My team at work is largely made up of happily married young women in their late twenties and early thirties so I think you could guess that we have quite a lot of maternity leaves. In fact since I went off on maternity leave to have Kitty the team has had eleven children, with three more expected imminently. There are only 14 of us in total so it’s made quite an impact; rumours that my boss is considering rearranging the department to eliminate the “pregnancy pod” are though apparently unfounded.
I’ve knit for almost all of these babies, my own three obviously, but a smattering of little jackets and hats and bits and bobs have made their way around the team, and anyone I missed with their first baby because I was off with one of mine, I try to make sure there’s something for the second. There’s only one girl who’ll need to have a third if she wants some knitting, but she’s said she wants five so I think I’m safe there.
But the knitting that’s kept my fingers flying over the past week or so is for a first baby, for my pod mate (as in we share a pod – we sit open plan in little pods that run out from the wall like the teeth on a comb) of whom I am very fond, and that makes the knitting all the more joyful.
She knows that the baby bump is to a be a girl, and a tall one at that, and so knitting makes the perfect present, it’s so nice and stretchy it fits for so much longer than little babygros would. It’s also a great excuse to break out my stash of Cephalopod Traveller, one of the most snuggly strokeable yarns I own (and now sadly discontinued), especially in a rich Cadbury chocolate purple, it’s practically lickeable.
I knit a short sleeved Wee Liesl for Elma a couple of summers ago, to go over one of her summer dresses and it was so pretty and sweet it seemed like the perfect choice to continue what is apparently quite a purple feather and fan knitting phase (stretching all the way back to Kitty’s birthday cardigan cast on between Paris and Annecy).
And when that was finished I eyed up the leftovers of that skein, and the skein I used to make another very special girl her first purple cardigan and decided there was just enough to squeeze out a hat.
I’ve wanted to knit the Woodland Sprite bonnet since I first saw it on someone’s blog but decided, somewhat regretfully, that it probably was just a bit too girly for Pip to carry off. For baby girl bump however, that lovely rippling edging to the hood would be just the thing to echo the waves of the cardigan’s feather and fan.
That the pattern is written for a heavier weight yarn and different needles was not going to be a stumbling block, I finally had the perfect excuse to knit that hat so knit it I would. And on 3.75mm needles, and an extra pattern repeat (6instead of 5), it came out the perfect newborn size.
the only conundrum was the closure. I knit until there was barely enough yarn to graft the seam closed, trying to make it as big a hat as possible and all I was left with was half a dozen snippets, the longest of which can’t have been much more than six inches.
I thought about ribbon ties, but couldn’t find the ribbon, or a matching yarn, but couldn’t find anything to match, even in tapestry wool, so I went back to those scraps and painstakingly spliced each and every one together until I had one length of yarn, a little over 12″ long, just enough to crochet a tiny little button loop.
And with that, and an extra pale pink flowery button to match, the set was done, wrapped up in spotty tissue paper, and tucked in a bag to go into work.
She opened the hat first, and I had to stifle a smile at the happy reaction of the mama-to-be to just a hat, knowing what the other little parcel contained. She’s promised to send me photos of baby girl bump wearing it, and even promised to try to get the bonnet on the right way round and you can’t say fairer than that!