They sort of Sneak Up on You

There is a baby coming in our family.  It’s been a while since we had one, so excitement is running high. Hank’s getting really big, and all other grand-children are old enough to vote in the next election, so this baby is going to be a very over-cherished wee thing.  Joe’s sister Katie (and I suppose her Carlos contributed a single cell, so should be mentioned) is going to give us a baby sometime in February (or early March, I don’t want to rush her at all) and I am getting ready.  Katie is very, very nice, and I’m assuming the baby will be too, which means that the two of them together (and Carlos, he’s nice too) are entitled to all the best knits that can fly off these needles between now and then. 

The thing is that I am pretty well acquainted with how long it takes to make a baby.  I also know that as a knitter, I shouldn’t even be a little concerned about that baby until after the Christmas knitting is done.  (Yeah, I said it.  It’s time for the Christmas knitting.  Live with it.  We all knew it was coming.) I flirted with the idea of the baby knitting, but really I had it in my head that I had just buckets of time before I had to worry about it, and then it happened.  A baby shower invitation arrived in the mail, and faster than you could say "holy booties Batman, I thought I had three months" I needed a baby gift. 

Naturally, this prompted a deep dive into the pattern stash, and I came out with Baby Knits from Dale of Norway: Soft Treasures for Little Ones, which was floating sort of close to the top of the pile.  (Yes, by the way, that book is out of print and yes, that means it’s expensive.  I promise it wasn’t when I bought it. I bet you can get it from the library if you really need to see it.)  I love just about everything in that book, and since I was leaving for Port Ludlow, and couldn’t really get into it, I just tossed that book and four balls of Baby Ull into my suitcase.  I figured I could work the rest out later. 

I did. The day after the Colour Retreat, I cast on Perlemor, and away I went.  For the most part, the thing proceeded without any sort of upset or difficulty until I entered some sort of fugue state on Friday night when I realized that the baby shower was SUNDAY, and had a freakout the size of Chicago, which is not at all insignificant.  Still, I held it together until Saturday night, when the sweater was done and blocking, and I only had the bonnet to go, and I realized that the bonnet had a turned back brim that was going to add an extra six centimetres of length to that mission, and promptly cast on, knit seven rows and then went to be completely demoralized. 

I am nothing, however, if not delusional determined, and so Sunday morning I got it into my head that I could totally nail it.  After all (I argued with myself) the shower isn’t until 2:00.  Who can’t knit a bonnet in five hours? I made coffee, and applied myself to the mission, and at 1:45 I was steam blocking the wee thing, wrapping it, and heading out the door.

(The wrapping part sounds insignificant there, but wasn’t.  I’ve unfortunately inherited a rare genetic trait from my mother in which I never have any tape.  I can buy as much as I want, stash it in various locations around the house, and it makes no difference. Every gift giving event leaves me swearing and thrashing and eventually going to the store on the corner for tape minutes before I leave.  You’d think that would mean I’d have tape for the next time, but no.  It’s promptly sucked into the void, leaving me to be destined to repeat the same thing. Christmas is a nightmare.)

In any case, Katie is a smart mama, who knows darn well she’s having a winter baby in Canada, and is embracing and understanding the wave of wool shaped love headed her way…

and I think she likes it.

I can’t wait for this baby.

PS.  I have already explained this to Katie and Carlos, but the fact that I have knit a blue and white baby sweater is no way a statement or endorsement of the idea of them having a boy.  I understand there’s just about a 50% chance that there’s a wonderful little nephew in there (who I will adore completely and wholly, as I do Hank) but my preference for girl babies is well known.  That’s what I want.  I just happen to think that babies of all varieties look nice in blue and think dressing them according to what’s under the diaper is silly.  That’s it. 

PPS. We also gave Katie our favourite baby gift.  Feel free to steal this idea, it’s one of the best we’ve ever had. I went to the bookstore and bought the first book each of us can remember.  For Joe it’s Curious George , for me, Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb , for Amanda it’s Green Eggs and Ham , Megan remembers Very Hungry Caterpillar and Sam fondly recalls Murmel, Murmel, Murmel .  Winners all.

182 thoughts on “They sort of Sneak Up on You

  1. That sweater is so beautiful; I can’t believe you produced it so quickly!
    Add “Caps For Sale” to your list; it’s a must-give for babies I can’t wait to meet.
    And wow! I think I’m first to respond!

  2. If anyone can do a bonnet in under 5 hours, it’s you, Stephanie! Some of us had no doubt you’d pull it off!! (Goodnight Moon is my favourite literary recollection from childhood.)

  3. Me again: Change that “respond” to “comment.” I know you’re blogging, but it does seem like a correspondence!

  4. Christmas knitting! Ahhhhhh! Thanks for bursting the ol’ bubble there Steph.
    The baby gift is loverly. And books are a beautiful way to gift a new baby.
    One of the first books that I remember looking through as a child, “We Help Daddy” from the Little Golden Books series. I adored the illustrations in that book.

  5. The knits are beautiful, but I do love your favourite baby gift which happens to be mine as well.
    Before my child was born, my (nonknitting) girlfriends threw a book shower for the librarian’s new baby. And my daughter came into the world with an excellent library awaiting her. Not too shabby, I must say.

  6. Beautiful knits for what will be a beautiful baby! I can’t remember my first book but some of my favorites from motherhood and grandmotherhood are Goodnight Moon, George and Martha, and certainly Pat the Bunny.

