I have been knitting for my little boy over the last few weeks and I have become slightly obsessed with knitting booties and hats.
I found a pattern I liked in John Lewis and I picked up one of their books it has simple to make hats and booties as well as some clothese. I wanted to make a few sets for him in newborn size as he is a winter baby and I would like him to be snug as a bug when he is born. I also love the look of handknitted hats and booties on newborn babies. My favourite yarn to use for this is Sirdar Snuggly. It so soft and gentle and I think it is lovely to work with so I have bought a few different skeins of this.
So far I have knitted a blue set with a pom-pom hat and most confusingly a cream set with a plain hat which I think will be perfect for him to come home from the hospital in. I say confusingly as I was having a baby brain melt down that day and started knitting with what I thought was white and was actually cream. Hey ho waste not want not and fortunately I had just enough to finish the matching booties.
I really like this pattern for the boots they are knitted mainly in rib with a stocking stitch panel on the front of the boot which is cosy for the little tiny foot. The hat has a rib bottom and is knitted in stocking and they look lovely together. To be honest I wish they did scratch mits in the same design but I suppose these could be quite hot for little baby hands.
I am planning a white set as well for baby’s Christening and possibly some in a Sirdar Crofter self striping yarn but for now booties to one side whilst I finish some other projects. I’m looking forward to Maternity Leave as I just plan to surround myself with yarn. But these are so simple I am hoping I can carry on making these even when he is born as I can knit whilst he is asleep…or I may be kidding myself there!
I have been knitting this blanket it feels like for for 100 years. Ever since we started trying for a baby I knew that when we were pregnant I wanted to make an heirloom item in the form of a blanket for the baby. Something personal that I can bring the baby home in from the hospital and the baby can keep. So when we discovered this baby was going to stay I hunted down a pattern.
I saw this on Love Knitting and it was perfect for this project. I wanted to do something with rabbits as my husbands family are slightly obsessed with rabbits due to their Grandfather, who is a big influence on my husband, being a very successful rabbit farmer. The family collect rabbit items like ornaments and things and I’ve started doing it too. Its like our spirit animal so I wanted to link that in.
The pattern was designed by Suzanne Strachan and is called The Four Bunnies. It is a blanket knitted in knit and purl with embossed rabbits in 4 different positions. For the pattern she used Rowan Baby Merino Silk in a grey. I chose a beautiful pale green colour callef ‘Little Duck Egg’ by Sublime in Baby Cashmere Merino Silk DK. I know it’s different to the pattern but I found this in my local shop and I just loved it. According to the Sublime website the yarns in this type are designed for babies as they are ‘reassuringly delicate, soft and smooth yarn’ in the ‘gentlest natural blend next to baby’s skin’. I loved the gorgeous green colour and the feel of the yarn.
The pattern itself is pretty simple it is a garter stitch edge with the embossed rabbits made by purling on the knit side following a guide. The instructions however were not clear to me. I couldn’t figure out how to emboss the bunnies at first and it took my knitting extraordinaire Mother-in-law to take a look at the pattern and discover the key on the very last page. It just shows you what an extra pair of eyes can do to help a project. She also gave me some 4mm circle kneedles on a loop which made it a lot easier as it is a lot of stitches! It can be a difficult pattern if you are not concentrating as you must follow the guide at all times to get the bunny shape but once I was in a rhythm it became a lot easier. I have been knitting this bunny Blanket all over the place taking it with me. To my Mums house, out to the garden and in the car on longer journeys I’ve been trying to squeeze rows in here and there. I finally finished the main blanket whilst we were on our Babymoon in Wales.
This is the final finished main blanket. You can see the four bunnies; successfully embossed and I’m really happy with it. It’s just what I wanted.
To finish the blanket the pattern has images on how to overstitch the bunny tails to make them stand out so I tried this and failed at it. I can’t follow diagrams I need written instructions or to be actually shown. So I watched some YouTube on Duplicate stitch and did this over the tails instead. As it’s a different stitch it made them stand out more so I am happy with it. My final touch was to use duplicate stitch further in the corner of one of the bunnies and put in our baby’s initials. We have already chosen his name and had it ready for so long before he was even conceived. This really made the blanket special for me. I’m 24 and a half weeks when writing this and I’m really pleased I could knit something like this for him to keep we will use this blanket to bring him home from the hospital and its just really special.
