I got an email yesterday from a very nice knitter, who was charming and lovely and I enjoyed her note very much, even though it’s pretty clear she thinks I’m a bit of a lunatic.  She’s concerned about how much knitting I do for babies before they’re born. She wonders if I ever worry about a jinx, the mortal consequences of counting my chickens before they’re hatched,  if I ever think that I am somehow endangering the baby by assuming it will arrive before it has, boldly daring the fates. 

In short. No.  I have never, ever worried about this, although it’s okay if you do. We’ve all got different superstitions and rules about our lives, and in this case I can tell you that in absolutely no way do I believe that the knitting I do ahead of time will emperil the wee bairns it is for – and by the way, why would I do it if I did?

Wouldn’t that make me just about the worst Aunt in the world? Sitting here believing that me making something for the baby was dangerous, but just deciding that it was a knitting risk that had to be taken?  Can you imagine me here pounding out the hand knits, all while hoping against hope that nothing bad happened as a result? Finishing bootees then turning around three times and spitting over my left shoulder? Laying out the finished sweaters under the moonlight and smudging them with sage to improve the odds?

I actually believe the opposite, I think, although I don’t think about it much.  Knitting for impending humans feels like improving their chances. It feels like throwing a line out into the ether and towing them in. Preparing the path, paving the way, and making it clear to the fates that there are people looking out for this kid, and expecting them.

The truth is that this is just a bit of optimism on my part. A superstition of another sort,  no more or less valid than the opposite.  The reality is that sometimes good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people and it probably has nothing at all to do with whether or not there was a lot of knitting, but  that sunny Pollyanna in me doesn’t really think so. She thinks handknits are great karmic lifejackets, and so I will knit them.

Mind you, that same Pollyanna also thinks I’m finishing this layette by tomorrow, and since it’s supposed to be a hat, sweater and bootees (the blanket comes later) and at present it’s only a hat and a half sweater, that’s clearly crazier than a bag of wet weasels, so maybe nobody should be trucking with my theories. 
Do you have any superstitions about knitting for babies?

PS. I missed giving out a skein of yarn yesterday, Genia had two skeins of STR Hard Rock, and I only gave away one of them.  Today, she’ll mail the second to Nicki H. Thanks to both of them.

PPS. Several people asked for the pattern for the baby blanket in the Heirloom entry a few days ago.  That’s Luis, and his blanket, and there’s no pattern. It’s one of a kind. 

280 thoughts on “Jinx

  1. My mother believed you did not knit for a baby until it was on the way. But when I worked in a yarn shop there were plenty of hopeful grandmas knitting away for future grandchildren without fear. It’s the love that gets knit in that matters.

  2. The picture in my head of a bag of wet weasels just made me snort out my drink….. Beautiful half sweater and hat!

  3. My own children would never have had their baby blankets if I had waited until they arrived to knit them! New mothers simply have zero knitting time for quite a while.

  4. Yeah, OPTIMISM! A couple friends have told me that knowing that other people have faith (not sure that’s the right word) in their pregnancy has helped them through rough spots.

  5. When I was pregnant with my third, a friend was pregnant with her first. Our due dates were weeks apart. Her baby died at 25 weeks after a too-early delivery. I had my baby, and there was a huge hole between us. She became pregnant again, with the same due date as her first – just one year later. I knit for that baby with the constant thought that the handknits would heal all wounds. When she opened her gifts, it was clear that they had. Seeing my work on her baby healed my heart, too.

  6. When I worked in a knit shop I remember one fabulous granny coming in to buy yarn to make each of her grown-up grandchildren baby layettes. It didn’t matter to her that not a single one of them was pregnant or even married or engaged or had significant others. As she put it, “I’m not getting any younger and nobody else in the family knits so who is going to knit for these future babies, if I don’t?” There’s optimism for you. I am positive that she was not jinxing the next generation – just telling them “I was hoping for you and looking out for your comfort long before you became a reality.”

  7. The only one I have is in regards to making anything burial related…. I won’t make anything burial related because I don’t want them to be needed.
    Knitting for potential babies though… it’s why I am working on filling my hope chest… booties, hats, sweaters, quilts….

  8. I was not suspicious about knitting for babies until a friend (the friend who taught me the art of knitting fearlessly, actually) of mine lost her well-past-viability baby in utero. I hadn’t knit her anything yet, but the day before I’d posted to Facebook, “When’s everyone’s due dates!! You’re all getting hats!!!”
    I can imagine the only thing worse than losing your baby is coming home to the fresh new nursery and all the wonderful knits and things that will never get used by the baby you’ve been falling in love with for the last 9 months. Brings new meaning to, “what fresh hell is this?”
    So now I’m not necessarily superstitious so much as I am…cautious.
    Luckily the impending-baby I’ve got on deck for knits in October is going to be Jewish, so I don’t need to worry about this. Their rituals have this all sorted out.

  9. I’m currently knitting for my first grandchild, expected in November. The reality of my life is that if I don’t start now, they will have nothing hand knitted waiting for them. But more importantly it’s my way of saying “little one, you are already loved beyond measure”.

  10. In 2009 I was diagnosed with breast cancer… I immediately knit two blankets for my future grand babies. My future might have been uncertain at the time but I could be certain at least two babies would know my love. (My kids were only 9 and 14)

  11. I also lost a baby born too soon, and yes, it was very tough to come home to all of the precious things made for Olivia, that was 13 years ago, and every so often I’m pulled to that box in the attic and now when I take out all of those beautiful, unworn things, they bring me peace and comfort because they are tangible proof of the love felt for her. Maybe they never served their original purpose, but they have proven to be very useful and are even more treasured as years go by.

  12. My second sond was born a week before due-date, the evening before I had shown my husband where his homecoming clothes were kept. My third son came three weeks early and I hadn´t finished anything at all. When I had my fourth I waited for two weeks (actually four because I thought he would come early). In those four weeks I was always trying to find out what I had to finish for him to come. I did a lot of houswork that had been overdue for years because of my big home.

  13. Well, I am in the midst of knitting a life jacket—or life sweater. I am one of those people who usually wait until the baby is close to term before I knit. Perhaps it’s just laziness, but that’s what usually happens. Last Christmas, a very (very!) young couple that we know through our church had a baby girl at home. No one recognized the signs of respiratory distress in the wee one, and she passed away during her first few hours. Everyone surrounding this family openly grieved, we pounded our fists over the “what ifs.” This couple is now pregnant and expecting another little girl in November. I expect to have a whole collection of knitted items to shower this new life—and I started early—if your theory is right, they will tow her in…

  14. My elder sister was a stillborn baby, lost at 7 months in the days when NICU was a pipe dream. When she was expecting me Mum forbade anyone from buying or making anything. As a result when I was born on a Sunday, I had nothing, no clothes and no shops open to get anything. Nurses begged and borrowed from other parents to clothe me for a day.
    The story is family legend but I don’t share my mother’s superstition, although she never got over it.

  15. I suspect this is a slosh-over variant of not getting the nursery ready in advance. As KathrynB points out, losing your baby and coming home to its all-spiffed-up nursery (I saw this once — the divorced/remarried parents of the mother were too busy not being in the house at the same time to take down the nursery)would be about the worst, and when infant mortality was high, this made sense. But iddle knitted thingies can be tucked into drawers and cedar chests. They’re a vote for hope, and immune to superstitions flowing the other way.

