Handmade Conversations: Knitting Gifts for Babies

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013

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Mel Clark, author of "Knitting Gifts for Baby," joins us today to chat about her new book, knitting patterns for babies and the best places to buy knitting supplies. Read on for more of our author Q&A!

Mel, congrats on your beautiful book, "Knitting Gifts for Baby." How did you first get interested in designing knitting patterns for babies?

Thank you! Baby knits were the first things I ever designed, when my kids were little. Back then there weren't many modern patterns for babies, so I made my own. Now my nephew and niece have babies so I've continued. I love small projects and who can resist a cute little garment for a baby? A baby gift is something everyone needs to make at some point.

What are some easy knitting patterns that you'd recommend for beginners who are just getting started?

Most of the projects in the book are straightforward and suitable for beginners, particularly The Kimono, Little Fishing Vest, and Striped Beanies. The Shaggy Cardigan is also a very simple design which would be suitable and you could leave off the tassels. Making a baby garment is good practice for larger projects. If you've just started knitting you can learn a lot from making a baby garment before you launch into making yourself a sweater.

Many of your knitting patterns for babies make great gift ideas! How long does it take for you to knit an average baby hat, baby blanket or baby sweater pattern?

I think of knitting patterns in terms of evenings because that's when I do most of my knitting while watching movies. A baby hat takes just one evening, possibly 2 or 3 hours. A sweater takes a week of evenings, and a blanket 2 weeks? So let's say 3 hours for a hat, 10 for a sweater, and 20 for a blanket. 

What is your favorite source for buying knitting supplies? What yarns are recommended for knitting patterns for babies?

I like to buy yarn from my local knitting shop.They offer excellent service, helping knitters with their projects and offering classes. I like natural yarns for babies. Much is made of acrylics being machine washable, but so are cotton and many wools these days, so I prefer to use them.

What's the best way to care for your knit baby clothes and other handmade items?

It depends on the yarn. There are delicate (hand wash) cycles on some machines and some yarns are machine washable in a regular cycle. The label always has information on whether a yarn is machine washable. For special items I prefer to wash by hand. In Knitting Gifts for Baby I've included instructions for hand washing the way my mother taught me.
"Knitting Gifts for Baby" is written by Mel Clark and published by Trafalgar Square Books.
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