  7. I have always loved and replicated that book idea since a friend gave us all of her children’s favourites when my (now 19 year old) daughter was born. Also? Love that sweater….and if it had been me, I would have counted it good to have finished the sweater in time – the hat would have gone into my “do after Christmas” basket.

  8. What a great idea. I’m stealing it. “I am a bunny” by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry is the first book I remember. I still love his yellow jacket paired with red mittens and hat. 🙂

  9. Beautiful! The gift and the recipient! Hate to sound cliche, but she glows! (And it’s a stupid cliche, too. I’ve been pregnant twice and I NEVER looked like that. And as much as I love many of my friends, they never looked glowy in their pregnancies, either. Some of us have that “I’m manufacturing another being so I’m tired” look on our faces the entire time instead. All of this to say that when I say she glows, I mean it. ^_~)

  10. That sweater and hat – OMG. Too, too wonderful.
    Books from my kids’ childhood: “The Runaway Bunny” and anything by Dr. Suess, especially “What Was I Afraid Of?” and “Star Bellied Sneeches.”

  11. What an adorable sweater and bonnet set! I think it would look perfect on a boy or a girl.
    And for once, I have not freaked out at the mention of Christmas knitting because I am more than halfway done!

  12. So the deal with tape is:
    Don’t “stash it in various locations around the house”, put is all IN ONE PLACE. Children and adults can be trained to follow this rule, don’t try that excuse.

  13. Lovely sweater and bonnet and I love, love, love your book idea. They are not my first books I remember, but two I loved reading to my nieces, “All the Places to Love” my Patricia MacLachlan and Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

  14. Lovely shower idea! When Gingko was born my female relatives had a book shower for her—each one brought a favorite child’s book with an inscription about what made it a favorite. These are cherished volumes now that my dear daughter is 22 years old!

  15. Lovely sweater. I looked for that book waaaay back when you made the blue & white sweaters for twins – and have never been able to find it in a library. 🙁 Must be a real treasure, because that sweater is adorable. Good job on getting it done for a baby shower (instead of making mama wait to give birth until you’re done ::wink::).

  16. That sweater and bonnet are adorable!
    I am kinda wishing to have my baby in winter for all the wool love, but he/she will be coming in the middle of summer.

  17. Right before I read this post, I made a list of my Christmas knitting and thought (as I do every year), “Wow, that really sneaks up on you.” I’m pretty sure the sneakiness of necessity knitting is universal.
    Also, those photos of Katie could be held up throughout the Internet as examples of the CORRECT way to receive handknits.

  18. Beautiful sweater and hat!! I must say that I too am in a knitting frenzy as my husband’s niece who was named for him (Dana) is also naming her first child (coming *very* soon) after him – Hayes (his last name) – so that really puts some pressure on me to up my usual baby knitting, which is normally a blanket (from your pattern). So, I am making an EZ 100th anniversary camping round shawl for the christening (in Jan.) and various other hats, booties, and maybe a sweater. And no one else is getting much in the way of Christmas knitting this year!!

  19. wow You managed that pretty quick colorwork and all. I think the best knitters end up getting (delusional) determined at times.

  20. OOh, you made me laugh out loud in the library! Your tape issue is my tape-measure issue; I buy four at a time but rarely ever find them after they pass the front door.

  21. I love your book idea for new babies! I might just have to steal that…. And start trying to remember…

  22. My favorite book I read to my son for years is “10 minutes to bedtime”. The absolute best!

  23. Circumbent the tape issue with bags. Decorative, reusable, no tape required. Tie up with a yarn bow. Done.
    I am stealing the book idea. Very cool.

  24. Make way for Ducklings is usually my first choice for a book
    The sweater and cap are beautiful.
    and all those people in toronto! how exciting.

  25. Your set is so lovely! And the books…what a fantastic idea. The first book I remember is Three Little Kittens followed by a lifetime love of Richard Scarry.

  26. I have the same genetic defect, but my coping strategy has been to learn to wrap without using tape. Mostly I employ origami-like folding techniques and lots of lovely wool to tie the whole thing together. It’s working so far.

  27. We always do the book thing for baby celebrations at work. My contribution is generally either Blueberries for Sal or Make Way for Ducklings.

  28. I love your favorite baby gift idea. I’m not sure though what the first book I remember is though. Possibly one of the Serendipity books (especially the one that is self titled). Or Roly Poly Puppy or the Tawny Scrawny Lion… There were a ton of good books from growing up.

  29. Wow, a bonnet in 5 hours? Were your needles on fire? My first book was Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. Lovely memories with my grandmother attached to that one. I think that will be part of my next baby gift.

  30. I have even made something blue for a baby girl. I thought it was fabulous. 😀 and the buttons were probably not on the “right” side either!
    As a side note, did you check for the scotch tape in the tape measure black hole? I bet it’s in there.
    On to Christmas knitting! Yay! I’m going to watch you this year, and cross-stitch. 😀 Unless of course I freak out and start at some point – boy I hope not!

  31. Lovely! What a lucky baby, to be brought into a family with a knitting aunt…
    I adore books as baby/kid gifts, and would have always gone with “Hungry Caterpillar”, though now “A Teeny Tiny Baby” (gifted to us with my first) is a top-runner as well.

