Friday, October 24, 2014

The Layette

Hooray! I have a new niece!

This is fantastic news. She is an adorable bundle of cute, she has initiated my sister- and brother-in-law into the wonderful world of parenthood, she has given Munchkin and Twinkle the thrill of having a cousin younger than them, and with her arrival, and that of a certain pink package on her doorstep, I can finally (finally!) blog about her layette.

'Stache did not know what a layette was until I told him, so just in case, here's the definition, courtesy of

1. a complete set of articles, including clothing, bedclothes, and other accessories for a newborn baby.

While not "complete" and not including "bedclothes," I do think it is a rather nice little collection.

I had the best time knitting this little basket of woolies. My sister-in-law wanted them to be able to passed down to any future younger siblings, regardless of sex, so I got a few neutrals and one pop of color and basically just went to town. Cute little hats and booties, sweaters that don't take an eon to finish - it's pretty much the knitter's dream. One "finishing high" after another. Best of all, this particular little niece lives where it is very very cold in the winter time, so there's really no such thing as too much wool.

Let's have the grand run-down, shall we? Clockwise from the top left:

Title: Zenith by Parna Mehrbani
Design: Stockinette elf hat
Materials: less than a skein of Cascade 220 Superwash worsted in 862 walnut heather, with a touch of 821 daffodil
Finished: erm no idea. Sometime between after I recovered from Christmas and before I recovered from the last play. I think I'll just put September 2014 on all of them. 

I followed the pattern except for substituting 1x1 rib for the first 6 rows and changing the color at the tip. I love elf hats on babies. The yarn, Cascade 220 Superwash, is now my official Bestest Favorite. Superwash means that it can be machine washed, which is a huge plus for knitwear intended for small, messy humans, and Cascade 220 is just an all-round awesome basic sweater yarn. 

If you're reading this, 'Stache? Easy Christmas gift. Cascade 220 Superwash worsted, some nice gender-neutral color, gobs of it. Gobs. No pressure. 

Title: Baby Buffet Snowsuit (with bear ears! squee!)
Design: Baby Sweater Buffet with the Snowsuit Suppliment by Allyson Dykhuizen. Her website is called The Sweatshop of Love, which is a blog title I adore and deeply wish I'd thought of.
Materials: Cascade 220 Superwash worsted in 816 gray, 9 buttons
Finished: September 2014

As you can see, I had some help photographing the snowsuit.

And when I say help ... 

I don't really mean that he was helpful. 

Title: Bumblebee Hat
Design: adapted from Simple Baby Hat 2 from Itty-Bitty Hats
Materials: Cascade 220 Superwash worsted, 816 gray and 821 daffodil
Finished: September 2014

Itty-Bitty Hats is my go-to book for baby hats. It has some really adorable designs, but my favorite thing is that it also gives simple hat patterns for a variety of yarn weights, in several different sizes. It's invaluable for when you want to knit your own design but you don't have the baby in question's head to measure.

I used Simple Baby Hat 2, which is the worsted weight pattern, with 1x1 ribbing at the edge, and jogless 3-row stripes. Normally when you're knitting stripes in the round, there's a jog at the beginning of the round. But if you use this method with the diagonal seam, you get perfect stripes. I ended the hat with about 1 1/2" of i-cord, which I then tied in a knot.

Title: Um?
Design: I can't find the pattern I used. I'm pretty sure I at least started with a pattern, but it's a fairly basic top-down raglan garter stitch vest. I might have faked it as I went.
Materials: Cascade 220 Superwash worsted in 862 walnut heather, 2 buttons
Finished: September 2014

Title: Baby Chick Hat
Design: Mine!
Materials: Cascade 220 Superwash worsted, 821 daffodil
Finished: September 2014

Here's the pattern for my wee Baby Chick Hat. It's meant for 0-3 months.

