Monday, January 16, 2017

Every baby a knitted-for baby

It's been a long time since I've posted here, I admit.  Life gets away from you.  This past year has brought me a pregnancy that couldn't have been more unplanned or unwished-for, as well as a number of other distractions from crafting.

I have heard the slogan that every baby should be a wanted and chosen baby, and I think that would be pretty nice.  On the other hand, half of babies aren't planned, and that doesn't necessarily make them less loved or appreciated once they arrive.  Even when the choice wasn't yours at the beginning, you can make the choice to accept and make the best of it.

One way I tried to deal with this was by knitting.  I think every baby should have something handmade -- it's a way of saying "I loved you enough to work for you before you were even born."  My first two kids had this done for them by other people, because I didn't do much crafting at the time, but my third got quite a few pretty things I made for her.  Many of these have since been passed on (because the gift of handmade baby clothes should be shared!) so this new baby needed some original knitting done.

It's hard to get yourself geared up to knit for a baby you have never met and still feel iffy about having.  But I found that as the knitting went on, I started to feel more positive about it.  This stranger -- this baby currently sucking up my body's resources and making me worry -- would soon be wearing little baby leggings on its tiny little legs.  I didn't know anything else about it -- I still don't know the sex -- but I can picture little legs wearing little leggings, and that worked for me.

After I finished that, I made a hat for a friend's baby, got some Christmas knitting done, and have now cast on a diaper cover.  Diaper covers are one of my favorite things to knit because they're easy, practical, and use small amounts of wool yarn -- something which, as a spinner, I always have lots of.

Diaper Cover Pattern

You can use any weight of yarn for this pattern, but it has to be wool, and it should be as soft as possible.  Choose a size needle that gives you pretty dense stitches -- if there are gaps and holes, it won't be waterproof.  Do a swatch to test your gauge, and then cast on enough stitches to make 12 inches.

First, do k1 p1 ribbing for one inch.  Then follow this pattern: on right-side rows, k5, s1k1psso, knit till seven stitches from end, k2tog, k5. On wrong side rows, k5, purl till five stitches from end, k5.  This will give you a nice garter-stitch edging so the sides won't curl in.

Continue this pattern for about five inches.  Then stop the decreases, so you're just knitting all the right-side rows, and k5, purl, k5 on the wrong-side rows.  After five inches of that, finish with one more inch of k1, p1 rib. That's it!

You can add snaps to hold it together, or adjust the pattern to add buttons and buttonholes, but I just use a Snappi.  To use it, lay a prefold diaper on top, folded to fit inside, bring up the front, and fasten with the Snappi (or whatever).

(This is my third baby, with the cover I made for her)

If your wool is clean (as opposed to raw from the sheep -- which you can use if you have it!), it won't be as waterproof unless you lanolize it -- basically replacing the natural lanolin that made the wool so waterproof while it was on the sheep.  Here are some instructions for lanolizing -- you'll want to repeat the steps any time the cover starts to get leaky.  For basic cleaning, which you do if the cover gets soiled or stinky, you can hand wash in cold water with wool detergent or plain dish soap.

Happy baby knitting!  If you know any babies on the way, go ahead and knit them something.  It's our way of saying "welcome to the world!"

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