  32. I also have the gene that prevents me from keeping tape handy. Hubs can never find it, and of course, it’s my fault as I had it last. But we persevere. Congratulations on the new addition, and the lovely, wooly knitted things are gorgeous as usual!

  33. To solve the tape problem: Gift bags. They are wondrous. No tape, no ribbon, no bows. Reusable, too, so I don’t feel guilty about all the wrapping paper.

  34. Love the first books idea.
    My daughter called Hand,Hand,Fingers,Thumb dum ditty dum ditty dum dum and asked for it by that name when she wanted me to read it to her.

  35. Beautiful sweater. By the pictures, clearly the mom is someone who appreciates hand knits so winners all round.

  36. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb was a favorite in our house. It was called the Monkey Book! I’m a fan of Fox in Socks, myself. Let’s have a little talk about tweetle beetles.

  37. Tape, tape measures, all the same really, right? Agree on the blue, wholeheartedly. Beautiful!

  38. I highly recommend gift bags…or white bags and a few stamps!
    And I love the gift book idea!

  39. Very Hungry Caterpillar! I loved that book! But tell me this, if the caterpillar was so hungry why didn’t it FINISH THE FOOD INSTEAD OF JUST EATING HOLES THROUGH IT?? Cause you are not allowed to play with food and you should finish everything, always, cause that is what mama said.
    Boggled me when I was three, still does at 30.

  40. My, my, my, I’d swear you were on steroids or something. Are there knitter steroids? Is it like a time thing that you can manipulate or just amphetamines? But the set is beautiful.
    My favorite is “GO Dog Go”…it’s a hat thing.

  41. Lovely hat and sweater, and such a nice gift idea (the books). Add Make Way for Ducklings please!

  42. Our book to gift every baby is “Good Night Moon!”. We’d love it even if our last name wasn’t Moon…just saying.

  43. Beautiful sweater!
    Goodnight Moon has to be an all-time classic. We had to replace the first worn out copy for our youngest to have.

  44. Beautiful sweater set, lovely mother-to-be! I’ve been absolved from all Christmas knitting due to a broken thumb which also involves a severed tendon and nerve. I don’t recommend this as an avoidance method. I have to admit I’ve figured out how to crochet one-handed and have begun a blanket for one of the 5(!) babies arriving in my circle early next year.

  45. Love the sweater and bonnet, I just now recalled that I just bought tape, put it in my room which then was dismantled for painting and now I have no idea of where the #$%# tape is.

  46. The only way to beat the tape problem that I’ve found is to buy a large, weighted tape dispenser (as used in offices). Unlike the little snail-shaped plastic tape dispensers, it is not drawer-friendly, it is bulky enough not to be masked by papers piled on top of it, and it is heavy enough not to get shoved off a desk or table without making itself known (crash!). If you only buy tape refills when it’s empty, and immediately put them onto it, you won’t lose those.
    Now, if there were only a large, heavy measuring tape dispenser . . .

  47. Has Lene started the spread sheet yet? Or are you all still winging it? I hope the plans work out well! (My 5th grandchild did not get his own lace baby blanket….. he got the antique, which I knitted for his father 37 years ago…. before I understood the differences between wool and acrylic. But he is warm and loved…. all you can hope for a baby.
    Barbara M. in NH

  48. Awesome, that made me all warm and cuddly, so I can imagine the expectant mom when she opened her surprise. Again, awesome.

  49. i love the sweater- there are many nieces and nephews in my future, so i guess i shall have to get the book. as for your favorite present, it’s mine too. i would add “the going to bed book” by sandra boynton. i clearly remember asking to be read that six or seven times in a row- and my father complying. guess it’s a fav for adults, too!

  50. It’s no mystery where my tape goes; I have a one year old. But, I solved the dilemma by stocking up on gift bags in various basic sizes and white tissue paper. A gift bag is a cop out, I know, but it’s better than an unwrapped gift or a crying Mama (me) as we’re trying to get out the door.

  51. Now I have “One hand, two hands, drumming on a drum”stuck in my head. I love the book but if this stays in my head much longer with no toddler in the house to share the fun with, I think you might owe me chocolate or yarn.

  52. Both of my sons love “Where The Wild Things Are”, and “Good Night Moon” The sweater and the bonnet are amazing!

  53. Forgot to say that my first remembered book is either Peter Pan or Anne of Green Gables. (My mum had 5 kids in 8 years, I was the oldest, and there was not much time or energy for reading.) But my husband’s first memory is having his father trying to indoctrinate him (his words) by reading him the “Child’s Storybook Bible.” It didn’t take…. he remains a scientific agnostic. I however, still believe in fairies!

  54. We give the books that we can still recite from when our 9.75 yo was teeny – Goodnight Moon and The Going to Bed Book.
    The sun has set not long ago…

  55. The sweater and bonnet are beautiful, and the book gift is nothing short of genius. Keeping that in the back of my mind for my next baby occasion.

  56. Gift bags are nice. I once wrapped Christmas gifts in brown paper bags stapled shut, with drawings in magic marker all over them.

  57. I don’t remember my own first book, but my husband ordered the first 7 of the Oz books for our daughter when she was 4 months old. She still loves them, at 40 years!
    And the sweater and hat are spectacular.

