If you looked at all the things I’ve made over the last few years I think it would suggest that my knitting ‘style’ has changed; where once it was all about complicated patterns and technical challenges, now I keep finding myself gravitating towards the simpler things; nice plain socks, or something with a good chunk of garter stitch; something that I can either knit from memory, or learn the pattern really quickly. It means I can pick it up, knit three stitches and put it down again without having to spend half an hour working out where I’ve got to, and it’s the kind of knitting that truly is soothing to the soul, lulling me into a relaxed contentment by the repetitive motion of each stitch. It’s the perfect antidote to the tougher days of life with little ones.
But when I do fancy a little something more complicated it turns out that baby knits are the perfect choice. There’s just not that much cabling that you can fit onto a newborn sized cardigan after all.
And the result is rather sweet.
I’m repeating myself I know but I’m a firm believer in hand knits for babies, not just because of the very clever properties of wool (it’s great for helping them regulate their temperature) or because teeny tiny knits are incredibly cute (they are), but because it’s a gift of time and skill. The warm and cozy feeling of being safely wrapped up in something wooly is the gift to the baby; the gift to their parents is the knowledge that H and I treasure them as friends and cherish their babies enough to spend time making the new arrival a little something. And when that baby is their first, well you want that little something to be extra special.
It’s a sort of kismet of wanting to knit something interesting and having the perfect excuse.
This little cardie was actually cast on before the young lady for whom it is intended made her appearance, but as she arrived only three weeks after Pip and it turns out I can’t actually knit with my mind, I do have to be using both hands, it’s taken just a little while to finish.
Little Miss G is only a month old, she wasn’t as big on arrival as my girls, let alone Pip, who had to absent himself from modelling duty on the grounds of being far too big for it, and the great thing about knitwear is that it’s quite stretchy so I think it should still fit. Hopefully.
The pattern is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s Baby Yours, the newborn size, in one of my favourite baby yarns, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, and for all my talk of looking for something a little more complicated it really isn’t that difficult a pattern. My chief difficulty is that I can’t cable and read Extra Yarn for the 114th time that day at the same time, even if Kitty holds the book and turns the pages, and I do need to be somewhere vaguely in the vicinity of the pattern if possible for fear of making one sleeve oh so very much longer than the other. Not that I did that of course. No, not at all.
I’ve knit it before, many years ago in the pre-children era, and my abiding memory of it was that while the end product was charming, the knitting didn’t flow, I had to keep stopping and checking the pattern, and as a result it felt like it took ages to make and to be frank I just didn’t feel the love. I’m not sure whether the intervening years have made me a better knitter, or whether it’s simply that my sense of how long is ‘ages’ has rather shifted but it was a much smoother process this time around and I really enjoyed it.
I finally finished the knitting last week, then sewed it up in odd moments, gave it a good long soak to block it and make all the cable detail stand proud and look pretty, and then after waiting what felt like forever for it to dry (that’s the downside of picking the wettest week of the autumn to hand wash knitwear) the button tin came up trumps again with pretty shell pink pearly buttons.
I love how they take what’s definitely a unisex pattern and give it just a hint of femininity.
And with that I finished the “baby has already arrived” baby knitting and the needles lay empty. While I know I have a crochet cushion/small blanket on the go, and there’s a sock that has been waiting for a pair for years and years now, and I’ve got some embroidery to do to be ready for Elma’s birthday, it’s still a slightly uncomfortable feeling to have nothing on the needles. I think only another knitter would truly understand, but it’s a bit like having your camera battery on charge if you’re a photographer, or your sewing machine in for a service to a quilter.
But I needn’t have worried. Pip is growing before our very eyes, Kitty is reaching ever higher on the shelves and Elma just looks cute in woolies. One afternoon spent productively cleaning out my Ravelry queue and favourites during every feed and I’ve got a list of projects to last me a decade; and a new cardigan on the needles. In aran weight yarn. Mostly stocking stitch.