Not dead yet

It would appear that I am going to live, though I’m still not sure if I’m ok with that. I always know I’m sick when I find myself just holding my knitting instead of working on it, and last night I didn’t even bother to pick it up. This morning though, I feel slightly more alive and my will to knit is restored.


This is the first of the baby sweaters for the girl/boy set arriving soon.

It’s Rutelilje from this book. It’s blocking now, despite only having one button band knit on, but I suffered a crisis of faith when the one buttonband didn’t lie flat in it’s pre-blocked state. I decided to block it before I knit the other one so that if it turned out to be badly wrong I would only have to rip back one. Turns out that after a very gentle blocking (It’s still wet in that picture) that it’s right after all. (I chalk this lack of confidence up to the fever and a general suspicion of all button bands.) When it’s dry I’ll knit the second one to match and re-block the who shebang.

While I’m waiting for it to dry I started the sweater for the boy.


This is Erle, from the same book. It’s an eyelet pattern faux cable, interspersed with double moss, and I had been convinced (until I started knitting it) that it was quite manly. Now I’m wondering if it’s only the flu that’s letting me put the word “eyelet” with the word “manly”. Is this sweater too feminine for a boy?

This leads, naturally, to all sorts of questions about gender, gender roles and expectations and what exactly I think would be wrong with someone who weighs seven pounds wearing something a little bit girly. I like to think that I treat boy babies and girl babies the same, and that we (as a culture) don’t raise girls and boys differently, but it says something that even as I attempt to be enlightened about these things that I still apparently think, on some level…that it’s important to be able to tell the difference between a boy and a girl based on what they are wearing.

Thinking further about that (and remember…I do have a fever, so it’s possible that none of this actually makes sense) the only reason I can think of that I would want boys dressed “like boys” (whatever that means) is that I do treat them differently and worse than that, does it mean that I think that a baby could be influenced by the stuff they are wearing? I’m pretty darned sure that we’ve advanced far enough as a civilization to let go of the idea that putting a baby boy in a lace sweater could influence his gender identification, especially since he’s not old enough to have any idea what sort of sweater we’ve plopped him into.

I keep thinking about that study a few years ago where the researchers took a bunch of babies and dressed them all like girls. Then they asked strangers to interact with them. The adults assumed (because of the clothes) that the babies were all girls. When the handled them they did so gently, and used words like “pretty” and “fragile”. Then the researchers took the same babies, dressed them as boys and repeated the experiment. This time, the adults played rougher games with the babies and called them things like “strong” and “smart”. Overall, the adults assessed the “boy” babies (who were really boys and girls) as healthy and competent, and the “girl” babies as “tiny” (even though they were the same babies) and “beautiful”. It made me wonder how many assessments I make about babies based on their gender, and how I treat them without even thinking about it.

This is all a round about way of saying that I’m surprised to find myself concerned with whether or not this sweater is “too girly” for a boy, and so what if it is? (It’s also worth noting that even though I’ve just said that putting babies in girl clothes makes people think they are less strong and smart…I haven’t considered ripping out the girly-girl first sweater. I’m trying not to overthink.)


Ideas? Thoughts? Do you shun lace for boys? If so, why? Do you hold hard and fast to the ideas of girl colours and boy colours? How come? Should we be passing over lace for girls as well? How much do gender relevant clothes matter….and why?

353 thoughts on “Not dead yet

  1. Man, that fever is making you think, Dude!
    First of all, yes I shun “LACE” for a boy. But then again, I shun lace for girl babies too. I’m of the thought that all wee bairns look good in rugged sweaters. As they get older, and can choose, if they choose lace, I’m happy to knit lace. In pink, blue or wahtever colours they choose.
    That said, the white sweater is darling, and rugged enough for any baby. Same with the red. It will look wonderful on a little boy or girl.
    But, that’s just me speaking. Don’t ask my husband, he of a “blue for boys, pink for girls” upbringing. His mom would have died rather than put him or his brother in the olders sister’s pink hand me downs…

  2. I taught psychology of gender last summer, and am slated to teach it again this summer. I think I may have my students read this post in the first week of class as a discussion starter. I have no answers, just hopes for open discussion 🙂

  3. Being female and preferring blue over pink ever since I could express my opinion, I would suggest that the pattern could be used for either boy or girl, but the overall shape of the sweater could make it appear more boyish or girlish. If the pattern makes it the same shape as the white sweater I’d say it was too girlish, but if the shape is more boxy, and the buttons black or something else plain then I’d say faux cables and eyelets are fine for a boy!

  4. Seriously, You could refer also to studies which assert that colors are just as powerful in our psyches. Red is seen as powerful and strong–just as a color.
    On a personal note, my son (two) wears/loves the color purple. He is a rough and tumble little boy who loves trucks, cars, and all that “boy stuff” along with his dollie. It’s really hard to find a nice eggplant purple for a boy.
    I don’t know–he seems okay to me. (although–I must admit–I don’t care how he “turns out” as long as he’s happy and loved)

  5. Having let my son sleep in a pink-sheeted basinet and wear a white lacyish cardigan (I love hand-me-downs) as an infant I’m here to tell you it matters not. My six year old is as boyish as they come (sigh – do the fart jokes ever stop being funny? – rhetorical question). No one said oh what a pretty girl or anything. Now would I have done a pink lace cardigan? Probably not, but I may not have put a girl in one either. Even your white one for me could go boy or girl. Let babies be cute! And it’s liable to be covered in drool and spit-up half the time anyhow 🙂
    Just my two cents.

  6. Both sweaters are beautiful, for either gender. And if you look at pix/paintings from a century or two ago, lots of little boys were dressed in lace. I think they grew up to be generals, land barons, and maybe even a pirate or two. So no worries; at that age; can clothes really make the man, after all?
    And where can I get that faux cable pattern, anyway?
    take more drugs. All this will pass. i promise.

  7. Love the “girly” sweater. It’s absolutely stunning. As for the “Lacy boy” sweater, looks boyish enough to me. Heck, if the parents have any objection, they just won’t let him wear it until you come around right? I think the Faux Cacble makes it rugged enough.
    PS: as if you can knit like that with a fever!…no fair!

  8. I think its an ongoing problem that I know I’m trying to overcome after growing up with years of conditioning. I’m now at a point where some clothes are too girly for boys, but I can’t think of anything that would be too boyish for a girl (at least in the realm of handknit sweaters). I really do think that all of those messages we get as kids about gender appropriateness really stick with us, so maybe you should buck the trend and give the girl the red sweater?

  9. To me, the color offsets any *girliness* in the texture. (But then, I don’t even think that’s girly.)
    But I have to say I’m with Cheryl. The tiebreaker, as it were, will be how boxy as opposed to fluted the sweater is.
    And I gotta say, for someone with a fever, you are very articulate in your deep thoughts! Get better soon.

  10. I think part of it is that we, as knitters, want to make garments that our giftees will love, cherish, enjoy, and USE. Regardless of whether I (or you) think that a sweater is just a teeensy bit too feminine for a boy–who knows what the mother may think! If the mother thinks it’s too girly to let her son wear–well, that’s wasted knitterly effort! And we can’t have that. Of course, you know the mother for whom you’re knitting, and on the other hand can knitterly effort ever really be wasted?
    This is my first comment, by the way–I love your books and your blog. It gives a new knitter like me lots of encouragement!

  11. I think it’s not a concern for gender roles and identification for the child as much as it is concern for how they’d be treated. Wrapping a boy in a lace shawl invites a lot of odd glances or confused looks, and it’s sort of annoying to have to announce “No, my child is a boy” over and over to cooing strangers. I know…everyone always thought I was a boy because my mom kept my hair short until I was ten. It bugged me to have to specify my gender at the age of eight. Babies don’t care either way, but I think parents and other adults do.
    However, if the child is old enough to play with items that are commonly associated with the opposite gender and they choose to, these urges should not be suppressed. A therapist friend of mine lets her two boys dress up like daddy to “go to work”, but she also lets them dig into her makeup when they want to. She said that barring small children from the other half’s world was far more damaging than allowing them to explore.

  12. Steph, I think the only thing to do it to give the white sweater with the flowers to the boy, and the manly-red sweater to the girl. Strike a blow against gender stereotyping!
    My boys wore all the hand-me-down clothes they received, both pink and blue, lacy and not. They also played with dolls as well trucks. I think they’re turning out fine.
    I also think the deep red of the sweater is masculine enough to counteract the eyelet, which looks merely textured from the picture.

  13. All babies respond more to bright colors than to pastels. And the eyelets don’t look like lace so much as a negative space within the faux cables. And people used to dress their boys in long lace dresses, didn’t they?
    One of my professors told about the time he went to a gigantic superstore chain that shall go unnamed, in search of a winter coat for his toddler. There were two options, he said: trucks or flowers. Trucks: big, strong, loud, no-nonsense. Flowers: pretty, fragile, ornamental. Should we be perpetuating this? A couple of years ago, my grandfather told me that it’s time that I learn to cook and clean so that I can make my future husband happy. Sorry; I just had to fuss about that. I’m really more of a truck than a flower.

  14. Don’t second guess yourself… both sweaters are “strong” and “beautiful.” I think the red is a fantastic color and will surely look great on the little guy!

  15. I don’t think so… shoot, as recent as the early 20th century boy babies were wearing dressing gowns same as their girl counterparts. I don’t think eyelets are girly at all for a boy baby sweater… when said boy is say 9 years old, then maybe you’d have a problem. 😉 But not for a newborn.
    It is interesting how people perceive the genders… I have a rough-and-tumble 4-year old daughter; she loves skirts and dresses and Barbies, but she is also the first one outside playing soccer or getting dirty looking for earthworms in the garden or karate-chopping pretend villains and all those other things associated as “boyish”. I always find it funny when family members talk about the kids in the family and how when my nephews try leap off the couch pretending to be Superman then they’re “just being boys” but if SHE does something like that then it’s, “Oh she’s wild, she’s a handful!” What’s the diff???
    Girl sweater looks DARLING, and I think the red sweater is off to a beautiful start. Can’t wait to see the end results! =)

  16. I say keep on with the red, it’s stunning.
    My boy will be 5 on Sunday and his special request for his cake is that it must have pink sugar icing! His favourite colours are pink and purple. (My 10 yr old boy was exactly the same at that age, and is now as thoroughly “boyish” as he could possibly be.) I have to admit I tend to steer my little guy away from his requests for pink tshirts and trousers, etc., but I think that is only because I don’t want him to get teased by narrowminded people.
    Go for it, I think the mother will absolutely love it!

  17. I think the girly sweater is perfect as is the red “boy” sweater. (I’m just seeing cables, not lace). While I dressed my girls in the same denim overalls and khaki cargos that my boys wore, I did usually switch to a pink or other girly top (but not always) and didn’t put my boys in hand-me-down girly clothes (except occasionally PJs). As for pink and other “girly” colors, the gender lines are blurring. My 11yo son hates button down shirts, but readily wears a pink oxford button down dress shirt and a pink and green striped polo. My daughter has been playing hockey with one pink lace and one white in her skates b/c the boys (age 12-18) suddenly think it is cool to have pink laces and they have been on backorder since before she broke her other lace. The guy in the hockey shop told me it is mostly teen (15-18) boys buying the flourescent pink hockey socks and the pink stick tape, and the pink hockey sticks are sold the day they come in. If manly hockey players can wear pink, that red sweater must be uber-manly!

  18. I think the shape of the sweater makes a world of difference here; that stitch pattern (lovely, BTW) would be really REALLY manly in a crewneck pullover, and it’ll be fine for a baby boy.
    My daughter wears a lot of pink (her choice), but her favorite is green and she resists all attempts to have her hair fixed. My son asked to wear a dress this morning, largely because his sister was wearing a dress. My automatic response was “dresses are for girls,” and I’ve been… thinking… about that all day now. (They are three-year-old twins. It’s the first time this has come up.)

  19. Funny you should ask… I’ve got a nine month old baby and the topic comes up regularly, and it is strange. I tend to dress the baby (a girl) in colors she looks good in, regardless, and run toward little pairs of jeans and tee shirts. The hubby wants her to ‘look like a girl’ at least when we’re out in public because it annoys him to have his daughter mistaken for a boy (understandable, I guess). My mother-in-law, having raised two boys, has gone hog wild buying small lacy things and has appointed herself “The Ruffle Fairy”.
    Mostly I think baby clothes are useful for establishing gender, since babies lack any real sexual charecteristics. A few eyelets never hurt anybody. And remember, they used to dress boy babies in lacy gowns too, a generation or so ago. Apparently they survived it.
    I leave you with a quote from RuPaul. “We’re born naked. Everything we put on after that is drag.”

  20. First things first: the red sweater is great for a newborn, boy or girl.
    Second: I agree with Alyson that it is less about gender roles and more about wanting to avoid the awkward interactions with strangers. I have a beautiful norwegian toddler zip-up sweater in shades of brown, white, red, and pink which I found at a thrift store for $1. I was a little nervous about putting it on my son because of the pink. My husband, on the other hand, loved the sweater and didn’t care if people thought our little boy was a girl (you’d be amazed how often it happens…even when he is wearing something with cars and trucks, people insist on telling me how beautiful “she” is.)

  21. Don’t worry! If you decide the lace is too feminine, you can just give the sweater with the flowers to the boy!
    While I do think there are gender difference that are genetically or hormonally controlled, things like what clothing is appropriate for what gender are obviously just artifacts of the society we happen to live in. In this case, I think the only thing you should consider is how comfortable the parents of those babies will be with it. The clothing is really for them. The babies just spit up and poop on it. 😉
    Have you ever heard Dar Williams’ song “When I Was A Boy”, from her first album (The Honesty Room)? It’s a beautiful song, and definitely worth the download costs if it’s on iTunes. (Actually, the entire album is most definitely worth buying.) It’s about society and gender roles and how things change from when we’re kids to when we’re adults.

  22. I don’t think that the red sweater is girlie at all, especially next to its fraternal twin. If it were white, or light green or yellow, perhaps, but red is rather gender neutral, don’t you think?
    They are both going to be beautiful, both lovingly appreciated and both oggled over each time they are worn.

  23. It’s handknit – isn’t that the most important characteristic of all? The love, care and tenderness that went into the garment creation should be the only consideration. People of both genders wear all kinds of colors these days. A color shouldn’t define who you are. BUT… a handknit definitely says something about the wearer. It makes the statement, “I am loved and cared for, and someone thinks I’m special enough to spend the time and effort to create this woolen article for me.”
    Feel better soon, Harlot. If you weren’t already running a fever, all this intense thinking would be making your head hot anyway 🙂

  24. Recently a relative-in-law declined to use the christening gown that had adorned the baby’s father, grandmother and great-uncles. she insisted on a little white trouser suit, because the gown just seemed a “little bit sissy” to her.
    That told me a great deal about the new mom. Verdict, we live in a stupid culture, and impressionable people get sucked down whatever drain is handy.
    To your question, even this Silly Mom would be okay with your little boy sweater. It’s a lovely sweater, but just pretty not feminine.
    Everybody here knows, right, that +/- hundred years ago, little girls were routinely dressed in blue because pink was far to forceful and overwhelming, thus reserved for boys? and that everyone put babies in gowns, mostly because they’re way easier to change that way, when you don’t have snaps and zippers?

  25. It seems to me that the only good reason for dressing boys and girls in “boy” and “girl” colors is so that strangers can identify their gender correctly. And really, what kind of reason is that?!
    I think that Megan is right, though, to point out that we knitters also are concerned about how our gifts are received. I won’t make a purple and red sweater for a baby boy (or a baby girl, for that matter) if I think her parents will find it weird.
    That said, I think the red sweater is perfect for a boy.

  26. I loathe gender/color distinctions but some people are afflicted with severe sociological classification difficulties, sexual identity crises, homophobia and God only knows what else.
    I feel sorry for men who insist that infant boys
    wear tiny “man clothes.”
    However, dear Harlot, you are keenly aware of these implications, and I do think it’s the fever causing these thoughts. I wouldn’t worry.
    Once, my friend Jeana and I were shopping when her girl was just a wee, wee bain. The child had on a onesie with a dinosaur print. A woman leaned over the stroller and cooed, “what a darling little boy!” Jeana cheerfully said, “oh, she’s a girl, she just doesn’t have any hair yet.” The woman said — and I am not making this up — “But she CAN’T be a girl. She has dinosaurs on her clothes.” Jeana and I were both taken aback, but at least Jeana had the wit to reply, “Actually, I’m her mom, and I’m certain she’s a girl. I check several times a day.”
    In the long run, it’s not what YOU think is too masculine/feminine, it’s what the parents think.
    I tend to knit bright, multicolor baby clothes which suit either gender even if you are a parent with “issues.”
    Anyway, in Asia, it is preferred to dress all babies in red, as it is belived to promote luck and health.

  27. Let the mom choose! Put the sweaters in the same box, and give them as a unit. Heck, she might just switch them back and forth at each wearing or something.
    We have friends who have twin daughters, and they tend to trade/switch all the gifts adn such they receive. If their parents give one a red bike, the other a blue one, within a few minutes they’ve traded them. Same with clothes, toys, everything!
    When my younger son — now 15 — was five or six he heard someone say “Boys don’t wear pink!” He turned to me and said “Ok, starting now, pink is my favorite color.” He went for over a year choosing pink/purple for everything from clothes to cupcakes, just to prove that boys CAN wear pink if they want. Don’t know if he changed the world, but he made his point, I guess!

  28. First of all, I WOULD have put my son in that beautiful red sweater — when he was tiny, he wore a yellow cardigan with bobbles and eyelet and Benjamin Bunny buttons. I’ll admit I knit it in hopes of having made something “gender neutral”. It really wasn’t. It makes me sad that our categories of feminine and masculine are so narrow sometimes, but that’s our reality.
    But, I also think it’s kinder to give gifts that will fit with the parents’ concept of appropriateness. So, if you’re not hung up on surprises, ask the mum. My .02 are, it’s a great sweater.

  29. I loathe gender/color distinctions but some people are afflicted with severe sociological classification difficulties, sexual identity crises, homophobia and God only knows what else.
    I feel sorry for men who insist that infant boys
    wear tiny “man clothes.”
    However, dear Harlot, you are keenly aware of these implications, and I do think it’s the fever causing these thoughts. I wouldn’t worry.
    Once, my friend Jeana and I were shopping when her girl was just a wee, wee bain. The child had on a onesie with a dinosaur print. A woman leaned over the stroller and cooed, “what a darling little boy!” Jeana cheerfully said, “oh, she’s a girl, she just doesn’t have any hair yet.” The woman said — and I am not making this up — “But she CAN’T be a girl. She has dinosaurs on her clothes.” Jeana and I were both taken aback, but at least Jeana had the wit to reply, “Actually, I’m her mom, and I’m certain she’s a girl. I check several times a day.”
    In the long run, it’s not what YOU think is too masculine/feminine, it’s what the parents think.
    I tend to knit bright, multicolor baby clothes which suit either gender even if you are a parent with “issues.”
    Anyway, in Asia, it is preferred to dress all babies in red, as it is belived to promote luck and health.

  30. I loathe gender/color distinctions but some people are afflicted with severe sociological classification difficulties, sexual identity crises, homophobia and God only knows what else.
    I feel sorry for men who insist that infant boys
    wear tiny “man clothes.”
    However, dear Harlot, you are keenly aware of these implications, and I do think it’s the fever causing these thoughts. I wouldn’t worry.
    Once, my friend Jeana and I were shopping when her girl was just a wee, wee bain. The child had on a onesie with a dinosaur print. A woman leaned over the stroller and cooed, “what a darling little boy!” Jeana cheerfully said, “oh, she’s a girl, she just doesn’t have any hair yet.” The woman said — and I am not making this up — “But she CAN’T be a girl. She has dinosaurs on her clothes.” Jeana and I were both taken aback, but at least Jeana had the wit to reply, “Actually, I’m her mom, and I’m certain she’s a girl. I check several times a day.”
    In the long run, it’s not what YOU think is too masculine/feminine, it’s what the parents think.
    I tend to knit bright, multicolor baby clothes which suit either gender even if you are a parent with “issues.”
    Anyway, in Asia, it is preferred to dress all babies in red, as it is belived to promote luck and health.

  31. I hope that you feel better soon. I too am amazed that you can function this well when you feel so lousy.
    I think that both of those sweaters look exactly right. I find that I go for anything but pink when I knit for girls. I just assume that they’ll get enough of that anyway and I’d rather not feed the stereotypes. Boy are different though and I am far more conservative about knitting for them.

  32. This is why I was happy that my child turned out to be a girl. I can dress my child in anything I wish, use any hand me downs I want to, and all I have to do is explain “no, she is a girl”. On the other hand, (at least around here) boys seem so limited in what they can wear, what they can do, and what they become. My husband would throw a FIT if I taught a son of his how to knit. A girl can wear, do, and become anything she wants to. Yes, it is narrow minded people, and yes, I shouldn’t care what they say.. but when it is family, you sorta have to.