  58. Beautiful sweater and cap.
    Youngest daughter’s favorites were The Stinky Cheese Man and Tuesday. Oldest daughter’s were the entire Beatrix Potter series. My youngest sister (because I am nine years older) was Humm the Humming Hamster, may I never see that book again. LOL

  59. I solved the tape problem at Christmas years ago. Spent a day (or two) making drawstring bags. Bags are used every year — I have some I made over 20 years ago that still get used every Christmas — and no more hunting for tape.

  60. My daughter went through three board book copies of Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton. She read them until they would fall apart. The last copy we bought her was the deluxe ‘oversize’ one, which she still has on the bookshelf by her bed (and she’s 11). It’s the book I give to all the new babies in my life. And yes, I still have the text memorized.

  61. Gift bags are best because they can be reused and don’t end up in the trash like wrapping paper. I never thought of books as baby gifts, so thank you. My oldest friend and I had a shared passion for Nancy Drew so I insisted on buying her daughter’s first one, but the kid could read by then.

  62. Wow…thanks for the heads up. We’ve got a baby coming in March too and I’ve been thinking I’ve got months….but I’m sure a baby shower is planned very soon. I’d better get started now!

  63. Erma Bombeck said she kept tape by putting a dishtowel over it; no one else in her house ever voluntarily picked up a dishcloth.
    My youngest helped organize a book shower for her librarian-sister, secretly contacting fifty author/illustrators Betsy had had dealings with for a gift for Molly’s first bookshelf. Problem was, two weeks before the shower Betsy decided to name the sprog Lily instead. Kate says when the child asks about all the books dedicated to Molly she’s going to tell her she devoured her twin in the womb.

  64. Those baby knits are almost as beautiful as Katie! I also love the book idea. Will definately steal that one.

  65. Love the sweater and the bonnet! One of my favorite cousins is about to have her first baby and I have been collecting patterns to knit for her. I do believe Ill be adding a Perlemor to the line up!!!She already has a teddy bear blankie an a tulip sweater in the works.
    As for the baby shower gift, the idea is an old favorite of mine. I have a little twist though. I try to buy a basket of favorites for each stage of a child’s life, so they can grow up with books I always loved. I inscribe each one with a message related to the theme of the book or just about why I loved the book. I hope that it will always be a reminder that I loved his or her parents and their baby enough to want to share a piece of my history with them. Happy(American) Thanksgiving. It’s nice to be thankful in any land!!!

  66. Gread work on the photos of Katie, she is gorgeous. And so are the knits. I am going to be seriously hung up on trying to remember my first book, but what a good idea!

  67. Gift bags Stephanie. Gift bags.
    Wrap the knits in tissue and stuff (gently ease) them inside. No one will remember how your gift was wrapped. (Or not wrapped.)
    It took me decades to concede to using gift bags instead of continuing to delude myself that I would enjoy wrapping presents and they would turn out beautifully instead of looking like they were dropped in front of a snow blower on the way inside.
    I compensate by making nice tags to tie around the handles of the bags.
    Try it, you’ll like it.
    PS. I know you are thinking that you could just knit a gift bag and yes, you could. But don’t. Put your energy into the gift.

  68. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Yeah, I know, it’s more of a “boy book”, but us girls love it too!!!!
    GORGEOUS knitting! Of course, I think pretty much everything you knit is freakin’ amazing Stephanie! 🙂

  69. Just lovely! I bet she was thrilled!
    I just knit the cutest little red/white striped hat today for a Christmas baby. I was tying on the pompom moments before gifting, and the piece of tape I needed for the card is still on my dashboard!

  70. What a lovely baby set! You’ve reminded me that a friend is expecting baby number two (a girl) in February, so I had better get knitting. Last time her shower was three months before her due date, so I almost got caught short.
    I always give books as baby gifts and have usually chosen board book versions of the classics. The first books I remember were all Golden Books (Roly-Poly Puppy, etc.), but my very favorite were A.A. Milne’s poetry books: When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six. If the name sounds familiar, he wrote the Winnie the Pooh books (also wonderful).

  71. Wow: knitted items AND books. My librarian heart is a flutter. And your first book memory is Hand Hand Finger Thumb? Go figure! Gotta love it!

  72. That is an adorable little sweater and bonnet! The baby will be both lucky and stylish 🙂
    Books for a baby are wonderful–I remember Garth Williams’ the Chicken Book!

  73. Love the book idea. I’m definitely going to have to steal that for the next friend or family member who has a baby. After having to wrap a number of packages in blue painters tape because it was the only kind I could find, I eventually gave up and stocked gift bags and tissue paper. Oddly now that I have the backup I can always find the scotch tape. Probably because I put a roll in with the gift bags and no one else in my house knows about it.

  74. I suggest the new classic: Go The F*** To Sleep.
    Because we’ve ALL said it; anyone who says differently is lying.

  75. Patternfish carries some Dale of Norway patterns, including the cover hat and sweater from the baby book you mentioned.
    I’ll bet they could be persuaded to list this one too, by popular demand:)

  76. First – gift bags are great but we still seem to need tape. Keep it all in one place. As the stash starts to get low, top it up. Desk dispensers are handy as mentioned above. Keep the spare rolls all in one place.
    Second – when I am invited to a shower where there is already a child in the family, I take a book for the OLDER child so they don’t feel left out.

