Ripening fruits: knitting for new babies

I find the potential contained in the tiny, scrunchy bundle of a new baby absolutely fascinating.  Beyond the initial statistics of “Girl or boy?” and weight, and trying to spot a resemblance to family members, there are so few clues as to who they will become, and it’s very exciting to look at a person who hasn’t yet made any decisions or ruled out any possibilities.

Towards the end of the summer, I realised that four of my friends were expecting babies in the early autumn, so took lots of yarn away on holiday to knit baby cardigans.

Holiday yarn

Baby knits are really satisfying, as you get a really quick knit with all the elements of constructing a larger garment.  I chose to make cardigans as I think they can often last a bit longer in terms of fitting a growing baby than a pullover-type sweater, and I knew that I wouldn’t have time to make four blankets (which are the item which probably gets the longest period of potential use.)  Choosing designs was quite tricky.  I wanted to use stash yarn and needed three of the cardigans to be gender-neutral.  There are lots of lovely designs out there.

I knew that one of the babies expected is a girl, so I decided to use some pale pink speckled Koigu KPPPM for her cardigan and having chosen the yarn, I decided that it would work well in both garter and stockingette, so Linnie (a free pattern by Justyna Lorkowska) would be an ideal choice.  I used some shell buttons from my stash, which pick up some of the non-pink colours in the yarn.  I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and the pattern was incredibly clear and quick to knit.


I also wanted to use a lovely skein of hand-dyed yarn from Fyberspates that was in my stash, and chose Eole, by Nadia Cretin-Lechenne because it has such a simple shape but lots of lovely detailing.  I really enjoyed knitting this, and I think it makes something very special out of a plain cardigan.  As Fyberspates is no longer doing hand-dyes, I wanted my yarn to be used for something worthy and I think this pattern was perfect.  In keeping with the simplicity of the cardigan, I used some grey shell buttons from my stash.


For my other two cardigans, I wanted to use some of the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino yarn in my stash.  This yarn is great for baby knits, as it’s cosy and washable, but I probably wouldn’t use it for anything bigger than a baby garment because I find it a bit splitty to work with.  I decided to make two cardigans using the Meredith Baby Cardigan pattern by Ruth Maddock.  The pattern is another fairly simple shape, but has a nice lace leaf pattern around the yoke.  The sleeves need seaming under the arms, so there’s a little bit more finishing on this cardigan than on the other two, but it’s a nice clear pattern.  I made one in cream (with blue gingham print buttons) and one in navy (with Liberty print buttons).


These knits made great holiday projects, as they were very portable.  Three of the babies have now arrived, and the fourth is due very soon!  I’m hoping that the babies (and their parents) will like their cardigans and I’m looking forward to meeting them.  I also enjoyed working on these as part of the Harvest CAL (craft-along) #harvestcal14, on the A Playful Day blog and podcast.  This has been a great celebration of autumn, which included lots of inspiring food and craft ideas and had a category called “Ripening Fruits”.  What can be more apt than knitting for a new baby?

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