  16. My first grandchild is due tomorrow. I started knitting for him the day I found out we were expecting. I originally taught myself to knit from a book when I was expecting the mother to be. I only got as far as three inches of a detailed fair isle sweater! My skills have definitely improved over the years so in addition to the handed down crocheted baby things my grandson will have a stack of custom knits from Gramma Sheila with love knit into each and every stitch. As soon as I get the call we are on our way to Dallas.

  17. I refuse to knit in pastels for babies if I can get away with it. There’s been a couple of instances where I made some pastel colored baby blankets but it grates inside me and I rant and curse (inside my head-I have little kids who can hear always close by)so much about the pastels that I’m surprised they weren’t born with 6 fingers, three toes and a second head. I’ve always made bright things for babies and maybe that’s because I like bright colors but I think it’s more that pastels drive me nuts.

  18. so many sad and happy baby stories. I know when I was pregnant, I lived in Greece, and they were very superstitious about even acknowledging that I was pregnant until the baby arrived. Then they were all sad and disappointed because I had a daughter. The nerve of me!!!

  19. I knit for babies (because I do believe in the whole “we’re waiting for you Sweet Pea thing) but I don’t, for the most part, give the gift until the baby has arrived.

  20. No-one tell my mother, but I’ve been stashing away baby knits for years. I’m 35, unmarried, and no kids, but I refuse to give up hope for little ones! Meanwhile, I know that I’ve got the ultimate stash of baby stuff just waiting. If it never works out for me, I’ll still be able to enjoy them on friends’ wee ones. 🙂

  21. My family is from the Caribbean and the easier question to ask is ‘what do you NOT have superstitions about’?
    Like the person that sent you an email, my family believes that there are lots of ways to jinx a healthy pregnancy – and even more ways to bring harm after the baby is born. Yikes!
    When my son was on his way, we had the baby shower before he was born. That’s a no-no. I did not have the cat put down, as suggested, and I did not take a toothpick to the corners to make sure there was no dust or spiders hanging around. I did knit for him and I did buy my crib and clothes in advance. My mother was apoplectic!
    My son is now 20, a handsome and strapping young man who is smart, caring and a father himself.

  22. Lots of women used to have hope chests in which to keep items prepared for one’s eventual marriage. I never thought one needed to be engaged to start a hope chest. I am now 65 and have no grandchildren. My youngest, 22, has no partner or sign of a partner on the horizon. She has lots of plans for her life before she starts having children–and she definitely wants to have children.I plan to start a hope chest of future grandchild knitting. I hope that I am in good shape to play with these grandchildren who will be wearing the items I made for them years ago. I’d rather spend my time playing with them than knitting for them!!

  23. I am not superstitious but many millennia ago I crocheted matching (alternating color details) sweaters for expected twins. I made them the minute I learned about the pregnancy. The mother lost the twins very very early – shortly after the sweaters were completed. The sweaters became very troubling – made specifically for a specific baby or babies and now unusable by them and to me not giftable to another for that reason. I never knit for any baby until the moment he or she is born, not from superstition but because knitting for a baby is so personal – love put in every stitch for just exactly that baby.

  24. My Irish grandmother said that you couldn’t buy anything with wheels before the baby was born. Why? No idea.

  25. As silly as it sounds, if I start something before the intended baby is born, I make a small mistake on purpose to prevent it from being perfect, and don’t completely finish sewing in ends or such until the babe is safely in arms…

  26. I admit to being a bit superstitious but only for the first trimester. I hold off knitting until the second trimester. I do plan though. I plan the projects and buy the materials like crazy and then as soon as that second trimester hits, I knit like the wind.
    It’s funny though, I also sort of have the optimistic superstition. When I have friends that WANT to have children, I knit things for those imagined children. That somehow seems like a good way to summon babies. “Here is a lovely blanket baby. Don’t you want to come to these parents to get the blanket?”

  27. Long ago, knitting and sewing baby stuff had to be done before the baby was born or you’d have a naked cold little one!! And it was certainly more likely that the things that were made for the baby might not get used by that baby, but certainly would get used ultimately.
    I love the idea of knitting to help create a tie to the little one. I am planning a blanket for the baby my cousin is expecting. She has had issues in the past with losing a pregnancy, so I hesitated to actually start anything. I think I will start something sooner than later (incorporate it into my holiday knitting since the wee one is due early Feb) and welcome that wee one into the world. 🙂

  28. I held off until the baby was born because there were problems with the pregnancy and I was worried about any pain I might cause. Problem is, I’m a very slow knitter. Now I’ve got this adoreable little hat for a newborn – and am hoping somebody gets pregnant fairly soon because the kid it was made for is already too big for it. For future reference, next time, I plan to start knitting as soon as I hear about the pregnancy, and let the chips fall where they may.

  29. I’m waiting until I get pregnant before I start knitting things for the baby. But at that point, no power on Earth could stop me!

  30. This may be a thing of the past now, but Jewish families used to NEVER hold baby showers before the birth. NEVER. Too dangerous, to tempt the evil eye like that. If the grandmother bought layette items ahead of time, she kept them at her house (hidden away, even), until the baby was actually born. My mother kept my first-born’s layette in her home until I reached approximately 38 weeks.

  31. When I was pregnant with my first (and only) son, my mother-in-law informed me that I would get nothing for the baby before he was born. I ought to mention that this was the first time I’d ever heard of this superstition. It was truly awful for me, a rather hormonal pregnant person who is a planned by nature and profession to be informed that I was expected to leave for the hospital with nothing for my child and just trust that it would all be ok. Um, no.
    So, I bought what I needed and moved on with my life. I ought to mention that I found this insistence of my MIL to be hateful and insensitive. Perhaps this is why I don’t deal with her to this day.
    Moral of the story — don’t piss off the pregnant woman — certainly not the mama to your grand baby.

  32. If I know there is some concern about the baby (past miscarriage, etc.) then I won’t tell the mother I’m knitting for them, and will save it until the baby is out safely, just to spare feelings and not add to the anxiety. Otherwise I knit away and share my excitement because I think it encourages new mothers in general to know that there is so much love for them and their baby. I don’t believe my knitting has anything to do with how the baby comes out.

  33. My darling daughter is not married, not officially engaged, but has finally met and mutually fallen in love with a young man worthy of her esteem. I have found my eyes straying to baby sweaters, and my mind contemplating the widdle booties and adorable hats, considering colors for “heirloom quality” and everyday blankies. It would be a bit previous of me to start openly knitting little precious things… but I’m so tempted.
    Have knitted for her best friend’s little one and for a distant great-niece, but I can’t wait to knit for a baby I’ll actually get to cuddle and babysit and dandle on my knee… Needles will start working as soon as I hear he/she’s on the way. Can’t promise I won’t already have yarn.

  34. I’ve never started knitting for my babies before I hit 12 weeks. I know there’s no such thing as a safe date and it isn’t superstition exactly, just my way of balancing anxiety with the need to knit!

  35. In the Jewish religion it’s customary to not buy or make anything for the baby until after the baby is born. You’re not supposed to even decorate a nursery. It’s thought to bring “dark spirits” marking the child for disaster. These days not everyone still holds to this custom but many do especially more Orthodox Jews.

  36. I have no superstitions about such things. If I knitted for a baby who did not live, I would gift it to the next baby to come along. After all, the love in the knitting is still there, no matter which baby receives it.
    I have one grandson who is 11. Occasionally I think about knitting a blanket for a future great-grandchild, but have not planned the pattern or the yarn.