  77. I know what you mean about the tape. Every Christmas I buy scads of it and then, after the wrapping is done, the rest of it (and there should be lots left, we don’t wrap that many things) just sort of disappears. So for the rest of the year until the next Christmas, at least two or three times a month someone in my house asks this question, or a variation on it: Has anyone seen the tape? And then, since no one knows where it is, said person has to get really creative with packing tape, or masking tape. And by the way, I can’t find any of my measuring tapes right now either. I think the Borrowers are living under the floorboards in my house.

  78. Sure that MY baby books are out of print, but the ones I loved and my kids loved are Love You Forever and Goodnight Moon. I read Love You Forever to my own mom a few times after she got Alzheimers and we both cried together. New baby due – a boy, I’m betting – in March, child of my “third son” a kid who lived around the corner from us, lived with us for a few months, and is still close friends with both my boys. So, yes, the knitting frenzy is ON!

  79. Since my girls were blue eyed blondes (and they still are!) I always felt they looked better in blue. In fact I didn’t buy them pink or purple because my in-laws always did. As to books, best baby gift ever. I am a teacher librarian, as you Canadians say. And the tape? FORGEDDABOUTIT! Gift bags! No tape required!

  80. What a sweet little sweater set. My very favorite childhood book was The Casual Observer. I admit I had to seek it out and purchase it for myself as an adult.

  81. A recent podcast of A Way With Words talked about the pink & blue dilemma. Before the 1940s it was actually reversed! Boys wore pink and girls wore blue. No one knows why but it reversed in the 40s and here we are….go figure. I personally do not like pastels so I go for really bright colors for babies but we all know it’s for the adults anyway. I’m pretty sure the babies are unconcerned. 8^)

  82. I never have tape. But I always have scrap leftovers of yarn from the project that is being gifted, usually close by due to knitting up to the last minute. Therefore every present comes with the wrapping held closed by a little hint of what might be inside. Seriously, it works amazingly well. I would like to say this is an artful and intentional decision, but really, it is totally due to the lack of tape.

  83. that sweater set is beyond adorable!! wish i could get my hands on a (reasonably priced) copy of that book! and how lucky you are to welcome a baby into the family. we are in that state in our family where everyone is too “old” (mentally if not physically!) or, (fingers crossed!) too young to start the next generation. therefore i randomly shower friends and friends of friends with baby/toddler knits whenever the urge for small knitting strikes! (and Rosemary Wells’ “My Very First Mother Goose” is an absolute fave for a shower gift)

  84. Best-beloved books are my favorite gift for babies. My top choice goes in and out (WHY?) of print, so I’ve bought extra copies to keep on hand for when I need it: The Golden Egg Book, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrations by Leonard Weisgard. Weisgard’s pictures put this over the top, especially when you can find a copy in the original editions’ oversized format, 9.5″ by 13.25″. Why yes, I do still have my own childhood copy.

  85. All excellent books. The one I remember best, though I was older, was the classic version of Winnie the Pooh. And who can forget One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

  86. What a lovely gift! No wonder Katie is thrilled. I think Katie and one of your daughters share a familial resemblance. All pretty women in your family.

  87. I so agree with you about not caring about boy/girl when knitting for babies. My daughter (the female half of the boy/girl twins I had) is in love with blue for clothes now…
    And this reminds me of a song I learned while busking up in Canada (yup, I did these sorts of things before becoming a professional with twins):
    As soon as you’re born parents check where you pee
    And then they decide just how you’re gonna be
    Girls pink and quiet, boys noisy and blue
    Seems like a dumb way to choose what you’ll do.
    It’s only a wee-wee so what’s the big deal?
    It’s only a wee-wee so what’s all the fuss?
    It’s only a wee-wee and everyone’s got one
    There’s better things to discuss!

  88. that’s too funny! we always read hand hand fingers thumb! my 24yr old could probly recite the whole book 🙂 no one i’ve encountered has even heard of it!

  89. I love new incoming family babies! Our last one was 3 years ago, so we need a fresh one. Since my sisters and I are too old now, so we wait for the grandnieces and grandnephews to arrive. We have one right now, Rylee who is three and a ginger on top of that. Oh how I LOVE red headed children! My neice is getting married in April of next year, so my needle are ready for any baby news that may pass our way.
    Congratulations on your new incoming baby! Your right to spoil may now continue with any and all wooly gifts!

  90. I just had to post another comment here after thinking about my favourite books. I still have my copy of Moses in the Bulrushes. Little Black Sambo was another one I loved. I also loved my Nurse Nancy book (it came with bandaids!) My middle daughter adored Brown Bear In a Brown Chair and I gave her a copy of it a few years ago for Christmas.

  91. I believe that up until the war pink was considered a ‘strong’ color and therefore the color for boys.

  92. I just read your post this evening. My son will be 21 in two days. He arrived three months early and weighed a whopping 2 pounds, 11 ounces. He wants to know why I’m grabbing tissue and wiping tears off my face.

  93. Love the idea about the books. I can’t remember my first book since there were oh so many — Little Golden Books, Babar, Little Bear… Mom read to us so much that all three of us girls could read before we started school! My favorite, though would have to be “And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street” by the wonderfull Dr. Seuss. I still have my original copy 40 years later!
    Oh…and the sweater & bonnet are adorable, too!

