I may have done the Race for Life this weekend, but I have also recently been chasing a Race for Birth. Knitting for newborns is always tricky on the timings. Ok, so you usually have at least 6 months’ notice, but the final deadline is vague at best. Delicate questions about the likely due date can seem a little weird (especially as you seem as nervous as the father when you hear about unexpected hospital checks).
I have a good range of books I use for any clothes, booties or hats. Wacky Baby Knits: 20 Knitted Designs for the Fashion-Conscious Toddler is a good one for the more fun silly hats/boots.
Cute Knits for Baby Feet: 30 Simple Projects from Newborn to 4 Years (The Craft Library) is a good one (unsurprisingly) for booties.
Knitting for co-workers’ new sprogs is always a bit political (I take the view that the more I like you, the more time I will spend on you – shop bought takes no making time afterall), and it is always a minefield of choices.
Booties or hats? Blanket or teddy? Do you gender it (pink or blue)? Do you go for pastels or bold colours? Do you risk a theme (Addams Family stripes? Animals?) or go plain? Do you knock out a solid safe pattern or try to make something unique? Decisions, decisions.
At this stage there are two schools of thought: Ask the soon-to-be parents and go in, questionnaire style. Or make what you want, figuring that most things can be used.
It might surprise you, especially after my Christmas knit advice, that I tend to wing it on birthing presents. Experience has taught me that soon-to-be parents don’t really know what they want. They will try to please you by guessing what you want them to ask for. Very sweet of them, but not very helpful!
Time (and loveliness) allowing, I am a fan of the cot blanket. Clothes are very dependent on size (and you have no idea if the sprog is going to be tiny or huge). Newborns grow so fast you can practically see it happening, making clothes a short-lived present.
Blankets are reasonably future-proof and can start as a cot blanket and end as a playmat. I tend to make things that are modular so if time escapes me I can always quit early and still have something ready to handed in.
So here is my latest effort (shhhh if you know them).
I have managed to beat the birth (so no frantic sewing up – yay!). I have chosen an 80s colour-scheme, as the parents are not really the pastel and bunnies type of people. On a side note, it was a bit of a win for me as the squares are mostly made up from those odd 15g balls of freebie magazine yarn, which both allowed me to stash dive for this project and allowed me to use a wide colour pallet (I didn’t know the gender when I started).
Keen eyes might spot that it is basically the drop shadow blanket, but only using black as the edge colour.
So there is now nothing to do but wrap it, write up a care label and wait to hear the happy news!