Those of us who come from big families know that once you’ve knitted for one new arrival, baby knits will become a large section of your projects, and that over the years you will become a fine judge of baby patterns. You also realise that friends and family seem to have babies in groups, so you always seem to have more than one baby project to finish at time.
On the UK Hand Knitting team we have quite a bit of knitting experience for precious little bundles so we’ve pulled together a few tips if you are about to embark on a baby knits odyssey.
If you are knitting lots of baby gifts, it can be dull doing the same pattern over – even though baby knits can be quite quick. Luckily there are lots of delicious patterns on Ravelry and UK Hand Knitting is here to help. You can find a wide range of UKHKA baby patterns developed with our members here.
When choosing a pattern for a baby, it is probably best to avoid the ones sized only for newborns, however cute the garments. They simply won’t get much wear. Instead go for 3-6 months or 6-9 months sizes. The baby will grow into them so that little jacket or hat will get a good amount of use.
Equally if knitting for a toddler go for a size up from what they are now – this will mean it will be useful for longer (and allows for any knitting delays).
Toys and blankets
If you don’t want to make garments or would like to make something that will stay with the child much longer. Knitted toys, play mats and cot blankets are a good choice. It is a lovely experience when a young mum tells you that their child is wrapped in a blanket you knitted for them or that their child is playing with a toy you knitted 20-ahem years previously (it can make you feel old though!).
Knitting for babies is not really the time for luxury fibres and yarns that need special care. Baby garments and blankets need to be machine washable and toys need to be hardwearing. This is why you will find that a lot of baby yarns have a high proportion of acrylic in them – these are soft but robust yarns which make it easy to pop a garment in the wash. Also look for cotton baby yarns, great for blankets as well as garments; wool that has been treated for machine washing; and bamboo yarns which are very soft and are naturally anti-bacterial.
There is plenty of choice in baby yarns including when it comes to colour so you are not tied to blue for a boy/pink for a girl. Bright colours and parents favourite colours are often a good way to go.
And finally if you are a relatively new knitter, a baby cardigan or jumper is a great opportunity to try knitting your first garment. Baby clothes are a lot quicker to knit than adult garments so are a great way to learn how knitted sweaters are constructed.
If you are a regular baby knitter, please share your favourite baby patterns in the comments.