of variegated wool in mustards, greys and browns. Rather ugly wool but it was the 1970s. I knitted and knitted and knitted. It grew and grew and grew – both in length … and width. I wasn’t the kind of new knitter who dropped stitches all the time. Oh no, I was awesome at finding new ones! Nanny was despairing and that scarf was knitted on and off for many years, but never quite finished.
I tried knitting again as a young adult – I knitted an enormous jumper to take with me to England when I was 21. Now – it took me months and months and months so I knew every strange bump, weird line of stitches that stood out and in hindsight, I definitely went backwards a few times. But I was ever so proud of the finished pieces – 2 huge sleeves, a front and a back. And I gave it to Nanny to seam for me. It came back looking impeccable. Beautifully seamed. Beautifully blocked. And not a blemish in sight or strange line of stitches in sight. She’d frogged it and knit it again!!!!!
So by the time Noah came round, not only were we living in Brisbane where knitting anything bigger than a scarf or pair of socks is frankly a bit redundant, but I was a jaded knitter :-) And I think Nanny was scared I might try again, so she churned out beautiful little baby knits – booties, jumpers, cardigans, hats in all patterns and sizes – Nanny is an immaculate knitter – which left nothing for me to knit. In fact, I didn’t pick up the needles again until Noah was a preschooler. I knitted a dear little vest in a stripy wool – which the moths ate. Then a dear little beret for his Jack and the Beanstalk costume in Year 1 – which the moths ate. Inspiring.
However, I was really seduced with the idea of being a knitter again when I first discovered blogs back in 2008 – Soulemama inspired me to try and Kate Davies – well, her patterns are so divine I simply had to master the needles. Soon after we moved to Melbourne and knitting became an awfully useful past time.
Now, I’m the same kind of knitter as I am quilter. I have far more started projects on the needles then is seemly. And sometimes the finishing gets very slow. Don’t mention Julian’s argyle vest or Sacha’s Owl Jumper. And if you mention Noah’s Lopi that needs the whole colour patterned yoke ripped out and redone – because I followed the sizing for XXL for the yoke whereas the rest of the jumper is knitted in size M – I will begin to twitch.
But, when I look at my Ravelry page, it reminds me that yes I have finished several lovely things and they are all eminently wearable. Phew! They just take so darn long.
Unless you’re knitting baby clothes …
And the cuteness! Oh my goodness, if you want to become besotted with baby knits, just check out the gorgeous designs of Froginnette – I mean really, why hasn’t anybody designed a knitted pinafore for grown ups!?!?!? But I do acknowledge that in order to truly embrace the baby knits, you need a baby to knit for. Luckily, a long time blog friend recently had a wee babe – yipee! I got to knit my first Milo (again, where’s the grown up version!?!?) and a Lutin bonnet – swoon worthy. That was all finished off last week, wrapped up pretty, and sent off with the dearest little book anybody could write for a new baby, and some wee tokens from Wombat Hill here – a stem of our Japanese Maple, and one of Guiseppe’s feathers. Just this week, one of my cousins birthed her first babe – I’ve already got another Milo half knitted, the wool sitting nearby for a bonnet, and Froginnette here I come! And I’m almost done knitting up a pair of Lutin bonnets for a lovely family I’ve met through Instagram.
I know I’ve said in the past I’d like to be a bespoke pillowcase maker when I grow up. But I think I’ve changed my mind. I want to knit baby clothes! Put your request in if you’ve got a little one who needs some lovely handknits. Seriously! I don’t even add stitches these days.