  37. Here goes. I was an “older” bride, although not as old as my husband whose first grandchild was born while we were engaged. (She, at 3 months, came to our wedding. There have been other reasons over the years why people think I’m crazy.) Somehow between planning a wedding, working full-time, and trying to move, I never managed to add knitting to my schedule. So, for her first birthday, I gave her a little pink pullover, the Penny Straker pattern with knit-in hearts. She looked lovely in it, and was walking around enough that plenty of people were able to ooh and aah it.

  38. There’s also a practical reason for knitting before the babe is born. They grow so fast that if you waited until the birth to start knitting for a newborn, the child would already have outgrown your priceless handknit! I like the idea of a lifeline thrown to the small one to help him or her into the world.

  39. Sure, I have a superstition about knitting for babies – no matter what I do, the item will be outgrown before I get a chance to deliver it!

  40. I always knit for a baby before it is born, though I often don’t give it to the parents until after the safe arrival. It all depends on the parents-to-be. If they are reluctant to receive anything beforehand, I hold on to it, and present it after the happy event. Otherwise, it’s a baby-shower gift.

  41. Um. No. I love making up itty bitties for new babies. They are the most deserving of brand new, handmade with love, godmotherly wished over (you know, the wishes that they will be loving, giving, cheerful, creative and happy little humans)items that can be created. I can only work on baby items when I’m in my happy place (which is generally whenever I’m working on baby items). Does that make me superstitious?

  42. I usually wait to make things until the 6 month pregnancy mark…that way its not too early and not to untoward but that is just me….
    Now, I just had an experience where I finished a wonderful blanket for my SIL and I found out two days later that the minute I finished the blanket she was on her way to the hospital since her contractions just started being intense and the show was on.

  43. I have optimism…I’m not planning to be expecting for five years or so, but I am going to start a stash of knitted objects, because even if I never conceive, or I do and something happens…Some other little one will need just as much knitting, and I’ll have it on stand-by, ready to go to them. All of my items are knit with the same amount of love, so it’s all the same…Some will just have been tucked away longer!
    Good luck, hun! It’s not going to change anything, and you’ll be prepared. And not stuck at the last moment without any knitting!
    Katie =^..^=

  44. My husband and his family are Jewish, and in some circles baby showers are not done before the baby comes, even among Reform Jews. But other groups are more lax. My mother-in-law knit for both my kids before they were born, and she and her friends threw a baby shower before the first one was born. My sister-in-law balked at getting anything for my kids before they were born, though, and instead got stuff for me while I was pregnant. 🙂
    I made hats for my kids before they were born, but my husband and I never said or wrote the names we’d chosen before they were born. So that was the level of non-jinxing that we went with.

  45. It took me many years to fall pregnant – and in those years that I waited for my daughter to arrive, I knit for her. Once I knew I was pregnant, I was certain I would carry her to term (which I did). I happily knit for babies before they are born – but only for confirmed pregnancies now 😉

  46. The idea of a karmic lifejacket has me giggling considering all the karmic possibilities in my life, good and bad. I hope they balance out when I wear my next handknit cardigan, like the idea that a karmic lifejacket is a garment designed to balance your karma.

  47. The only knitting superstition I have is the dreaded boyfriend sweater. I have knit for many babies and usually give the gift at a baby shower.
    A dear friend on mine used to knit layettes in all colors and wrap them up right away. Then she always had a hand knit ready.

  48. I love that Luis has a one of a kind blankie. We all need a few one of a kind things in our lives. It reminds us that we are each unique and special in our own way. It’s why all my nieces and nephew have unique quilts to cover them. One for when they are first arrived, and one for when they leave home for school or whatever their first venture out into the world alone looks like.

  49. I knit for impending babies, all the time. Sometimes I barely know the parents and don’t expect to really get to know the baby. I’ve decided that it is my version of yarn bombing. It is my way of saying to the universe that these babies are welcome here, and will be wrapped in love, represented by little sweaters and caps!

  50. We’ve been trying for a child for 6 years, within the past 20 months had an early miscarriage, and a stillbirth at 20 weeks. I have a small chest with my son Frederick’s pile of unused handknits along with his footprints and bereavement cards… and another box with other hopeful baby knits that have accumulated over the years. I’m now pregnant with another son, due within a day of his elder brother’s due date (1 year later)… and while I can knit for others’ babies now, I haven’t been able to bring myself to knit anything for this one yet. It’s still too raw. I don’t believe it’s jinxing in any way, it’s just that I’ve lived through coming home to an unfinished sweater for my son and the despair I felt as I took it off the needles and put it away. I may not knit for his one until he’s in my arms. But I’m not worried about that- if this one makes it, he’ll be smothered in handknits of all kinds for many years to come.

  51. I think that most of my superstitions fall on the happy side of the fence as regards babies. Positive energy, good thoughts, welcoming thoughts and love – yes, a karmic lifejacket indeed. Make the gifts any time, don’t tell about them, and wait until baby is here to present them. That way, you get the best of all worlds. I am resisting knitting for future grandkids but both sons are in long term serious relationship so perhaps it is time to start.

  52. Not suspicious about knitting per se for babies, but when we were pregnant we did not even order baby furniture or buy clothes/diapers until after birth. My parents were able to get us the diapers and some outfits, and the rest fell into place.

  53. Ken calls handknit socks containers of love. I think these cosmic life jackets are the same.

  54. I’m with you. When I knit for someone, I meditate on them and send them love. How could this do anything but strengthen them? Even wee-ones-to-be. I’m about to start a bunch of Better than Booties for a friend’s daughter who is pregnant. I’d never knit them if I thought I were harming a life in any way. Nope. I send love.
    Is it OK if I send love to Val’s pregnancy, too? I know I’ve made it this far because others have sent their love to me over the years. Stay well, Val, and hold your child gently. We’re with you.
    This blog rocks.

  55. I typically wait until we know if it’s a boy or girl. (or if the folks dont want to know, wait until the doctor knows, sort of a confirmation line) then all bets are off!
    I’ve had two babies come home in my blankies. The eldest of the two I made a adult sized blankie so she could cuddle with her daddy. She drags Kie with her everywhere I’m told.
    The youngest has two blankies, and 5 sweater hat sets. If number two on the way for that fam ends up being a girl then that baby gal will get more use than the first got to! My sizing was off. But his/her two blankies are blocking as we speak!

  56. In general I share the superstition about not getting ready for the baby until he/she arrives. But knitting feels different, something about knitting the love in makes me end up agreeing with you on the baby knitting superstition.

  57. I think knitting for “impending babies” (I love that phrase) is a wonderful thing! It’s imbuing something with love, and care, and hope, and desire to meet someone’s newest reason to smile, and who wouldn’t want that?
    Yes, there’s always a chance “something” might happen. There’s also a chance I might get hit by a bus while crossing the street before I can finish the lovely new thing, so I figure I’ll let the universe do what it must, and so shall I.

  58. The only thing I have superstitions about with knitting is the notorious BoyFriend Sweater. I have seen that jinx too many times! (snort) But baby stuff? I am just careful to fit the gift to the parents involved. If there has been a history of suffering or loss, I wait til the baby is born and healthy (sticking around( to gift something. For others–I knit right away,and loudly, making sure that they know something squishy and colorful and full of love is coming. I have had the privilege of knitting adoption (for the actual day of–take the child to court day) as well as homecoming items, and it is such a joy.