Cast on 81 stitches join to knit in the round. Seed stitch (knit 1, purl 1) for 9 rounds. Knit 4" in stockinette. (Knit 7, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round. (Knit 6, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round. (Knit 5, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round. (Knit 4, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round. (Knit 3, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round. (Knit 2, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round. (Knit 1, k2tog), repeat to the end of the round. K2tog 9 times. Pull the end of the yarn through the loops, fasten off and weave in the ends. Block gently if desired. 

Title: Cabled Tam
Design: Mine!
Materials: Cascade 220 Superwash worsted in 816 gray and (maybe) 1946 silver gray
Finished: September 2014

Here is my pattern, but this is reverse-engineered and thus more than a little shaky. It is newborn-ish size.

Cast on 20 stitches. P1, K2, P2, knit a cable pattern, ending the row with a single purl stitch. Continue for approximately 10". Cast off using a 3-needle bind off, seaming the cast on edge at the same time. On the edge that began P1, K2, P2, knit an attached i-cord to the P1. Do this around the edge of the hat and sew end of i-cord to beginning of i-cord. Fasten off. On the other side, pick up 1 stitch for each row. Using new color, knit stockinette for 17 rounds. Decrease at 4 places, evenly spaced. Decrease every round. Switch color back to first for the final 2 rounds. Break off yarn and pull through 8 stitches. Fasten off and weave in ends. 

Design: Stockinette cardigan with round yoke and garter stitch accents
Materials: Cascade 220 Superwash worsted, 862 walnut heather
Finished: September 2014

This is only labeled a baby boy sweater because the baby girl version has eyelets around the yoke. Speaking of boy vs. girl, I always put the buttons and buttonholes on the "girl" sides of the sweater. This is because buttons on the "boy" side are positioned for the ease of the person wearing the sweater, because we all know that a gentlemen dresses himself and then has his valet do up his cuff links. Buttons on the "girl" side are positioned for the ease of the person putting the clothes on the person wearing the sweater, because we all know that a lady has a maid to dress her. 

Also ,even I, who believes herself to be a pretty snappy knitter, could not knit this sweater in 5 hours. However, it was still a very quick knit. I think I finished it in about a day of knitting. Presumably I was still eating, sleeping and taking care of the boys during that 24 hours, so maybe ... 8 hours of knitting? 9?  

Design: Baby booties knit back-and-forth in garter and stockinette
Materials: Cascade 220 Superwash worsted in 821 daffodil
Finished: September 2014

This pattern appears to be the gold standard of baby booty knitting. They're really easy and quick to make, because the clever construction lets you knit back and forth instead of in very tiny rounds. 

As you can see, Twinkle was not particularly enthused about me pinning these booties to the line. He very much wanted to wear them himself, which he might have been able to, since they are on the big side, and knitting is stretchy. I was cold-hearted, however, and refused. (Also, I took these pictures in September. It was plenty warm then for him to be in a sleeveless shirt and barefoot.)

Title: Just Right
Design: Mine! 
Materials: Cascade 220 Superwash worsted in 862 walnut heather
Finished: September 2014

This is my all-time favorite baby hat, and the pattern deserves its own post. I'm sure I'll get to that one of these days. 

Title: I am not entirely sure but they might be these with 1x1 ribbing cuffs
Design: baby booties knit back-and-forth with garter stitch, stockinette, and 1x1 ribbing
Materials: Cascade 220 Superwash worsted, in 816 gray
Finished: September 2014

Title: Where's Buttercup?
Design: Mine! 
Materials: approx 440 yards of Cascade 220 Superwash worsted in 816 daffodil
Finished: September

I'm going to share this pattern on the blog sometime but it's WAY too long to add to this already very lengthy post, so you'll just have to wait. It'll be good for your sanctification.

I was going to do one of these artsy photography things where you fold one sleeve over to make it a more interesting shape and show more detail, but every time I did that, Munchkin would "help" me by folding over the other sleeve to match.  

Every. Single. Time.

So eventually I let him. He looked up at me with his big brown eyes, so confident that he was being a huge help, making my sweater all symmetrical. What can I say? I melted.

Happy (late) birthday, little niece. I hope you enjoy your layette.

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