Thoughts on Baby Knitting

When it comes to baby knits I have a few essential criteria that have served me well in the past. I tend to knit items in advance and keep them ready for the inevitable 'surprise baby' from a co-workers spouse or when several new arrivals happen within weeks of each other.
I like to keep a well stocked baby box with enough choice so that I can match item to recipient, rather than gifting a handwash-only item to a dear friend who I know can shrink laundry just by looking at it.
I do knit the occasional girly cardigan on impulse such as Autumn Leaves if I have suitable yarn but mostly I tend to favour unisex knits in fairly neutral colours to maximise gift-giving potential. Otherwise it is bound to happen that there will be 4 baby boys born in a row and all I have in the gift box is a pastel pink Liesl.
One of the reasons that I prefer a plain and simple knit like my Fuss Free Baby cardigan is that it is endlessly adaptable. Short or long sleeves, plain or striped, frugal stashbuster or blow-the-budget cashmere it can be adapted to suit any requirements.
I tend to have several in the gift box in neutral colours and then when the gender is known I can add some cute and funky buttons. Gender stereotypes can be a social minefield but I do love adding pretty flower buttons to a plain cardigan for a girl, not least because (with having two boys) my opportunities for girly knitting are strictly limited.

For added ease and adaptability I knit both button bands plain and then, using small buttons (knitting police - look away now) sew them onto the appropriate side and then just poke them through the band on the other side to create little buttonholes. I'm sure the local WI would faint at the thought but I don't imagine that the baby or sleep-deprived mother for that matter would give it a second thought.
I have never been clear on which side buttons go for a boy or a girl and I'm not sure that it matters anymore but for the record the buttons for a girl traditionally go on the right of the garment.

FO Friday - More socks

I do love having a finished pair of socks ready for the weekend. I tried them on yesterday morning before work for a quick photo and I loved them so much that I really begrudged taking them off.

I have a professional working life away from the knitting (I'm not quite ready to give up the day job yet) and few, if any, of my colleagues know about my crafty life outside of work. There are times though when I wish the two could overlap a little and I could express my creative side at work a little more. Who knows, it might even be fun, and heaven forbid, liven up the day a little.

In winter I can be quietly subversive and wear my hand knit socks in my boots but in summer I just have to resign my hand knit socks to the sock drawer and just bring them out at weekends. I'd love to be able to wear the 'Mary-Janes with socks' look but I fear that might be a step too far for my colleagues.

Anyway, down to knitting business. The yarn is from the incomparable Sparkleduck in the aptly named Rainbow colourway. The colours change rapidly so that on average you get 2 colour changes per round of sock.

Knit on 2.5mm needles with 60st I found that this made for the perfect balance of striping and movement and didn't result in large blocks of colours as I first feared. Perfect, clever dying from a very talented indie - dyer. Not surprisingly I think the Sheep Shop has sold out but rumour has it that more will be in stock shortly.

Maybe we could all knit a pair and wear them to work with pride. Never mind Knit in Public day - we ought to be able to have a 'Wear your hand knit socks to work day'. Although, on reflection I think we need a catchier title.

Sock heaven

Now, heaven knows I have no shortage of socks on my needles at the moment. I have a complicated toe-up design which is currently tying my brain in knots. I have a straightforward sample knit which is quite relaxing, but suffering ever-so-slightly from 'second sock syndrome'. I have a plain pair of grey socks for my father in law which are languishing in the WIP pile - plain, grey, huge - not very appealing -say no more.

And then, into my sock knitting doldrums drops this little beauty:

The very talented Sparkleduck has produced a wonderful rainbow yarn in her fabulous Socka base, which produces two colours per round on a sock. The colourway is Warm Rainbow (in case you were wondering).

I can be a little colour-shy sometimes but this yarn positively sang to me and implored me to take it home and knit I did:

I was dithering about whether to do an afterthought heel so as not to interrupt the stripes but in the end I plumped for my favourite Fish Lips Kiss Heel and I love the way the stripes work over the heel - great fun.

I was also a little worried about potential pooling and did consider a pattern designed to work with highly variegated yarn such as Hermione's Everyday socks but in the end I decided to just go with the flow. With 60st on 2.5mm needles the stripes worked up into a very pleasing sequence that is strangely hypnotic to knit.

I sock down, and 1 to go.