  33. I shun nothing! Damn gender categories for pre-gender babies! We spend enough of our lives in gender boxes — let us leave the babies out as long as we can.
    More seriously, other than trying to respect the parents’ wishes (because I figure otherwise they won’t be putting my garment on their child) I knit what I think is nice. Daniel wore a lovely rose colored cabled cotton sweater for two years straight. Helena wears all his hand-me-downs.
    I wish males felt happier wearing a broader range of colors and styles. And man, do I love a man in a skirt. Call it a kilt, call it a sarong, I don’t care. But I do wish JohnPaul Gautier’s manskirt had caught on.
    Knitters of the world, unite to challenge our gender preconceptions. And knit cool stuff too!
    Glad you’re feeling better.

  34. Yes, our society – parents, teachers, friends and strangers treat little boys and little girls differently. It’s a fact, no need for further musing.
    Why do strangers care whether said child is male or female? Why should the parents of said child be bothered if strangers can’t tell the child’s sex immediately and therefore give into pressure to identify said child by means of colour-coded clothing?
    I think we all know the answer here; the stranger needs to know the childs sex in order to determine how to interact with him or her. Why? Because we treat boys and girls differently.
    I knit new babies green sweaters.

  35. I wouldn’t shun lace for a boy. I’d shun lace for everyone. *whines*
    That being said, red is a great color for boys (my son’s fave btw). Lace can be very feminine (I’m thinking leaves and flowers and swirly things), but this pattern is, as someone else said, quite solid and non-girlie. (Non-foofy as we say in our house)
    Some nice manly buttons with monster trucks or beer bottle caps and you are all set.

  36. Hmm, I don’t know. Just last month I was having a conversation with my aunt, who was telling us how she used to put her boys in tights (LONG after this was the thing to do, I might add–these boys are younger than me, and I’m 26). Maybe they just overcompensated, and that’s why they are a little TOO manly.

  37. I love the colour! I love the pattern – I think it is textured without being lacy. Great for any baby, boy or girl. Keep knitting it and I am glad to know you are feeling better.

  38. I learned somewhere that parents start treating their babies differently as soon as they find out the sex, so WHILE THE BABY IS STILL IN THE TUMMY. So I would not think too hard on whatever affect the sweater will have on the wee one. It’s a cute pattern, go for it!

  39. Stephanie, that red sweater is going to be just fine. Go grab coffee (if you can stand it in your current debilitated state) or tea and take a little time with the sock of the moment to decompress.

  40. So glad you are feeling a little better. Speedy recovery wishes! And love your comments and thoughts about gender. Isn’t it silly?

  41. If it were up to me, gender wouldn’t have a thing to do with what kind of clothes you put on your body. I like to think in terms of when are clothes practical and impractical. Lace isn’t really that convenient when you want to go tearing through the woods, skirts are kind of limiting if you want to go practice some martial arts, but lace and skirts feel a whole lot more comfortable during the heat of summer, you know, that kind of thing.
    I think, in my generation (gen “X” -blegh, such a lame lable- here in the states) females have it a little easier in the world of clothing, since we can wear lace or flannel, skirts or pants, blue or pink, and people aren’t going to make a fuss over it. Personally, I think men look just as good in a skirt as they do in pants, but most of my peers still think that’s a wierd idea. Sigh. It would be nice to live somewhere where conclusions weren’t made about you just by what you have covering your body.
    Gender stuff is hard. There are the basic physical differences, but so much of it comes down to personal/societal opinions. I’m just hoping that I can raise my daughter to not feel limited/inhibited by her gender.
    As for the sweaters, they both look great to me. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  42. I was so going to not raise a girly-girl — I wanted a girl who would be valued by others for her mind, not solely her femininity. So I dressed her in simple clothes, mostly blue and purple and white from birth (since, shockingly, there weren’t any grey nor black baby clothes). It set off her blue eyes. People thought she was a boy, but she didn’t know that.
    As soon as she could express a preference, though, she was in pink ruffles and lace, the pinker, the rufflier and the lacier the better…
    Now, she is back to wearing black, purple and blue, her hair is rarely combed, she plays with frogs and turtles, and she’s a freakin’ boy magnet because she climbs trees, plays gameboy and pokemon. I’m not sure I did the right thing.

  43. The few eyelets don’t look that lacy to me. How vigorously do you plan to block it? Red is great for everyone – strong & smart. The only reason you’re probably even worrying about this in your fever induced state is a subconscious effort not to lock in gender identity but to help the Mom. If she puts her babies in manly or girly clothes she won’t have to answer the endless, “is it a boy or a girl?” She can just smile and nod, a good thing for a sleep deprived mother of twins; less thinking involved.

  44. I should probably have a strong opinion to add, but i went to check out the pattern photos first and now I just want to see you knit the one called Trekl�ver (“cause someone should and i don’t have the stamina). very cute and blue and little boy-ish, with sweet little hearts all over it. awwww…..

  45. I say that the sweater’s fine. Personally I consider most baby clothes to look rather feminine anyhow – pastel blue? That’s a girl’s colour. I agree that having it in red makes it a lot bolder, less delicate.
    Of course, considering that I tend to trample gender lines when I get the chance I’m not necessarily a good judge – I spent all last summer going to my engineering classes in long frilly skirts, and I go to girl guides in steel toed boots & hard hats when the occasion calls for it. And considering the number of guys I’m getting addicted to knitting lace I don’t think that lace can be said to be emasculating.

  46. Keep knitting, girl. That’s one gorgeous pair of sweaters. The only concern I’d have with lace on babies is the issue of wee fingers going thru the sides of the sleeves when Mum is trying to get the sweater on.

  47. I have my grandfather’s christening gown from the 1800’s which does have crocheted lace on it and it is a ‘dress’, no pantaloons back in 1889-90.

  48. People will think what they think for whatever reasons they do. My 6 mo old daughter has a gorgeous handknit sweater in a rusty orange (though of the boxy, rugged variety I must admit) and even when I pair it with pink pants and pink hat we get “Oh, what cute little boy!” (This is where you’d think I’d learn to keep my mouth shut and just smile, but no.) I correct them and say “Thank you , but she’s a girl.” Which they ALWAYS follow with – “Oh, I’m sorry, she’s so sweet. What’s her name?” When I tell them her name is Charlie, it’s pretty darn priceless. Off they go lost in thought as they try to wrap their brain around that one.
    When it comes down to it – there will always be preconceived ideas attached to colors, clothing styles and even names. To hell with it and do what you want/like/love!

  49. Everything you said is right on the mark and brings up all kinds of good issues. I think about this all the time when I choose clothes for babies and my own children.
    But I’m going to be practical here too. The baby won’t care about the sweater, but the parents will. Will they think it too girlie? Will they have strong ideas about gender that will make all your hard work end up in a drawer? While I know you’re doing good to change the world, sometimes well it’s got to be ahem baby steps.
    I think it’s very gender neutral (especially because of the colour) and will look very nice. And, won’t offend any rigid gender sensibilities of the parents.
    And the white sweater is beautiful!

  50. First off, feel better fast! We’re all thinking good thoughts for you!
    I think the problem here is that you’re sensitized thanks to being ill and to your adventures with pretty mauve socks for men. The bold color ought to give strangers a clue that the kid is a boy, if that’s what you’re worried about – and the eyelets don’t look like eyelets in the picture. As pointed out, they look textured. Could it be that you think they look like eyelets because you know they’re eyelets?
    As for the issue of people using clothes for gender identification….when I was born, I was bald. Like a cue ball. I was bald until I was nearly one and a half. My mother would dress me in mounds of pink, peach and lace and go out walking with me, and people would still lean over the crib, look at my shiny head, and say, “Oh! What a pretty boy!”
    I’m a girl.

  51. As others have said, I do think it makes sense to be concerned about if the baby’s parents will think the boy’s sweater “too girly”, since you want it to be a gift that is used and appreciated.
    However, I think the red sweater will be just fine. Newborns have a lot more wardrobe leeway than older kids anyway, I think.
    As far as the subject of gender stereotyping through kids’ clothes – my twin boys’ hair is blond like mine, and curly like their dad’s. Even when they’re dressed in very “boyish” clothes (we prefer more gender-neutral clothing colors, but man, they are NOT easy to find!), I still have people assuming they’re girls. Apparently, to many people curly hair is a sex-linked trait.

  52. I think that red cabling and lace IS baby boyish. My own four year old son shocks me with his ‘male’ play, based mainly around simulated weapons, which I abhor, and superheroes. He has just asked me knit him lacy socks in Opal flamingo (about as pink as sock yarn comes) and loves them now they are made, so I’m hoping that dressing him for years in his sisters cast offs (not dresses or skirts, but tights for warmth and flowery things) and allowing his hair to grow long and beautiful has meant that he can also explore what may commonly be perceived as his ‘feminine’ aspects of character. I hope you feel like knitting without hesitation soon.

  53. Thanks for the great essay. I vote for anything that makes the parents happy, with the hopes that they’ll just be happy that you graced the family with your gifts.
    Please talk some more about feminist concerns and knitting. My pet subject.

  54. I agree with the post that suggested to just put both sweaters in a box and let the mom choose. The idea of boy and girl clothing just seems to be shorthand for society to quickly (and often incorrectly) identify a child as boy or girl. My son has a special type of hearing aid, worn on a headband, and just the fact that he had anything on his head when he was a baby made him a girl to strangers, no matter what he was wearing. So I guess my point is people are going to make judgments based on what they think they see, not what’s really going on.

  55. I dress my 18-month old girl in pink almost every day and I still get people who say “What a cute boy.” Thank goodness she’s finally starting to get some hair, maybe people will start thinking she’s a girl.
    That said, she pays no attention to what she wears and she’s definitely not a girly-girl no matter what I dress her in. Maybe when they’re older, clothes may influence their behavior but when they’re that little I don’t think it has much effect.
    That red sweater is perfect (and gorgeous) for either gender.

  56. The red is fabulous for any kid, it’s a good, strong color. The best thing about red, IMHO, is that it adds a real spark to any pictures it’s part of — I think the way Kodak does red has something to do with it. Look at a bunch of pictures, kid and otherwise. Go red!

  57. I dressed my daughter in assertive colors (including pink, red, orange, blue…) and sturdy practical clothes from the beginning – same with my son. I do reject overtly gender stereotypical patterns and logos – ie. cartoon characters, Barbie, football star, etc. My daughter has always been a wild child, and I have never tried to stop her from being active and athletic and covered in mud, consequently pastels just aren’t that practical. (Not that that matters a whole lot for babies, although bright yellow breastmilk poop stains magnificently). My personal beef is not so much with color, as with the non-functionality of little girl clothes – seeing 3 and 4 year old girls at the playground trying and failing to climb in their pretty dresses and settling down to standing on the sidelines watching the boys. Although, I have to say, I finally relented and bought my daughter a dress last year (age 5, best friend is a girly girl) and she promptly tucked it into her underpants and climbed the tree in the back yard to prove to me that I was wrong.
    Anyway, they are both gorgeous, and the delicacy of eyelets is congruent with the delicacy of all babies, regardless of gender.

  58. And this is why I will not find out the gender of my future child before s/he is born, and why I will make sure that I get gender neutral baby clothes (and furniture and toys and so on,) and if people don’t know the sex of my child…GOOD! There is no question that boys and girls are treated differently, and though I can’t control the rest of the world, I will do everything I can to mitigate the damage. They have a lifetime of sexism ahead of them…might as well postpone it as long as I can.
    But when you knit for someone else’s children, the real goal is to knit for the parents. If the parents have set ideas about gender and color and style and whatnot, a “girly” sweater for a boy will never get worn, regardless.
    All that being said…I don’t think the red sweater is girly at all.

  59. I love the red sweater! I always considered cables (faux or not) quite manly, but also agree that, at this age, the clothes don’t make the man. Dress ’em in the cute stuff you like while you can, before they start dressing themselves.

  60. They both look great! It doesn’t matter how masculine a sweater is for a boy! No baby boy is masculine. Babies are babies. And wonderful baby clothes are wonderful baby clothes.
    My nephew saw his dad painting his mommy’s toenails for fun one day, and now he wants to have his painted all the time so he can see the colors on his nails.
    Babies don’t see gender. Babies see beauty. I think both sweaters will be beautiful on both babies. Great job, Steph!

  61. Facinating topic. I tend to think that we treat boys differently than girls because we know they ARE different not the other way around. When it comes to babies, I think we instinctively treat them the way we anticipate they would enjoy being treated if they could express an opinion. I know my son (at 3) CAN express an opinion and definitely would prefer to be roughhoused than coddled. I suspect if he had known what “sweet” and “pretty” had meant as a baby, he would NOT have wanted to be called either one.
    Being the mother of 3 girls and 1 boy, I can tell you that the difference is night and day. Dressing him in “gender obvious” clothing helps others to know how to relate to him. Further, I do agree with the “general feeling” that this is MORE important with a boy. Call me a dinosaur, but I think “What a cute boy” is not nearly as offensive to a girl as “What a pretty little girl” is to a boy.
    On a more practical note, as a serial mother, I prefer gender specific clothing for little babies because it prevents me from having to have “that whole conversation” twenty times a day. If the kid has on a pink dress and lacy socks we all know what we are dealing with. Plus, since it is almost universal human nature to want to relate to a baby in a gender specific way, a generic looking baby often leaves people feeling like idiots. It saves a lot of embarrassement for the nice old lady who have been cooing for 10 minutes about “how sweet SHE is” if she doesn’t then have to be told that “HE” IS cute, yes, thank you very much.
    So, as for the sweater- I think red is fine for a boy. I think cables are fine for a boy. I agree with the earlier commenter that the sweater should have a shape that will somehow say “GUY”. Making a hat to match helps too. LOVE the girly one. That’s perfect.

  62. When a friend was expecting I asked her if she had a preference for a color for a blanket (my sneaky way of asking if they knew the gender in advance). She said green, but not a mint green or a pastel green, something like pine or kelly green. That floored me. It seemed so ill-fit for a baby. Another friend, one who already had children, wizened me up. She said as long as it’s comfortable, the baby won’t care.
    I wonder if the study looked at the same adults. Perhaps group A thought all babies looked small, fragile, and pretty and group B thought all babies looked strong, healthy and smart. You need to control for that. 😉

  63. Hope you are feeling better soon. Bah, I hate spring flu.
    I’m with Megan, maybe you’re wondering if it’s too girly because maybe it’s a mother that wouldn’t use it if she thought it wasn’t “boy” enough?
    I can understand using pink/blue to identify infants, but I think we do huge disservice to children, carrying on color stereotypes past the point where they’re useful.
    I can’t speak from anything but personal experience. I’ve never felt very girly, and all the stuff about “girls are tiny and fragile and lithe and graceful and wear PINK because it’s delicate” still has me hung up sometimes. Because, I’m not tiny nor fragile nor any of those other things, and trying to be that way just made other girls make fun of me. I do not easily get along with women now, and I think that part of it is because the males never cared what I wore, so I don’t feel as if I’m inadequate when around them.
    Then again, I love the white & pink sweater, I think it’s super-cute and I’d totally make one for my neice. I know, full of hypocrasy and contradictions is what I am.

  64. The sweaters are both lovely. The boy will be lucky to have something knit by hand so skillfully. I’m not really one to care about what color a kid is wearing, or anything of the sort, but I think it’s just wonderful. The color is nice, and I like the pattern-however, as someone else said, it’s really what the PARENTS think that matters. However, if the baby is due soon, I think a lacy/open sweater will be good for an air conditioned room or a cool evening without being too warm. I would only worry about the lace on the arms, as baby fingers are tiny and get caught easily, but I’m sure you know that already.

  65. My twin boys say, “Red rocks!” My 9-yr-old son says, “As long as it’s red it’s okay, I mean . . . it’s for a baby.”
    This then reminds Ben (age four and a half and the firstborn of the twins) that he hasn’t seen me working on his blue-and-white striped sweater in a few days as I’ve been obsessed with the dang Finnish Mittens (braid came out smashingly, thank you). So I just received a stern lecture from a preschooler on finishing up its sleeve.
    Hope you feel better soon. Chicken soup?

  66. Steph, I sell 20 to 30 baby cardigans at the local Farmer’s Market each summer to raise money for my local chapter of Project Linus. From my research, no one every buy red red sweater for a baby boy, even if it was a simple boring stockinette stitch kind of thing. They buy burgandy, white, ivory, yellow, green and all shades of blue. Laced or not laced, it doesn’t seem to matter. Now for girl babies, they buy all colors, including light blue, but will not purchase dark blue no matter how “girlie” the pattern is. Now when the children reach toddler age, they will buy any color (including red red for boys and dark blue for girls), except pink and purple shades for a boy.

  67. When I was young and stupid, I was very sure about all this. I was going to dress my children in completely gender-neutral clothing until they were old enough to decide for themselves what kind of “drag” they wanted to wear (“We come out of our mothers naked, everything else is just drag,” as RuPaul said). I was even going to interrogate passersby who inquired about whether my child was a boy or a girl. (“Why do you think that’s an important thing to know about them at this stage of their lives?” Little did I know I’d be biting my tongue to explain zygosity to people who would say “Oh, a boy and a girl! Are they identical?” This was a long time ago.
    I got over the obnoxious responses to questioners, but did want to find gender-neutral clothing, just for the sake of laundry, if nothing else, but it’s almost completely impossible to find. You can dress your kids in tie-dye all the time (and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that), but beyond that, I swear to you that every single piece of “boy” clothing has a) a superhero, b) sport equipment of some sort, or c) *shudder* camo print. Every item of girl clothing has a little picot edge, a ribbon, or a flounce. I suppose it makes them more money when people have different-sex second kids and feel they can’t do hand-me-downs.
    Recently, Henry has been asking for a dress. We’ve let him wear one of Ellie’s dresses to school, but we hadn’t gotten him his own, and we were uncomforable with doing so. It became a real issue, we even asked his (long-haired and be-earringed) godfather, who was similarly uncomfortable but couldn’t really justify why, except to say that there were things he did as a kid that put him in a “weird kid” box that he wished someone had discouraged. Anyway, I finally just got him a damn dress; a nice thick cotton interlock sundress with strawberries on it and three little jewels on one of the strawberry leaves, and I brought it home and he said thank you and he has never worn it (though it’s still in his drawer), and he hasn’t said a thing about it.
    Remember that thing about the good nutrition and the intellectual stimulation making for kids who are smarter than you by toddler hood? I give you exhibit H. Thanks for challenging my values there, buddy.
    That said, that sweater is fabulous. Unless you think mom (or dad) will be uncomfortable with it, I think it’s lovely. And yay that you’re still knitting!

  68. It won’t matter if you dress them girly or in pink or blue. As teenagers, they’ll all go goth, wear only black, and dye their hair black. Enjoy colors while you can.

  69. Honestly, I think in this circumstance I’d mostly just take the parents’ opinions into consideration. I could see a parent’s feelings being hurt if they were given a “girl” sweater for their boy – and possibly they might think that the sweater hadn’t really been made for their baby. Just another angle to think about.

  70. I think both sweaters are simply gorgeous and perfectly fine for either gender.
    Then again I’m the one that grew up with 3 older brothers, tried to learn to use the facilities while standing, and wore shorts underneath my formal for Prom… so I might not be the “best” judge here.

  71. Okay… so my post is superfluous, but I find I cannot resist…
    A. Stunning red sweater–I don’t think it’s too girlie for a boy.
    B. Stunning precious baby girl sweater. Nothing is too girlie for a girl. Sexist and overly conventional? Yes–but since my baby’s drawer looked like a bottle of pepto-bismol threw up in it because hey-boy-howdy and by-golly we were having a GIRL!!! I guess that’s what you can expect from me.
    C. My little boy doesn’t give a rodent’s posterior what we put him in. It will be filthy by the time we take it off–and that, really, is the point of all clothing to any boy under 13, when girls suddenly become important.
    D. My husband and I think liberally (as in, we don’t really care if he wants to wear a dress when he’s a grown up as long as he still loves us enough to chauffer us around when we’re too freakin old and blind to drive ourselves…) but we dress pretty conservatively and I’d still dress a little boy in that adorable sweater.

  72. I recently knit a green sweater for the girl half of a girl/boy twin duo, and a purple sweater for the boy. Imagine my surprise when I was given a “thank you” photo–with the boy wearing the green and the girl wearing the purple!

  73. As a mother of boy/girl twins I can tell you that it matters not a bit what they wear. They will become their own unique selves without any help or hindrance from their clothing or the people who judge by that clothing.
    The real question for now is this: given that the mother will, without a doubt, want to take photos of her babies in those great sweaters, how will they look together in a photo? I’ll be watching the site to find out!
    ps: My first post; I discovered your site in January and am now hooked.

  74. The shape of the sweater is what matters. Boys are more boxy I think. Where the white sweater is more “A” line or flared for a girl. Red is a good color and will go very nice next to his sister in white & reddish pink. Don’t over think it too much tho. I put a pink nightie on my son [coz he looked SO NICE in pink] but only I knew and he’s grown up to be VERY manly with 2 sons of his own. No permanent damage done! [maybe not][I think] [I hope not][over thinking here … he’s just fine.]

