New baby; new knitting.

Waffles baby blanket | Wolves in LondonWhen I first started writing this blog, 3.5 years ago, the sproglet was just three months old and none of my siblings had any children.

In the time since, there’s been the arrival of another six babies in our family: my next sister down has had a son and a daughter, my brother a son, and, of course, I’ve had the littlest as well. And last month, my youngest sister had her very first baby, an unbelievably adorable little girl.

This is brilliant for all sorts of reasons. I’ve got lots of lovely nephews and nieces to enjoy, the sprogs have lots of cousins the same age as them for sprogging around with and, on top of all that, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to indulge my love of newborn knitting.

It’s turned into a bit of a tradition that I knit a blanket for the first born in each family (this grey one for my first nephew and this stripy one for my second). So I turned, once again, to that enjoyable pastime of browsing baby blanket patterns on Ravelry.

This time round I went for a solid coloured blanket in a waffle knit pattern. The appropriately named waffles blanket from Tin Can Knits.

Once again, I’m delighted with the finished result. It’s a lovely squishy blanket, that will be really soft and especially good for colder months. And though I do love to knit a lace pattern, I think it’s probably quite good that there are no holes for tiny fingers to get stuck in.

waffles baby blanket: hand knit blanket | Wolves in London

I gave it to my sister a few weeks ago, (erm, yes, quite a bit late, I’m ashamed to say) and she was delighted with it. Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a more pleasing present to give in the world than a hand-knitted item for a newborn.

NB, I’m sorry for the lack of decent photos here. I only finished blocking the blanket the morning of giving it away, so just grabbed a few quick ones while I could…

A few pattern notes for anyone interested in more info…

waffles baby blanket: hand knit blanket | Wolves in London

Pattern: Waffles from Nine months of knitting by Tin Can Knits. Download available for $6.

My Ravelry page is here: new baby blanket.

The pattern was straightforward and simple to follow. No need to re-read the pattern after the first repeat, and an easy, relatively quick knit. I didn’t alter it in any way and just kept going until the blanket looked about the size I was after.

After blocking, it stretched considerably, mostly width-ways, but more lengthways than I had anticipated as well.

Wool: I used a yarn that I’d tried before and knew lasted and washed well. (It’s essential to be able to wash a baby blanket in a washing machine, I think. The chances of it getting fairly frequently covered in either poo or sick are pretty high in those early months.) It’s the cashmerino aran by Debbie Bliss. Not the cheapest, at around £5 for 50g, but a really lovely wool that feels soft and wears well. I used a total of 5.5 skeins, so it cost me just under £30.

The colour is called “peacock” and it’s a lovely rich teal, which I thought was pleasingly gender-neutral when I chose it. Actually, after I’d knitted it up, I thought the blanket looked very blue, but my sister shares my opinions on the ridiculousness of gender stereotyping small babies, so she’s perfectly happy for her baby girl to be encased in a blueish blanket.

Now, what to put on my needles next?

A chunky, earthy toddler jumper

Handknit chunky boys jumper, free pattern
Breadstick: model’s own

Handknit toddler jumper, free pattern

Never has anything I’ve knit been met with such enthusiasm as this chunky green and mustard jumper.

Before I had even got the wool on the needles the sproglet was already endearingly excited about the prospect of a new jumper.

Me: “Sproglet, would you like it if I knitted you a new jumper this winter?”*

Sproglet: [face lights up with look of utter delight and disbelief] “A jumper?! For me?! Wot you would knit me?! Really?!”

Me: [slightly disarmed by enthusiasm] “Erm, yes, shall we choose a pattern together?”

Sproglet: [flings arms around me in joy] “Oh yes please Mummy, that would be brilliant!”

Handknit toddler jumper, free pattern

After such an unexpectedly amazing first response, I thought things could only possibly go downhill from there (you know, with a finished result of a jumper that was absolutely never taken out of the drawer) but every few mornings he would ask to check on my latest knitting and say endearing things like, “Oh Mummy, I love the back!” as I showed him each part.

The finished result was just as appreciated and after he tried it on for the first time (and told me how it was his favourite thing ever) he asked, “Am I really allowed to keep it and wear it?” as if I might have just given him something incredibly precious to touch for a few minutes before whisking it away back to a vault somewhere.

Handknit toddler jumper, free pattern

Now, whenever he is wearing it (which is most days) and someone compliments him on it, he always, but always replies, “My Mummy knitted it for me” with a big proud smile on his face.

Adorable. Unexpected. And utterly adorable.

Anyway, a few notes on the jumper itself for any other knitters out there.

I followed the Nantasket pattern by Berocco, which is free and available here on Ravelry. I’m also pretty pleased with the end result: the stitch pattern on the torso looks fabulous, it’s a (fairly) good fit and looks really lovely and like one of those handknits that you could have potentially bought from a very expensive shop (rather than the kind of handknits that you might have bought for 30p from a charity shop because someone’s Granny made it for them in the 80s, badly, and they never wanted to wear it. I have made a few of those in my early knitting days…)

However, though I was pleased with the jumper once finished, I did have a few issues with the pattern.

Firstly, it is by far the vaguest knitting pattern I have ever read. It includes such useful instructions as, for example, “purl the next row, decrease by 28 stitches”, with no indication of where to make the decreases. Which meant I spent ages trying to work out how frequently to purl stitches together in order to make an even decrease from 77 to 49 stitches.

Overall, I spent quite a lot of time figuring out exactly how obey the instructions in the pattern, when I would have much preferred everything to be written out properly for me. But then, that’s what you get with a free pattern I guess…

Handknit toddler jumper, free pattern

Handknit toddler jumper, free pattern

The arms also came up very skinny – I had to frog the first one and re-knit because it just looked like there was no way I could get them round a toddler’s actual arms, and a skinny toddler at that.

And the neckline is pretty tight, though that could well be a problem with my casting off too tightly.

Other than that, I followed the pattern pretty much exactly, though I made the ribbing at the waist, arms and neck a contrasting yellow, which looks rather brilliant (she says, humbly).

Back of a handknit jumper, free patternHandknit toddler jumper, free pattern

As for the yarn, that is absolutely stunning, soft and delicious. It’s Wendy Aspire Chunky, which is 80% pure wool and 20% alpaca and you can really feel it. It’s knitted up thick and soft and made the perfect cold weather jumper. The colours are rich and earthy (they haven’t come out as nicely in the photos as they actually look in real life). But it is very prone to pilling – most of these photos are from the second wear and you can see the little bobbles covering it already. Not the end of the world, but it does mean I spend a lot of time trying to get rid of them…

I’ve gone into even more detail about the exact changes I made to knit the jumper over on Ravelry, so if you want even more details then head over there: Nantasket jumper

Now, I have a hat to complete that I promised someone before Christmas and then I think I’m going to try out a blanket from We Are Knitters to go with our new sofa.

Knit, knit, knit, knit, knit, knit…

Are you working on anything nice at the moment?

* No, you’re right, I don’t actually call him that to his face…