Baby knitting

Ahhhh, babies. They are cute. And my friends keep having them. I feel slightly guilty to say that I haven’t managed to knit for the last couple of babies.

Anyway, it’s always useful to have a baby knitting book or two on the shelf. So when Quadrille offered to send me a couple of books for review I accepted quite gratefully!

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Blankets Bears and Bootees by Debbie Bliss
Debbie Bliss has already published countless baby knitting books, and every couple of years she comes out with a new one, to support her range of yarns. Debbie Bliss yarn is very widely available in the UK, although I must admit I’m not a huge fan – too much synthetic fibre for my liking (especially at the price point), a tendency towards pilling, and often an unacceptable amount of knots in the ball.

The yarn aside however, Debbie Bliss seems to have carved out a niche among new knitters. Her books seem to be aimed at people who aren’t skilled knitters, perhaps people who are motivated to knit by the impending arrival of a friend’s baby! This book is no different. There are 22 pages at the front of the book dedicated to techniques, from cast ons to stranded knitting and seaming. The pictures are very good, and the instructions for seaming are excellent. I find it’s good to have at least one book with such clear instructions on hand, however I would hate to have a whole bookshelf full of books with a huge “how-to” section at the start.

The patterns are lovely. As the title suggests, the book focuses on blankets, bears (toys) and bootees. There are a few more little things thrown in as well, like fairisle hangers, a memory book cover, and a couple of tops.

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There is a cabled sampler blanket in there that I’d love to make in adult size for myself. For non-selfish knitting options, the bootees are all gorgeous and would make a quick gift. A couple of the blankets are double-sided – I think they’ll have to wait for an extra-special baby!

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Debbie Bliss often comes under criticism for her instructions. The instructions are almost all written, there are no charts for cables or lace, only stranded knitting. On second thoughts I would only do the cabled blanket if I could be bothered charting it out before starting. However this reflects the fact that her books are written for beginner knitters, and although written-out instructions are a frustration to most of us, chart reading is one more skill to learn and may put beginners off. Construction is always flat, circular needles are not used even when it would appear sensible to do so. This is a bit of a nuisance.

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The photography in the book is stunning. I also have no idea where they found so many adorable, happy babies. I defy anyone to keep their hormones under control flicking through this book…

I’d recommend it to anyone needing a go-to book for baby knits, especially for beginners. More advanced knitters may be a bit annoyed by the instructions and construction of her patterns however.

Natural Nursery Knits by Erika Knight.

Erika Knight’s book had me excited from the moment I head about it. Erika is a really interesting designer and I love using natural fibres, especially for baby items. The book has a very different feel from Blankets, Bears and Bootees. While the former is glossy and gorgeous, Erika’s book has a matt, vintage, sophisticated, more coffee-table feel to it. The introduction runs through different types of natural yarns and dyes. The babies look like porcelain dolls, unlike Debbie Bliss’s book where you want to pluck the babies off the page and give them a squeeze.

The patterns themselves are very classic. There are some tops, a couple of blankets, trousers, soakers, booties, bonnets, and a few more “heirloom”-type things like a lace cushion and a lavender sachet. There’s a recycled rag basket I really like – another thing I could make for myself instead of a baby!

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There’s a gorgeous little fair isle papoose that would be perfect for a newborn, a lovely teddy, and a giraffe. The photographs, while “arty”, do show details quite well.

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Yarns are recommended for each pattern, without sticking to one particular company. There is a lot of Rowan Milk Cotton, which I’ve never used but which comes highly recommended by friends. There are some yarns I haven’t come across before but everything seems to be readily available in the UK. Again, it would be nice to have a chart for the lace. The lace cushion is gorgeous but I would never do it without charting the pattern first.

There’s a free sample project (a rattle) from the book on the US publisher’s site, as well as other photographs. I found it when I was looking for errata. Which I couldn’t find for either book. There is no such thing as a knitting book without mistakes. I’ve asked the publisher, so I’ll update this post when I hear back.

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16 thoughts on “Baby knitting

  1. Both books seem lovely and full of nice patterns. I learnt to knit by reading written instructions and I have to say that for me they are much easier, although I do understand that a lot of people prefer charts so they can see where and what the knitting is supposed to look like. I guess I am an old fashioned knitter then, lol! What are you planning to knit up first.

  2. Hiya Ö I was searching the web and came across your website by accident. I was searching in Yahoo for things for my baby. I enjoyed your blog post. I donít have the time at the moment to fully read your entire site but I bookmarked it and will be back around in a day or two. Thanks.

    • No, I didn’t. I don’t have the book in my possession right now, or I could try to troubleshoot for you. Is there are particular instruction that’s tripping you up?

  3. Hey! I was googling away looking for errata for Erika Knight’s Natural Nursery Knits and I ended up here. I’m trying to do the bonnet, it seems wrong, but I’ve got serious pregnant brain, and I haven’t got a hope in hell of working it out by myself. I really really want to make it, it’s soooo gorgeous….. Can anyone help me? Thanks. Emma.

    • I realize this probably won’t help you anymore, but in case someone else is looking for the errata and winds up here, (like I did) the author actually explains how to do this pattern on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4h0XhCAym0

      Watch carefully to figure out where the yarn over goes for the second row – the colour choice isn’t the greatest for the demonstration.

      • jaykay20102 – or anyone else who has figured out this pattern – were you able to figure out this pattern? I am about crazy!!!! I have watched the video several times and still am unable to figure it out!!! I even took it down to my local yarn shop and the very experienced gal could not figure it out either. Oh HELP!!!!!

    • It is the pattern for the scallop edge baby bonnet. I cannot seem to come up withthe81 stitches at the end of the second row. It seems I must be missing a yarn over or something. I can only come up with 31 stitches in the same spot. I have watched the video and stillcannot figure it out. Thank you for any help you may be able to provide.

      • So, after row 1 you should have 41 stitches, because the pattern repeats 19 times reducing 5 stitches to 2, then there’s the k1 at the start and the end and the yo:

        *k5, slip the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th, sts over the first st, yo* = 2 stitches left between **

        Then on row 2 the two stitches you reduced to go back up to 4:

        *[p1, yon, k1tbl] all into next st (= 1 stitch gets increased to 3), p1* = 4 stitches left between **

        You have enough stitches for the pattern to repeat 20 times, so that’s 80, plus the p1, so you should get 81.

        Are you leaving out the yon in row 2 perhaps?

      • I think my problem might be with the first row – I only ended up with 20 or 22 stitches – here is what I have for row 1 – k1, yfwd – is this just a yarn over, * k5, slip the 2nd,3rd,4th,5th sts over the first stitch, yfwd: rep from * to last stitch, k1. I think I have just figured out my problem. It is with the first row. I have been slipping 5 stitches and as I look at it, it should just be 4. I think my mind was thinking about 5 stitches. oh dah! I will try it this way – with 4 – and see if this does not solve the problem. I thank you very much for your help. You have saved my sanity. If this is not the answer, I will let you know. Thank you, again.

      • Thank you again for your help. I was right – I did 5 insted of 4 in row 1. I also missed the yo in the stitch where you p yo and k in same stitch. Your explanation helped tremendously and it all worked out great. I am now on my way to a darling hat!!!!

  4. I’m having trouble with the right upper bootie directions on pg.116. After binding off the center sts. I’ve got 7 sts. on either side of the bound off sts. The directions say to knit to the end of the row and then to knit 3 more row, which doesn’t work. What am I doing wrong??? Thanks.

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