  59. There is a group on Ravelry called Elephant Tears that knits specifically for babies born preterm and lost.
    Although it might be painful to have knits in a drawer for a baby who was never born, I think it would also be very meaningful, an acknowledgment of the fact that they lived and were loved, if only for short time.

  60. I have only gotten superstitious about things a few times – once I created a quilt for Project Linus, then found out I was pregnant before I finished it. I loved it and desperately wanted to keep it for my baby, but feared that, since I’d started it to comfort a sick kid, perhaps the universe would close that circle by making my child sick. I knew in my head that was nuts, but I gave it to the project anyway. Somebody needed it more than my little guy.

  61. In my linen closet I have a shelf of handmade gifts. In some cases they are for a specific person (e.g., a hat for Dad), but most of the time they are of general gifting use (scarves, cowls, small quilts, baby items). I cannot tell you how many times it has come in handy to have an extra baby sweater (she’s having a baby next month?!) or scarf (usually surprise guests at Xmas).
    Demand for handknit gifts is great enough around here that a stash of finished objects is a wise investment.

  62. There is one more reason to knit for baby’s before they are born. Those grieving parents need a beautiful blanket or shawl to wrap their lost small one in even knowing it will never be seen. Love is love for a beautiful growing child and for the ones we have lost too.

  63. I agree with whoever said that if you don’t start before baby is born, you can’t knit the little tiny things because the child will be too big by the time you finish! And I love the idea of a lifeline to pull baby to earth. I have a ongoign stash of baby things to gift as needed because they’re so fun to knit

  64. It may sound silly, but I always knit booties, so wherever their paths may led them, they will have a soft walk home.

  65. You are DANGEROUS!!! I just had a knee replacement and almost fell off my chair laughing about your comment “making booties and spitting over your shoulder”..I really needed a good laugh today, that would take my mind away from this tedious recovery…
    My comment, concerning “counting your chicks before they hatch” makes me think that is is, obviously, a cultural thing. I come from Chile, where, for months before the births, family gathered to prepared the upcoming baby’s layette….After all…do we give birth…and then…. bring the crib, the changing table, the diapers…etc, etc, etc…..I like to idea of “preparing”, “anticipating”, “lovingly getting ready”….I am not superstitious, but respect those who are…. Thanks for a good laugh…

  66. For a while there, didn’t you have a sort of superstition that a baby wouldn’t be born until you had finished knitting their blanket? And some moms (lord love them) wanted you to hurry the heck up and finish because they wanted to have the baby?
    The only superstitions that stick are the ones we let stick.

  67. I started a cardigan in lovely bright primary colours for my first baby, but that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage.
    Finishing that sweater was one of the hardest things I ever did.
    Then, when I was expecting for the second time, I used the left over yarn from that first sweater to make more things for the new baby. It was incredibly healing, and all four of my children now have worn both the subsequent sweaters and the original cardigan.
    I will knit for a baby at any stage in the pregnancy, but I don’t tell the mom-to-be.

  68. I had a great-aunt who always left the needles in– she wouldn’t cast off until the baby was born. That’s one way to do it, and I thought about it until my sister and I were pregnant at the same time, and I was finishing one thing for her, and I needed the needles to make something for my baby-to-be, so I shrugged and cast off.
    I think that just makes me bad at being superstitious, though.

  69. Knitting for babies is such a joy I can’t imagine waiting for the arrival to do the knitting! No worries about jinxes in that regard, but with my own set of superstitious to deal with I also have no judgment.
    For myself and my knits, I’m going with Stephanie’s approach that the handknits are setting up good karma for the baby.

  70. Every time I read little Luis’s blanket receiving entry I get teary eyed. You put into words so beautifully what most of us feel every time we make a special knitted gift for the ones we love. Especially the little ones.

  71. Coming home to an unfinished or empty nursery is, indeed, one of the worst things ever. I lost my daughter at 23 weeks and had just finished painting her room; to this day the smell of fresh paint still triggers memories. But, as hard as it was, I wouldn’t give back those memories of preparing for her. (I still have the paint swatches, in fact.) I wish I had more items for her than an unfinished baby blanket (finishing it is a labor of love). I wish I had more mementos from people to let me know they loved her as well.
    I lost one more baby (very early) before I had my son, who is now 12 weeks old. While pregnant with him, I had to will myself to knit, but I found knitting for him helped me to hope. It also helped me to bond with him during the pregnancy, which was very hard indeed. And now, he has a blanket that has hope and joy and love knit into every stitch.
    Even if a baby never gets to wear/use the knitted item, it is still an item knit with love and hope for that baby. If the worst happens, having those items reminds the parents you acknowledge the child’s life as well, which is incredibly important. If you have an item for a lost baby, please ask if the parents want it and don’t assume it will be too painful.
    And, trust me, grieving parents don’t need an insensitive comment about “jinxing” a pregnancy to add to their long list of items that had nothing to do with causing their loss, but they feel guilty about nonetheless.

  72. I’m with you – it’s a hopeful, optimistic task to knit for the soon-to-arrive baby. There are either two choices – assume the best or assume the worst. Why spend 9 months assuming the worst? What a waste of energy. I assume the best and think good thoughts with each stitch – who will this baby be? It’s so exciting to think about a new life as you knit.
    Also – I knit preemie caps and donate them to our local hospital. I always have a stack of preemie caps at home however – in case someone has a preemie … I’m ready to go. No time to knit when they are early! This has happened a few times and the mom/dad’s are happy to have a hand-knit strawberry shaped preemie hat to put a smile on their face during a tough time. I’m told it’s been a nice moment in an otherwise scary time.

  73. My superstition runs just the opposite. I felt like knitting for my babies was a way around my fears for their safe arrival. By preparing for them, I was proving to myself that I did believe they were here to stay (Sadly, once, that was not the case). On the other hand, I would not let Hubby assemble the baby furniture until the very last minute. I didn’t want to jinx it 🙂

  74. I knit stuff for babies that haven’t even been thought of. Just in case….so I have something ready….and they seem to be doing just fine 🙂

  75. First. Hilarious!
    Second, if people did not prepare for babies then the babies would have nothing to wear or get wrapped up in once they have exited the womb. Hospitals would not have maternity wards, because after all if one cannot plan for the future then why need a maternity ward? Why take pre-natal vitamins? I mean really? Really?
    I believe there is a reason for a nine month gestation. That time is for both the baby to grow in the womb to be ready for the world and time for the world to get ready. So get ready. A new member of the family is coming. That new member needs to feel welcome.

  76. Thank you for writing about this! I am an avid knitter and also pregnant with my first child due on st. Patrick’s day. I want to knit anything I can for the baby and have already stocked up on yarns and patterns!

  77. I would like to know if you are using a pattern for the items in today’s post. If you are could you please link it as I have a step-cousin that is expecting and a couple friends that just had babies and I like the look of what you have in progress! Thanks!

  78. I’ve found the comments more sensitive than the original post.
    I lost my first two babies to early miscarriage and it made me ultra-cautious about preparing baby things after that.
    When I was pregnant with my first successful baby, it isn’t that preparing or knitting felt like “tempting fate” or that I was giving in to superstition, I just knew I would find it so, so hard coming home and having to deal with baby things if I had to come home without a baby again.
    My aunt knitted a baby shawl, a pram blanket and numerous cardies but thankfully didn’t give them to me until I came home from the hospital (or even tell me about them). I would have felt ill receiving such beautiful, loving gifts before the baby was here, despite the love being shown and offered by my aunt.
    It wasn’t superstition, it was just a form of self-defence and me being prepared for any eventuality. It’s hard to relax and let yourself be excited about a baby when you’ve already lost two.
    This post felt a little mocking of a very sensitive subject (although by the end of the post, I felt where you were coming from, Ms Harlot.) Sorry, I hate to criticise a blog I love so much and I’m sure I’m just ultra sensitive in this area.