  75. My 9 year old son recently started playing little league for the first time. My husband went out to buy him batting gloves and returned with a pretty pink and white pair. For the record, my husband is color blind and they appeared a nondescript gray to him. They fit perfectly and my son loves them, though he casually mentioned “They’re pink!” I have to confess that although I have always tried to avoid gender bias, I had the same response. I worried that he would be teased, but at a game the other evening I noticed another player running over to borrow them, as he had forgotten his own gloves.
    I guess this means cold hands trump a need for macho batting gloves.
    I hope you’re feeling better, Stephanie!

  76. Both sweaters are gorgeous; as one other commenter suggested, I’d put both of them in one box and let the children’s mother decide which child should wear which sweater.
    After looking more closely, I just realized that I’ve knit that red pattern – in a bright turquoise cotton for a baby that turned out to be a girl. The mother stopped using it because she was afraid people wouldn’t know the child was a girl (sigh).
    Hang in there, remember you’re in “rest and recuperation” mode, and feel better soon.

  77. hmm…
    Well I think the red sweater for the boy looks fine. It looks to be more cables than lace. Although i’m not sure what the rest of the sweater is going to look like. And red is a good color for a boy. Or you could do like other people have suggested and give the red sweater to the girl and the sweater you already made to the boy. Or if you just know that you aren’t going to be happy with the red sweater…frog it and start a different pattern…especially before you have spent endless hours working on a very nice sweater that you end up just not being happy with.

  78. When my niece was born, the first auntly assignment from her mother was to go exchange the pile of pink baby clothes for gender neutral things. I was horrified to find that nearly every piece of baby clothing in stores is pink or blue, or gendered in some other way. Gaaaak!
    One advantage of knitting for babies is that I can minimize my participation in all the nonsense around pink vs. blue, ruffles vs. trucks, etc. Every baby I make a sweater for looks darling in green!

  79. Ooh, one of my pet peeves. I know othervise perfectly sane and balanced people, who refused to dress their baby boy in pink pj:s they got as a present. (Okay, I understand the wish to spare a child from wearing pink, but not on the grounds that it’s a boy child.)
    My daughter, who is going to be two this summer, is very small and delicate, has long eyelashes and very girly features. But as I like to dress her in real colours like green and orange, she’s often mistaken for a little boy. *sigh*
    I love the red sweater, and it’s perfect for any child!

  80. I’ve never had a boy so I don’t know if I’d really shun lace or not. However, I know it drives me mad when people assume my daughter is a boy because she is wearing a speck of blue or jeans or nowadays because she’s still quite bald. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure why it bugs me so. Perhaps I’m offended on her behalf – goodness knows I wouldn’t much like it if someone called me “sir”. Maybe I just don’t like that they are assuming something about her based on the way she’s dressed. I dunno.
    What I do know is that trying to set people straight can often be quite awkward so I find it easier to just give in and be obvious when dressing the little mite. When she’s big enough to choose her own wardrobe she can wear what she wants (ok, she has to be covered…completely)
    As far as your sweater is concerned, I think the red will make it “manly” enough for a boy as I have found that unless they are wearing pink or oodles of frills, people think they are boys anyway.

  81. As a guy named Kim, I can assure you that assumptions regarding an individual’s gender have a HUGE influence on how that person is treated. HUGE! I can describe countless situations where my treatment changed once my true gender was discovered — don’t get me started. In previous jobs, I’ve been in numerous situations where I worked with somebody for months via e-mail, and the entire working relationship changed — for better and for worse — the day one of us picked up the phone instead. I’ve had people praise my work via e-mail and complain about the “guy at the desk” only to see them turn beet red when they realized Kim was the guy at the desk. I don’t know how many job interviews I haven’t gotten because somebody doesn’t want a woman in that role…
    Wait, I said don’t get me started.
    And the real question; have all these gender misidentifications lead me to adopt “feminine” crafts like spinning and crochet rather than such “masculine” crafts as woodworking and small engines?

  82. My son, the second child, wore pink onesies because that’s what we had leftover from my daughter. I knew he would never know, doesn’t seem to have affected him. Though he does wear the beret his sister bought him in Paris.
    He then went through a several year, quite intense red phase, so I always associate red with boys, and didn’t notice any “laciness” in the sweater. Better for air circulation, anyway!
    The sweaters will both be beautiful, and the babies will be sweet and wonderful in them.

  83. I think you’re fever has affected your ability to realize what a big huge can of worms you just opened on your blog!! 😉 I think the red sweater is fine for a boy. I think we seriously over think this stuff in general. I think it is okay, although not at all Politically Correct, to admit that boys and girls have some innate differences, in general. And I think it’s okay to want people to recognize that one’s baby is a boy or girl. Gasp! in our society, we identify gender by color many times. I really think we shouldn’t stress about these things.
    Hope you are feeling better soon! The first sweater is really adorable!

  84. I think the study of the Girls vs Boys study shows that it�s adults who make the clothing �statement� � trying to make the �girls� feel feminine and pretty and encouraging the �boys� to be strong and manly, in the future � thus all stereotyping is well ingrained into children � all because of the type of beautiful hand-knitted sweater they happened to be wearing!

  85. wow… can you say materialist feminism? with a little bit of post modern theory thrown in… that rant sounds a lot like a class i just finished. now, i ask you this: is gender performence or biology?
    just a thought… yay for feminist theory!
    and yarn… but that’s a given.

  86. Hi – I think the sweaters will be loved and appreciated by both the girl and boy twin. Or rather their parents! When the kids are that young – we dress them for ourselves anyway – it’s what the parents like that counts! If the parents like red for boy – go for it!
    Also – on another note – I live in Maryland am very exicted about the Sheep and Wool festival starting tomorrow!! Are you going? You should check it out. I’m not sure if you are still on tour – and I realize you’re sick -but come on! It’s Sheep and Wool! What more could you ask for!

  87. 25 years ago I dressed my first (of 2) daughters in a pink flowered sunsuit, pink booties and a pink bonnet for a stroll around the local shopping mall. A proud mother always stops to talk to admiring couples, don’t they? Well, I did and then was a bit shocked to have them ask, “Is it a boy or a girl?”. What, the pink didn’t give it away?
    Point being, unless society decides to dress like Deter (in all black leggings and black turtlenecks) we will forever be putting boys in blue and girls in pink. It is how we treat them as human beings that is far more important. Offer the same opportunities to each gender and society will be a lot better off.
    Just my 2 cents worth (that’s 2.21 cents Canadian…)

  88. It’s not like the red sweater looks like a doily or something – it’s adorable! I don’t think anyone is going to think “lace” when they see it so much as “texture”.

  89. When held up next to the white “girly” sweater I think it does look boyish and I think the baby boy would be happy in it. Looks warm and snuggly! I just knit my bfs nephew a sweater, it was in blue, but I was slightly worried it would look a bit girly as I was doing it, but once finished I was happy with the way it looked and it did look very nice to be handed to a boy, if I would have done it for a girl I would have choosen a different colour, or even a lighter blue then I did… But the red you choose for the pattern looks very boy like… So I think your choice was a good one. I do think its hard to find boy clothes because so many girly dresses and what not are out there, so when making a little boy a sweater it makes you second guess your own choices.

  90. I may be perpetuating a myth, so I’ll just say upfront that I’m not sure of my source on this, but the way I understand it is that people used to dress their male children as females so that no one would know their gender. This was a way of safeguarding the male children from those who may wish them harm, since males were considered more valuable. If true, it sure isn’t a modern-day, progressive, non-sexist practice!!
    I’ve no answers for you, Stephanie. Knit what you like and feel good about. Both sweaters are beatiful and look appropriate for society’s mores as well.

  91. I don’t think I’d sweat it. Boys and girls are different… in many ways… and I don’t think their clothing has much to do with it. My second and third children arrived as a pair… of boy/girl twins. When they were about 2, my son’s favorite toy was a Barbie doll… which he would hold by the feet and smack its head into the furniture. My daughter’s favorite was a Power Rangers action figure, which she dressed in a Barbie apron and used to play house…. they’re just wired differently.
    I did try for a while to do that cutesy little “boy and girl versions of the same outfit” thing when we went out, but I found that people still didn’t get that there was a boy and a girl (lace, ruffles, eyelet, pink… made no difference). The scarier thing was that when they would ask if the twins were identical, I always replied, “No, it’s a boy and a girl.” Sadly enough, in about half the cases, people said, “Yes, but are they identical?” (Clearly someone skipped a lot of science classes!)
    Both sweaters are lovely, Stephanie, and any mom would be ecstatic to receive them. Knit on!

  92. Make it for him. We need more gender-neutral clothes for babies, and more gender-confusing clothing of babies.
    Sorry to be bossy. I just feel extremely strongly about it.

  93. I don’t think it looks girly at all. However, maybe by dressing him in gender neutral clothes as an infant he will grow to be more in touch with his feminine side. Maybe when he is married he will not say, please don’t disturb my sleep to his wife who is on the verge of drowning in her own mucus. Maybe he won’t take to his bed like Camille when he is sick and expect the entire house to wait on him hand and foot. I have no scientific evidence of this but I certainly think it’s worth a shot.

  94. Your sweaters look so cute (is that a gender-neutral adjective??)! I don’t much care what a boy wears verses a girl but my husband would if his son were in pink! Actually now that I think about it I would get huffy when someone called my girl a “handsome boy.” She now wears tiny little earrings. I guess I have fallen into the stereotypical thinking!

  95. That’s a load of questions there, Fever Harlot. 🙂 Colors: I don’t tend to differentiate on babies with color. For instance, I think blue is a great color for any child, and pink looks horrible on anyone.
    As far as a lacey baby sweater… I think that’s fine. Lace isn’t something I’d make for a “man,” but babies of any gender go sort of naturally with lace. Really, babies look androgynous to begin with.
    The reason I, personally, like differentiated clothing is so I can say “oh, what a beautiful baby boy/girl,” instead of “what a beautiful, er, boy?”

  96. When both my girls were babies, we tended to dress them in whatever, though when they did wear pink, I still got many comments of what a handsome boy I had. They were both completely bald for quite awhile, so maybe that’s the cue rather than clothes color (and no, I wouldn’t stoop to taping bows to their heads, ugh!). At the moment I’m knitting neon green lace/cable socks for my three year old girl child. She picked the yarn so I don’t think early clothes choices matter much, if they did both of mine would have much better taste :). Hang in there, I have the same flu and I think the neon green may make my brain explode in the near future.

  97. I do lace sweaters for both boys and girls, and mostly the same patterns – I also sold the patterns to Maggie’s Rags. I do different colors for boys and girls, and gender typed for the sake of the admirers and parents who get tired of answering, “It’s such a pretty. . .what is it?”

  98. I dont’ see eyelet. I see manly. actually I think they are both lovely and appropriate! I love that you didn’t do the typical pink & blue in matching patterns.
    but what do I know? My boys were christened in gowns and I’ve been known to put them in kilts.. they also play with dolls… and Daddy stays hom and I work. gender roles have gone out the window in our house!

  99. Jeepers….he’s an infant…who the heck cares as long as mom and dad are OK with it. When he’s old enough for his peers to notice that he’s wearing knickers and knee socks, and tease him about it, then it might matter. Happily, snuggled in a blankie, don’t think so.
    And I love the color.

  100. I thought I liked gender neutral clothing on babies, and thought my firstborn’s (a son) clothing was pretty neutral. Then I had a daughter, and when I looked at the clothes I’d kept for her I discovered that there were a lot I couldn’t face dressing her in.
    And when I knitted a sweater for a friend’s baby, in what I could have sworn were gender neutral colours, it turned out to be very definitely a boy’s sweater – fortunately the baby turned out to be a boy too – otherwise I would probably have embroidered lots of flowers in the hopes of girlying it up.
    Odd isn’t it.

  101. When I was a baby, my mom dressed me in blue to match my eyes. Then she spent time and energy (of which new moms have precious little) correcting people when they said things like “how old is he?” I, therefore, provide you with the following thought for the moment when the introspection gets to be too much:
    You value the mother’s time, energy, and sanity, and therefore are trying to make garments that will help her avoid having to go to the trouble of correcting others.
    Yeah, that’s it. It’s all about trying to make life easy for the mom.

  102. I’ve enjoyed your blog for a while now . . . finally got the courage to make myself public (what exactly I was afraid of, I don’t know). When I was pregnant, we didn’t want to know the sex of our baby, but we (my husband knits, too) did want to knit for it! When I packed up our unisex clothing for the baby to come home in, I chose a little thermal long-sleeved shirt that I thought was cute and little rugged looking (we were living in New Hampshire at the time — not Canada, but still.). As we were taking my son home, one of the nurses pointed out that the little roses on the shirt might lead people to think he was a girl! So, clearly I don’t have trustworthy instincts in defining what’s gender “appropriate” or even gender neutral.
    But, I do think that the little dance that goes through my head — very similar to yours! — in designing and making clothing for infants is so interesting. Thanks for articulating it. And red lace seems like a beautiful present for a boy or girl baby! (but hey, if it feels wrong to you, there will be another girl baby along the road sometime soon — and there’s nothing wrong with starting a new project for this little guy. I’m guessing you might have a skein or two in your stash and a wish list of infant-sized projects to make).
    By the way, the beautiful little cardigan (from Simple Knits for Cherished Babies)that my husband knit in Cherry Tree Hill “Indian Summer” sock yarn never set off any warning lights for those interested in demarking boy and girl.
    Thanks for a great blog.

  103. Funny, this discussion came up in my knitting group at work today. We all agreed that babies wouldn’t care (or even know) if they were dressed in girl clothes or boy clothes. As the other commenters pointed out, it’s society that imposes these “restrictions.” I think the cable and eyelet pattern is fine for a boy. And so is the red (although I tend to think of red of as a “girl” color). Red is the color of firetrucks, which is “manly” (although women firefighters would take exception to that). Make what you want and enjoy!

  104. “Overall, the adults assessed the ‘boy’ babies (who were really boys and girls) as healthy and competent, and the “girl” babies as ‘tiny’ (even though they were the same babies) and ‘beautiful’.”
    I’m still trying to wrap my head around how a baby could be characterized as “competent”. Competent to do what, exactly? Cry and poop? Uh-huh …

  105. I agree with so many of the posts. I think that both sweaters will be good for either one. I know that my friend’s daughter was always mistaken for a boy (because of her hair growth) even though she dressed her in mostly pink clothes. So even if the pattern may sound kind of girly the people who see it will never know it. Both sweaters are gorgeous and the parents will love the fact that they’re handknit.
    By the way, I love your blog and read it all the time. You (and others) have even motivated me to try knitting socks. I love socks 🙂

  106. True story: on the day I took Miss B in for her one-week checkup, I dressed her in a stretchy suit with blue and red cars on it and wrapped her snugly in a blue baby bag, both items handed down from her brother since I was damned if I was going to pay for a whole new set of outfits just because yada yada. Feeling slightly guilty about this, I headed out the door, pausing to glance at the morning paper, whose banner headline said:
    DSS To Curb Foster Care By Felons
    Swear to God. After that I decided she could wear whatever color happened to be clean.

  107. True story: on the day I took Miss B in for her one-week checkup, I dressed her in a stretchy suit with blue and red cars on it and wrapped her snugly in a blue baby bag, both items handed down from her brother since I was damned if I was going to pay for a whole new set of outfits just because yada yada. Feeling slightly guilty about this, I headed out the door, pausing to glance at the morning paper, whose banner headline said:
    DSS To Curb Foster Care By Felons
    Swear to God. After that I decided she could wear whatever color happened to be clean.
    Both sweaters are beautiful.

  108. As the parent of three young children, and therefore quite close in time to these issues, I have to say that I started out my life as a mother with exactly the same thoughts as you. I dressed my first child, a girl, in blue sometimes and in lots of jeans… and then got increasingly annoyed when people assumed she was a boy. Combine that with our unfortunate choice of spelling her name, which made 99% of people who read it pronounce it as a boy’s name, and I suddenly developed a strong preference for pink and girly clothes for baby girls. I have dressed my son in pink pullups when we had no more blue ones, and in pink onesies when we were out of plain white.
    I guess it boils to this: in theory, it doesn’t matter how we dress babies because they’re too young to care. But in practice, if it bothers a parent to have your child mistaken for the wrong gender, then you’ll dress them accordingly. If you don’t care, you’ll dress them however you prefer until they are old enough to care.
    I happened to end up with a girly-girl, a boyish boy, and one who is to young yet to have decided. I am highly amuzed by my girly-girl since I’m NOT a girly-girl myself!
    So Knit On! I love the girly-girl sweater and I love the red cabled sweater. And I’m sure the mother of said twins will also love them.
    By the way, it was great to meet you in Lexington last weekend and hear your amazing adventure in the car from Nashville. I hope you’re feeling better soon.

  109. Geez woman-if you had a fever all the time you would be unstoppable! The worlds problems-solved!
    Knit that sucker. It is gorgeous. My son wore lace, as did my daughter. They have the rest of their lives to worry about that stuff. While they are young and carefree let them just enjoy a custom handknit.
    I often describe my son as beautiful or pretty-just as I do my daughter. When he was a baby people often said what a “beautiful boy”. He has the longest eyelashes I have ever seen. He even wore a few of his sister’s pink onesies because I saved them after she grew out of them, figuring I had a 50/50 chance of having another girl. When he was born, I thought hey-why not put them to good use-he certainly didn’t care, as long as he was warm and dry. While he is only four now, he certainly isn’t ‘girly’ (though I really have no idea what the hell that means anyway). In fact, he is often found eating bugs, sticking his head in the toilet, and other generally gross things that bewilder us all. His behavior isn’t anything I would associate with “femininity” (girls don’t like dirt and bugs? Tell that to my girl-or her mom for that matter 😉 ). He is who he is, no matter how I dress him.
    Having a son has opened my eyes up to stereotypes and ‘expected behavior’ that I thought got thrown out a long time ago. I won’t give in to it, but at the same time I don’t go out of my way in the opposite direction either. If my daughter wants to play with trucks-cool. If my son want to play dolls-that’s cool too. But I try to find a middle ground, and just let them guide me along the way.
    Somtimes we just assume things without really thinking about it first. And besides, even when my daughter was dressed very girly-in lots of pink, lace and bows-some people still stopped to ask me how old my “little boy” was. Same with my son-even if he was wearing an all blue suit with puppy dogs on it I would still get “she sure has a lot of hair”.
    Go figure.

  110. As the mother of teen boys and girls, I don’t think it matters. I dressed my daughter in girlie clothes, now she hates pink, prefferring black, purple and blood red.
    My sons, on the other hand, where lighter, brighter colors. My 15 yr old seems to prefer white. He owns 2 pair of white shorts, several white shirts and washes and cares for them all diligently. The 13 yr old seems to like bright, primary colors. Go figure.
    I guess it all shows you just never know what they will do as they age. You let them go their own way as long as it doesn’t cause anyone physical pain.

  111. Honestly, whenever I knit for babies the things tend to be on the girly side no matter the gender of the baby. What I worry about mainly is, if I knit this for a boy, will the parents think it’s too girly and either a) never put the kid in it (what a waste of my knitting time) or b) be insulted by my lack of boyish sensibilities? So, I aim to please.
    That being said, I don’t think the sweater is too girly for a boy. I think it strikes the right balance between being tasteful but not bright pink with fairies (which would probably be going too far.)
    And, of course we treat girls and boys differently. It’s not right but it is culturally ingrained. Most of us do it without even thinking about it or realizing it.

  112. Personally, I despise the whole blue for boys, pink for girls stereotyping for children’s clothes. What if the child looks horrid in pink, are you still going to dress her that way? I think not.
    With regard to your knitting, I find the boys sweater rather nice. I mean, I don’t see eyelets and perhaps they will block to be such. But from what you have shown, I don’t see much too disagreeable for a boy child.
    One has to consider that christening gowns are lace for both genders. Does that mean that when a baby is presented before one’s god, the child should appear feminine?

  113. Baby sweaters of different SHAPES? Box-y for boys? Aren’t babies more or less the same squirmy froggy shape?
    Love the red sweater. Feel better!

  114. Baby sweaters of different SHAPES? Box-y for boys? Aren’t babies more or less the same squirmy froggy shape?
    Love the red sweater. Feel better!

  115. wow, that’s alot to think about!
    my ex-boyfriend (not “ex” because of this story!), when he was a toddler, his mom used to dress him in girls frilly nightgowns. She didn’t have alot of money, and they were cheap. There was even photographic proof and he didn’t seem unhappy or distressed. The point is that he turned out ok and doesn’t have any issues with his manhood.
    That said, the red sweater is far from a girly frilly nightgown.

  116. Um, it’s not girly compared to a christening outfit, but I’m not sure that’s any comfort! 😉

  117. Wow, interesting post. First I want to say that the sweaters are lovely and that any baby, boy or girl, would be lucky to have them and be so loved. But in reading about how people perceived the “boy” babies differently from the “girl” babies got me to thinking. Do you think that we, as a society, consciously or unconsciously treat the genders differently, and if so, is it an innate thing? You know how they did studies showing that babies respond to high pitch sing-song talking and how people just naturally seem to do that without being told to and that it may be something innate? I wonder if when people treat and perceive the genders differently if that’s an innate thing as well as opposed to some society standard. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a staunch feminist, it just gives me pause. Oh well, back to knitting!

