Knitting for babies is an important sub-genre of the larger knitting field. Booties, hats, blankets, soakers, toys, sweaters, and so on. Movies and tv shows from the 1950s suggest that knitting baby booties was a popular way for a woman to tell her husband that she was expecting. These days, many knitters love knitting garments for babies and children because a smaller item can be knit more quickly than its adult-sized equivalent. And let’s face it: baby stuff is so freaking cute!
So don’t get me wrong. I love the babies and all their tiny baby things. But I cower at the prospect of knitting something for a baby.
First of all, unless there is an actual baby in the room, their dimensions mystify me. Is this sleeve too long or too short? I have no idea! Babies are all head and tummy, with oddly foreshortened pudgy limbs. Their bodies make no sense to me.
Second, they grow! So I have to estimate how long it will take me to complete the garment, what size said child will be at that time, and how long he or she will stay that size. This multi-variate calculus is beyond me!
Finally, there is the whole seasonality issue. When I make myself a sweater, and I don’t finish it until July, it’s really no big deal. I can wrap it up in storage then debut it to all and sundry in the fall. When knitting a child’s garment, I struggle to meet an impossible window of time when the season, the child’s size, and garment’s completion will come together in a brief yet magical moment. I often fail.
Which my wordy way of getting around to making a long-overdue apology to young Jake, and his parents Jeff and Pauline. I committed to making Jake a sweater when he was a wee tot. I started it, and I nearly finished it: a jaunty green number with white trim. Then I got confused about how to knit and attach the contrasting neck trim. I read and re-read the pattern, but could make no sense of it. I put the sweater away for a little while, hoping my brain would work on it “in background,” and I could come back to it fresh. Sadly, that never happened. Jake’s sweater has languished in the bottom of my knitting basket, 90% complete, taunting me. Jake is three now. I missed the window about 2.5 years ago. Sorry about that, Little Dude.
While I’m not denying my debt to Jake, I am proud to declare victory in my latest battle with the baby knitting demons. Behold Rolly, knit to adorn the personage of the Exalted and Almighty Micah.
Rolly is a dress now, but I hope it will last long enough to serve as a top as Micah grows. Micah reigns from Florida, so I had a whole different seasonality problem to solve: what sort of knitted garment will work in a hot climate? I went for a cotton yarn and a breezy pattern with a cap sleeve. And see the wee ducky buttons? They turn my brain to goo!