Knitted Layettes

Knitted Layettes
The word layette references a set of items for a newborn. This can include accessories, sweaters, onesies, blankets, or even toiletries that will help the parents care for the little one. Knitters thus have a plethora of projects to choose from. It is possible to assemble a layette from a combination of house-made and store-bought items. Why not combine luxurious body lotion with a soft washcloth, or a hat and pair of slippers with a toy?

Hats are of course a great choice, as babies have little hair to protect their heads. While sizing can be problematic (preemies are tinier than one thinks, while some babies have heads that are nearly adult sized), it helps to remember that babies grow quickly. In general, a newborn skull will fit a hat with a circumference of eleven inches, growing to sixteen within six months. Plan ahead to make sure that the hat is not too small by the time it is finished.

Baby feet are so incredibly cute, and the range of patterns for socks, slippers, and moccasins is comprehensive. Even using fingering yarn, a pair can be completed in less than two weeks. Again, babies grow quickly ? size up for the best chance of being the correct size at some point within the year.

Blankets have the benefit of flat knitting, and can be made of either simple or complex stitches. This is your chance to try out a pattern from that stitch dictionary you love to peruse, but keep in mind that lace holes can catch baby fingers. Knit and purl patterns are beautiful ? perhaps a King Charles Brocade bordered with seed stitch?

Baby sweaters are a great way to try out a new style before committing to adult sizing, a good excuse to perhaps create a ?Mommy and Me? set. If this is of interest, check out Ann Budd?s series of simple sweater patterns with a wide variety of sizes. The Knitter?s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters remains my desert-island favorite, as it allows one to customize the gauge and various sweater features.

Looking for ultimate simplicity? How about a washcloth and baby towel set? Complete with a hood, the latter is a great accessory for keeping baby warm when transferring from bath to bed, and these need not be exact in terms of size. While knitted washcloths can seem silly, they can be made with the softest cotton out there, a boon for babies with sensitive skin.

A search through Ravelry is of course in order for finding patterns. Take a trip to a Local Yarn Store and talk to the proprietor; I have found great pamphlets hidden in plain sight on counters or in baskets of yarn choices. Take the time to browse!

Whatever pattern or original idea you choose, make sure that you select easy-care yarn. It is always tempting to rationalize luxury fibers because of the diminutive size of the project(s), but how many new parents will want to hand-wash an item covered in baby spit? And with that said, also bear in mind that not everyone wants pink for girls and blue for boys. Perhaps a pale green for a baby named Willow, or an electric blue for the child of athletes? There are many ways to choose colors without feeding into gender stereotypes, so make sure that you respect the wishes of the parents in this regard.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Ann Budd, and bought my copy of her above-referenced book with my own funds. I am a Ravelry member.

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