  79. My suspicion is that if I knit something clearly gender specific, the ultrasound techs will eventually be proven to have been having an off day. I know they’re not wrong THAT often, but I’m pretty convinced. Want a little boy? Let me knit you up something frilly and pink :).

  80. Knitting takes time, and love and I feel that love is more entwined in the knitting if there’s no rush; if you can commune with the knitting as it’s happening. Therefore I do any baby knitting once we have been informed that there is one incubating. Admittedly I don’t do a lot of it but that’s due to a lack of babies in my family to knit for.

  81. Some superstitions have a basis in truth although through the years the meaning has been lost. I once lived in a small African nation, Lesotho. Superstition was that unmarried woman were not allowed to eat eggs because we might become pregnant. The truth behind that is your body needs enough protein(and other nutrients) in order to be able to become pregnant. Eggs were the easiest and cheapest protein nutrition to get. My mother in law is very superstitious and it bothered her no end that I am not. I saw my husband before my wedding, and let her watch me walk under a ladder in the church. She may think that being married to me for 23 years now was a lot of bad luck for her son to endure. LOL
    For those who are Christian I wonder why they put their faith in superstition and not in God. (I know, another topic of conversation that will drive some crazy if discussed on the blog.)
    The layette will be beautiful and cherished. Knit on!

  82. I’m just about 40, with no concrete plans to get pregnant anytime super-soon, but I do want to become a mom at some point. It might not happen, but I’m still happily knitting up baby knits and putting them away in my hope chest, and it makes me smile imagining my future bundle of joy wearing or using them. If it never does happen I’ll gift these things, and c’est la vie.

  83. No superstition about knitting for babies prior to their arrival, however, I will not GIVE the hand knits to the new mother and child until the baby is born.
    But I have a SERIOUS superstition about knitting for boyfriends. I learned that lesson the hard way…twice. The third sweater I ever knit for a man was for my husband to wear on the occasion of our wedding. That one stuck.

  84. I remember reading the outcomes of trials for infanticide in the UK from the 1700s or so. The rule was that if the mother could show that she’d been preparing for the birth — if there were any booties or sweaters — then she wouldn’t, as a rule, be convicted. Otherwise, she was very likely to be both without baby and liberty.

  85. 3 decades ago, i was 38 and secretly waiting for amnio results before letting anyone know i was pregnant. My huz was on the road a lot for his job and navy reserve, so i passed the solo nights knitting a “sampler” blanket in primary colors — acrylic, of course, because superwash unheard-of here. (Come to think of it, knitting wasn’t exactly common either!)
    These days, if you don’t want a sweater for your baby-to-be, you’d better not tell me you’re pregnant!

  86. Tempting fate is not something that I am even considering when I am engaged in a baby project. I’ve made tons of things for people I know and those that I don’t. I have a whole arsenal of baby things that I have knitted with the intent of donating them to the local children’s and “unwed mothers” shelters. I think babies deserve all the help and unconditional love that they can get being born into this oftimes mean world. If I can use my dubious talents to help them on their way, then I will.

  87. I’m superstitious that every stitch is a blessing and the attitude I have while knitting, goes into my stitches, so I always think good thoughts for who I’m knitting for. When my son was getting married, I knit a gosamer weight shawl for the wedding, the thread broke when it was nearly done and I sat and cried, not so much for the broken thread, but fear of a broken marriage..
    Silly me! The shawl is beautiful and so is the marriage.

  88. Wall from personal experience, I never had a problem knitting for a baby before it was born.
    Until I had a stillbirth at 7 months. It was heartwrenching put away all the things my friends and I had made for her.
    While I do knit before babies are born, I do not give any baby gifts until after baby make his or her appearance. This is not for superstition, just personal wariness for the fragilty of life.

  89. As a long term fan of your blog, I think it has been pretty clear in the past that you are totally superstitious about making baby things. It isn’t that you are worried the baby might be lost, but that the baby won’t come until you’re finished knitting!
    Maybe it is best if you start working on that blanket soon. Nobody wants to be hugely pregnant in mid-winter when you have to walk on ice.

  90. My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. I put the things I had knitted for that baby away and when my daughter was born a year later she wore them. Though in my heart I remembered who they were really for.
    At the moment I’m holding on to a hat that I’ve knitted. The mother and the rest of the family is holding their breath until they hit the 14 week mark, after several miscarriages and IVF treatments they are hoping this pregnancy holds. I won’t be passing that hat on until the baby is born (and only if it’s a girl as it’s gender specific).

  91. The only superstitions I’ve heard around this is not putting the crib up until the baby comes home (not the bassinet, the crib) and never pointing the end of a knife at a mother to be lest it result in a c-section being required.

  92. I have just loved this day’s messages. So many different points of view, and so well said.
    And the layette will be GORGEOUS! Lucky baby!

  93. I love your superstition … and I also love that Luis’ blanket is one of a kind.
    On a similar note, I have an almost 17 year old daughter and an almost 15 year old son. While I am so looking forward to being a grandma I have no intention of that happening for at least 10 years. The dear daughter and I were shopping in a local second hand/punky rockabilly shop and found a (new) pink CBGB (iconic NYC venue home to early punks like the MC5 and the Ramones) onesie. Even though I’ll have to hang on to it for 10 years or more, I had to buy it.

  94. To Stephanie @ 6:05 p.m.: Thank you for thinking about the preemies! My daughter was born early and tiny last year and we had absolutely nothing that fit her for several days. All her “newborn” clothes were far too big. She even wore her delivery room cap because it was the only thing that fit. I can only imagine how touched the parents of the babies who get your hats are. Knowing that there’s someone out there sending good wishes to your tiny baby would mean the world.

  95. Ugg. My mother-in-law is of the same thought that doing anything for a baby before birth is not a good idea. She is from England and stayed with us while I was preparing for my cousin’s baby shower. Every. Single. Day, she asked why we were having it before the baby was born, “what if something happens.”
    Also, my husband and I are going on year 4 of “fertility challenges” and I’ve been knitting as long for our little one. I’m very self conscience about it though and only work on them in private.
    Lately I’ve been thinking I need more “baby coming to me” energy in the universe so maybe I should find some fellow knitters, let them in on my secret and get them to make my line out into the ether more noticeable 😉

  96. I have no superstitions and goodness, if it weren’t for the 9 months warning what baby would ever have a hand knit to wear home? But I generally don’t gift baby knits until after arrival (unless it’s something for the hospital) because my mother had 5 miscarriages and when she finally carried past 6 months her friends through her a big shower. Then she had a still birth and she said coming home to a room full of baby shower gifts just about killed her.
    Having said that, I make exceptions for women who want very much to collect things for their baby ahead of time — I figure if she’s okay with it, I won’t let my mother’s issues stand in her way. Everyone grieves differently and for some women, they’d rather have embraced the pregnancy fully than to have held back for fear of losing the baby — I think you go with the recipient’s needs and not your own.