  118. In a nutshell, because seriously I could go on for pages, the idea of forcing gender idenity on little babies makes me want to vomit.

  119. I think lace as an accent or overall is probably more girly, but eyelets within a pattern are just fine for boys as long as the piece is a good “guy color.” Sort of like cables… I recently finished a baby cardigan in blue, red, and gold for my friend Laura’s baby boy ( that included eyelets.

  120. Nah, the sweater is just fine. Its a nice deep red, its manly enough for a baby who won’t know the difference anyway. Beautiful start of the sweater, good luck.

  121. First of all, the sweaters are beautiful. And no, I wouldn’t shun lace for boys. My son is 2.5 years and I dress him in “girly” clothes from time to time. I like to knit. I like to knit intricate things. My son is small and perfect for quick projects ergo he gets lacey items occassionally and then plays in the dirt with them. We’re both happy.
    I have also done the reverse and knitted “boyish” items for girls. Mostly recently a sweater I had started for my son as an infant which never got finished until last month. It is now destined for a very sweet 7-day old baby girl.
    Have you ever read the story of Baby X?

  122. I so strongly believe that this is a personal thing, and that most people will not change their minds about how they feel in this regard no matter how logical the discussion. That being said, if the parents refuse to put their babies in such amazingly beautiful sweaters for being either too girly or too boyish that’s certainly their own loss! I love both of them, for either a girl or boy!!!
    I have a 19 month old girl and while I was pregnant I reveled in knitting non-gender-specific items like an orange pullover and a cardigan with a pink body and blue sleeves. For the entire first year of her life we got nothing but, “What a cute little boy!” even when she WAS wearing pink (and we hardly ever bothered to coorect people)! She didn’t care, and neither did I — but I know some people really would care and might even be offended.
    That makes me feel sad for the state of our society and how far we have yet to go. Then again — and let’s be honest about this — boys and girls ARE different. I don’t think we can ever know which of those differences are genetically based and which are driven purely by society. And of course there are exceptions to every rule. What’s important is that neither sex is viewed as BETTER than the other, and that’s what gender equality is truely about.

  123. I am willing to bet that if Joe had been dressed in lace as a baby he wouldn’t have *ahem* “suggested” you shut the door so he could get more sleep.

  124. I love the red for a boy! The color or fire engines, no matter if it’s lace. Oh! I bought your lastest book today!!!!!

  125. I think you should continue on with the beautiful red sweater for the soon-to-be-blessing-us-with-his-presence boy.
    That being said, I don’t know the mom, so she may have different ideas. I made a very beautiful (handsome) sweater/hat set – in green – for my niece-in-law who was pregnant with an unknown (she wanted to be surprised). I figured green could go either way – and was boyish enough, especially since the pattern was shown with blue yarn.
    She determined it was not BOYISH enough when her son was born and she has yet to use it (since she has not delivered a girl child to adorn with the beautiful green sweater set).
    Knit and gift as you please. Mom’s will do what they want anyway!

  126. The red sweater is just fine. First, I do not equate “eyelet” with “lace”, especially when said eyelet is part of a cable pattern. The picture you showed seemed to lie between “gender-neutral” and “masculine” to me.
    I am myself a mother of one girl and three boys, and there is very little “boy/girl” stereotyped difference between them, but a great deal of personality difference that doesn’t seem to be tied to gender. My girl wanted to take karate and couldn’t understand why grandma thought she should take ballet. She went through an intense Barbie phase for about a year and a half, starting when she was 6, then decided they were boring. My first boy didn’t want to take karate because he just hated all the shouting–he is quite athletic and masculine, thank you, but hates team sports and conflict-based activities (except for video games). My second boy is slightly timid and wants me to teach him to knit (he’s four), while also being very into superheroes and etc. He’s fond of dressing as the pink Power Ranger and as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Oh, and he likes to play soccer, but I think it’s more for the social aspect than the running around/kicking the ball aspect. The youngest boy is only two, but shows signs of being more physically rough-and-tumble than his older brothers … but not, perhaps, than his sister, who is now 20 and a stylish, only semi-girly feminist who fought off two muggers two years ago … broke one guy’s nose and they both ran off. (She came out of it with a few bruises). Oh, and just for the complete picture, the oldest boy is 18.
    Oh, and for Francesca and Andrea, I love to see my husband in a sarong, and are you aware of the Utilikilt? It’s a kilt for everyday wear for men, usually in olive drab or black twill or denim, which is quietly making inroads among men who have realized that “skirts” are just more comfortable a lot of the time.

  127. Well, I just started a lovely project out of out of the Dale 142 book. ( I’m makeing the ecover outfit. But the dress version. In blue (it’s actually turqiose, I’m just not sure how to spell that word ~ color 6714)
    With a little but of pink trim. So how does dressing a girl up in a blue dress mess with her? 😀
    I just thought it was a lovely color, and I’m really not sure if I’m going to make this for my as yet unknown niece or nephew, or finish it and keep in for myself in a hope chest. Do people still have hope chests? Am I old fashioned?
    Anyway. Point is, babies are little and lovely and I think can wear almost anything. I wouldn’t put a boy in a dress, or a girl in a argyle sweater vest, but a boy in lace and a girl in blue, yes.

  128. I don’t think it matters so much for the baby so much as the parent. For example, when I had my twins, I’d dress the same, but different…one in pink or red and the other in a matching outfit of a different color, maybe green or yellow. (Never blue). People would often assume that the one not in pink was a boy, and it was annoying as anything to keep telling people no, they’re both girls. As they grew older and acquired hair, it was obvious they were both girls, and they could wear blue and people would know they were girls. So for me it wasn’t a matter of people treating them differently, but the annoyance factor. Or more precisely, pride! How could anyone mistake my beautiful girl babies for boys?! But let’s face it, when they’re little and bald, they all look like little old men. (Cute, adorable little old men, of course!) By the time I had my fourth, I didn’t care what she wore or what people thought of her, or me for that matter. On a good day I’d shoot for clean clothes, maybe even matching!

  129. The red is a fine color for a boy, though I’m not so sure about the lace pattern itself.
    I was a Women’s Studies minor and ardent feminist in my youth. I believed that boys and girls should be treated the same, that sex differences were largely social conditioning. I really believed it.
    Then I had kids.
    My boy made dolls into guns, adores all things boy, eschews girly things with the sole exception of his stuffed bunny, and has happily fit into the world of boy-oriented toys. I tried to get him to play with dolls and other girl toys in the beginning, but he hated it. And after awhile, I was no longer willing to subject him to my personal political agendas if he forsaked his enjoyment playing with toys.
    My daughter is still very little, so I’ll have to update you on that little experiment, but I’m not so sure that she’s going to buck the trends, either. If she wants to, fine, but who knows.
    I am not sure that I would WANT to live in a world where men and women are treated the same, because, simply put, we’re NOT. We have different approaches to life, different communication patterns, different everything. Of course, I’m speaking in generalities, but you get my drift.
    I have not given up my feminist roots, but I’ve been humbled big time by these and many other examples. In trying to be like men, women have sold themselves a bill of goods that wasn’t necessarily such a bargain. I could write forever on this subject. It’s just so interesting.

  130. Two words- Christening Gown.
    I think the red is fine. It could be for a boy or a girl and in Chinese culture, it is the super lucky color. Perhaps the color identification is more for the adults than the child. Some parents would be disturbed if their child’s gender is interpreted incorrectly based on clothing. Some viewers might wonder why a boy is dressed in pink clothing (they probably haven’t heard of hand-me-downs) and thus criticize the parent for not buying designer baby goods that cost more than a third world nation’s medical budget. If they really want to know the gender of the child, they could just ask.
    Honestly. I’m hoping that I never have to knit something in pastel pink or blue. Bright colors stimulate vision growth!

  131. The red sweater is a terrific color and I love the pattern. It would have looked great on my nephew 6 years ago when he was a baby. He’s now 6 1/2 and very much into his t-ball uniform – but he still looks awesome in red. I hope you are feeling much better soon!

  132. This ‘dressing of children’ is an interesting question. The 1st daughter was very girly looking so she was in pinks, yellows and greens. The 1st and 2nd sons were very boy looking so they were in greens, blues and reds. The 2nd daughter was very german looking. I am of very german heritage. She was always dressed in pink because I got alot of those faces from people, is she a boy or girl?

  133. A friend of mine who had a baby this past December opted not to find out in advance if she was having a boy or a girl. One of the main reasons for this decision was her desire to avoid getting a stack of blue or pink clothing for her kiddo. It also cut back on cutsie girly or boyish blankets and room decor. I think the sweaters you are making are lovely perhaps because neither of them is light pink or baby blue. Of course, if I had babies and someone wanted to knit them sweaters in any color, I’d be totally thankful because of the time and effort involved in doing so.

  134. I’d go for it! I never worry about it too much unless it is all pink or there is lace. I have two older daughters and a 3 year old boy and he has worn lots of their old clothes. My brother in-law on the other hand has real issues – he wouldn’t even let my nephew wear duckies on his baby clothes as it wasn’t masculine enough. That just caused us to buy everything we could find with little ducks on it!

  135. Well, I may not be one to comment because I just finished socks for my 12 yr old boy that would technically be lace…but they’re dark green and bulky.
    My grandmother told me when he was a baby it was too bad pink is now only a baby girl color because they all look so good in it. Her son, my father wore pink pants out to a band concert this week. He wears it because he looks good in it. And he’s brave. And he dresses himself.
    The hospital put our daughter in blue often- to match her eyes. They were thrilled we sent blue in for her! Hopefully mom will be happy with the lace. If not, baby girl will have two sweaters!

  136. Is it fun to knit? Then keep knitting it! It’s beautiful, and no one will be able to tell if the baby is a boy or a girl anyway. Even when my daughter was dressed head to toe in pink, pink pink! people asked me, “is it a boy, or a girl?”

  137. In your flu haze you’re poking the proverbial ‘elephant in the room,’ and I bet lots of people will take this topic and run with it.
    My thoughts – I wish I could completely dismiss gendered kids clothes, but it’s so hard to avoid them. But I’m trying and trying and trying. I don’t knit gendered stuff for my Little Man, and I don’t knit gendered stuff for other people’s kids. But it’s hard.

  138. I live in RI, and pink is a HUGE trend for the pre-teen and teenage boys right now.
    Get better, then look at the sweaters; you’ll see they are both gorgeous, and any new parents will be touched that so much care and work went into a gift for their beloved little ones.

  139. Interesting (and endless) topic. I found myself considering the same issues when my friends started having children. I refuse to buy pink for girls and blue for boys. I generally stick with greens and yellows. Then my thoroughly tomboyish niece (now 5) started insisting on pink and purple everything. She also wants to wear dresses 24/7–the frillier the better. However, she lives on a farm, tries to climb trees, chases the dog, rides horses (the one time they can convince her to put pants on) and plays in the mud with her brother. My mother recently made a play dress for her out of scraps of fabric left over from my sister’s prom gowns (yup, sewers have stashes too). Upon finding out, my nephew (then 3 1/2) wailed, “Grandma, how come you didn’t make ME a dress?” and cried for 20 minutes. This is all a roundabout way of saying your second sweater is just fine. He’ll be warm and snuggled in it, which is what matters.

  140. when my husband was little he was dressed in pink and frills and god knows what. he proceeded to pull the lace off, rip his dresses to pieces and cut his hair off right by the scalp. it’s a true miracle that his family didn’t have a clue that their little girl was really a boy until he came out as transsexual at age 18. anyway, that’s why i don’t believe in boyish or girlish clothes. i never give moms-to-be anything gender specific, because i’m sure that IF the little boy is really a girl or the other way around he or she will be thrilled to have at least one piece of clothing that doesn’t label him. well, at least he (she) will when he (she) gets old enough to appreciate it. don’t you think?

  141. If the mom thinks the eyelets are too feminine she can just dress her girl twin in it. I really like the faux cables and eyelets- it looks pretty gender neutral to me.
    My mom dressed me in both girl and boy clothes as a baby so I’d get to have the experience of being called strong and beautiful by strangers!

  142. This is an awesome post, I should swing by more often. I’m not a knitter, but my wife is, and she’s been loving all your stuff, even if she is a little afraid to say the word harlot in church… lol!
    Personally, I often get stick up my butt about this stuff. We still live in a society where being gentle and nurturing are not considered appropriate for men… and as a gentle, nuturing guy, I’ve felt the backlash all too often…
    Speaking of nurturing sorts of thigns, I hope you’ll visit me at and have a look at the Socks for Sheep post. I’m trying to help my wife help people…

  143. I think it’s way too early to judge that sweater based on that little bitty swatch of pattern. If there is a subconscious effort toward masculinity in your boy knitting, I’m certain that you took that into account when picking out the pattern in the first place, and thus will be happier with it when you’ve knit enough for the boy-ish-ness (if such exists) to show.
    As to the treatment thing, you don’t change 2 million years of history overnight. We *do* treat boys and girls differently, and they do act differently, too. I try to avoid it as much as possible by using gender-neutral phrases to praise mine (they’re both “smart” and “perceptive” and “charming”) but I don’t seen anything wrong with also praising them for their good looks (I tell my girl she’s pretty — she’s 12 and needs to hear that) or their energy (I can’t help it; the boy just *is* more energetic than his sister) or whatever.
    She’s got blue eyes, so we dressed her in blue a lot. Her favorite colors for a long time were purple and pink, and we hadn’t really been prepared for a boy so in a few cases he briefly inherited some of her things, like her purple flannel sheets. He thought those were the cat’s meow, and for a short time his favorite color was also purple. I have to admit — shameful though it is — that this bothered me a little, and when he changed his favorite color to yellow I was relieved.
    He was 3.
    If there’s something wrong with you, it’s wrong with me, too. 😛 I mean, how stupid is that, being bothered that your son likes purple? As if (I’ll come out and say it) a straight man couldn’t like purple, or a gay man couldn’t like yellow, or it would matter to me either way if he was straight or gay at 4 or 40! Well, obviously, it would apparently bother me a little bit, but I wouldn’t love him any less, and it’s an entirely subconscious reaction. /shrug
    Frankly, I think we’ve all just grown up worrying about it so much that we think about it way too much now.
    I think the sweater’s great. And I think when the fog has cleared and you’ve got a swatch 2-3 times that size, you’ll think it’s great, too. I’ve always liked cables … (forgive me) … especially for boys.

  144. It is a very manly sweater….even for a wee boy. Also, it will look smashing on his sister. I have to say that, for me at least, the reason I shy away from classic “girl” colors for boy babies is that most of their Father’s would never let them wear said items and I would be sad.
    Fear not, however, that sweater is beautiful and no one would ever consider that lace pattern as “girly”, except….well, you in a feverish state. 😀

  145. Love the sweater,, from the mother of a girl who I dresed in pink lace & frills & still had people ask if she was a boy or girl.. I finally dressed her as she liked… boy”ish” at times, and frilly at times… chalk it up to your fever, the sweator is wonderful… hugss hope you’re better soon.

  146. My youngest boy was always dressed in very boyish” gear – it was all hand-me-downs from a very traditional type family where the boys wore “boys stuff”. He is built like the proverbial brick shed but was still constantly misataken for a girl, why? Curly blonde hair. Apparently only girls have it……

  147. When I was a baby, my mother dressed me in a pink sleeper which she had gotten at a shower (since I was born before the shower, there was a lot of pink). She also dressed both of my younger brothers in the pink sleeper.
    The baby is unlikely to care what the sweater looks like. Make whatever you like (or what the parents will like).

  148. One’s sense of gender is probably determined before birth. The prevailing notion that you could influence a kid into becoming either a boy or a girl by treating them like one was put into question by an interesting medical situation. Years ago, a baby boy (and he may have been Canadian!) had a botched circumcision.The parents were advised to have the kid castrated and raised as a girl. Initially,all was presumed to be well, however, when the child reached adolescence, he/she experienced severe emotional problems and was eventually told about his past medical history. Despite his anatomical deficit, he chose to resume his life as a male and is apparently living happily with a female companion. (There’s a PBS program about this.) So certainly your little
    boy twin isn’t going to care what color or style
    his mom dresses him. Mom (and Dad),being culturally conditioned,of course are going to care. After reading your wonderful astonishingly witty blog, I suspect that most of the parents you deal with are pretty flexible. Fortunately, red is a pretty gender neutral color. So go ahead and finish the red eyelet-cable sweater.Any baby, boy or girl will look cute in it. By the way, 100 years ago, all boys under age 5 were dressed like girls-I saw a picture of former president Lyndon Johnson as a child in a family portrait, complete with banana curls and frilly frock!

  149. I can’t tell enough about the manliness from what you’ve knit so far. Couldn’t find any pix in the book link either. I’m partial to blue and that would probably eliminate any confusion.
    But that’s just me.

  150. I found myself having a similar gendering crisis after I had my baby boy two years ago. My husband and I decided to find out what the baby was going to be and shared that with everyone. So, of course, for my baby showers I got all sorts of onsies and track outfits that said things like �baby boy�, �Daddy�s Boy�, and �I�m a Boy�. And everything was baby boy blue.
    I loved it all and eagerly looked forward to dressing my little man in the clothes. Then he grew out of them. Then the husband and I started talking about having another one. Then it hit me. What if the second one is a girl? She won�t be able to wear any of the clothes we already had. What on earth was I going to do?
    So I finally figured it doesn�t matter. So if she ever gets here, she�ll wear �baby boy� onsies until she�s old enough to say otherwise. Or until her grandma gets sick of people thinking she�s a boy and buys her a whole new wardrobe.

  151. My fiance and I just got back from our vacation and so this is a little late, but I wanted to tell you what a good time we had seeing you in Lexington–I went through a packet of tissues I was laughing so hard. I made him postpone the trip and he had such a good time that leaving late because we had to “go listen to the yarn lady” didn’t bother him by the time we left.

  152. What a great post! I was ruminating on this very topic myself earlier today – in honour of my brother’s birthday, I posted on my blog today about how he once went to a tea party at Stockwell Day’s sister’s house wearing one of my sundresses when we were kids (sans ginch, naturally). My mom didn’t tell him that dresses weren’t for boys – she just helped him pick it out. He looked cuter in my dress than I did – which is probably why I’m the one who turned out gay. HA ha!
    Drink lots of juice and get well soon!

  153. I’ve made Erle for boys, twice – different boys, both of whom look great in it! One was leaf green, the other scandanavian blue. The sleeves tend to be a bit long as written in the excellent pattern, so I shortened them by about an inch – 1 to 1 1/2 inches the second time. Much better.
    My only suggestion, aside from shortening the sleeves, might be to make the body of the sweater a bit longer than as written, maybe 1 or 2 inches/ 1 or 2 repeats. This is ’cause the sweater is so great looking that it is sure to be a long-time favorite. (one I made is still being worn by child# 1 – only it’s too short. In defense of the clear and truly excellent pattern, I knit it a year ago and the baby has grown a tad)
    It a great sweater for a boy. Regards, =Mary=

  154. if you look at the ‘vintage’ Patons layette patterns, the knitting is all fairly ‘lacy,’ and not really gender-specific until the sizing gets up to 12 months & the babies are walking. there’s a lot of practicality in the shaping of the clothes- swing coats, ribbon ties instead of buttons, the laciness of the stitches making the garments extra-stretchy (for pulling the clothes waaay out to dress the babies) and the waffli-ness making them cushiony and warm. and back then, people couldn’t find out the sex of their babies in the womb, so knitting ahead meant making clothes to suit both sexes. and the kids’ clothes are *just* for kids– not sized-down versions of adult styles like you see nowadays.
    it’s funny that you posted about this, i’ve been thinking about the same subject quite a bit since Zo� was born & people have been innundating us with pink, frilly gifts… frou! and frou!

  155. I think most of what I have to say has already been said, but I’ll say it again:
    1. I don’t see lace at all.
    2. I think the color and the pattern are gorgeous and perfectly appropriate for a baby of either gender. I don’t think that it screams, “I’m a girl!” I also don’t think that it screams, “I’m a boy!” I look at it and say, “Wow, what a beautiful sweater. Somebody put a lot of love into that.”
    3. Baby clothes, while worn *by* the baby, are really *for* the parents. Are the parents hung up on defining their babies’ genders through what they wear? And if so, what do they think of the pattern?
    I have no kids just yet, but I have a friend with a 4-year-old little boy. I’ve been with her while clothes-shopping, and one of her biggest complaints is trying to find clothes that aren’t blue, dinosaur-encrusted, and/or camo. “My son is 4, he’s not joining the Army!”
    Oh, and I used to wear dresses when I was little… until one of the big kids at school used my sash to tie me to the monkey bars. Pretty much put an end to my dress-wearing days. I don’t remember ever being a “girly-girl,” before or after the Day of the Sash.

  156. I think knitted gifts should make a statement about the individual they’re being knitted for; not so much the knitter. Babies are as neutral as you can get.
    That being said, I don’t think the lace pattern you’re using is terribly feminine. In fact, it almost looks like cabling.
    Ultimately, I think it’s all boils down to personal comfort level. Are you going to be completely satisfied with the sweater once it’s done? If yes — continue. If no — rip back and start over.
    p.s. I hope you continue to feel better! Lovely work.

