Having had two children myself, and with one more on the way, and having knitted for umpteen precious arrivals of friends and family you’d think I’d have at least half a clue by now as to how long it takes to have a baby.
And I do, in the technical sense, just apparently not when it comes to knitting. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that while I know how long it takes to have a baby, I no longer have any realistic expectations of how long it takes me to knit something for them.
And so it was that when one of my colleagues and friends started to blossom and bloom and count down the days, hours and minutes until her maternity leave started, I smiled, tried not to tell her too much about labour and birth other than that it’s all worth it (on the basis that innocence is bliss and it was far too late for her to back out now), and merrily made arrangements for the handing over of her files and for people to cover her caseload while she’s away.
Only on the Thursday before her final week did I realise that in all of this planning I hadn’t even thought about the knitting, let alone started it. Oops.
Well there’s never very much thinking about baby knitting for a first baby, my go-to knit is Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket, and with good reason; it’s easy to knit, delightfully unisex unless you want it to be otherwise, and most importantly, it’s really easy to dress a tiny floppy little newborn in; no funny poppers or arms thinner than your fingers, just a nice squishy garter stitch jacket that lies open when you plonk it on the changing mat and buttons up the front without any bumpy seams for the baby to lie on and prove their royal connections, Princess and the Pea style.
Somehow in what can only have been a lunch-induced coma in which all logic flew out the window I found myself nipping out to buy a few balls of something warm and squishy in the confident expectation that I’d be able to whip it up over the weekend and have it washed and be-buttoned before the expectant Mama’s final day. You may now all laugh. A lot. I don’t mind, it seems pretty funny to me too in hindsight.
I mean way back in the day, before I had any children, with a bit of neglect of the household chores and the ordering of pizza for supper on at least one day, yes I could have churned out a baby jumper in a weekend. But now?
But the wonderful thing about knitting is that if you just keep doing the odd stitch here and there it does all add up, and little by little the rows added up until at last there was a little finished jacket and a whole heap of ends.
Kitty helped me to choose a set of buttons from my button stash and we washed it and blocked it, wrapped it up and sent it on its way. It arrived on Monday morning, at which point the future wearer was still firmly en-bump and answering to Bean. Phew.
The Mama-to-be not being a knitter herself I’m pretty sure she won’t have heard of the old wives tale that says that babies won’t come until the knitting is finished, which is rather a good thing (for me) as she was convinced the baby would be early, and I’m pretty sure she’s just sailed through her due date. Fingers crossed for her sake that the power of the knitting now prods this baby into making an appearance.
And for those that are interested in such things, I knit it pretty much to the pattern, alternating between the two colours of Rowan’s Baby Merino Silk DK (in Snowdrop and Dawn I think) to make the stripes pretty much on whim. The one change I did make was at the end of the lower back section where you knit back and forth on the centre stitches for a little while before picking up down the sides and carrying on to the ends; rather than pick up each side on subsequent rows I broke the yarn, started a new row at the very far end and picked up stitches for both sides on the same right side row. It keeps all the pick up bumps on the same sides so that the fronts match which is really obvious in stripes (not so much in one colour or self striping where I’ve never really bothered).
It’s the first time I’ve knit with Baby Merino Silk and I think it’s a relatively new addition to Rowan’s flock. It’s designed to be a baby yarn and certainly ticks the boxes for me; soft, machine washable and natural fibres – my inner fibre snob rejoices. It had a bit of a crunch to it while I knit it up, and it didn’t feel quite as soft as my other go-to, Baby Cashmerino, but after a little soak and a gentle blocking it bloomed beautifully and all that was left was silky soft garter stitch ripples, just perfect for snuggling up around a teeny tiny newborn.
Now all we need is the baby.