Knitting For a Baby Somewhere, How to Begin?

Bald baby in a white bucket

After spending a good part of my morning filing more Amazon infringement notices concerning people selling my stolen images on the site… grrrrr… I bought a baby sweater pattern from Tin Can Knits. Then I felt better.

All baby photos on this page are courtesy of photographers on Pixabay.

The pattern is called Playdate, and the cardigan can be knit in many, many sizes from 0-3 months all the way up to 4XL! Since I am such a beginner, usually I find something new to learn in any pattern I buy. This cute little v-neck cardigan (I plan to knit one of the smaller sizes) has two pockets and I’ve never done pockets. When I read through the pattern it makes no sense to me how they will go on. I may decide to go pocketless, or follow the directions until I get that “Aha!” moment.

Read more about my experience knitting the Playdate Cardigan here.

Naked newborn in knitted hat

Choosing A Lighter Weight Yarn For Baby Knitting

Let’s talk about yarn. Nice yarn, which is able to go into the washer just in case Mom doesn’t want to hand-wash, is what I want to use. Many sweaters call for a heavier weight yarn, but this one uses “fingering”. Because I wanted to use some stash yarn, I settled on Emma’s Super Silky in “Malibu”. It was really the only “baby color” I had, but I wouldn’t purposely use “silky” yarn next time. (Tin Can Knits uses Sweet Fiber Yarns Cashmerino 20, which looks beautiful, but I can’t find it anywhere for sale.)

Baby in matching knitted hat and sweater
Baby in matching knitted hat and sweater.

I just finished knitting a sweater for myself using Miss Bab’s “Tarte” yarn. It has become one of my favorite yarns. It knits up nicely and washes great. I did have some color come out in the wash, but I would definitely use it again. It might be perfect for babies.

For a heavier fingering try Miss Babs “Keira” yarn which is closer to a DK weight according to reviewers. It’s Superwash merino wool and comes in 560 yard skeins. This would allow for knitting a Playdate sweater in the (up to) 1-2 year size range.

Popular Debbie Bliss Cashmerino is also a DK weight yarn that is machine washable. I’ve never used it and it has more acrylic in it (55% wool, 33% acrylic, 12% cashmere – 136 yards). Also Rowan Baby Cashsoft Merino is similar, except it is a fingering weight (57, 33, 10 – 142 yards) and comes in good baby colors.

Use two colors and add some stripes to the Playdate. This post has more info about Playdate Cardigan at TCK and shows the pattern done in stripes of two colors. It would be the perfect choice for using up two smaller skeins.

Lorna’s Laces Sportmate (link to Webs) is a bit heavier weight too, but still a washable yarn. This yarn contains viscose (along with 70% superwash merino) that helps to moderate body temperature. The downside: Finding good colors for youngsters might be tough. It feels like “sweater yarn” and I’m using it to knit a beanie for my son and it’s very nice. I can’t wait to wash it and see how it turns out. My son will not be careful about caring for his hat! Boys and babies… same thing. 😉

My local yarn store Four Purls also carries Sportmate in lots of colors, and it can be ordered online.

Best Colors for Baby Knitting

If I were buying yarn specifically for knitting this sweater, which calls for fingering weight, there are a few good options. Most “sock” yarn is made to be washable. Also sock yarn comes in pretty colors, but finding the right color for a baby or young child can be tough. Lots of color and stripes on socks is great, not so much on a baby.

Baby in blue knitted cardigan sweater

As I search through patterns at Ravelry and on Pinterest, seeing the colors people have chosen gives me ideas. So I know what I dislike and what may work on a young child. The thing is, it’s my own preference and you may disagree.

Babies come in lots of colors!

Darker skinned babies can handle more color, in my opinion. Pale babies with no hair will blend right in with that white hat and sweater! For that reason many knitters choose softer colors.

I dislike lots of variegated colors on babies. Solids, or slightly variegated, look best on most newborns, and nothing too bright. Manos del Uruguay has some pretty colors in their Alegria Sock yarn line, which I found at the Simply Socks site. I have used Manos yarn before and it is wonderful. I like it better than Madeline Tosh because it is seems to be softer.

Malabrigio Sock also has some nice solids in 440 yard skeins which are 100% Superwash merino. And Simply Sock has their own brand of yarn in solid colors but smaller skeins (175 yards) which would work well as contrasting trim on a sweater.

Some Guidelines For Baby Knitting From TCK

Naked newborn in knitted hat with ears

Who am I to tell you how to knit for babies when I’ve never done so? This paragraph is for my reference too. My four children are grown however none of them have children of their own. I’m in my sixties and there is not a baby in sight! In fact, none of my kids are even married at the present time. So grandchildren may never be in my future. Nevertheless, I won’t let that stop me. I want to knit some baby garments and I figure this sweater will be good practice.

Baby Knits 101 is a blog post by Tin Can Knits with advice for knitting for babies. Since they do a lot of knitting for their kids, I will take their advice to heart. I love that they promote knitting with wool. Superwash merino is nothing like the old scratchy wool of yesteryear. I dislike acrylic for many reasons, and it’s easy to find washable fingering weight yarn – like what is needed for the Playdate sweater.

Ask a Baby Knitter

Here is where being part of a group of knitters would come in handy. Maybe you know people who have done a lot of baby knitting and could seek their advice on yarn. The problem may be that most baby knits are given away as gifts. As mothers of young children there is no time to sit and knit something! So hand-knits usually come from relatives. It might be wise to ask how they like the item – Is is easy to care for? Is it comfortable on the little one? What would you like done differently if I knit it again?

Let’s face it… the Playdate is a pattern that could be knit over and over as a child grows. Eventually you would get it right!

Baby in knitted, button up cardigan sitting in fall leaves.

One thought on “Knitting For a Baby Somewhere, How to Begin?

  1. Pingback: Knitting the Playdate Cardigan For Kids – New England's Narrow Road

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