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Baby Knitting can be a good way for a beginner to practice their new skills as they are generally small knitting projects that can be completed reasonably quickly.
Knitting for babies can be very simple and as the garments are usually quite small (excluding blankets and shawls of course) it doesn't take a long time to complete your project.
Baby Knitting | © Deborah Mason & Knitting Naturally
Most baby knitting patterns are designed for 2, 3 or 4 ply wool and recommend using small knitting needles.
I usually prefer to use pure wool for my knitting, it is warmer than acrylic and has fire retardant properties that non-natural fibres do not, and it just feels nicer when you are knitting it. But a lot of young mothers, including my own daughter-in-law, prefer knitting for their babies that is easier to care for.
Baby clothes can and do get rather dirty, and if your baby knits are made of acrylics they can easily be chucked into the washing machine and dryer. Pure wool garments need a bit more time and care when washing but if you look after them they will wear so much better and can be passed on to other family members once your baby has outgrown them.
Cardigans and Sweaters
Basic cardigans and jumpers are probably the easiest form of baby wear to knit as there is generally only limited shaping and they are quite small. For some patterns you will only need a ball or two of wool and you will be able to complete your baby knitting project reasonably quickly
When you are selecting a pattern for a basic or easy knitting jumper you need to remember that it is not always easy to get clothing on and off a baby. A wide neckline (for example a boat neck, with flat buttons at the shoulder) is far easier to get on and off.
A round neck might look good on your baby, but if you just about have to rip the baby's head off to get the jumper off it will never come out of the drawer again!
I love making very fine matinee jackets with delicate lace patterns, but there is a lot of knitting in them so don't expect to be able to whip one up quickly!
Matinee jackets usually have a yoke at the top of the jacket which is knitted in one piece unlike most jumpers and cardigans where all four or five pieces (2 x sleeves, front(s) and back)are knitted separately and joined together when you have finished knitting. The shirt of the jacket can either be knitted in pieces (2 fronts and a back) or in one piece to the armholes.
You will also find that most matinee jacket patterns will have instructions for making a matching hat or bonnet (most likely a bonnet) and some will include the pattern for matching booties.
Bonnet, Booties and Mittens
Bonnets, booties and mittens are still quite popular knitting projects, and are relatively quick to make as shower gifts. But be warned that there is usually quite a bit of shaping involved in knitting these items. Patterns that incorporate more complex knitting stitch patterns (i.e., multi-row all over lace patterns) might be a little difficult if you are still learning.
The old style bonnets do not tend to be used as much by young mothers these days, but you can get patterns for very cute knitted berets and hats that any young mom would be happy to have her baby wear! I tend to use the same basic pattern for any booties I make, varying the knitting stitch patterns that I use for the base, top or instep of the bootees. No two pairs are ever the same, as I am not a big fan of doing the same pattern twice!
You don't often see mittens on a babu these days either and the climate in Australia probably means that they are not strictly necessary to keet a baby warm and comfortable especially as babies are not routinely left outside in prams to sleep any more so you might not need to find patterns for them. But if you want to create a traditional baby gift a set that include a bonnet or hat, with a matching pair booties and mittens would be perfect.
If you are looking for a project that involves a lot of knitting a baby shawl would be ideal!
Baby shawls are usually either round or rectangular. Round shawls tend to be knitted from the center out initially on double pointed needles, and then on a circular needle as the knitting 'out-grows' the double pointed needles.
Often rectangular shawls are knitted on circular needles because to make it easier to manage a large number of stitches.
Baby blankets tend to be made using a heavier ply of wool (usually at least an 8 ply) on larger needles than most other baby knits.
Most baby blanket patterns are either a square or a rectangle of a textured or lace stitch pattern with a border in a different stitch.
Are you looking for a knitting project that is a bit more fun - how about a hand knitted baby toy?
Little Giraffe | © Deborah Mason & Knitting Naturally
Hand Knitted Toys can be very simple or extremely complex depending on what you want to make. There are any number of different toys or toy accessories that you can make for your baby. All three of the toys in the images about were made using the same basic pattern and adjusting the head, ears, hands, feet and tails to create different characters. I really had fun with these little guys...
You can make anything from a simple ball with a bell insert so that it make a noise when your baby plays with it, to a jointed teddy bear complete with a full outfit!
Are You Looking for Baby Knitting Patterns?
If you are looking for baby knitting patterns, check out my page on baby knitting patterns. Some of the patterns are free, but most of the really nice ones you will have to buy!
I would recommend that you select a small number of good pattern books that offer a variety of basic shapes and styles of baby knitting - you can always customise your own patterns as you gain more experience as a knitter.
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