  157. Glad you are feeling better!
    I think it toaly depends on the rest of the way the kid is raised. You find a lot of families, mine included, who use a lot of hand-me-downs. In my family, the second kid is always a differnet gender from the first. With my neice, she got the girly dresses, and lace, and pink stuff, as well as more “gender nutral” clothes. And she was raised with her boy cousin who was 9 months younger, and wore a lot of her baby clothes. Mo can be very girly, but she can also play tough. And she rules her cousins with an iron fist. Cash is very tough and active (well, as tough as a 6 year old can be), though he becomes very meek whenever a girl tells him to do something. I think that is more training from Mo than anything else.
    People worry a lot about girls vs. boys, but I think it is all in our heads. Let the kids be kids. Mo loves receiving knitted goods, but has no desier to learn. Cash wants to learn. Doesn’t make her less of a girl or him less of a boy.

  158. This is a touchy subject with me lately. I’m only making things for my baby niece that are blue, or either masculine, or somehow “neutral” looking. I’m a little conflicted about this because I enjoy wearing skirts and dresses and the color pink myself. But then I heard her grandmother on the other side tell her she was such a girl because she was “talking” so much, and I think, nope, only blue! It’s also serving to balance out her 99% pink wardrobe. Heaven help me when I have children and people give me gifts I hate on principle!

  159. Ideas, thoughts? I have a few on occasion. lol
    I draw a definite line between what I would knit for a boy or a girl in the way of colour. Lace in general is NOT for boys (men are free to choose as they will). What you’ve knit so far, while it has eyelets, doesn’t look lacy. The red does tip it a bit to the feminine side IMO.
    Good luck deciding!!!

  160. I’m expecting my first baby in 10 weeks (holy crap.. 10 weeks… i’m never going to be ready).
    Before I knew he was a boy, the only restriction I put on my mother was no pink… even if was a girl. I HATE pink.
    Once we knew his sex, my mother was worried that something she had bought was too girly. My response was I had already bought the baby a Madeline doll so what was girlier than that; he was going to have trucks, teddies and dolls just like a girl would.
    She has stopped worrying. You should too, Both sweaters are lovely and no matter which baby wears them, they will be adorable.

  161. It’s not too girly for a boy. It is also a faux cable so folks won’t notice it is lace until they get up close.
    Apart from that I think all of your musings on gender and babies are spot on (and VERY good for someone with a fever). I try to avoid gender specific colours (have you tried to by an ungendered baby card?!), and generally like to mess with people’s heads about gender anyway.

  162. Man, this post and all its comments were fantastic. I’ve decided if I ever get to the stage of my life where I have to produce baby gifts (I’m 21, ha ha) that it’ll be orange, turquoise, green and yellow all the way. For twins, green and yellow. I had a green and yellow quilt as a child that I loved. It had a rockinghorse on it, and my mom made it when she was a teenager. Best quilt ever!
    Also–great color on the red sweater. Very rich. Who wouldn’t want to wear that?

  163. My son loved pink in kindergarten. Now he loves red…and sticks…and dirt. His pink snowsuit was REALLY filthy 😉
    George Washington wore gowns until he was 7.
    100 years ago, some cultures in the USA put pink on BOYS and blue on GIRLS, as pink was considered to be a “stonger” color.
    At our preschool, you could always tell which boys had older sisters…they were the ones who wore leggings (ok, this was a few years ago, when they were “in”)…the boys loved them, and they were navy, but only the boys who got ’em as hand-me-downs had them!
    Babies traditionally wore lace and handwork…especially boys (being the more important gender…sigh), but we can keep the good parts of that tradition and lose the bad!

  164. Personally, I think that we knit for the approval/appreciation of other knitters &/or adults…sortof like how they say women fix themselves up to impress other women. So, I think that, if it was me, I would determine if the recipient’s mom dressed her children (or herself & her spouse if they don’t have kids yet) girlie-girl/ manly-man or somewhere in the middle. That said, I think the eyelets on the sweater do make it look a bit less masculine – Darling though.

  165. I like to think of myself as devoid of the sillier issues of political correctness and gender stereotyping, but now when I choose colors for babies or friends or myself, I find myself wondering if I should use pink, when I know it looks good on me/friends, etc. The same with lace. I love lace, I like to do something lacy when I know the baby is going to be a girl, but at the back of my mind is a nagging doubt!

  166. The boy sweater rocks – as is!!
    I LOVE the pattern stitch you’ve used. So glad you are feeling like knitting. That shows us you are on the mend. Feel better and take it easy this weekend.

  167. I love both the sweaters just the way they are – he’s just a baby, and plus the red is manly enough (although it would be beautiful on a girl as well). And since the girl’s sweater is at least a little girly, by contrast his will look more manly.
    And don’t forget, up until less than 100 years ago we dressed boys and girls the same (both in curls and dresses no less) until about the age of 7-10.

  168. I love all this back and forth. Great stuff. I knit a red cable (boxy) sweater for my oldest son. All four of my kids wore it, 2 boys, 2 girls.
    I showed my husband the photo, told him they were sweaters for twins and what did he think the genders of the twins were. He said the white sweater was for a girl and the red for a boy. And he isn’t a new-age, touchy-feely kind of guy.

  169. Well, think of it this way: It’s May, a little lace means that the boy sweater will have more ventilation for summer/fall wearings. :)K

  170. Steph,
    As a mother of teenage girls you should know that you can dress the babies in anything but when they see the pictures in 15 years they will say, “What were you thinking – making me wear that?” So knit away – hand made gifts show love pure and simple. At least that is what I tell my children when I grace them with another “homemade gift” from mom.

  171. My son, the U.S. Marine/Eagle Scout wore a eyelet sweater AND booties knit by his great grandmother in England when he was a baby.. He seems to have turned out all right!

  172. My son is, as I type, crapping in a pink diaper. Why pink? Because I got the whole stash of diapers (we use cloth) from a friend who’d had a girl. My test: will his penis fall off if he wears it? If the answer is no (it’s always no, of course), then he wears it. This means that he has shirts with poofy sleeves (which my mother always scoffs at) and pink diapers with flowers on them and booties with ladybugs & daisies. Because I think they’re cute and they won’t make his penis fall *plop* to the floor, so pftttt what society says. For the record, I have also knit him a doll to play with and believe very VERY strongly that guns are inappropriate toys, regardless of gender.

  173. I’ve had the exact same problem, Stephanie. I think I’m this enlightened feminist, and then part of me gets super nervous that the color I’m using for a friend’s baby sweater isn’t “boy” enough. I guess I’ve been conditioned, too. However, I think that the red sweater is gorgeous, and that any baby would be lucky to have it knitted for them.

  174. Speaking of double moss stitch…what is the trick to making it turn out right. The pattern says 2 rows of K2, P2 and then 2 rows of P2, K2. I am doing it on the border of a blanket now and it does not look right. I am just pretending that I planned to knit it precisely the way it is turning out. To add insult to injury- I don’t want to be knitting this blanket. My husband begged me to knit it for a friend of his that just had a baby.

  175. The baby sweaters are beautiful and the little fellow will get lots of blue stuff from everybody else; so this way your efforts won’t get tangled up with everybody else’s gifts for the mother-to-be who will be losing all her faculties in the very near future!!
    I just bought your book last night…another treasure! And I just finished the second chapter before heading into my LYS and added to my stash…haha I’m lovin’ it!!
    Sooo…How’s Joe? Does he read your blog and the numerous comments? Does he now sleep with one eye open?
    Gotta say, a little disappionting that there aren’t any Canadian dates yet for your tour! I also think that, given your latest reality health check, that you maybe stretch out the tour and perhaps schedule some hometown-type signings in between all the jet hopping!
    Hope you feel better soon.

  176. My baby sister (okay, she *is* 30) is pregnant with her first right now and has decided to not find out the baby’s sex. I sort of feel I am regulated to only making a baby blanket right now because she doesn’t know the sex. This doesn’t mean I was going to make something frilly and pink if Plus One is a girl or sturdy and blue it Plus One is a boy – but I think there are certain styles better suited to a boy or a girl. So, the Tangerine Dream it is – a basketweave baby blanket is a sunny orange colour for now. You can check out my blog if you want to see the work in progress ( ).

  177. I had two daughters several years apart that as babies looked very much alike; one was very large at birth the other much smaller. Each in their turn wore the same pink dress and people would say, “What a strapping boy” about the larger baby and “What a cute little girl” to my smaller daughter. They were always surprised when I said she’s a girl, see she’s wearing a pink dress. Size was all they were basing their perception of maleness or femaleness.
    So don’t fret what a baby wears influencing peoples gender perception.
    Sweaters are beautiful Stephanie.

  178. the Mom of those babies is going to thrilled with both of those sweaters, no matter the colour. Glad to hear you are taking it easy for a few days .

  179. >>My test: will his penis fall off if he wears it?<<
    BWAHAHAHAHA! Jen, that is AWESOME! 😀 That is the same test I use with my son when he wants to play with his sister’s dolls. Hubby freaks out. Sissy freaks out (though for different reasons). I’ve always insisted that it’s okay because when I was 10 all I wanted out of life was a Matchbox car set, and it’s not like he’s suddenly going to grow boobs. Why, though, do the dolls inevitably end up getting eaten by a dinosaur who gets shot by the special army gun he built out of Legos even though we won’t let him have toy guns? (Turns out Sissy has a reason to freak out …)

  180. I prefer to give gender-neutral baby presents, and let the parents decide what they want to do. I think the lace sweater will be fine for the boy.
    The white one is indeed girly, but it is sooo sweet! I’d be tempted to give the boy a similar one, but with blue flowers. 😉 Or maybe red with white flowers?

  181. I really don’t know where our societal stereotypes about clothing came from. Why can’t a boy wear something with little rosebuds on it, but it’s okay for little girls to wear Bob the Builder stuff. In other words, it’s okay for girls to be somewhat “tomboyish” but not okay for boys to dress on the feminine side. Can anyone explain this? Anyway, both sweaters are lovely and will doubtless be loved and cherished.
    And no, I don’t think the red sweater is too lacy for a boy. That’s not lace, its openwork.

  182. I love the red, it suggests boldness and strength which could be male or female attributes. As for the lace, I would say it’s more “openwork” to compliment the cables. When I look at the old photos of my grandparents baby pictures, I still chuckle at the picture of my grandpa in a frilly, lacy dress. But this was the norm then and a way to show off some incredible needlecraft skills along with making your baby even more beautiful. And, to think that we all feel so “enlightened and hip” these days. Trust your instincts Steph, it will be a great sweater and heirloom. Besides, a little bit of lace never hurt anyone.

  183. I think the sweaters are great. The only reason I ever dressed my son in “boy”ish clothes was because he was born with curly hair, and even if he had on black, people kept saying “what a cute girl” and the only reason I put my girls in pink is because they were bald as old men and people kept calling them boys!

  184. Both sweaters are absolutely gorgeous! Any Mom would be delighted with them. The red one is certainly genderless–not too feminine at all! Almost 50 years ago when my Mom was knitting for my expectant first child, she grew weary of white and yellow. She then made a very beautiful baby blue cardigan with cables on tiny needles. When my daughter was born, my creative Mother embroidered tiny flowers along the button band and around the front of the hat & then sewed lace on its underside. What a gorgeous little outfit this was! Don’t know if I have genderitis, but I will admit that I never put this one on her little brother 3 years later! Admire your creativity, talent, and yes, your wisdom! Knit on, Ruth in N.J.

  185. Call me crazy, but when I meet babies, I don’t guess their gender from their clothes, I ask their moms! I’ve seen cute babies in all kinds of outfits and the outfits said “baby” to me, not “boy” or “girl.”

  186. My second son wore his brother’s hand me downs, and everyone asked what ‘her’ name was. My daughter started in girl clothes, and most people thought she was a boy. And then she turned 1 and wore her brothers’ hand me downs and told people she was a boy! Lace? what lace?
    P.S. I think the red will be beautiful for a boy.

  187. I love both sweaters! The red seems fine for a boy, in my opinion, and looks more like cables than eyelet. Of course, the babies won’t care and there’s no telling what the parents will think. They should just be happy to receive such wonderful gifts for their little ones.
    I, personally, am not a girly,girl type of person myself and prefer to make baby gifts from greens, reds, purples, natural colors, etc. rather than pastels.
    Of course, being Irish,I think men in kilts are extremely sexy. You might want to take that into consideration.

  188. I think I pretty much veto lace for either boys or girls. But I’m not much of a lace person anyways.
    I’m having a boy in a few months and the only thing I’ve banned is Disney, cartoon characters and Pooh. May sound kind of weird, but I’d rather my child didn’t look like a billboard. Except for maybe the “I Love Mommy” hat I just bought him…but that’s the kind of advertising I can live with.

  189. IMHO, you wouldn’t worry about it if it weren’t for the fever. There, there. Dear, dear. You poor, poor, thing. Does that help? The only opinion to worry about is Mom’s. Not even Dad gets a vote for those very first weeks. IMHO. In the meanwhile, take care of yourself. (Boy, even sick, you are an amazing knitter! And FAST!) wj

  190. I’d have the same hesitation as you have, but not because of the sex of the baby, only because his parents might think the chosen sweater is not boyish enough.
    Ultimately, he could not care less, but I do not want to knit anyhting that will then not be worn due to some gender bias or another.
    Personally, I think the red sweater is great, and anybody should wear what they want, gender neutral or not!
    It was a pleasure to meet you in Grafton, sorry I could not stay for dinner.

  191. I think that the red sweater is perfectly appropriate for a baby boy. The baby won’t care anyway so make what ever you’re comfortable with.
    Everybody’s going to have a different opinion on this subject, I don’t think there’s any real wrong or right myself. Being paranoid about a boy looking too feminine is no worse than being like the ardent feminist who lectured me on letting my sex down because I chose to be a stay at home mom and housewife. I expressed the opinion that the purpose of the feminist movement was to give women the right to choose their own way, not to turn around and force another stereotype on us but she didn’t get it. Some people never will, don’t worry about them enough to stress yourself out. Knit what you like for whom you like, the parents should be thrilled to get a gift made with so much love.

  192. A hot topic, Steph! Although my MIL may have disagreed at times, I did shun feminine(like that?) clothing for my baby boys. I like to think that rather than pressing onto them my idea of what boys and girls should look like/be-I was recognizing that they are indeed different. Boys are (for the most part) rougher than girls, if they were in delicate fabrics their clothing would tear faster-better to dress them in hardwearing denims and flannels.
    My dd prefers quieter activities-she naturally gravitates toward beautiful things-why not dress her in accordance with that? Now I’m going back to read all the responses-should be really interesting!

  193. I knit Erle for my sister’s first baby a little over two years ago. Since my sister didn’t want to find out the baby’s sex beforehand, (even though we threatened that we would only buy or knit yellow/mint/white clothing) I knit it in Dale Baby Ull mint green in the smallest size. My niece wore it home from the hospital and my sister squeezed her into it for many, many months after she had outgrown it. It was worn a lot. When my niece wore it, I thought she looked dainty and feminine with the lacey eyelets, but if she had been born a nephew instead of a niece, I’m sure he would have looked manly in it coming home from the hospital. (As “manly” as a newborn can look.)

  194. One year, my brother saw some of my Christmas gifts for girls and was surprised how girly they were. I guess I must have made quite an impact during my hardcore feminist days. But here it is. I love dolls. I do. I always have and I always will. And I love “feminine” clothing. And I love long hair and think it’s just plain silly that men don’t have long hair. But we as a culture can’t operate without gender cues. Take gender neutral names like Ariel or Sam or Morgan. Even when it’s not relevant, the first question, “Is Ariel a guy?”. It’s as if the conversation can’t go on until that question is answered.

  195. We dress infants acording to gender so parents don’t have to keep correcting strangers.

  196. They’re both great, and I’m having trouble seeing the lace part. When my daughter was tiny, we dressed her in very gender-neutral clothes – waffle-knit henleys, khakis, jeans, etc., because they were comfortable and cute. We were completely thinking hand-me-downs (and 3 boys later, we’re glad we did). Then one day, when she was around 2, we took her shopping for some new sneakers and popped some little navy blue ones on her feet. She kicked them off, grinned, and reached up for the pink pair on the shelf next to her, and crowed “No, pink!!” And that was pretty much it for the next few years of barbie and princess madness (gack.). I think I can see the end of that tunnel, though, and we’re getting much more into bright and light blue.
    And her little brother always wants to wear the cinderella dress when they play. It brings out the blue in his eyes.
    Glad you’re feeling better! Maybe Joe could use some pink socks…

  197. My, my, you must be feeling a bit better since you’re stirring the pot a bit!

  198. The red is great. I wouldn’t knit the pattern in lavender and stick it on a boy, but I think red lace-ish is just great. All babies are fragile regardless of gender, so lace is ok on them. That being said, I confess I put little flowered socks on my baby son, but it was because he was a tiny baby, not because he was a wuss. I used to think we could be pretty-much gender-neutral, no pressure, until I discovered he was only interested in trucks and Thomas the Tank Engine, and saw him throw a Raggedy Andy doll across the room in disdain when a friend gave it to him as a gift. Seriously, put lace on them before they get big enough to give you a hard time. And take pictures. You’ll want to show those at the big dinner the night before he gets married.

  199. Hi Steph..3 years ago I would have been scoffing at the whole boy blue, girl glitz idea then something strange happened to me…I had a boy girl set of twins and omg!! I can’t resist matching clothes and the blue/pink brigade. I know it’s schmultzie but there’s something in my brain screaming “They won’t let you do this later…do it while you can!!!!!!” hehe love your often makes my day… Ruth from Melbourne Australia

  200. With my 7 week old baby nursing at the computer, I say, the colour does seem to make a difference in how people react to her. Although I’ve noticed that people are pretty careful to say “boy? girl?” before they launch into whatever comment comes to mind. I have three girls, and have had to answer the girl/boy question lots due to the colour of strollers and car seats (why is it always navy blue or brown and forest green? probably hides the dirt better.). Jeep makes a red and black stroller, but in the end – it’s the pink knit blankies that allow my little ones to be seen as girls from the get-go. Spend five minutes with my two-year old, and you’ll wonder why you thought girls would behave gently and politely, mind you. I thought you’d make the first sweater in blue and white or something – I was surprised you went to a second pattern. My sister has three boys – some reds are too feminine even for her tastes. It’s such a personal thing.

  201. The red sweater will look even more boyish if you add some nice gun buttons or something like that. (I am kidding!) But boyish (non gun) buttons would ‘butch it up’ a little, if you’re worried. I think it looks great!

  202. I so remember wrestling with this gender question when my nephews were babies nearly 40 years ago. I was a teenager (and hippie!) and bullying my sister into doing all the right things for the boys. I was all about making sure they had dolls as well as trucks, that sort of thing. And to not treat them differently because of gender. But I swear it’s nearly impossible, even when you are trying! I still find myself doing the “big strong boy” bit and “gorgeous little one” with infants today.
    We also learned that even if you insist on not buying toy guns for boys that it doesn’t much matter, since they turn anything, including index fingers, into toy guns. So we gave up on that one too. I have reluctantly concluded after all my years of experience that boys and girls are indeed hard-wired different. Not better or worse, but decidely different. Well. Of course girls are better, but we don’t like to advertise that. It’s unseemly.

  203. In a purely practical vein: Lace for boys OR girls can get caught on their tiny fingers. Sometimes it is better to save the lace for a shawl rather than a garment.
    Also, regardless of what your own ideology, the current social standards, etc etc may say, you have to take the attitude of the child’s mother into account. If she is very gender-restrictive about her kiddie’s clothing, then she will never dress her darling in your gift, no matter what kind of soul-searching went into the selection of yarn and pattern.

  204. I’m relieved to hear that you’re recovering. Take care of yourself. I wear a germ-protection mask when I have to be on an airplane; I have to remove it for boarding but it stays on the rest of the time. It really helps.
    A Polish woman told me that “heart” shapes are a symbol of masculinity (hint: they’re usually upside down). My father and his brothers all wore dresses until they went to school. I’ve seen old photos of Canadian 10-year-old boys whose garter belt straps showed between their shorts and their long hand-knitted stockings. Someone recently published that there is an area of the brain that determines gender identification before birth.
    In the early 1980s people asked the gender of the baby to prove they weren’t judging it based on the clothing.
    The sweaters are beautiful.

  205. “It would appear that I am going to live, though I’m still not sure if I’m ok with that.”
    I so love this statement. I’m thinking about getting it either silkscreened on a t-shirt or tatooed on my forehead. I’ve lived through a week that began with my brother damn near cutting his thumb off while doing work for me, and ended with a bunny dying in my hands. And there was plenty of other bad stuff in between, including layoffs at work and 70 mph winds that snapped large trees off at the ground — but I’m still here. Knitting’s the only thing that’s kept me sane(ish), and you can dress the boys in lace or pink eyelets, and it’s all fine with me.

