Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Knitting for babies

It seems like the last year has been overflowing with babies. I would almost bet that every knitter I know has knitted at least one baby thing in the last twelve months. I'll go one step further: I would say at least one in three of all new or returning knitters walk into the yarn shop because of a baby. (I've also heard that 73% of all statistics are made up on the spot.)

But for all the baby knitting enthusiasm, the anxiety can be equally overwhelming. Will I be able to learn how to do this? Is this yarn washable? Will the mother spend the time handwashing when the baby has thrown up on it? Do I even want to give this nice yarn to a puking baby in the first place? Will I finish this in time? What if I labor on this pink blanket and the baby ends up being a boy? What if the baby is huge and doesn't fit in the 0-3 month size? Should I make a 12 month size? Two year size, just to be sure?
But we do it anyway. Embark on the impossible tasks like the steeked fair isle baby cardigan or the intarsia alphabet blanket (holla, Tonya!). I've got a few theories about this.
1. Babies are a reason for celebration. This means presents. Knitters will find any reason to knit their presents, spending $30 on yarn for cashmere baby booties rather than $5 on a pack of onesies. Knitters are very practical people.
2. Babies are small. Ask any knitter if they would rather make a sweater for somebody 8 lbs. or somebody pushing 200 lbs, use up 2 skeins or 20. The math works out in a baby's favor.
3. Babies are defenseless. You can make them wear anything. They haven't reached "But the Hollister sweatshirt is softer than the Target one!" or "This makes me look fat!" phases. They haven't even reached "This is itchy!" yet, mostly because they don't know how to talk. Babies will wear hats with faces and ears on them. You know, all the stuff that is really fun to knit.
4. Babies are cute. And what better way to accentuate the adorableness of your own knitted item than to have an equally adorable baby wear it?

But knitting can be a struggle. Some people will give up. The half finished basketweave blanket will end up in a Kroger bag at the back of the closet for "next time." The organic cotton will be forfeited for something more "practical" like squeaky acrylic. Or even worse, handknits will be accomplished, only to be lost in the flurry of the new baby, never to appear in person. Not even in a picture.

But that didn't happen to Ellana. After laboring over the cotton fleece and lace charts, the duplicate stitch and I-cords, she finished the Frog Princess outfit. And getting this picture in her email made it all worth while.


Bob said...
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Holly said...

I have pictures of the BSJ for you, coming soon! But it will be a lot easier to take pictures of my handknit gifts when I (finally) have someone cute and small around here to model for me!

The_Add_Knitter said...

Yes, three cheers for baby knitting, I can't get enough of that feeling of instant completion!!

Lora said...

oh that baby picture is precious!!