  94. I remember my little sister, 18 months younger, and me, cuddling to either side of our mom as she read, each of us trying to be a little closer than the other on the orange couch: our time only, with the three older kids not interested/not invited. That was our time of the day for feeling particularly loved.
    And the first book I remember picking to read, in first grade, was Alice in Wonderland because it kind of sounded like my name. With my pleased/exasperated mom trying to help me with the words I got stuck on–and that there were a lot of those.
    Meantime. Beautiful, beautiful mother-to-be, beautiful memories you’re starting her out with; thank you both for letting all of us out here be happy for her.

  95. Books make great baby gifts. I love the idea of picking books that you and your daughters liked. It makes it extra special. Good books and beautiful cozy knitwear—–sounds like the perfect way to spend the winter no matter how new or old you are.

  96. Gorgeous sweater, and mazel tov to your family! I love your new book, too. The first book I remember is The Cat in the Hat, although my mother recalls that I loved a book called Tina and the Magic Pot. I’ve never seen that one, though!

  97. I read your blog all the time but I never comment. today I decided to say something. You are an excellent knitter. This is not news to me, but that baby sweater is so cute! Well done.

  98. First of all, what a charming sweater and hat! Secondly, what wonderful memories of childhood books everyone has! As a kindergarten teacher I am just thrilled! Thirdly, I would like to recommend the book Reading Magic by Mem Fox. I give this book to new moms because it explains why reading is so important. I order 3 at a time to avoid shipping charges. Thank you all for a wonderful trip down memory lane!

  99. I always loved, and still love for that matter, Because a little bug went kachoo, by Rosetta Stone. I still read it to my daughter from the same copy my dad read to me, with my scribbles in it and all.
    Btw I love the sparkly paper.

  100. Your sister in law is the absolute spitting image of one of your daughters!!! – the eldest? Strong, strong family resemblance.
    No-oné has mentioned Peter Rabbit – my grandchild-to-be, due at the same time as the new baby in your family, has the complete set awaiting his/her birth -and I have also finished the christening shawl.

  101. My first reading memory is of poetry, specifically “Wynken, Blyken, and Nod” (totally spelled wrong I’m sure.) There were lots of others, and then “The Little Engine That Could.” No Dr. Seuss for me – I’m older than that.
    Stephanie, this the first time I have written a comment. I have been recovering from 2 major knee surgeries, and the added complication of infection. I have read all of your books and have loved every one, but I had never read the blog. So, you have been my comfort and inspiration during the 8 weeks, so far, that I have been confined to the house, and I have read everything from January, 2004 to the present. Thank you for your wonderful attitude and philosophy on life, your sharp and marvelous wit, and of course your absolute fearlessness in tackling the knitting and The Blog!

  102. I hope that somebody, somewhere re-prints the old classic Our Animal Friends of Maple Hill Farm, Martin and Alice Provenson! That book was read to our 4 children and ALL the cousins until we could all recite it in unison, and it’s full of LOVELY personalities that we recognize and laugh and cry over. It’s been MUCH harder to find for the grandchildren! Anyone have any influence anywhere?

  103. Well, no new babies on the way, but I just purchased Murmel, Murmel, Murmel for my 2 year old. (We have the others and I’m always on the look out for good books.

  104. Oh, I just love the first book idea, and yes, I will totally steal that for the next baby in the family. Or neighborhood. Or knitting group. Or *gulp* grandchild.
    Love the baby sweater and bonnet – very precious.

  105. As a children’s librarian I second your recommendation for books. At my daughter’s baby shower we asked everyone to bring a book to start a library for the baby. BTW your Katie is one of the prettiest pregnant ladies I have seen! Best wishes!

  106. No tape? I’ve found those lovely gift bags and some tissue are a fabulous alternative…saved my breeches on many occasions.
    You do lovely work.

  107. What a cute sweater and bonnet. I admire your knitting speed and determination. Now, I have to get off the computer and back to my knitting. I have several more inches to go for a baby afghan for a baby due any day now. (I admit I had hoped to have it done for the shower, but that didn’t come close to happening). I also love to give books at baby showers (and don’t understand why more people don’t give them). But then again, my 2 big buying weaknesses are yarn and books.

  108. Love the idea of the books! Will be perfect for our first grandchild (daughter is an English teacher). Knitting is all done, blankets, sweaters, hats, socks, booties, a dress (just in case, we don’t know either). Watching you knit the baby blanket got me started early. Champagne is chilling in the fridge. Down to the last couple of weeks.

  109. Emma @2:06, you are absolutely right! We need people to snuggle up our handknit gifts and pet them and in general oooh and aaaah at their softness and color and…
    I own a coy of the Dale book, and all my friends keep trying to steal it. 🙂 Love this little sweater in blue. I did it in 2 shades of purple once. Very interesting, and very different.

  110. Emma @2:06, you are absolutely right! We need people to snuggle up our handknit gifts and pet them and in general oooh and aaaah at their softness and color and…
    I own a copy of the Dale book, and all my friends keep trying to steal it. 🙂 Love this little sweater in blue. I did it in 2 shades of purple once. Very interesting, and very different.

  111. Love the sweater set. For those of you who want the book, Amazon has a new copy of it for, are you ready….$210! (That’s US $210) However, if you think that is too expensive then buy a used one. Much more reasonable at $94!
    (If there was a sarcastic font, this message would be in it!)