  206. I rather like the sweater, well both of them, but I wouldn’t have second thoughts about putting a boy in the red sweater. I really don’t think, at least to me, the clothes matter. I personally wouldn’t put a baby, boy or girl in lace. My perception may be off since people on the streets would be all “Ahh, HE’s so cute, what’s HIS name?” My mom would look down at me in my pink frilly dresses that I loved and pierced ears (afer I was 1 1/2 yrs) and look at them and just reply “HER name is Naomi.” They did this until I was three. The only explaination my mom could figure was that I was bald until then.

  207. I should read throught the two hundred-something comments before offering my .02, just in case someone else said before what I’m saying now.
    First: no I don’t think that a red, patterned knit is too girly. I’m not seeing that, and yes I’m sensitive to that.
    Second: I *do* think that there are boyish things and girlish things–say what you will. I’m not sure that there’s anything wrong with that, so long as the “traditional” gender rolls don’t come along with wearing a blue hat or a pink sweater.

  208. My mom knit my first born a lavendar cardigan that both he and his brother wore. I’m happy to say that while my boys are typically energetic and into video games, they are also sweet, tenderhearted and kind to animals.
    I say, put a little lace on the boy and a some manly colors on the girl ever so often. While each gender has its predominate traits, both are leavened with a touch of the opposite. It’s the ying and the yang.

  209. I remember reading about some study someone did where they dressed some babies in gender neutral clothes, absolutely no hint of gender whatsoever, and took them out and observed people’s reactions. People get really uncomfortable when they can’t tell if it’s a boy or a girl. Downright cranky sometimes. Kind of weird. I mean, it’s a baby. At that age, they’re kind of interchangeable. And they’re not going to be interacting with the kid for more than two minutes. Why on earth does it matter to them so much?
    As far as the sweater, looks boyish enough to me. Not that I’m necessarily the best judge. I’m definitely not a girly girl. I wouldn’t be caught dead in pink. I do wear skirts in the summer sometimes, but you know, only with bike shorts underneath. I have so few pairs of shoes, I’m in danger of having my girl license revoked.
    Men in kilts are definitely sexy. Oh yeah.

  210. hmmmmmm. very interesting thoughts. i will say this though. as my girls were growing up, i did not dress them in “girly” colors, unless they were wearing dresses for special occasions. i prefer strong bright colors, and dressed my girls accordingly. in fact, one time, i had dressed my girls in matching (one was fuschia and one was royal blue) overalls (they wore the same size at the time,and could have very easily been wearing the opposites) and went to the mall. we were stopped by mall security because someone ahd tried to use a stolen credit card at a jewelry store and they had a “boy in blue overalls” with them. they stopped us because STEPHANIE was wearing blue overalls! to the point that they searched my husband AND the car! we cooperated, and it eventually came out that they found the people elsewhere in the mall, but it pissed me off that they assumed stephanie was a boy because she was wearing blue! no mention of a second child, so they just figured that lisa had been missed. oy. anyway, so, i’ve dressed both girls in strong primary colors. and now, lisa is a girly girl, and stephanie is a major tomboy (although lisa is 21 & steph is 20, lol). except, lisa won’t wear pink, and stephanie adores it.
    and i also put fuschia and purple on the boys. still no pastels, lol.

  211. My sons grew up with a very victorian background – so they had lace sweaters when they were babies.
    They turned 10 and discovered black and camouflage – wore that for 15 years.
    Now 1 is 35 and doesn’t hesitate to wear fuschia ( I suspect at the urging of his wife) The other at 33 is sporting purple (again with encouragement of the opposite sex)
    So while I probably wouldn’t put a boy in baby pink, I am certain that whatever they wear as babies, they find their own styles pretty soon. As to the rest of the world -prejudice exists everywhere – even amongst the knitterly set. Do what feels right – I like red myself.

  212. When my children were babies to avoid the gender problem I decided to eschew the pastel colors and chose primary colors whenever possible. I like the red, I had a red sweater that all my babies wore, two boys and two girls. I don’t think the stitch pattern is “girly” at all. I think the “crisis” that you’re having is due to the fact that the first sweater is quite obviously a “girly” sweater but the red sweater is not as obvious as a “boyish” sweater. Don’t sweat it, they’re fine. The white sweater is very beautiful.

  213. Point of interest: in certain Indian communities, boys are dressed as girls for their first few years – long hair and everything – the idea is to keep jealous supernatural forces from taking (more desirable) boy babies away. So maybe if you are still feeling plagued with doubts you can think of the lacy boy sweater as protective.

  214. I generally avoid abundant eyelet for babies because there’s a family story about a great-grand knitting a lace baby blanket and said baby getting all her fingers and toes stuck in the yo’s and endangering herself. Small bits of eyelet like the red sweater? Beautiful.
    I’ve had customers say that lots of texture (like your red sweater) is manly. So there!
    As for colors? My dad, who still sports his Marine Corps haircut, wears pastel pink and wears it well. My great-grandmother maintained that when she was young the boy-girl colors were different, that blue was usually for girls, etc. I dressed DD in yellow and mint green and let everyone try to guess what that huge bald potato-like baby was.
    My boys in the teen knitting club are totally unbiased about color, but the girls have definite ideas about what goes where and on whom.
    The fact is, anything you knit will be loved and handed down for generations.

  215. Awfully deep thoughts there Steph, especially with a fever! Before my son was born, I knit a very pretty lace sweater seat – my only concessions to girl/boy was to make it pale green because I didn’t know. But it was very, very lacey! I put it on him proudly and 30 years later, we put it on his daughter. So I say, lace away for either girl or boy although my traditional little mind would probably not go as far as putting pink lace on a boy!

  216. When my son was a baby, almost 38 years ago, I certainly would have put that sweater on him. It’s going to be beautiful. I’d have put it on his sister 2 years later, too.

    enough said 🙂
    But speaking as someone who does crossdress (CD) on a semiregular basis (I coem off as a gay male most times, complete with mohawk), I’d have no qualms dressing my male kids in pink or lace. Gender is in your head, not you body (thats sex)

  218. I don’t think the lace is too girly for a boy. It’s not that lacy and red is definitely a color in boyland these days. Then again, I knit this for my son and everyone thinks he’s a girl when he wears it. I knit it before he was born and we let the sex be a mystery and I think of purple as a gender neutral color.
    Mea, check out Hanna Andersson for purple shirts for boys. But be prepared for everyone to call him a girl in them. That’s what they do to my older son. Ah well.

  219. I’m hoping that after these babies are born, those who gaze upon them will view them as tiny people who are both strong AND beautiful; both competent AND fragile. Therefore, those who see the babies in their garments will view the handmade sweaters as a work of love reflecting the love of each child — and the sweaters will look perfect.
    And it’s a tribute to you, Stephanie, that even when seriously under the weather, you exert a deep and thoughtful effort towards the feelings of others. Please take good and gentle care of yourself– you’re most deserving of the very best! I’m sending you some cyber chicken soup and wishing you a restful weekend. — from Daryl Lynn 🙂

  220. Being a mom of two daughters first and then a son….I thought that as moms we made our boys the way they are. WRONG! They just are that way. So the sweater may make other people react differently toward him but it won’t change the way he’ll be. He’ll still be stubborn and aggressive and use everything he picks up as a weapon. My son used to carry around one of his sister’s baby dolls….but he called it baby boom! The sweater is gorgeous. Keep knitting.

  221. As the mother of 4 girls and one boy, it doesn’t make a bit of difference to the boy if he wears pink or not. He wore his 2 older sisters’ hand me downs, and the only one who complained was his dad. My oldest daughter had some health problems when she was born, and had to have an IV inserted in her head. They shaved the top of her head and left a ring, like a little bald man. After 10 days in the hospital, we shaved the rest off at home. The top grew back in way before the part we shaved, and even dressed in pink overalls and a nice little row of curls on the top of her head people mistook her for a boy. So, it doesn’t matter what you dress them in, people will use other features of the baby to guess their gender.
    The red sweater is gorgeous, and not too girly for me.

  222. The cable design dominates the red sweater, and the eyelets are barely visible on my monitor. I’d like to try that one on a stole or scarf.
    I would bet that if you made the white sweater in different colors and not use green for the “leaves”, it would be seen as a Fair Isle, not “girly”.

  223. Okay, I am a goober, but seeing the finished sweater after getting your permission to photograph you knitting it in Cambridge, MA’s Masonic Temple is really cool!
    And please come to New England again, but maybe this time in Providence, RI? You could fly into the TF Green (PVD) airport… Please??

  224. Having had 3 kids of two genders I can honestly say that the hand knit sweater each of them received were absolutely PERFECT. Had nothing to do with gender specifications as far as color, but everything to do with the time the person put in making the beautiful sweater. I have kept them all. The most precious of gifts and this even before I learned to knit.
    (BTW Red rocks for boys (or girls), perfect match for the lovely white…)

  225. Red is girly?? Three boys then a girl here – they all wore the sweet booties with embroidered flowers, and the cabled cream jumpers that looked like cricket sweaters. A lot of traditional new baby wear here in Australia is quite lacy and delicate anyway. I’d be amazed if anyone thought that the cable and eyelet design was in any way overly “feminine”.
    Having said that, when Boy #3 was born, an older friend absent-mindedly knit him the most beautiful ice-pink cotton lace jacket. She was mortified, but I just put him in it anyway, and smilingly replied to the inevitable questions by saying that he was “a boy in a pink jacket”. It was so pretty and lovingly made that I couldn’t bear not to use it.

  226. I can’t remember which President…but I think it was one of the two Roosevelts who’s mother wanted a girl so badly she dressed her son as a girl until the age of six or seven with long curls and all.
    Obviously that didn’t seem hurt him to much since both men were very good presidents.
    Still it could explain alot about what’s wrong with America as well.
    Anyway I don’t think that your sweater is to girly, for an infant.
    Though I must say that it does make it easier and less embarrassing for strangers if an infant is easily identified by their clothing. Makes for less snafus when talking about how wonderful said infant is.

  227. On one hand I think the gender colors thing is so dumb in our cultures – both my boys go for pink, the bright fuschia kind, which is as full of life as they are…on the other hand I worry about other kids/adults making comments to them about their choices. Weak on my part, I know. I’m working on that. And on forgiving myself for talking my then 4-year old son out of buying a bright pink umbrella.

  228. I have a confession. After a long line of boys, I finally had another girl-niece to knit for. I wanted her so badly so I could use some beautiful pink in my stash. Now, my sister’s are At-One with the women’s movement but I know that they would’ve baulked at dressing their sons in pink (I’m not going to speculate about the fathers who are less enlightened – yet lovable). So now I get to use the pink. And I’m happy.
    Knitting what makes you feel happy. I’ve decided this is the key. Knitting! Yarn! Fun!

  229. When I first look at a baby, I do try my best to guess the baby’s gender based on what they’re wearing. Just because I don’t want to offend the parents by mistaking their little girl for a boy, or their boy for a girl. And if I do say phrases like “beautiful”, or “strong and healthy”, it’s just because that’s probably what the parents want to hear 🙂 I don’t think the manly/girly factor in the clothing does anything to the babies themselves. The boy who was dressed girly doesn’t know about it, and I don’t think it has any influence on him. (Probably would make an interesting photo to show on his 21st birthday party though 🙂 I know a friend whose parents did just that.)
    And btw, I don’t think that sweater is too girly for a boy. It’s faux cable, it’s not too lacy.

  230. Fist of all, I think it’s fine.
    But why do we insist on putting people into neat little gender boxes? And babies don’t know the difference. Only adults do, and the kid is going to grow up however it is, not based on what clothes it’s parents dress it in.
    Of course, I was the little girl whose parents dressed her in the frilliest, girliest pink and purple dresses and I still grew up to be a tomboy lesbian. So, there ya go.

  231. I love the red for the boy, and the pattern is gorgeous. I would go for it. 🙂
    Feel better!

  232. Baby + Sweater = Adorable.
    Personally, and this is just MHO, I think it’ll be great on a boy. But then my son rode to the grocery store in a pink stretch suit once…and tried on dresses for hemming for his same-sized cousin till he was four and rebelled. And my daughter wore an awful lot of brother’s hand me downs.
    Babies are babies. Small, warm, smell good, big eyes. Who cares what color they’re wearing?

  233. I’m sure that some time in the past 18 hours, someone has said this already. I find pictures to sometimes be more powerful than words.
    Have you seen this?
    We all used to wear lace. Lace was the natural state of things. We should all return to lace! Knitted, crocheted, tatted. Let’s do this!

  234. I find the red very rugged looking. And after reading a few of the comments I do agree–babys are babys and should continue to confuse the rest of the world by dressing the babes however we want. I raised 3 beautiful blue-eyed, toe-head girls and would dress them in dresses and people would ask if the baby was a boy or girl. I gave up and dressed the little farmer girls in bibs and red t-shirts, the still asked. Still today people are surprised when they find out the girls change their own oil then dress up and knock’em dead in ultra feminine attire.

  235. Sigh. I really do keep waiting for the day when a mom can pick something for her child because she likes it and not because it is “girly” or “boyish”. I makes me sad that even as strong, independent, open minded and intelligent women, there is an ‘inner’ voice – probably derived from being raised in a more boy v girl society – that tells us whether something is too ‘girly’ for a boy or to ‘boyish’ for a girl. While clothes did, do and always WILL matter to me (can’t help it, I loves me my clothes) I dress in what appeals to me. Some is girly-girl, some more clean cut classical and some with a more manly tailored look to them. I dress my son in what appeals to me and what looks good on him. To my husband’s chagrin, my son has owned a pink shirt (gasp!) but alas, I must admit that I steered clear of that until he was 2 1/2 and clearly a boy (after a very traumatizing day out where 3 different strangers commented on what a pretty ‘girl’ he was laying in ‘her’ stroller). SIGH.
    Back to your underlying question though: I think that the red sweater will be fine. The color is strong and the lace isn’t overly frilly or girly in the least. It will complement his sister’s sweater and yet be just fine for a boy. I don’t think anyone will have any question as to who is a girl and who is a boy.
    Thanks for a once again thought provoking post.
    Feel well, drink plenty of fluids and vitamin C. Tea and chicken soup ROCK!

  236. I think along the same lines as many of the other readers…”why do we have to put everyone into gender categories?…yada yada etc”. I’m the friend who knits in relatively gender neutral colors, but I have given blue to girls, however I’ve never given pink to boys. Maybe I try to toughen the girls, but don’t try to soften boys…who knows? I think the main driver, for me, not to knit pink for boys is that I want their parents to actually use what I knit for them and as enlightened as many of my friends are, I still don’t see them dressing their sons in pastel pinks. The babies don’t care what color their wearing. It all boils down to the parents, and I think it really comes down to the fact that they don’t want people to have to guess about the gender of their baby. Nobody wants their girl to be referred to as “he” or their boy as “she”. I’m not a parent myself, but I don’t even like it when people call my dog “he” (she is very sensitive about that!). I like to think that if I were a parent I would let either sex play with dolls and trucks and wouldn’t dress them based on gender stereotypes. But if your going to spend all that time knitting a beautiful sweater as a gift (the white one is gorgeous by the way) you want to be sure that the parent of the recipient feels the same and will put it on them.

  237. I’m going to add that I really like both sweaters and the eyelets on the red one seem to add more texture, rather than looking like lace.

  238. Although I asked you at WEBS if you read all the comments, I can imagine that in your current state of illness you may not get allllll the way down here!
    Um, my POV: My mom was all fired up in the early ’70s about gender roles/images. We were dressed in neutral colors (sadly, I still do), and for every “girl” toy my sis and I were given, Mom bought us a “boy” toy. My favories as a child were Matchbox cars and Strawberry Shortcakes, with equal passion. Mom always explained her idea to us and once we got old enough to make our own choices, we stuck with what we knew.
    The repurcussions? I don’t know how to be a “girl.” I can’t apply makeup without looking like a clown, I keep my hair long because styling it is a challenge, and I *don’t* have a lot of products cluttering the bathroom. My husband assures me I’m woman enough for him (I was rolling my eyes while typing that) but I have to say that the lack of a clear gender identity has been a struggle all my life.
    IMHO? Questioning gender roles for your children or others is a GOOD thing. Enforcing roles? Not so great. Hope you feel better today.

  239. My girls wore mainly unisex/boys colours when they were tiny. For the simple reason I didnt know their sex and was willing to put boys clothes on a girl (wasnt willing to put pink on a boy though).
    My girls often got called boys because they wore blue jeans at 6mths (people didnt seem to notice that the same BLUE jeans were covered in FLOWER embroidery! They just saw the blue).
    I made a friend’s little boy blue lace socks that he is just about to fit into. He is 3mths old. I dont see lace being something boys cant wear if they are in boyish colours (blue, red, orange) and aren’t too frilly. Boys in pink and purple though I see as a tad wrong. Girls in blue though I am fine with. Strange I know.

  240. my husband wore some girly looking things, i think he turned out okay. And amish boys use to wear dresses until they were potty trained, and most of them are okay! I really like the sweater! I think the boy will look great in it!

  241. Can I just say that there are some people who are such idiots that it matters not what you put on your child? While holding my once 18-month old daughter in an elevator, a man asked me if my child was a boy or a girl. She had her long, shoulder length hair gathered on top with a pink/purple bow, and was wearing a pink top and purple/pink striped leggings. “Uh, yeah,” I said, “She’s a boy…..” “He’s very cute!” responded the man….. No lie.

  242. I think the red looks like a cabled sweater- perhaps simplified because of the small size. Not girly, not manly. There shouldn’t be any problem either way. I don’t think you need to feel like it’s too girly OR that you’re bowing to gender stereotypes.

  243. Personally, lace should be reserved for those people who can walk and chew gum at the same time — I’m talking about the knitter, of course. The baby won’t care. I can’t claim this ability yet; lace is reserved for when the children are comatose and the husband is working night shift.
    I have stair-step children in both sexes and the motto for clothing has become “…as long as it’s clean…” We shop on the boys’ side of the aisle for everyone simply because that’s where the practical stuff lives. It isn’t that I mind the froo froo pretty in the girls’ section, it’s just that I have three young creatures that like to roll around in the mud and the grass and I want them to do that without having to worry about ruining anything. Go and dig for Malaysia, see if I mind :D.
    Pink could not be escaped as there are grandmothers involved. However, my middle child has decided that orange is THE color, the brighter and bolder the better. I must say that simplifies birthdays a great deal. I have found that it doesn’t matter what you dress them in, unless they are stark naked some people will always make the wrong guess. I am routinely complemented on the beauty of my three girls. I just grin and reply that the platinum blond is actually a boy.
    They have dolls, trucks, and gardening tools. They all use them differently. I don’t know how much is innate and how much is my influence, but I can tell you that the hell-raiser, the only visit to the emergency-room, the person who stuck a long metal rod into the electrical outlet and blew the circuit breakers, was NOT the boy. He’s into Shakespeare and Jane Austen (at all of five) and he charms the socks off of every female he can get his mitts on. Yes, he gets that from his father along with his hair.
    I think the sweaters are adorable, the colors beautiful, and the patterns astonishing. Obviously if I was expecting I’d be over the moon to get such a gift, and they would be the first things (after kids and spouse) that I would rescue in a house fire. However, whenever in doubt bounce the color scheme and general composition off the new mother in question. She’ll let you know!

  244. My opinion on lace for boys is if they don’t mind wearing it, why worry? There will be a time when your child learns that girls are “supposed” to [insert stereotype here] and boys are “supposed” to [insert opposite stereotype here].
    Secondly, I know this doesn’t help much with projects for babies not born yet, but I think a lot of it depends on the look of the baby. My daughter never did look quite right in frilly things – still doesn’t, frankly. I think that some babies look comfortable in lace and some just look odd!

  245. Eek. Well, the sweaters are beautiful, but now you’ve made us think. I don’t shun lace for boys; I made the Elizabeth Zimmermann top-down sweater eight years ago for a baby boy, with a lace pattern called “gulls”, I never really thought about it at the time, since it’s a teensy tiny infant. His teddy bear now wears it on a shelf in his room. The idea of “boy” and “girl” seems unnecessary to me at that teeny age. However, I really can’t stand most colours of baby wool, especially yellow and mint green – I made that sweater out of a pretty deep eucalyptus green, with a white hat to match. Those are my fave baby colours, although red and turquoise are up there, too.

  246. I should add, even as a feminist, it’s fun to make something pink or blue once you know the gender. But I don’t make a habit of it unless parents or the child asks for it. My now-26 year old niece used to LOVE purple as a tiny tot and I remember feeling sooo relieved that I didn’t have to churn out pink things for her.

  247. My son and daughter-in-law have a baby due tomorrow !! They chose not to know the gender until the baby arrives and said “knit bright strong colors and we’ll be happy”–so I have–red, turquoise, grass green, and white sweaters, pastel and bright socks, sage green and garnet red crib-sized blankets, and smaller white and orange/lemon/lime blankets. And I have a pile of sweater patterns to start for next fall/winter when I know if I should buy pink or blue. This has been the most fun!!

  248. I’m thinking about all the pictures of boy babies from the 19th century…weren’t they all dressed in gorgeous white LACEY christening outfits? Was it just the specific christening clothes, or were they dressed in girly-looking smocks, etc. all they time – until they were walking around? (That actually seems an easier way to dress diapered infants of either sex.)
    The finished sweater is gorgeous and I’m loving the red UFO too. I think I would assume that the white one was for a girl. I’m not sure about the red – guess I’ll have to see it in completed form. Both are lovely/handsome.