  97. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately! We’ve lost babies, in my family (I wrote about this here: http://whitknits.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/knitting-to-remember-them/ ). My nephew, I knit for before he was born. And then he was stillborn. But that sweater I’d made him meant so much to my brother and sister-in-law. It’s a tangible recognition and reminder of their son. My twin nieces, I couldn’t bring myself to knit for until they were here – and then they too were stillborn, and my brother asked me to make sweaters for them too, so I did (the ones in the post I linked to).
    And then yesterday, their 4th child was born, alive and well! And that sweater in my most recent post, that was knit for her. And just like you said, that knitting was an expression of my optimism, my hope that this time would end differently. And it did. Not because I knit the sweater, of course, but that doesn’t really matter. She’s here, and she has a sweater. If things had gone otherwise, there’d be a sweater to remember her by. I’m not really sure what I’m trying to say at this point (my brain is all “she made it she made it she made it!”) but I really appreciated this post.

  98. If I am knitting for a specific baby, it has to be on the way. I can’t start knitting until the family has announced the pregnancy.
    I think it is bad luck to knit for so and so’s baby before it exists in some tangible form.
    If I am in a baby knitting mood, then the neonatal nursery gets lots of hats and such.

  99. I always plan to start as soon as the pregnancy is announced and definitely feel it creates good energy for the little one that’s on his/her way. Due to my supreme command of procrastination skills, however, I’m usually still knitting when they’re in delivery. Guess this covers both ends of the superstition spectrum.

  100. I know in some cultures you do not buy anything or give gifts so there would be no added grief for the mother. But i happen to knit baby stuff, and wait for someone to need it. or I make them for charity……Does this lady think my making and keeping prayer shawls on hand causes something to happen that someone needs it? If we don’t do it in advance we wouldn’t have it when they are needed

  101. It was important to me that each of my children came home in something handmade. It started when I was pregnant the first time. We had no idea as to the gender of the baby but my mother sewed a wee little blue green gown out of cotton and that is what my little girl came home in. I went sort of nuts for the second. I warped up the rigid heddle and wove a plaid in blue, green and lavender, turned it into a bunting, lined it with pale blue cotton flannel and sewed in a zipper. Then since I had a lot of blue flannel left I sewed a gown and embroidered forget-me-nots on it. I laugh every time I see the picture of my son in it. My youngest, poor dear came home in a longer version of his sisters gown in soft yellow flannel. I did finish knitting the tiny teal overalls I’d started for his brother and he looked adorable in them. It meant a lot that my kids came home in something handmade and eased that last trimester as I imagined the new baby coming home in something special.

  102. Psalm 139:13, “…You knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Well, according to that, God is a knitter. ^_~ I love to knit something for babies because I feel like (erroneously, I know) I’m matching the process of what’s going on in the mom’s belly, and maybe even helping it along a bit. As you said, we all have our superstitions.

  103. I think I’ve said this before here, but my late stepmom always had a small stack of handknit baby blankets on hand. When asked why, she responded that babies were like buses. . .you may not know when one will arrive, but one will arrive sooner or later.
    My own sentiments are that knitting in advance won’t jinx the baby. The love and caring put into the knitting might even help the baby. If the worst happens, the parents (if I’ve given the gift) or I (if I haven’t) can put the item away for a future sibling or cousin. To me, that somehow seems to multiply the love and caring put into the making of the item, as if it were willed to them by the baby who didn’t make it.
    And what is that stitch pattern you’re using?

  104. No, I applaude your effort. I know that knitting can work magic and give a tow-line. I knit my dying husband socks, and like your storied “one sock”, he has one sock that kept him here a bit longer than he might have been — and a single sock to preserve the memories. Btter, it is knitting with thought tat binds us all together… Long live the memories of the finished product, far past our individual lives.

  105. I knit sweaters for new babies for family and friends, and the mothers know I am making the sweaters, and are always thrilled to know this. I knit them with the full expectation that the little one will arrive safely, but just as a precaution, I wait until the mother is close to term before giving her the sweater. As a side note, my favorite sweater to knit is the EZ baby surprise. 🙂

  106. I love your image of a karmic life-jacket. Perfect!
    Personally, I like to picture the new ones clothed in the love, prayers, and blessings that I knit into the items–making those intangible thoughts in warm, tangible items for mamas and babes.

  107. I never used to have a problem knitting for babies in utero. But last winter our first grandson died during birth, and the heartbreak (still pretty ferocious) of all the baby clothes & supplies, most of them hand-made, is gutwrenching for my son and his wife. Maybe someday it will be comforting (like in some of the other comments above) but it’s still a long way away. I don’t plan to knit for babies until they are born from here on out. There will be plenty of time to knit once the baby is alive and well.

  108. My late grandmother made baby quilts for my cousins that were really too young to be anywhere near having babies because she was afraid she wouldn’t make it to them. She was right, having passed away this spring at 94.5 years old, and my two younger cousins still have not produced offspring. I anticipate that they will eventually produce said babies, and great-grandma’s quilts will be the way those babies will know how a grandmother loved their mother/father enough to make something so hopeful.
    That said, I think your approach is much more practical. 🙂

  109. I’ve knit baby blankets and sweaters for all of my cousins who were expecting. In most cases they were not given until after the baby was born. The most recent was this past Sunday, though she received an IOU because the Blue Ribbon Winning Blanket was still on display at the Erie County Fair. I thought this would be the last for a while, but another cousin just let us know she was 3 months pregnant, so I’ll be starting another blanket.

  110. I have a wee bairn arriving in December. We copped a lot of superstitious flack for all sorts of things like: telling our family before 12 weeks, buying a pram before 20 weeks, buying clothes etc etc preparing for a new baby is a long process and important for different people in different ways. I find it helps me connect with the baby and prepare mentally for motherhood. And I trust she’s a strong one to have gotten this far and whatever happens Will have nothing to do with whether we chose her name at 17 weeks or 37 weeks. I’ve a pair of socks to finish and then I’ll be knitting her something tiny and beautiful and full of love to welcome her to the world 🙂

  111. Very interesting. I think that the real issue is being sensitive to the immediate family of the impending baby, especially if there is a loss. I hope we all know that what we do in the knitting department doesn’t really have anything to do with whether there is a loss or not. Our knitting, though powerful, is not powerful in that way. Don’t mix this up with the boyfriend jinx. Having fallen prey to it eons ago, I know that it happens only because knitting a sweater is a big commitment and the recipient then knows that you are much more committed to the relationship than he is, so he bails. Unborn babies do not do this. I say knit away but if you know that a pregnancy might not have a good outcome for some specific reason don’t present the gift until you know the outcome. If the outcome is good, it is a no-brainer. If the outcome is bad, ask the mom whether she would like your lovingly made hand knits. She might want them to bury the lost one in or to save for a later child.

  112. Love the post. I feel like knitting for a baby not yet born is sending positive thoughts to the little one to tell them how much they’re loved. I didn’t knit for one friend at work’s first baby – she sadly lost him at 6 months :(. You bet I knit a toddler size sweater for her gorgeous little girl, now 18 months old.

  113. The knitting for the new wee one is stunning. I learned to knit a few years ago so I could knit for my grandchildren . I put the items in a special box full of hope . It was my heartfelt belief if I knit they would come. I did not tell my family. A few years later I received a Mothers Day card with a very special picture in it – a small developing baby. I cannot imaginee my life without my grandson Ty or his little sister Clara Rose. Lucky for me I knit sweaters for a boy and a girl. I believe babies should be anticipated with love, hope and lots of knitted heirlooms.