There are two things I love in this life. One is babies and the other is knitting toys for presents for babies. (Well all people really)
For this particular baby I wanted to make something quite big and just for him. So I thought what is the one thing that every child needs? The answer is a teddy of course. So I searched the Internet for a pattern as I have made all the other bear patterns I own and I do get bored. I came across the Big Berry Bear Teddy pattern by Lorraine Leathem on Ravelry. It’s such a cute and proper bear. With a big fat tummy and head.
Just the head and body
The pattern uses a self striping wool but I went for a classic beige and I got stuck in. It’s such a lovely pattern, it’s very clear and lovely to just follow along in the evenings. I changed the face a bit as I believe every toy has its own face that comes through as you start to embroider it on. And I used some orange glass beads for eyes that I found at the bottom of my knitting bag. For its ears and paws I needle felted some brown felt into the yarn for furriness and it worked really well.
Finished but naked Big Barry
When the bear was finished it looked a bit naked so I knitted a scarf in the colours of the baby’s Daddy’s rugby club that he plays for. Bright blue and canary yellow. It really finished the bear and he was renamed Big Barry. I hope he will be a good companion for Baby Callum as he grows. I was even more thrilled as I was asked to be Baby’s Godmother! Must have been because of Big Barry!
With his rugby colours
With his new owner
There’s something in the air at the moment. Its baby central. The past few months I have been knitting gifts ranging from tiny little newborn baby bootees to little jumpered bears. Both patterns I will reveal in time as they are very simple and fulfilling, but the last two weeks its been all about my knitted elephant.
A good friend of mine’s sister is having a baby in two very short weeks and has a jungle themed nursery as like many parents they decided to keep the sex of the baby a surprise. This does pose a challenge when choosing your yarn. One of the lovely things about knitting for babies is the beautifully soft wool you can buy in pale pastel colours. Lemon, lavender, baby blue and pink and aqua, as well as white of course are all perfect for baby presents. If you do know the sex of course you can go for the traditional pink or blue, or you can use unisex bright primary colours like reds, blues, greens and bright yellow for a retro Cath Kidston inspired look.As I didn’t know the sex of this little one I went for the aqua and the lemon.
This design was a challenge it was one of the largest toys I’ve made and was made up of lots of little sections. The elephant was made up of stocking stitch which can be fiddly on finer yarn. To stocking stitch you knit one row and purl the next, moving the yarn to the front of the kneedles and back for the knitted row. I used 4.5 size needles simply because they’re a needle I have neglected to use and are of longer length to fit all the stitches on as most of the rows were in their fifties.
I did change the pattern in the end I think it is always good to put your own stamp on something. The pattern is one designed by a very talented knitter called Laura Long. She’s the writer of a number of knitting books called ‘Knitted Toy Tales’ which include wild animals as well as fairy tale characters. The elephant pattern is called ‘Eddie the Elephant’ and I found in a free booklet from a knitting magazine ‘Knit Now’. The pattern at first looked difficult but once I found my rhythm and got used to the wool was relatively simple. I really do recommend Laura Long books and patterns, I hope to make an Owl and the Pussycat one day as well as the pea green boat!
As I said I did change the pattern, the pattern in the book asks for material to be sewn in for the ears and feet but I used a lemon shimmer wool. I also used basic black shirt buttons for eyes as I need to work on my embroidery skills. Also as I am yet to conquer crochet I knitted the tail in garter stitch instead of a chain which I think worked just as well. The trickiest bit came to the stuffing. You always need twice as much stuffing as you first think so whatever you think times it by 2 or even 4. For this I used an old clean pillow and tried to make the body as round as possible. Another tricky bit was stuffing and attaching the tusks. My first tusk was too large and they had to be symmetrical. I am a perfectionist so all the legs were symmetrical also. I finished off the whole elephant with a lemon silk ribbon from John Lewis.
I really enjoyed making the elephant for the new baby, it took around 2 weeks in all. Spending my evenings making legs was very soothing. I really try to put as much love into my gifts as I can and hope one day to see my elephant one eyed, filthy and well loved by its tiny owner. After all toys are meant to be played with and loved.