  112. I love your baby knits. I am a long time reader of your blog and you knit the most darling baby things. I remember it was not so long ago that you churned out a series of beautiful baby clothes. They are heirlooms and I hope the mothers cherish them.
    Great idea about the books too. I don’t know if you remember the gentle “Noddy and Big Ears” story books. They were my first and I still remember the pictures. Good memories! Thanks!

  113. That is a totally charming sweater and hat!
    The book idea rocks; I’ll tell my daughter that one as many of her friends are having children.

  114. Beautiful. I’m expecting a nephew in March. What would I have to do to convince you to alter the pattern in some small, insignificant way to make it yours, and then offer it for sale at a reasonable price. Because now, nothing short of this will do, and while I could probably figure out the stitch by studying blow ups of the photographs, I just don’t have the time and nerves for it, and it would leave me without the greater plan. Please, please, please? Pretty please?

  115. If you’ve never run into it: “Catch Me and Kiss Me and Say It Again” by Wendy and Clyde Watson is one of my favorite books for little ones. Bouncy rhymes and sweet illustrations. It’s probably out of print, but you can still find a copy here and there. My aunt and uncle read it to their kids, then gave us a copy when my son was born. I’ve got it and am holding onto it for my grandchildren, if I can bring myself to give it up. ; )

  116. Are we somehow related? That rare genetic trait regarding sticky tape plagues my family, too. Christmas, any birthday, sending parcels by post…
    And the first thing I can remember reading? The Sydney Morning Herald (Australian newspaper). My mother would lie flat on the floor, my sister and I on either side (and sometimes on the paper itself), and apparently picked up reading by osmosis. I wouldn’t recommend a newspaper for a first book, though 😉

  117. Oh oh oh oh how I wish I was pregnant and I could invite you to the shower!!!!!! 🙂 What a beautiful present for a beautiful mom-to-be and her precious one! And I adore the baby book shower gift idea – my favorite is Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. I gave it to my DH on our first anniversary – yeah, he’s a macho sort but he got all misty when he read it. 🙂

  118. For the tape: I have the same problem. When I need clear tape the only thing to be found is green painters tape, not the best for wrapping gifts (trust me, I’ve tried, it’s really hard to cover up).
    Gift bags are wonderful. And they are re-usable so there is less waste. You can even get creative and use things like purses or baskets with tissue paper in them!

  119. Wow DUH! I’m a librarian and never thought of giving a children’s book. I love the idea. Sweater is gorgeous!

  120. I see I’m not the only one using gift bags to avoid the need for tape 🙂
    The sweater and bonnet are absolutely lovely, and I love your explanation for the color choice. I also love the book idea, and have used it before myself, with the book “Guess How Much I Love You” – not the first book I remember, but a very nice one.
    Oh – and the “holy booties, Batman, I thought I had three months” made me laugh right out loud – thanks!

  121. WOW! Another triumph.
    As for the tape – I don’t have a problem with tape because my parents were in business and always had a REAL tape dispenser. After leaving several employers, I’ve got several of those in the house, and they are like boat anchors. The only trick with the older ones is to keep your family from pitching the core that goes inside the roll in the trash. Some of the newer ones have the cores attached so they can’t do that.
    However – where in the world are all the tape measures and error fixer crochet hooks? Are they somewhere like that maelstrom in the ocean that collects plastic trash?

  122. I think your inability to keep tape is somehow realated the your inability to keep a TAPE measure. Though the result is not shown in the knitting, lovely, just lovely.

  123. Charity shops round here always seem to have shawls, scarves and headscarves very cheaply. They make nice wrappings tied up with ribbon or string (rectangular gifts wrapped like a normal parcel; irregular ones in a bundle tied at the top), are cheaper than fancy wrapping paper, and can at least see service for the dressing-up (the more garish and embellished, the better!) or winter walks afterwards. Occasionally you can find really nice, smart, wearable items for grown-ups too.
    Simple cloth or knitted bags are nice, of course, if you have the time. Kids seem to love containers of any sort, and if you make them a useful size many adults will welcome them too.

  124. Not only do I use gift bags, my family leaves them all at my house after Christmas to be re-used next year. Easy and eco-friendly!

  125. Your tape and darning needles probably go to the same place. To make sticky, pointy babies together. Which also hide from you.

  126. I love that sweater and cap and love Dale Ull. I wish more stores around me carried it.
    My mom gave each of us a copy of the Poky Little Puppy, which is her favorite book. My favorite is Victoria Plum.

  127. Did you ever read books about The Borrowers by Mary Norton? There are tiny little people living in our houses under Grandfather clocks and behind the cupboards who come out at night and “borrow” the things they need to survive. Spools make end tables, stamps become art for the wall, and needles are skewers for roasting. I read them in elementary school, and then just re-read them a couple of years ago (in my 40’s). It certainly explains why all those household items go missing. There must be a need for tape amongst the little people.
    Does the wee one have an older sibling? The Kissing Hand is good for those headed off to school soon. The first book my husband read to our DD while she was still in the hospital was I’ll Love You Forever.

  128. What a beautiful little set. Well done!
    I’m giftwrapping-impaired and a big fan of the bags. If I’m out of the bags, though, and the items in question lend themselves to being rolled up, I’ve been known to “burrito” the item in wrapping paper and close the ends by tying them up with yarn. (Tape? We don’t need no stinkin’ tape!)
    As for the Christmas knitting…totally on it. I want this to be the second year in a row that everything’s finished by the time my Thanksgiving break is over. We shall see.