  114. Don’t most miscarriages happen during the first trimester? And don’t moms-to-be typically not announce their pregnant state until after that time? I assume you are not knitting baby things until sometime in the third trimester, since you often are/seem to be racing to finish before the baby is born. Thus, you cannot possibly jinxing the baby, even if I believed in superstition. Which I don’t.

  115. I’m expecting my first grandchild in December…& I have been knitting like a mad-woman! Every stitch I knit I feel is sending a little more love to this wonderful little person. Like, if I knit enough he will be born already wrapped in a warm blanket of love. Like he might possibly feel how much he is loved already…my stitches sending that love to him through the cosmos. It connects us…&, hopefully, future generations that may also be swaddled in a few of the blankets that may be passed down.

  116. I come from a family which believes in this superstition that you should not buy/knit/plan anything for the baby until it is born. I haven’t believed in this theory. I knitted several sweaters and a blanket for my son when he was still in the womb. I have made several sweaters/hats/blankets for many of the babies born in the family and the wee humans are leading a happy, healthy life as we speak. I did not knit for my cousin’s expected child for lack of time and unfortunately, she had an accident and lost the child. Whenever my aunt chides me for knitting for yet-to-be-born babies, I give her the above example and question her superstition.
    I make blankets for babies and I pray for the wellbeing of the recipient with every stitch. I believe the blanket will provide warmth and safety for the baby. I call them prayer blankets, but I prefer your term ‘karmic lifejacket’, so I am going to steal it.

  117. I’ve had “luck” of the good and bad. Seemed everytime I tried to knit a maternity sweater I miscarried early and the baby I lost at 17 weeks I had just knit a beautiful pair of socks for. That baby has that pair of socks and a small knit blanket in his special box of things. Oddly I was comforted by the blanket that I had knit too small for my second child to wrap and hold him in after delivery. My third child I was too afraid to knit for, but this baby we are awaiting in November has 3 pair of socks waiting for him/her.

  118. As a new mother, reading everyone’s thoughts is very emotional. I wondered if I was jinxing things, but wanted my child to know he was loved. I wrote a journal and told the baby (a boy) when I worked on knitted items. I don’t know how I could have handled losing him, but I think that journal that captured how I felt each day he was growing inside of me would have been a solace.

  119. I start knitting when I know there’s a baby on the way. With a 2 year old granddaughter and a new baby coming I just keep working the needles. So much to do, so little time!!

  120. I have a friend who has trouble carrying babies due to rhesus disease. Even though I know that the baby might die, before or after birth, I knit for her (although none have yet). It’s a certainty that the baby will end up in the NICU, so I knit premmie hats. All sizes, from “I can’t believe that a live baby could need a hat that small” to newborn. All colours, pastel, bright, whatever I have in baby sized yarn. Any hats that she doesn’t use she gives to the NICU for the other babies. It’s my version of a prayer shawl for her.

  121. I love knitting blankets for expected babies, though I will never give them away before the intended wee being has been born. (we don’t have a tradition of baby showers here in Denmark and usually give gifts after the birth, not before).
    The baby blankets are a sort of connection and thoughts about the little human, who’s on his or her way.

  122. When I started knitting for babies I ran up against this superstition pretty hard. I thought it was a lovely idea to present an expectant mother with a stack of handknits, but most people I knit for were adamant about not accepting gifts until the baby was born. This wasn’t ever an issue in the US (where baby showers are A Thing), but here in Ireland it’s the other way around entirely.
    I still disagree, and am more of your opinion on the matter, but I now keep the knits wrapped and ready to go until the parents are ready to accept them.

  123. The sweater is gorgeous! really really lovely.
    I agree with many in the comments that although I’m perfectly happy to knit for babies to be, I don’t give them to the parents until the baby is born. I have a friend who lost a pregnancy at 20 weeks, after everyone had been told, and I was just very glad that I hadn’t mailed off her knitted presents already (she now has a healthy child, and got a bunch of knitted goodies once she was born). We just had a baby shower scheduled for someone at work (still quite an odd thing for the UK) and then the baby arrived rather early, two days before the shower. Now we’ll have a gift giving once the little one is at home, which is I think how the parents preferred it anyhow!

  124. I make things for unborn babies, but it depends on how close I am to the family whether I’ll give them or not.
    I have been close to people who have lost babies and I think there is no way it is not going to be a sad time, so if I think the baby will only have a few handmade things AND I’m close to the parents, then I’ll make something and give it before the baby comes. It’s not like bereaved parents are NOT going to be sad because they don’t have any homemade things for the baby to remind them. Crying over a small stack of love from friends and family that proves they are not the only people that loved the baby feels like a healing kind of crying.
    On the other hand, I don’t give gifts for unbabies to people I am not close to unless I’m invited to a baby shower (pretty rare here). I guess I think having to deal with a HUGE pile of presents (especially the hand made things you might not know how to get rid of) feels like it would be upsetting and stressful and a hassle for the parents to deal with at a hard time.
    So I add to small stacks of handmade love, but not big piles of stuff. I know it makes no sense!

  125. I would like to know about the hat in the picture. I have my own baby, a neice, and a friend’s twins all coming about Christmas time and all four babies need some pretty knitted things to keep their wee heads warm.

  126. I’m Irish in Ireland and people are pretty weird about it here. I’m 27 and some of my peers are having babies including a good friend living in another country. There was a bit of weirdness about me sending over stuff for the baby before it was born but not from the friend having the baby from other friends. It’s still not quite the done thing even with my generation. People don’t really have baby showers or anything before the baby arrives. Like celebrating the baby would jinx things. It’s very silly and quite insensitive and I’m gonna say a bit sad. Also it was my friends first baby and she needed stuff. It’s kind of unfair. I can confirm that this baby was 2 weeks overdue so I didn’t jinx things…

  127. Also meant to say thanks for your post, it’s a really lovely point of view on things and I’ll remember it!!

  128. And this writer thinks YOU’RE a bit of a lunatic?
    I knew people who would pick out baby furniture, but wouldn’t have it delivered to the house before the delivery of the baby. Delivery, get it? Of course that was back when you’d spend a week in the hospital. Nowadays, you’re lucky if a newspaper gets delivered to the house before you get home from the hospital.

  129. Bad, sad, devastating things happen everyday, so do good, happy, life affirming things. It is clear to me that I don’t have a clue and must swing at everything that comes across the plate. I swing with my knitting needles.

  130. When our daughter was born critically ill and in a NICU, no one brought or sent presents, which felt to me like a vote of no confidence.: “no one believes she will live!” As soon as i told people how I felt, little pink votes of confidence and love started to arrive immediately.
    I know people don’t want to make a horrible situation more painful for grieving parents. But in my opinion, nothing can really make the tragedy of losing a child worse and a gift of hand-knit love is the best vote of confidence I can imagine.
    By the way, that daughter is now 36 and the mother of 3 herself. And I knit fearlessly for all of them.
    Barbara M. In NH

  131. I have always knit for babies – even during worrisome times . When my friend went into labour at 6 months, I sat outside and knit a pair of vey tiny minutes and hat. They were delivered to mom hours after the birth and she brought them to the NICU to show the nurses. Sadly he was only with us for a few weeks but…his mom told me after I was the only one who gave him gifts. She loved my optimism and it brought her a tiny spark of happiness. He was buried with his hand knits.
    On another occaison I knit for my godson, while sitting beside his Mom during a brief but scary hospitalization during her last weeks of pregnancy – we had some fun draping sweater pieces over her belly to see if it was going to fit.
    I think it is never a bad thing to believe and hope that everything will turn out OK.

