Winter babies are my very favorite to knit for, early winter babies especially, born when the nights are longest and there are so many cold days ahead and the year is new or will be soon. I don’t care if the tiny sweater will fit for only a few weeks or that it might get spit up on. It’s a sweater for the littlest, most fragile bodies that need the warmth the most. Little sweaters for baby humans are a knitter’s blessing. Summer babes, equally knit-worthy, just don’t have the same urgency.
My first baby was born two days before winter solstice and I remember those days being so warm and cozy and sweet and special and feeling like a Christmastime baby was the best sort of baby because the world seemed to slow down and know its specialness right before bursting with energy and newness at the same time as I was slowing down and experiencing the world in an entirely altered way.
Of course I would have thought any time was the best time to have my baby, that’s how it works, and I’m sure this baby’s parents feel exactly the same way.
I have no sizing labels – I ordered some, once, from an Etsy shop, but they were sold out. I was annoyed that I was able to “purchase” a product that didn’t exist and I’ve never remembered to try again – so I helpfully made these Christmas themed so that the baby’s parents would know about when they should fit.
While I was at it I started another pair for a co-worker and excited expectant first-time grandmother, this time without a helpful seasonal cue.
I was careless and sewed the linings of those booties in the same direction which gave me two bootie linings for the same foot. That wasn’t going to work as people’s feet usually come one on each side. No matter, I thought. Instead of picking a seam out of that fleece and pulling it out of shape in the process I’ll just make ANOTHER PAIR. I then proceeded to make one lining for the correct foot and a third lining for the other. Sigh. Enough is enough even for baby-booties-crazy me and I did pick that seam out without misshaping the fleece too much.
I am left with a single pair of unclaimed booties, this time possibly with a seasonal cue if they find their way to a baby born in the fall. I considered using just fleece for the sole lining since these booties scream springtime, but how could I not line bunny booties in soft furriness?
I am done with booties for now, though not with the gifts.
I love babies and I love acknowledging births even in cases like this when the incoming baby isn’t personally known to me. This is the perfect little gift for such an occasion. I have more planned for this baby and her big brother, some things that will live at Grandma’s house for them, but I’ve really been dragging my feet on baby stuff, lately, if you’ll forgive the pun.
I’ve made this pattern before and I’m feeling more confident that I’ll make it again and work my way through that faux fur and fleece. I’m feeling so confident, in fact, that I’m eyeing some of those add-ons. Note to self: back away from the booties.
The material guide gave me pause. I had never dealt with many of the suggested materials listed, and it was a long list for such a small project. I poked around online, but I’m never quite sure if I’m ordering the thing I mean to be and purchase minimums were prohibitively large. Like I said, this was a small project, small here being used to mean “physically little” and not “easy to sew” which it wasn’t, small sewing is often the most difficult sewing, and even 1 yard minimums were simply too much to invest in. I can never predict if I’m going to make 1 of a thing or 20 and it’s better to not assume I’m going to make 20 because goodness knows I don’t need a yard of fun fur sitting in my stash less one pair of booties soles and you know that’s exactly what would happen if I were to talk myself into buying such vast quantities of excess fabric right out of the gate.
Pattern: Menta Booties
Size: 6 Months
Fabric: Quilting cotton, fleece, rubber dots, faux fur, all from Jo-Ann
I’m actually just realizing that the materials guide suggests faux sherpa for the inside sole and that that’s a different material than the faux fur I used. Whoopsies. Let’s call these tres luxe.
I second-guessed every material I used. Now that I’ve made them I can you that it wouldn’t matter too much if the fleece were heavier or if I hadn’t been able to find rubber dots fabric or the insides weren’t a perfect color match. They’d still be cute and functional.
There’s a lot of room for improvement in the next pair. My sewing was imprecise. I think I’ll make some more for fun and practice. Maybe not 20, though.
We have a new baby in Hubs’ extended family. His family is small and this is very big, very welcome news. This baby lives far too from us in a Texan climate I don’t understand which confused my usual sensibility to knit. Do Texan babies even need sweaters? No matter, she’s getting one anyways. Even if it is 84 degrees today (I checked). Perhaps it will be useful in chilly overly air-conditioned restaurants?
It’s an unfinished and long-forgotten Ella Top by Liola Patterns! I started this sometime last year. The fabric is a double gauze that frays like crazy and I had french-seamed everything like I like to do. French seams would normally be a prudent choice for a frays-like-crazy fabric, but in this case their use backfired. There was no possible way to tear the seam without tearing my fabric. I couldn’t even discern the seam from the fabric’s warp and weft. When I tried this on and it looked awful I just didn’t know what I could possibly do to try to salvage it.
If I hadn’t had an attachment to the fabric I may have chucked it. But this is the same print that I selected when I was inspired to make a tiny baby baby jumper from 1 Yard Wonders for my first baby years and years ago in a sewing-as-nesting jag that didn’t take hold.
I don’t think I ever put her in it. I was intimated by buttonholes. I used to be embarrassed to admit that buttonholes intimidate me, but having recently used my mother’s borrowed Bernina with a programmable buttonhole function to finish Hubs’ shirt I challenge any of you to use a nearly-40-year-old machine to make manual buttonholes and tell me it isn’t intimidating. The gigantic snaps I sewed in (badly) as a substitute were bulky and awkward and it turns out that jumpers are simply not my go-to garment when it comes to dressing an infant.
You can also see that I made some curtains with that print. I made those for my last baby.
And it was a gift! I would hate to not use a gift. It makes sense that I would choose the same print myself, but in this case my mother-in-law chose it for me! Thus this print has turned into a bit of a theme just as dandelions have become a personal metaphor for accepting life’s small frustrations. I think that’s not typically the way people read meaning into dandelions, but I am my father’s daughter. His lawn preservation battle rages on.
I was able to eke out two sleeveless tops from the two yards of coordinating fabric she gave me. A Ruby top came together well enough:
I’m not sure about that sagging in the front, but I don’t care enough to do anything about it, either. Is it a bust fit issue or did my fabric stretch? Dunno. Don’t care.
This Ella one, though. Nope. Not working. Tune in again to see if my hacking and fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants alterations helped.
I have a lot of insomnia stories – I’m great at parties, let me tell you – and they’re mostly as incredibly boring as you would expect. Like when I was pregnant the second time? And I would wake up for the day at 3 in the morning? I did so much spinning! The end.
A few years ago my esteemed parents-in-law gave me a Hansen miniSpinner for Christmas. I was so surprised and so pleased and so spoiled (linking to Hansen’s site makes me feel both unworthy and grateful all over again) and when I sat down to play with my new toy I was so completely flummoxed. What a disaster. My mother in law arranged a short tête-à-tête with Beth, the miniSpinner’s purveyor (aren’t I lucky? I’m seriously lucky) who set me on my way.
My spoils still on hand:
Yeah, I was doing a lot of not sleeping.
I had started a Baby Surprise Jacket because a BSJ in handspun is the absolute peak of knitting perfection and I’ve thought so since seeing Brooklyn Tweed’s version way back when. I’ll pause here to brag about my own successful handspun BSJs…
…because this skein didn’t turn out to be one of them. Not enough yarn. Womp womp. I set the project aside and decided I would make a cowl someday and here it is. The left-learning stitches are a sign of an unbalanced yarn, but a handspun’s imperfections are part of a its charm.