  249. I think the red sweater will be lovely. My mom told me that I was bald until I was two years old, so she used to tape bows to my head so people could tell I was a girl.

  250. Until very recently, boys wore dresses for their first years. This doesn’t seem to have hampered their masculinity – think of all those bewhiskered eminent Victorians, who had undoubtedly been christened in yards of white lace and shown into the drawing room to kiss mama and papa wearing pretty smocked frocks in their youth.
    It’s funny and revealing that my first thought on reading your post was that babies ought to be treated more roughly – that our behaviour towards boy babies should be extended. (I would far rather have a strong, smart, healthy competent baby of either gender than a delicate little person to be petted and pampered). Yet I can still remember the anguish and self-loathing when, aged nine, I was thrice mistaken for a boy in as many months just because I had short hair – and I’ve carefully had long hair ever since!

  251. The flower sweater is wonderful! The red one is, too! I agree that the shape of the sweater will determine how boyish it looks, and I also agree with putting “boyish” buttons — trucks or something? I go a couple of ways on this. I do like my children to be easily identifiable as the sex they are. Even with that, people can be idiots — a lady once asked “What’s his name?” when my daughter was wearing pierced earrings and a very girly flowered shirt. Helllooo??? I am not, however, averse to bright colors for babies, like red, purple, navy, orange, bright green, etc. At that age, kids wear whatever the parents put on them. Later, they develop their own tastes. Thing One is very girly-girly, favorite color is pink, loves ruffles & frills, etc. Thing Two’s favorite color is blue, and she refuses to wear anything with a ruffle, bow, lettuce edging, or puffed sleeves. However, she’ll wear florals, sequins, etc. She’s still very feminine, just not in a fussy way. My son never got to wear real clothes, but it was important to us for him to have something that wasn’t generic hospital-issue that was cute and showed that he was a boy, so we got him a little (not little enough!) black cap that said “DUDE” in white letters.
    I say don’t sweat it, unless you don’t like how the sweater looks. If the parents don’t like it for the boy, well, then the girl gets an extra sweater.

  252. Just knit it and be damned- i think it is gorgeous and it looks nice to knit. I recall knitting for my child a cross over cardi in white and my Great Aunt Ester doing the same with lace and I would not have cared which ever gender had worn it although husband was making comments. I dress my daughter in practical, comfortable, flattering, clothes which are a bit tomboyish and she is great- caring, happy, articulate and confident. My niece is dressed as a porcelain doll always in fluffy pink things and is a behaviour nightmare- she gets away with murder. I know my child makes me proud. We put too much importance on appearance- we need to get past that. Your knitted garment that shows love, & will make that child cherished and that for me is what its about.

  253. I come from Scotland, where the Victorian era doesn’t seem all that long ago to my Granny; where men of my parent’s generation wore shorts until they were 12, because that’s what boys did.
    My two boys have been dressed cardigans with beautiful lacework ‘skirts’ made by their now-deceased granny; were christened in a (knitted) gown and are forced to wear hats with brims.
    Once the elder got to about 18 months we made the permanent(?) move into more boyish clothes, but I couldn’t resist the opportunity to dress my babies like babies.
    I think they’ll be OK.

  254. Steph, dear, don’t worry about the thought of eyelets on that little boy’s sweater. First off, the Glorious Red is All Guy and so are the cables — mock or not, they make the design look sturdy and just right for an active little fellow. As for the white one — it’s darling. Promise me you’ll make sweaters for my grandchildren, when/if I ever have any? 😉

  255. I was laying awake last night thinking about this and I realized that it doesn’t matter what we think. It’s up to you and the parents.
    Does Dad wear red? If he does, red is a boy color in that house. Is he like your hubby, and refuses to wear anything but gray, black, and other tones of murk? If so, red might be a bit too risky for their taste.
    Why not just call them up and ask them? I’m sure they’ll be thrilled that you’re taking their taste into account, rather than assuming that whatever you like, they’ll like.
    And on a personal note…I think red looks great on babies of either gender.

  256. Oddly enough, just today at a school fair (on Long Island) I saw a pack of little boys in pink T-shirts from a “squirt” hockey league. The back of the shirts read: “Tough enough to wear pink.”

  257. I’ve though about this a lot since I gave birth to my B/G twins 13 months ago. I’m fine with dressing the girl in boy clothes, but less so with dressing the boy in girl clothes. And my discomfort annoys me, lol!
    It reminds me of a woman I knew who asked that no one announce the sex of the baby in the delivery room, because they wanted to discover it for themselves. And then they ended up waiting over an hour before they got around to looking. That idea just blows my mind– as if I don’t know how to bond with something unless I know the state of it’s genitals . . .

  258. I think the sweaters are perfect. No the pattern doesn’t look too “girly”. I have two boys and I would’ve been delighted with the pattern.
    On boy/girl colors… well I tend pick less typical colors for girl/boy babies. For both genders I like to give gender neutral baby colors, leaf green, navy, plums, harvest gold, and reds. Things that can be used by later siblings with ease regardless of gender.
    On a side note, it used to be that the “boy” color was pink and the “girl” color was baby blue. Interesting to see how times have changed. Imagine how frustrated my SIL was when I pointed this out considering she dresses my 9 month old niece solely in pink. 🙂

  259. Both my brother and I were raised the same way – in our cousins’ castoff clothing, with toys that came from a variety of sources. Baby gender rarely matched that of the original owner. In addition, Dad was the primary caregiver for the first couple years of our lives, while Mum was the breadwinner. You could say I was raised with the anti-sterotype.
    It doesn’t seem to have done me any harm, besides a vocation for a traditionally male field of engineering. And my brother certainly isn’t girly.
    Basically, I don’t think the colour and style of clothing for babies is all that important – if it looks good, hurrah!

  260. After reading all these notes I’ve decided that when the babies are small–its BLUE for Boys and PINK for girls.Sorry but thats just the way the ball bounces. IF you don’t like that idea then don’t get all bent out of shape when someone asks is a boy or girl or refers to your baby as being of the eopposite sex.I think that is the VERY reason this pink blue thing got started. On the other hand the white with the little flowers you ‘ve knit Stephanie is definitly a little girl and the red one is rugged looking with the cables so you are scot free with your choices. They are going to be loved . .HOPE you are feeling much better today

  261. My aunts have pictures of my uncle, born in 1915, in what can only be described as a dress, which evidently he wore until age 2. They told me that all babies, boy or girl, wore the same type of garment, with lovely hand-knitted sweaters of course, and had longish hair, until then — maybe for ease in diaper changing? Then, when the tykes were starting to walk, it was cut the boys’ hair and short pants.
    So … our ancestors didn’t seem to have this dilemma of color, lace etc. regarding gender. It also could be simple economics — with larger families and unless you were an Astor or a Rockefeller — you just reused everything, handing down from child to child.
    PS My oldest is a girl; I bought her a Tonka truck. She never played with it, despite my constant urging. And she spurned the OshKosh overalls for dresses almost every day of childhood.

  262. I still think of lace as appropriate for ALL babies. When I was growing up & when my girls (now 30 & almost 33) were small, it was not uncommon to make lacy baby sweater sets for both boys & girls. Frequently a narrow satin ribbon was used as trim or tie. Often blue for a boy & pink for a girl. I dressed my girls in whatever I thought was cute. I had a darling Carter dress & matching hat for my younger DD – soft cotton knit – white with pink rosebuds. That did not stop people from asking her gender! Mostly though I dressed them in overalls, jeans, cotton knit turtlenecks or T’s (with handknit sweater over them in cold weather). I bought them dolls & Tonka trucks & Legos to play with. And they did play with all those toys – both typically girly toys & typically boyish toys. My older DD loved Tonka trucks but grew up somewhat “girly” – loves fashion, majored in art history, spends a lot on makeup & scent. The younger DD was always pretty much a tomboy – played tackle football with all the boys on the playground at school – boys as old as 11 when she was 5 & quite small for her age (I found out when I asked her how she could possibly get her coat as dirty as she did) – would climb antything that challenged her (including a flagpole when she was 5). She always scored almost off the chart in math & science (she got a 790 on the math portion of the SAT before the recentered it) & majored in chemical engineering. Contrary to all our relatives’ expectations, younger DD married a year out of college & is now a stay at home mom to 2 adorable boys & older DD has a successful career in a somewhat technical medical related field. Younger DD still dresses in jeans & T’s or sweaters (almost never skirts or dresses – she’s like me that way) & rarely wears makeup. So I say, dress them however you think is cute & offer them all kinds of toys to play with (as long as they involve some degree of creativity) & hope for the best. You may be surprised at the outcome but I doubt you’ll be disappointed. (Incidentally, younger DD is always afraid that I knit things that are too girly for the boys – including a Wonderful Wallaby in a medium sage green color – I see nothing girly about that color. I knit a red sweater with YO hearts up the front for DGS #1 when he was 4 months old & she thought it was too girly – I doubt she ever put it on him other than the one time to take his picture for me!)

  263. Stephanie – Drink lots of fluids, call it “openwork” and feel better!!!!

  264. I would do lace for a boy, but I would do it in blue or some other boy-ish color.
    I have thought about this as well with the birth of my son and then my daughter. Why did it matter so much for me what they wore? Why could I not put those “princess” socks on my son that I had been given before his birth, even though I had planned to? What did it matter to him?
    In the end, I decided that when we mark the gender of a new baby by dressing them in pink, blue, ruffles or ribs we are, in a way, celebrating that new child and welcoming him or her into our community. Our gender is a *part* of who we are and who we eventually become. We are tied to the bodies we live in.
    I decided that by dressing my son in blue I was saying, “Look at my boy! Isn’t he beautiful? Won’t he grow up to be a warm and wonderful man?” And I wanted to celebrate that as much as I did when I dressed my girl in pink and thought, “Look at my girl! Isn’t she lovely? Won’t she grow up to be a kind and couragous woman?”

  265. I think they both look wonderful, and the red could be for either gender. I have an older daughter and younger son, and when my daughter was a baby and toddler, I often knit “unisex” sweaters so that her little brother could wear them too. No big deal–I got lots of compliments on the sweaters, and in my experience the default guess for a baby’s gender is “boy.” Some guessed my daughter was a baby boy, even when she was decked out in pink from head to toe.

  266. As a mother of five (three girls, two boys) I can tell you that no matter what you dress a baby in, short of their birthday suit – someone will inevitably think the girl is a boy and the boy is a girl. I say to heck with it all. I put my kids in whatever clothes I like when they are very small, and they wear whatever clothes they like when they are old enough to express a preference.
    Now if I could only get number two son to wear clothes, period, and number one daughter to see that tank top + Oklahoma winter = bad idea…

  267. As a mother of three sons, (all adults now) one of whom is gay, I can tell you that it doesn’t seem to matter a bit what you dresss them in, what they like to play with, where you take them (i.e., into the ladies room in stores) or what, they’ll grow up into whatever they’re hardwired to grow up into, and all you can do is love them and teach them tolerance and manners and strength.
    All of mine had hand-me-downs from their older sister, all of them played with trucks AND dolls, all of them are wonderful, kind, thoughtful people … I couldn’t be more pleased with them!!

  268. Well, you certainly have opened up a can of worms here, I see!
    In studying clothing for some time, I’ve come to the conclusion that we wear clothes for only 3 main reasons. One of them is because we need to let others know who we are — we put on a “uniform” and others will react in a certain way to that, and we in turn will treat others according to our role (priest’s collar, doctor’s white coat, janitor’s overalls). Take those clothes off, and you just have a regular person, like those paper dolls; put on another outfit, and the character changes! Like any actor, which we are (shades of Shakespeare here).
    No doubt how we treat young babies will shape their character, as witness to some boys/girls being raised as girls/boys. I hadn’t realized we were so controlling right from birth!
    My great-grandparents wore dresses until the boys were old enough to graduate to short pants, and later to long pants (girls never wore pants). It just is more practical for very young children to have easy access to — well, to do things they need to do. There was never any concern for gender identity then, and no problems. Females wear pants AND skirts, while males are not allowed to wear skirts, unless it is a “kilt” (not a skirt). And yet, skirts are most practical sometimes! Man, are we bound by tradition!!
    Steph, go with what you are doing. It’s going to look great, the mothers are going to love them, and before the child knows anything about clothes, it will have long outgrown them, and hopefully won’t have any identity issues in his late teens! LOL At least, it won’t be because of a lace sweater.

  269. I read about that research several years ago (in a child psychology class I think). Since then, I’ve made a point of always telling boy babies that they are beautiful, and girl babies that they are strong. Not because the babies will remember(!), but because without fail it starts up some sort of conversation about the results of that study, and how we interact with young kids.
    Worth a try, I guess. And in case you couldn’t tell, I’m not one to think that eyelets will be too girly for a boy, I like it.

  270. The “girl” sweater looks great. As for the “boy” sweater… looks fine. I would have chosen black, but then again, my hubby chastizes me for wearing too much black. Anyway, I think baby girls look great in black and hot pink. When I do baby sweaters, I tend to go a bit non-traditional. Vibrant colors instead of soft ones. Right now, I am doing your Daisy sweater from Knitty in Lorna’s Laces Superwash worsted in the Mountain Creek colorway. Looks great. BTW, that is one snappy pattern! Thanks for a baby sweater pattern that teaches me a new techinque. I am not afraid of raglan sleeves any more! I had no idea they were so dead easy.

  271. personally, as a recently professional queer (I did LGBT -lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender- related work for a living), and someone who is very keyed into, and has strong opinions about, gender roles, I think that either sweater could be used for either child.
    When knitting items for babies, I generally avoid pink(and purple) and blue. I have worked with yellow, green, orange, and various shades of natural off-white and greys. I also talk with the parent-to-be (when I know them well enough to knit them something) about whether they have thought about what they might do if their child is born intersex – that is, with ambiguous genetalia.
    Most people do not know how common it is, AND that (at least in the states) that it is very common for the doctors to make decisions about what gender the child “should” be and tell the parents that it was a medically necessary operation.
    virtually everything in our society is gendered (clothes, cars, colors, sports, careers, activities, etc, etc) I don’t see the need/desire to start children early.
    okay, sorry for going overboard. 🙂 but like i said, strong opinions on this one!!!

  272. They just had an article in the WSJ last week saying female monkey babies prefer dolls and male monkey babies prefer trucks, so it must be a combo of heredity and environment. But I just want to say that baby sweater you knit for the girl is absolutely beautiful! And I think the “boy” sweater will be perfect as well.

  273. They’re both lovely.
    Someone once said about my naked son at the beach “What a beautiful little girl.” It’s not the clothes, it’s the people.

  274. I think dressing babies in pink or blue as babies is more for the mother’s sake than anything. As a mother of young children it is somewhat annoying for someone to call your baby boy a “she” or visca versa (although I was lucky in that department because my boy had no hair and my girl has so much hair there’s no way she could be mistaken for a boy!).
    I think the red sweater would be fine for either gender, it’s perfectly neutral and would be fine for a boy.
    And what’s with all the twins? It seems a little unfair on your end 😉

  275. It really doesn’t matter. They’ll both look adorable and they’ll both be misidentified even if the girl has bright pink bow on a topknot with her sweater and the boy has a red ball cap with his.
    My new age husband dresses our son in his sister’s hand-me-downs all the time. I’m the one who has to veto the flower-print pants. I just… No.

  276. FWIW, note that less than two percent of the people commenting here appear to be male (I’ll admit to some assumptions about name and gender here).
    As a male knitter, when I make something for a baby people get a bit confused on how to approach the topic, since the fact that I knit confuses them in the first place. What’s funnier is the way they look at me when I tell them that my wife showed me how to knit–that apparently puts me in an even smaller subset.
    I think it’s time to push forward and make some pretty things for male babies. It will have *nothing* to do with their eventual gender orientation.

  277. I’m with Lyssa on gender biasing. I have three boys, and it is so hard to get them to even consider doing something that isn’t all male. We haven’t been too strict on the gender rolls, we let their interests flow where they may. But Mom better not suggest something “girly” like reading or God forbid…KNITTING!! Boys just don’t do that! My husband hunts and fishes and rides his Harley. But he is also the one who is more focused on clothes, color, body image and home decor. I think we present a pretty balanced image in our house, but the outside world has other ideas about gender roles.
    Car salesmen really tick me off when we go shopping for cars and they patronize me about car color. My HUSBAND is the one who agonizes over car color. They think that the only thing a woman would be concerned about is the COLOR! Last car we bought, I was concerned about getting a seven passenger vehicle that was not a minivan, what was neither too high nor too low for my disabled mother to get in to, and that when everybody was in it, we still had space to put Mom’s wheelchair. Was “and in a pretty girly color” in that sentence anywhere??
    Don’t misunderstand. I am not a screaming feminist. I am not very atheletically talented, not outdoorsy, love my knitting and books, and getting my nails done. But I love it when I see a girl playing on my boys baseball teams, or when my nieces beat the boys at sailing or tennis. My dad was not a feminist by a long shot, but he believed I could do anything I wanted to try, and I have raised my kids the same way.

  278. Even if the eyelets are a bit feminine (and they don’t look it in the picture), they’re overshadowed by the cables and the wonderful red color.
    And it doesn’t matter what a baby is wearing, people will guess their gender wrong. I had someone call Alex a boy when she was wearing a pink flowered outfit with lace ruffles across her butt!

  279. Thoses studies always scare me… Luckily no one will ever think of calling my daughter “fragile”, and each of my three children have been called “gracieux” when small. But it’s the second time in one week that I’m considering dressing them in more gender-neutral clothes. But wait, my daughter loves skirts and dresses, even if I find her beautiful (and tell her so) in jeans and pants. And I let my first son dressing up in her sister’s old dresses to play “I am a little lady” game. Pfeuhhh
    Stop. I am over-thinking too (Am I getting sick too? I feel a little feverish tonight…)
    Both sweaters are beautiful and strong!!!

  280. Firstly, I have to say….
    Sex = the physical bits
    Gender = the roles we play, and the way we view ourselves. *Does not necesarily have anything to do with the physical bits. There is no way to know someones gender for sure without asking them!
    I think that people’s resistance to dressing boys in a ‘girly’ way is really just ingrained sexism. Women are not as valued as men and so boys are lowering themselves when taking on any female characteristics. Girls taking on male characteristics is more ok with people because those things are more valued by society as a whole.
    I also need to second what Lyssa said about mentioning intersex to all expectant parents. They need to be prepared in case a doctor wants to perform elective genital surgery to ‘correct’ thier child.
    With that off my chest, I do agree that just asking the parents is the best route to go. And I love what you have going so far.

  281. when i commented once to my friend that my son, drew, looked really great in his sister’s hand-me-down pink footie jammies, she said that in belgium (where her parents are from), baby boys ARE dressed in pink. (it did look “manly” on my son!) however, i am also asking myself if my co-workers will appreciate a purple (school color) sweater if their baby turns out to be a boy!

  282. I have read all 270+ comments posted (so far) and the only thing I have to add is: Why do parents feel they have to correct strangers who get the infant’s gender wrong? If being a girl or being a boy is equally valuable and admirable, why is it insulting to be thought to be the other thing than you are? I mean I would understand if someone actually thought your baby was a monkey or a bat, but thinking a boy a girl or v-v seems an unimportant mistake, when we’re talking about pre-gendered little lumps of squishiness. Try NOT correcting people, and just enjoy the admiration. And then you can enjoy the baby’s character as a person, not as a gender-bound being.

  283. Loven’ the color and the texture ; D
    As a mom of 2 girls and 1 boy, It doesn’t matter what the heck the kids dressed in, people won’t get the kid gender right. Corra was 6 months old, dressed in a pink frilly dress, pink headband, pink shoes, (can ya tell that I lover me some pink?) this little old lady came up to us, and said.. ready for this? “What a cute little boy!!” “I told her yes, he is going to need a lot of therapy when he gets older. Seeing how he is wearing a pink dress and such.” and walked away. What can I say, it was a looong day! Hope you feel better, and SOON!!

  284. Steph, I love both sweaters and as the wife of a transgendered person I swear to you that neither color nor style of dress(manly) will force anyone to be anything(fem or masc) if their hardwiring says otherwise. My spouse was always dressed in male appropiat attire and colors, and from age 3-4 on she knew the adults in her life were confused/cruel or both, for insisting her hair be ultra short and she must always wear trousers. About ten years ago her gender disphoria was diagnosed and after counciling for us both, surgery,name change,and family discussions, we two wives are very happy together. I must agree with Lyssa about the intersexed possibilities. Our support group did some research into the problem of Drs. choosing the sex for an intersexed child and most of the time they chose wrong! I, too, have strong feelings!

