Tuesday, 4 November 2014

A Handmade Childhood: Beginner Knitting Projects for Babies

My weekend started off with steely grey skies and a drive home from work and seeing everyone dressed up for Halloween. I checked the mail to discover that my parents had sent me some of my old story books that they had found from my childhood.
This was really thrilling because two of them were ones I had been looking for online and couldn't find. It was quite intense to read them again and instantly be transported back to my childhood. I remembered so many lines from my favorite stories.  It reminded me of how powerful books can be and how children's books can hold a special place in our hearts. They were where we learned that different things were possible. I have been working on a children's book secretly for a while and want to illustrate it. I have kept it a secret because I think there is a belief people think anyone can write a children's book. Anyway receiving these books inspired me.

On Saturday we woke up to this! I loooove cold weather and although we knew the snow was coming, I don't think anyone was really convinced that it would look like this.

Of course this was a perfect excuse to stay cozy inside and I was able to indulge me new knitting obsession. Sewing projects for the nursery have been put on hold until we paint so that means I am knitting up a storm and learning tons. Below are links to a couple of projects I found that taught me new knitting skills. If you are also new to knitting I recommend you give them a try. They are both for booties I admit, but to be honest they are great starting projects because they can be completed quickly and don't use up a great deal of yarn (perfect if you're worried you'll make mistakes, as I was).
I decided that I wanted to budget a little so I bought size 7 metal knitting needles to use. This was a mistake - wooden or bamboo are much better for beginning because there's a bit of friction which prevents the stitches sliding off. I had a great pair of Clover Takumi needles when I first took up knitting again a couple of years ago and found them much easier to use. Just don't accidentally slam one in  the car door like I did!

Practice Knitting Stitches Together and Ribbing

I found this video and made the booties you see above. It isn't the best video in the world - for a start they really should have filmed her from behind so all the instructions make sense to what you're seeing - and there's actually a mistake in it. However someone in the comments section  has kindly listed the correct steps. I also don't love the final shape, as my friend pointed out, they would be good for a baby robot since they're rather square!  That said, it was a good starting point.


Practice Casting On Extra Stitches
These little booties are very sweet and it was great for practicing adding extra stitches to a piece. The pattern calls for casting on extra stitches at the beginning and end of  the piece you've been knitting so that you end up with a  T-shaped piece of fabric (fabric is what knitters call your knitted piece). Before embarking on the project I of course had to look up how to do this. Fortunately I had just bought the book Stitch n Bitch which has great instructions on how to do just about everything for knitting. However this tutorial is quite good too.
The original project is in French but there is a translation. 
I am very pleased with the results. They are adorable and should be tiny enough for a new born. The pattern didn't call for adding buttons but I added some to give a little flare.

More Resources
If you are bitten by the knitting bug as I have been you should definitely sign up for an account with Ravelry. It's an amazing resource with thousands of knitting projects that you can sort by type, difficulty, what size needles you want to use, and more. Some projects you have to pay for but there are a wealth of free ones too.

I have also signed up to a knitting community on Google + called The Knitting Lodge. They have virtual knit-alongs four times a week. Maybe I'll see you there :)

Finally here's my play list of videos of beginner techniques for sewing. I will keep adding to it as I learn more techniques. I tried hard to find videos that are clear with good production value from channels that are still active - not as easy as you might think.

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