The things you make for the baby in your tummy will always be incredibly precious and special. They are the physical manifestation of time spent thinking about the soon to arrive member of the family. I knit as I wonder whether those kicks are from a boy or a girl, or double and triple check that I like the names that we’ve chosen and that I can imagine shouting them across a play park. I knit as I wait, to calm the fears that sneak into the corners of my mind, and to give me patience as that arbitrary 40 week marker comes and goes yet again. I knit because I want to give the very best of my skill to this new person, and I knit because I know my hands are going to be very full for a little while.
And all of that comes together in blankets and cardigans and hats; a magnum opus and a handful of little somethings to welcome my baby with love.
But that person you hoped for and dreamed of, was in some ways a baby in abstract. Yes, I knew my bump babies, I learnt their wiggles and kicks, their seeming attachment to a 5am dance party and their determination to run away from all midwives and obstetricians wielding dopplers, but it wasn’t the same as the knowing I got from the very first minute each of them was put into my arms, when I could finally see them, hold them, cuddle them close, and call them by name.
Nothing can take away the sentimental value of the things I knitted while I was pregnant, but I think there might be equal sentimental value in the first thing made for each of the children that was actually made for them as Kitty, Elma or Pip, not just baby.
Kitty’s was a set of hat and mittens as she rapidly grew out of her newborn hat, Elma’s was a snuggly gold cardigan that was definitely worth the wait, and Pip’s is this:
A soft warm cardigan for a little boy who is doing his very best to grow out of all of my newborn/gender neutral baby knits as soon as possible.
It’s a lovely result of the recent stash excavation; a skein simply marked Pure Wool, approx DK, in all the colours floating past my windows, bought not just before any of the children made an appearance but way back in (cough) 2008 (you can just see it at the bottom of this post here). I shall neither confirm nor deny rumours circulating the household that this was not the oldest yarn in the stash either.
Proof if ever it were needed that it really is OK to buy yarn without any plan whatsoever and just because you love the colours because eventually, eventually it will find its true purpose in life and become a baby cardigan for the third child you couldn’t even imagine having right then.
Despite it saying DK on the label it looked a lot more like an aran weight to me. It’s Silkwood Yarns’ Pure Wool and knit on 4.5mm needles it doesn’t feel overly loose so I think I might be nearer the mark than the label.
The pattern is Hoot, it’s a great free pattern, and I loved the I-cord cast on (something I’ve never tried before), but as with a couple of other baby patterns I’ve knit recently I found you do need either a baby or a good sense of their size to get the length and sleeves right.
For what it’s worth, I knit the 6 month size and did three owl repeats with only one line of garter stitch in between each before the bottom garter stitch border and it looks about right both off and on the small model.
For the sleeves I deviated from the pattern a little; I knit 25 rounds straight then decreased to 36 stitches in the next round (k5 k2tog repeated around) before working the garter stitch border. It just pulls the sleeve ends in a little as my garter stitch is a little looser than my stocking stitch and stops them looking massive and floppy around tiny hands while still being big enough to get your fingers up the sleeve to pull the aforementioned tiny hand through.
And to finish it all off I actually had to go shopping, but it was worth it for six tiny little wooden buttons that seemed the perfect compliment to a cardigan so full of autumn leaves and hidden owls.
I love it, even if the owls do get a little bit lost in the variegation, but the final verdict must be with the small recipient:
I’m pretty sure his expression says “I’m so cosy and snug I’ve happily fallen asleep nestled up in this gorgeous cardigan” but there is just a smidge of a possibility that he’s really thinking “it’s a good job you’ve taken my hat off because it’s a bit warm today Mummy, otherwise there’s a serious risk I’d be mistaken for that boy in the postcard Grandma bought you!”
But you’d never be thinking that would you Pip?!