Babies abound in our circles these days! Patty and Carrie have been busy knitting up baby projects like crazy – especially baby sweaters. As a knitter, there’s something satisfying about knitting up a tiny and adorable sweater. It goes faster than a blanket. Depending on where you are in your knitting journey, you may be presented with some great learning opportunities. It’s especially nice to encounter these skill-building techniques on a baby sweater: baby sweaters are smaller and can learn said technique with fewer stitches. Whether you’re learning a new stitch pattern or to put pockets on a sweater, it’s less daunting on a baby sweater. Plus, the ultimate wearer is not terribly discerning about the finished product. As much as we love these babies, they don’t care if the pockets aren’t sewn in perfectly or if some of your stitches are off.
Patty recently finished up a Little Coffee Bean Cardigan. She went off-road for this project, using a thinner yarn than called for (she used a DK-weight rather than a worsted-weight yarn). Patty used some of her knitting intuition here: using a thinner yarn made a smaller sweater, so Patty followed the directions for a larger size to get a cardigan that is baby-sized (and not pint-sized). Patty striped her Little Coffee Bean using one skein of HiKoo Sueño with one skein of Stonehedge Fiber Mill’s Crazy yarn. It’s so adorable and so popular that we’ve sold out of this amazing cantaloupe color few times since she’s completed it! I love this one so much that I threw together a couple other color combos of Sueño and Crazy for other crazy-striped Little Coffee Bean ideas.
Patty’s working on another baby sweater using HiKoo’s Cobasi. This fingering-weight yarn is a blend of cotton, bamboo and silk. It’s user-friendly in that it can go in the washer & dryer. It’s easy on the skin with all its fiber content. Knitting up a baby sweater using a fingering-weight yarn is not nearly the task it is to knit an adult-sized sweater. Plus, this weight of sweater is light and versatile – and can be worn by a baby any time of year. That lucky baby will be able to wear it whenever it grows into that sweater – we don’t have to worry about seasonality with this one!
There are some delightful colors of Cobasi available (on sale at Wool & Grace) – and enough for a baby sweater. Some great baby sweater options for this yarn include Tin Can Knits’ Play Date, Joji Locatelli’s Garter Stitch Baby Cardigan or Lisa Chermey’s Chamomile Cardigan.
Carrie finished a few baby sweaters recently and already has another one on the needles! One of the recently completed sweaters is a Baby Surprise (the iconic pattern from Elizabeth Zimmerman) – a project she enjoyed enough that she’s doing it again. There’s a lot of room to play around with this pattern, but our store sample and Carrie’s versions have been made out of Schoppel-Wolle’s Edition 3.0. We like the way this variegated yarn adds some pizzaz to this classic cardigan. The pattern is written so that you can stripe it, and it also looks wonderful solid. Savvy knitters have been modifying it for generations – adding collars and hoods, making it adult sized and beyond.
The sweater is called Baby Surprise for a reason. When I asked Carrie what she thought about the project she said “I thought I was making one part of the sweater but it wasn’t that part. It’s really funny how it works.” She went on to say that it’s not difficult and there’s very little seaming involved. It’s a bit magical – you just follow the instructions and the unlikely result is an adorable sweater.
One of my dearest friends from UVA is due with her first baby any day – and I’m considering whether I should make a Baby Surprise for her in this perfect UVA-color from Edition 3. Stay on gauge and try knitting it up in something like HiKoo’s Simplicity or Sueño. You could stripe it with Crazy just like the Coffee Bean pictured above. Also, don’t be afraid to use your knitter’s intuition and consider making it in a worsted-weight yarn to get a slightly larger size!
Before Patty left for vacation I watched her go through the shop pulling yarns and talking about “latte coat” or “tiered jacket and coat” – clearly planning projects for more babies. These are some of our favorite baby sweaters – and both happen to be by Lisa Chemery. Chemery imbues a zesty adorableness to her kids design. I’ve made my fair share of projects by her as baby gifts. The Tiered Coat & Jacket is a delightful and straightforward project perfect for all ages of little people. I like to make the short version for pre-walkers and the longer version for the littles who are getting around on two feet. Meanwhile, the Latte Coat is a go-to hooded cardigan that I like to make for the boys. Both yarns call for a chunky yarn and I’ve used HiKoo’s Simpliworsted and Cascade 128 Superwash for both of these projects with great success. Of course, I love these yarn choices because they can both go in the washer AND the dryer – for me an essential for kids knits. That said, pulling out some Falkland Aran for a very refined version of these sweaters is a wonderful option, and this yarn just so happens to be on sale at Wool & Grace.
Anyone looking to make an adorable sweater for a little one should check out all of Chemery’s patterns. I fell down a rabbit hole exploring her patterns and now I’m wracked with indecision about what to make for my beloved UVA baby! The Chamomile Cardigan (pictured previously) is a sweet and feminine little cardigan. This one is made in a sport-weight yarn that will span the seasons. The pattern calls for Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, another yarn on sale at Wool & Grace. Another great, washable option is HiKoo’s Sueño. Another option I love is Merci, a delightful cardigan for boys and girls with side buttons and an i-cord edging and tie. This pattern also calls for Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, but at its gauge two other great options are HiKoo’s Simplicity and HiKoo’s Sueño.
One more Chemery pattern I must mention is Honey Pie, an adorable knit dress for little girls up to age six. Honey Pie has a criss-cross back, and could be worn on its own or layered any time of year. This darling project is written for Malabrigo’s Rios, which we love because it’s soft, easy to knit, economical and machine-washable (all the right things for kids). That said, we have a number of sale yarns that would totally work for this project: Falkland Aran, Neve and Sita come to mind as great contenders (although with the exception of Neve which is cotton, they cannot go in the washing machine).
Knitting for babies is an easy task. We put a bit of love into every stitch, and that love is meant for those mothers and fathers (who have been special to us for years) and those babies, who will wind up being as incredible as their parents. All that love gives a different momentum to that project, one that feels much more effortless. It’s delightful to make something – with our hands – for someone who is innocent and wonderful all at once. Plus, they’re tiny little sweaters, so that love and work doesn’t take quite as long!