  129. Be still my reading teacher’s heart! Woolly goodness and BOOKS! My two favorite baby gifts. I really have too many childhood favorites to list, my mom was always reading to us, but I think my first favorite I remember is There’s a Wocket in my Pocket. DH’s is Mike Mulligan, my son’s is Polar Express and my daughter was too contrary to admit she has a favorite that she remembers us reading to her. After she started school though she loved the Fancy Nancy books. She’s just like Nancy!

  130. That is THE MOST ADORABLE SWEATER EVER! and the first book I remember is “See Dick run, run Dick run, run run run…” My parents didn’t spend money on books for us kids (in their defense, we were dirt poor), so I learned to read on what my older brothers and sister lugged home from school.

  131. Have you seen the price of that knitting book on Amazon. I did,.. then I passed out. Gonna have to hope our library has it 😀
    Gorgeous sweater and hat.
    I bought two MUST have books for my son.
    Wynken, Blyken and Nod and The velveteen rabbit. Both of which I remember my grandmother reading to me as a child.

  132. Adorable sweater and bonnet. I love the idea of gifting babies with the first book you remember. A few years ago some friends were having a baby and asked friends to post their book suggestions to Google docs. It was fabulous to read all the suggestions.

  133. The Velveteen Rabbit is a wonderful book, the basic “message” is you aren’t REAL until your fur has been loved off.

  134. I think your mentioning the book drove the demand up. New it’s $210 on Amazon and can be had used for a mere $94. Love the patterns anyhow!
    Congrats on a new baby to spoil. What fun!

  135. Love the jacket, looked for the book…..£205.74 here in the UK…… Think I’ll just have to make that one a lottery win option!!

  136. No fair to mention a book that’s out-of-print! As a Librarian & ex-bookstore employee, I’ll want to search for it–even though I know no little ones or know any one who’s expecting. Besides I just FINALLY found “Classics in Kroy” off a Canadian seller on Ebay mixed in with a lot of sock knitting books.

  137. My fam does that gift, too!
    I unceremoniously banished wrapping paper a few years ago (which was more related to resenting my title of Gift Wrapping Slave Elf than lack of materials, but whatever)and it has made for a much less stressful Christmas and Birthdays.Instead, I hit the fabric store after the holidays and bought up a bunch of fabric on sale (which makes it cheaper than wrapping paper) and sewed them into little gift sacks the edges are pinking sheared because I’m not enough of a lunatic to sew that many tiny hems. We just tie ribbon or yarn around the top and call it wrapped.
    Bonus, they’re also ecotastic and reusable.

  138. My trick to the lack of tape (we must be distantly related) is. wait for it. Yarn! Just wrap as you normally would then tie some yarn around that bad boy and if there is an extra five minutes, knit a little embellishment to make it look like you meant to wrap it that way all along!

  139. AMEN! for your PS. I’m due in 2 weeks and have been knitting like a fiend for my baby-of-yet-unknown-gender, and half my family is looking at the things I’m knitting and saying, “Clearly you know it’s a boy and aren’t telling us.” Harrumph.

  140. My daughter’s absolute favorite book was a well-worn copy of “Cowboy Andy”, given to me by a friend who said it was the ultimate enticement to a hassle-free bedtime, and it was. I love the sweater and cap. It’s obvious the mom-to-be does, too!

  141. One trick I have for wrapping baby shower gifts is to wrap it in a receiving blanket.
    You can fold the blanket gift-wrapping style and secure with ribbon, or you can tie the blanket like a bundle by tying opposite corners together.

  142. You have warmed the cockles of this librarian’s heart! And I think your tape dispensers are off having drinks with your tape measures…

  143. My mom swears by bags, it’s the only thing she is capable of wrapping in. My dad went with pre-decorated boxes last year, proudly proclaiming he went to michaels to find them. Being a first occurrence in his fifty-odd years on this planet, it was quite the shocking statement to all of us.
    Lovely hat and sweater set! I’m a girl, and blue is my favorite color… Probably all that pink I was forced to wear before I could name a preference 🙂

  144. Katie is one of the most beautiful pregnant women I have ever seen! And she clearly knows how to appreciate the hand knits, as evidenced by how it went straight to her face! Excellent baby handknit action!

  145. In our family, my sis is the Clothes Aunt, as she has that knack for choosing clothes the recipient will love (be it classic or ‘cool’ !) And I am the Book Aunt, and love browsing the shelves for just the right book gift.
    Beautiful sweater and hat. Just beautiful.

  146. My first book was Busy Day, Busy People which is now sadly out of print. It had elaborate drawings of various locations and another kid and I would fight about looking at the hospital or the firehouse scene in daycare. I was fighting over books before I was even 1 year-old, no wonder I’m a reader. It looks like used copies are now selling for 25 cents plus shipping and I’m very tempted to invest in a few future copies.

  147. my mother is a double-Virgo. She always bought a five-pack of Scotch tape (the red-plaid kind) as part of her Thanksgiving grocery-shopping, so there would be plenty for the Christmas gift-wrapping season. She installed the wrapping paper, scissors, and said tape on the dining room table and nobody ate there (indeed, nobody *entered* there without wrapping *something*!) until three days before Christmas. Then it all got swooped up and the table was dressed for Christmas Eve dinner.
    I will hopelessly, eternally, NEVER live up to my mother’s example.

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