  285. I hope you are feeling better today . I really like the red eylet pattern and as a mom of three boys, didn’t have a problem dressing them in a beautiful sweater such as this when they were babies. Babies are sweet, cuddly, beings,who need lots of nurturing ,rocking,and cuddling. They are not little adults, as some tend to treat them these days. My sons are 13 1/2, 23 and almost 26 and wear kilts ( the older 2 are 6’4″ and6’5 1/2″ tall) – 2 are bagpipers and one a Scottish snare drummer and were not a bit affected by their baby clothes. In the state where I live,football is a religion; it matters most as to which team’s colors you dress your child in!
    P.S. What pattern did you use to knit the shawl you wore to the Threaded Bliss? It is really pretty. I missed the book signing due to a root canal but several of the knitters from the knitting group were able to drive from Al. to Tn. and I’ve enjoyed their photos and glowing descriptions of the book signing. I tried to get my drummer son to go for me as he is in college there, but he used studying for final exams as his excuse to not go!

  286. Thank you for raising this topic, and I’m soooo glad to hear the balance in the thoughtful comments in response. Gone are the stereotypes of yesterday! BTW, how about just counter-changing the colors for the boy’s sweater to dark blue flowers on a white background? It’d be amazing having matching sweaters, and after all, babies are about sweetness and innocence, not being tough little proto-studs.

  287. I live in the birthplace of the “utilikilt.” If you are wearing a kilt in heavy canvas with big utility pockets and a hammer loop, (and your work boots) you look pretty manly, even if someone else may say you are wearing a skirt. You have to be a very secure guy to feel comfortable in a kilt, especially if you go “regimental”. OR, maybe you just don’t like underwear?

  288. My rule has kind of always been, if a boy is wearing it, it’s boy clothes!
    That said, my two best friends are pregnant with their first child, due sometime in November, and I’ve been debating this very question: what to knit, and in what colors. I think a little sweater in bright crayon rainbow colors would be cute and appropriate no matter what gender.

  289. Hmmm…I’m going to go out on a limb and be frank. The red sweater is beautiful, but yes, Harlot, it is a little bit girly. You know this right? Or you wouldn’t be asking! It’s not the color. I think it’s the pattern. Or the pattern PLUS the color TOGETHER. I can’t put my finger on it exactly but you know what I mean…. But it is beautiful. so that’s all I’m saying. Ahem.

  290. If you start thinking that a picot edging would set off the pattern nicely, it may be too girly. If not, I’d say you’re fine.

  291. As someone who all her life has hated pink and not much into blue, whos’ favourite colours at 50 are still bright sunshine yellow, hot cherry red, deep amathyst purple,…(you get the picture) and who is a palish cream skinned ginger nut from Ireland I think all babies should be dressed in bright happy colours like yellow, red, orange, etc which encourage learning, outging personalities and play. I often think that the pink and blue baby colours are insipid and make children pale into the background, encouraging shyness. We should all be encouraged to be strong outgoing persons from infancy, what’s that saying, “Clothes maketh the Man(Woman)/Person”

  292. I think it matters most what the parents think when it comes to how their kid dresses. The kid won’t care anyways. I personally think that the laciness of the sweater is fine and the color is quite masculine.

  293. it’s not too lacy and the color is strong. i knew immediately before reading your post that this was the “boy sweater”

  294. I’m not big on pastels for babies, so both my children were dressed in bright primary colors- it just happens that they are boys but I would have done the same with girls. Of course, now that they are teenagers, pink is actually ‘in’ for boys (dress shirts, ties, polos) and my 15 y.o. has a pink tee shirt that says “real men wear pink”!
    Go for the red -it’s beautiful.

  295. I just went through something similar, but it involved colors. I had picked orange with purple as an accent for a “unisex” baby sweater. Some people said they would never put purple on a boy and I really didn’t want to give something to someone that would just be put in a drawer and not worn. So, I decided to bring it up with the expectant mother, in a general way, and find out how she felt. That way I’d know if I should give it to her as a present for the baby. As for me, I feel that a baby should be able to wear any color.

  296. Hmmm….both sweaters are lovely, and I would have cheerfully put either of my boys in that red. Of course, I would also have put my daughter in it. Frankly, I don’t think it makes a lick of difference how we dress babies, or for that matter how anyone dresses. My daughter, who is now (almost) 12 and looks decidedly feminine, is constantly mistaken for a boy simply because she likes her hair cut short. This happens even when she’s wearing a hot pink t-shirt with butterflies all over it and a pink cap with Tinkerbell on the front. Fortunately she just laughs it off and it’s become something of a family joke, but obviously clothing color/style doesn’t have much impact for most people these days. If you think the parents of the babies will like those sweaters, then you’re in good shape. And if they don’t like them, find someone more appreciative of your beautiful work the next time!

  297. I think that red sweater is quite manly enough for any little boy. It’s more gender neutral than manly — but that’s manly enough. I mean, c’mon, it’s not frilly our foofy… it’s delightful. Andgender neutral is more than appropriate for babies.
    I’d have dressed a boy in it, had I had any, but might also have dressed a girl in it, depending on whether that shade of red worked with her coloring at the time.
    I would probably NOT have put the boy in that gorgeous white sweater.
    Knit on, my lady.

  298. I like babies to be babies and prefer baby boys in white and pastel colors (not pink). I think to dress babies in dark browns, greens, etc. just to make sure someone does not think they are girls is not only ridiculous but unattractive and uncomfortable for the baby. Tiny, 3month, 6month corduroy pants and jeans, made just like daddy’s, fly and all are pathetic. In the past, boys and girls both wore dresses the first few years of their life. To say all that, I have a two year old grandson and when I buy clothes for him I do have to carefuly consider my options because of the other grandparents’ paranoia about boys and acceptable colors. I think the red sweater will be more than manly for a newborn. The girl sweater is adorable. vj

  299. I can’t help thinking of all the fuss and worry over these beautiful sweaters, which will probably only be worn for a few months at most. Babies grow so fast and 20 years from now, no one will remember seeing a boy in a sweater that may or may not be lacy! But that’s just me. Always being the party pooper.
    BTW both sweaters are lovely and the parents will be honored and thrilled to have their children wear them, I am sure.

  300. Boy babies in Spain wear beautiful, handknit lacy items and the Spanish men seem to be as macho as ever!! –And, just look at those bull fighters, they wear gold embroidery, knickers and white stockings–with ballet slippers, and they are plenty macho!
    The red is great, very boyish. Here in Wisconsin it would just be a symbol of supporting our collegiate sports teams–Go Big Red!!!

  301. Because I didn’t know my boys’ genders before they were born, I had a couple of ‘girly’ things for them – a pink onesy, a floral cloth diaper.
    I decided that if anyone (including my husband) had a problem with these on a newborn, I would just say that my baby was ‘secure enough in his manhood’ to be comfortable in it, lol.
    I admit that a funny thing does happen when we start clothing our children, as far as gender roles. But, I think the bright red sweater is fine, as is the pattern thus far.

  302. I can see you already have a zillion responses to this, so I’ll try to keep it short. First off, I would PROUDLY put my son (or daughter for that matter) in a sweater like that. The red is brilliant and the pattern is gorgeous. My son, who is now four years old, went through the first few months of his life wearing lacy knit and crocheted cardigans and he couldn’t be more “boyish” now. And my daughter (two and a half) went through quite a bit of her infancy wearing her brother’s blue/boyish handmedown sleeper and onesies. She’s now the frilliest little girl I’ve ever seen and she did it all on her own. Children become who they are because of who they are, not because of what we dress them in.

  303. People assess gender based on what they see, and gender-perception affects how one treats an individual. With babies, unless they’re naked, clothing is really the only gender clue an uninformed obseerver has going. I think we extrapolate a great deal from the clothing, as we’re used to dealing with people who choose their own clothing.
    I think that it would be difficult to approach a newborn infant in a frilly pink dress the same way that one would approach a newborn infant wearing denim overalls. We have modes of thought associated with these modes of dress that go farther than simply defining gender. A frilly pink dress doesn’t just define the wearer as a girl, it defines a type of girl that would wear a frilly pink dress. It denotes an exaggerated femininity, and implies delicacy, refined sensibility, and even vulnerability.
    These subconscious interpretations will definitely affect how the child is treated, as was shown in the study you reference.
    For myself, I prefer strong colours and gender neutrality in baby clothing. I think that people on the street will still ask the “boy or girl” question, and will still tailor their approach to the baby based on the answer, but perhaps the lack of exaggerated gender reinforcement from the baby’s attire will at least mitigate the degree of behavioral gender reinforcement.
    I’m not trying to eradicate the differences in the sexes, but I’m definitely in favour of doing whatever is possible, as early as possible, to reduce the impression that girls are more helpless than boys, in the hope that we will end up with more women who feel as powerful as men.

  304. Even if you try to avoid the ‘Blue for a boy and Pink for girl’ regime you will find that your children will choose these colours themselves. I tried to be open minded and liberal with my son and daughter’s clothing but they were stuck in the cliche without thinking about it or knowing why.
    Very best wishes for the arrival.

  305. I love the red bit you started for the boy twin, but have to admit I find the pattern too “feminine” for a boy. I HATE that I think that way, but I do. I know that not that long ago, all babies (well, all babies, boys and girls, of wealthy parents)wore lacy dress-like garments for the first 2 years or so of their lives. In fact, I think our family’s old photos may even show my father wearing a rather lacy white dress-like item (HE would be mortified, were he still alive and that was pointed out to him …and BTW, we aren’t and never were wealthy, so I guess even the ‘po folks’ babies wore hand-knit lacy dresses). And now that I think about it, I guess it’s more a “fashion of the times” thing than a true gender bias. If you look to ancient Greece and Rome, the really MANLY guys wore dresses, and marching forward through history, men wore long-haired wigs, more colorful clothing than women, etc. Like I said, I guess it’s just a “fashion of the times” bias. Whatever…the sweater is gorgeous and unless the mother of the twins to be hates it, I would not think twice about knitting it up.

  306. The sweater is is an hierloom! And I like Erle in red. In our great fiber times, we’re not commanded to make pastel pink and blue any more. Babies never had it so good, especially the babies in your life! You continue to inspire, Thanks!

  307. This is a problem only since people have known the sex of their babies before birth!
    I think only pastel colours indicate gender, and those should be avoided.
    I usually knit vibrant colours, teal, fuschia, etc whatever the sex of the baby.
    I’m currently knitting a baby carddigan for a girl which is grey with a pink edging. I just knit the colours I like, because that love for your knitting comes across in the finished garment.

  308. These sweaters are both gorgeous. I have a niece I thought would be cute dressed in red and other primary colors. My sister-in-law loves pink and dresses her baby to fit her tastes. I have adapted to the whole thing even though pink is not my favorite color. Either way, babies are too much fun to get bogged down with these heavy issues. And they will do their own thing anyway as everyone has said. The two impendings you have knit for will look like something out of a magazine ad in these sweaters. Knit on fabulousness. FEVER BE GONE!!

  309. Although my husband does not knit, he is present for most of the knitting (as it usually takes place in living room in front of the TV) and so tends to influence my decisions on colour and pattern for who and why. He does not like pink and would universally clothe all people in blue. Lace is definitely out for boys. Though most colours are fine for girls and women, boys and men only get the dark murky colours (unless they’re babies and then crayon shades are ok). But in the end, I am the knitter and although my decisions are influenced by the people around me, what I consider “not girly” is a much wider net.

  310. Personally, I like the red sweater, doesn’t matter if a boy or girl in my opinion. HOWEVER, when I am knitting for someone else – I consider their views on colors for boys vs girls. Example: I just finished a lovely periwinkle blue sweater, which I intended for a baby boy. I was asked by several people “what girl” was going to rec’v it! Keep in mind, this baby boy will only be dressed in BOY COLORs. So based on the parents views, I chose to make another sweater… I shutter at the thought of my nice sweater NEVER BEING WORN!
    Just my two cents!

  311. Pink and lace for girls is a recent social construct. It used to be blue for girls, pink for boys, a century or more ago. And, look at the early 20th century Fauntleroy looks for boys — that giant lace collar, velvet suit, hair in ringlets.
    Here’s my sure-fire cure for what ails you: Go to bed and don’t get up until you feel better. Hot toddy optional. Knitting mandatory. You have my permission to cough and/or sneeze on anyone who complains.

  312. I had a yarn store customer once who shunned a shade of blue I showed her as being “too girlish”. Her little 2-month-old grandson was all man, you know. (I am quoting directly.) I wanted to punch her.
    A friend told me once about an article she read, which was written by a nurse who kept track of comments made by parents about their brand new babies. The girls were almost universally princesses. The boys received many lewd comments about the impressive sizes of their little baby penises. I actually had a friend once who was bragging about the size of her baby-to-be’s penis from his ultrasound photo. We humans are perverted monkeys sometimes. 😛

  313. To Pam Huang: The man you mention, who was raised as a girl due to a botched circumcision, then reverted to being male, is not in fact living happily with his female companion anymore. He killed himself in 2004.
    His name was David Reimer and yes, he was Canadian. Here is an article about him:
    He was also the subject of a book “As Nature Made Him”.

  314. I’m really not sure what to say about the boy/girl debate, as I’m fairly allergic to children in general. And I’m more in the “does it fit? is it clean? and is it machine washable?” camp than anything, and if it’s cute who cares what the target gender identification is supposed to be. I realize it’s a big thing for other folks though, and try to keep that in mind when gifting.
    I mostly just wanted to drop in and say a) I hope you’re feeling better and b) lovely completed sweater! Take care!

  315. I think it will be a very nice sweater. It will look great for a boy. Just because it is a “lace” sweater doesnt make it girly. Thats just my thought though,lol.

  316. Just wanted to come back by and say I hope you’re feeling better (and that the reason we’ve not had another post from you is that you’re doing something really fun and not because you are sick)
    I was miserable enough last night without being sick because I couldn’t sleep for some reason (which resulted in the posting of a picture of a completed knitted item at 3:30 in the morning – so at least it was blog fodder for my newly re-born blog) but it did make me very thankful I wasn’t feeling sick on top of not being able to sleep…

  317. Having three boys (2 of which are identical twins), I never cared what colours they wore. Many patterns were Norwegian and they tend to be more colourful. My boys are all older now and do not show any signs of being confused as to whether they are boys or not. As far as lace goes, I do not think babies of either gender should wear lace. I always thought baby clothing should be comfortable. If you like an item of clothing, the colour, the texture, then go with it. My question is, who decided yellow was gender neutral?

  318. it is as it has always been. we initially, if only for a moment, judge by appearances.

  319. I have to respectfully disagree with Barbara. My son’s favorite color was pink until he turned 5 and started getting grief from other boys–and grown-up women, who should know better. Italian men wear pink all the time and look fabulous in it.
    I’m hoping the “not dead yet” claim was not premature. Just keep saying, with the guy from Holy Grail “I–feel–happy.”

  320. Was at a baby shower this weekend, and my aunt (who cares about these things) was horrified because she had bought “pink things” for the baby (who is, apparently going to be a boy). The “pink things” were liberally striped with purple, and were receiving blankets, bibs, burp towels, etc. I think she was surprised at the reaction she got from the whole room, which was “take a pill, these are great, who cares what colour they are”. Babies don’t really know what colour they’re in/on – it’s our problem.

  321. My husband’s response to my mother, who was horrified that my little boy’s favorite pajamas were the ones with REALLY BIG pink roses handed down from his cousin, was “My boys are secure enough in their masculinity to wear pink.”
    It’s become a chant whenever my mother (who raised 9 girls) says something is too girly for one of her precious grandsons.

  322. In many languages that have grammatical “gender” for their nouns, naturally the words for “man” and “woman” are grammatically “male” and “female” accordingly. And in the languages that have a “neutral” gender, “baby” is usually grammatically “neurtal.”
    Is it a boy or a girl? Neither one! It’s a baby! It’s a wee tiny underdeveloped little human being! It needs love and feedings and diaper changes. A baby is a baby is a baby.
    And yes, I think the red sweater is lovely for anyone, even a grownup fully masculine dude could go for that stitch pattern, and yes, when I’m knitting for babies, I stick to bright colors. I did once knit a little hat in “baby blue” but added a removable pink flower for parents who could decide how they wanted it. And I forever love my aunt who KNEW I was going to be a girl and made me a lovely BLUE quilt, not for any reason except that “it was the prettiest fabric at the store.”

  323. I feel happy…I feel happy…
    I am not dead yet, I can dance and I can sing.
    I am not dead yet, I can do the highland fling…
    Thanks much for the earworm..this has been buzzing around in my head since I saw this post :+)
    Unfortunately we do have a gender bias..and we base it upon appearences. Boys with longish hair are called sissy. Girls with short hair are called butch. This is all a social bias, based upon our cultural point of reference. At the turn of the century (and earlier) all babies (both boys & girls) wore ringlets, lace, and gender neutral baby dresses until the age of 3 or 4. When at which point dressing for gender came into play.
    Good or bad….I am not sure..I see two sides to the issue. Certainly we have had a cultural shift. I for one dressed my son in hand me down sleepers from my daughter. He had a lovely eggshell complexion as a baby and those pink sleepers looked very lovely on him. It was a matter of economy. I had them on hand and they were still in great condition.
    Also, along these lines, I have noticed it has become very popular and not unusual to see high school age boys wearing baby pink and very bright pink shirts these days.

  324. And then, after 350 (!) other comments, Amber loses her mind and where normally she would just leave it alone, feels compelled, here, after all those other comments, where it will only be read by the most die-hard and likely misconstrued by same. STILL, I am compelled…
    -What up with the dire urgency to correct strangers? Someone wants to say something nice about your kid. They do. You say thanks. Game over. I mean, yeah, if you feel that your baby’s gender is SO important to you, so central that you feel compelled to waste the time and energy you claim to have so little of to discuss with STRANGERS what gender the child is, yes, you are exactly the person who is going to dress your child in gendered clothing because it matters to YOU. That’s right, it’s not some sort of service to society at large, it’s because it matters to YOU that EVERYONE IS CLEAR ABOUT YOUR BABY’S GENDER.
    -Ok, the self-proclaimed feminists and otherwise – where’s the part of the conversation about how girls are allowed to be like boys but boys aren’t allowed to be like girls? It’s more okay for a girl to wear overalls (another parent may quietly tsk-tsk) than for a boy to wear a dress (not unlikely that another parent will GASP and give you a chastizing for allowing that). Yes, there are exceptions, and it’s all very flexible and depends on the situation and the crowd etc. etc. etc., but I think we would all concede there’s a stronger reaction to boy in frilly pink than girl in rough-and-tumble denim. I think this is because “guy” is still the more acceptable, dominant standard. It means we’re still living in a patriarchy. It means that we’re still valuing “guy” over “girly” and THAT is why all of this matters, and why, as mentioned above, I feel COMPELLED to mention it all.
    The natural and heartfelt caveat to all of this is that my above rants are intended as thoughts and thought-provoking. All said, I really don’t hold a personal grudge against anyone who says, “You know, I just want to not answer the question anymore about what gender” “I just want to spare this child the issues that come with others confusing gender.” We’re all human, and men and women ARE different, and it does start with different hormones in the womb, we aren’t blank slates. And as mammals, we’re here on this earth because we have a strong drive to eat and reproduce, so yes, we have rather a keen interest in gender and sex. We relate to people as men and women, not as “people,” partly because we’re socialized that way, but also because that’s how we’re wired.
    But I think because men are still valued over women and because people are still pigeonholed by gender and perceived gender, it matters.
    Ok. I’m going to shut up now. Um, thanks for asking.

  325. IMO, that red sweater is just fine for a boy. I certainly hope so, anyway, since I am knitting it for my sex-as-yet-unknown unborn child. 🙂 I am knitting it in a medium blue, which I suppose might up the boy-quotient, but I still think it’s fine in red. I will say, however, that in the picture they show in the book where it’s done in white, it does tend to look more girly.
    Now I’ll try not to get depressed as you lap me and finish the whole thing before I get the front done. 😉

  326. Janine you need to re-read that article that you referenced about the botched circumcision. The person who committed suicide was the twin brother of the one whose circumcision was botched. (Brian Reimer killed himself in 2004. His twin was born as Bruce, raised as Brenda, and had a sex change to become David.) I know it’s confusing – but the article is very clear.

  327. Two things:
    Someone just mentioned that in some languages nouns have gender and the words man and woman are male and female accordingly. As a matter of interest,in Irish gaelic the word for girl is grammatically male. Go figure!
    A number of people have pointed out that in years past, all babies wore lace and had long curls until the boys were deemed old enough for pants. Very true and yet at that time society was even more strongly male dominated. Which brings us to the question, which is better, to dress all babies in the same styles and colors but raise the boys to be chauvanistics jerks and the girls to be second class or dress them in slightly more gender specific clothes and raise both to be kind, tolerent, fair individuals? I think that dress is the least of our worries and every parents should dress their children in whatever the parent is comfortable with. Don’t worry, over the years you’re bound to make a lot of more important parenting mistakes and your children will probably still grow up to be who they want to be.

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  329. This all makes me laugh so much. When I was pregnant with my two children, one boy, one girl, I was wrong about gender both times. I thought Tim was a girl and I thought Katie was a boy. My OB nursing instructor did her Master’s paper on the % of pregnant women who correctly dream the sex of their children. With ultrasound now (my field) there’s nothing left to wonder or dream about. But…..remember the old days when we bought everything in yellow or mint green and thought that would be fine for either sex???? Mint green wouldn’t bother me but I’m not a lace on babies person unless it’s hand tatted!

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