  132. I like the idea of the handknits being a way of “making it clear to the fates that there are people looking out for this kid, and expecting them.”
    Our family’s superstition is that the more handmade things waiting for a new baby, the more welcome that baby will feel. Fortunately, the definition of handmade includes home-cooked meals for baby’s parents, as well as the more permanent home-made gifts!

  133. I have no jinx worries – I knit what i want when I want to! I made a baby quilt for my hope chest when I was a 20 – now 51 no kids and the dog used it and loved it!
    Bigger question for me is what pattern is your layette set? I love it and have had trouble finding one I like for all the baby knitting I am doing for friends these days? Please advise.

  134. Heck, I know people who knit for children before they are *conceived*! I usually try to have a baby knit socked away on spec. Admittedly it’s nice to be able to think about the recipient while knitting, but I think that the warm feelings for a new person arriving are easy to channel into yarn, even if you don’t know which new person they’re going to at the time.

  135. Nothing for babies before they are born. Knit random baby stuff because there will eventually be a wee one who needs knits? Do that all the time.

  136. I make quilts, not knitted items, for babies, and given my lengthy history of delayed WIPs, I MUST start before the baby is born. I agree with the idea that preparing the way is part of bonding with the new little one – each stitch is another link in the chain.

  137. Of course, there is a rumor that a baby won’t be born UNTIL you finish their blanket, right? Although that’s a fun rumor.

  138. I knit a Puerperium cardigan for my daughter during the last weeks of pregnancy. My mother made her blankets. During delivery, everything went wrong and she suffered from very severe asphyxia. She was transferred to another hospital for intensive care.
    The day after she was born, it was clear that further care would be futile. We had an emergency baptism (because we needed the ritual, otherwise she would have chosen for herself when she was old enough) with her grandparents and aunts present at the hospital. During the blessibg, we laid the cardigan on top of the tubes and the bodysuit keeping her body temperature lowered. Afterwards, when she had come to rest in our arms, we dressed her for the first and last and only time, in the cardigan I had knit with all my love. We wrapped her in the blanket my mother made. She has these things with her for always and always now.
    I am so grateful that I made the cardigan myself, knit it with all my love and hope for her. She was conceived after years of fertility struggles, our dream come true. It brings me comfort that she was buried in something meaningful, and not something just picked out at random in a store.
    Now, a year and a half later, I am expecting twins and praying for a happier outcome this time. I have finished the knit blanket started for my first-born (it will always be hers, but her siblings can borrow it), and started to crochet small comfort blankets.
    When you lose a child, the least of your problems are handmade gifts. Instead, they bring comfort.

  139. I try hard not to believe in tempting fate, but don’t always succeed. We put off choosing a name and buying furniture for several months, but did do those things before our son was born. I have sent handmade gifts before babies were born, but leave it pretty late.

  140. I very much like your comment about throwing a line into the ether and towing them in, paving the way. Whether you believe in a God or a spirit or what ever, there still is a connection and we are all electric beings, sending out energy and receiving it. we may not change the course of a pregnancy where something goes wrong, but as one who had several miscarriages, knowing that someone cared enough for the two of us to knit a special something, that is love made visible.

  141. I am sort of in love with that seed stitch/garter stitch combination. Brilliant choices.

  142. I knit for babies before they are born, but I would never give the knitted items away (or other baby gifts) before birth. Tradition I guess, and that tradition comes from a time when pregnancies didn’t have happy endings as often as today. Baby showers don’t exist in Norway (yet!).

  143. Jewish tradition — we don’t set up the nursery, buy or make lots of things for the baby before she/he is born. I’m sure someone will elaborate on this. In my family, we tend to pick up things (or knit them) without specifying the recipient. Just how we adapt.

  144. I don’t really have any superstitions one way or the other, but a lot of what I’ve learned from studying psychology is that we get what we expect. When I give a baby a handknit, I’m just expecting that the baby will be adorable, precious, and well-loved 🙂

  145. Well, I certainly knit for babies before they are born, but I HAVE decided to stick to unisex colors from now on … I had such a rule in the past, but now that the sex of the expected baby is often stated in advance because of ultrasound evidence, I recently broke my rule and went for a very girly, pink, lacy blanket (one that I envisioned being lovingly used on dolls when the child was several years old) for my niece’s expected baby girl. Ahem, not only was the baby 10 days late, but it was a husky boy. They had totally prepared for a girl, and so had I. Never again. So I knit another blanket and the pink one is waiting for the next girl.

  146. I never start knitting until the mother is in her second trimester. Superstition? maybe.

  147. My first grandchild is due in January! (Pinch me.) I’ve been all about the baby knits lately, but have PLENTY of baby/toddler knits already on hand. I think that baby knits make wonderful palate cleansers, and knit them all the time.

  148. I’ve loved knitting for future special wee ones. I do wait until someone announces their pregnancy, but then I let my knitter self begin choosing just the right gift to knit or crochet. And I’ll even take special requests from those who already love my custom projects. Keep on knitting the beautiful sweater. Can’t wait to see it finished!

  149. This karmic pay-forward you talk about is exactly the reason my husband of 40+ years and I attend any and all weddings. It’s a kind of unspoken wish/hope that some of our happiness and stick-to-it-iveness will glom onto them and help them through the inevitable perils of partnerdom. Knit on, all ye grandmas, aunties and friends. As my New Yorker friends would say, “Hey, it can’t hoit!”

  150. I don’t see how something I am doing (playing with sticks and string) could adversely affect a child that is growing in a nice safe cozy womb, be it mine or someone else’s. I know what you mean about having to come home to a finished nursery with no baby to put in it. I haven’t done it myself, but my aunt has. Also several of the women in my Due December 2013 group on Ravelry have gone through it. One of them I am quite close to, I’ve seen the photo of her holding her little guy, gone at 13 weeks and wrapped in a blanket miles too big.
    In response to this, she didn’t start knitting for the baby she’s pregnant with now till after her 20 week ultrasound, when they saw that baby looked good in there and that it was a girl. I totally understand that.
    But I started knitting for the baby I’m carrying before I even got pregnant. I’m still knitting and crocheting for him, as well as for a brand new cousin that will be appearing sometime in the next few weeks. Personally, I think you should have some things for when the baby is born, since chances are it will be fine and they need clothes and diapers and blankets pretty much right away.

  151. Not a single superstition here. I LOVE knitting for wee babies. I think of it as a shout-out to the Universe that this baby is loved, wanted and we can’t wait until he/she gets here. Every baby is a reason for a party! (and hand knit goodies!!!)

  152. Love the wet weasels. Yes, I have knit for babies that have been called back from the world they just entered. I don’t regret the knits, neither do the mothers. The knits represented love, welcome, we want you here. In all cases the mother’s donated the knitting to the hospitals, where 100% of the proceeds from the items when sold went back to help fund neonatal care.

  153. “Karmic lifejackets” has to be one of the best phrases I’ve ever come across. You are so right about the love that is sent to a wee one along with the handknit gift. I’m currently working on a blanket and, to quote Nicky Epstein, am knitting a kiss in every stitch.

  154. I am fascinated to read the comments on this post… So many good points of view. As I have gotten older (+50 now), I have become more sensitive about the family of the impending baby – what do they think? The Croatian aunts and uncles I have in my family felt very superstitious about preparing too much for the baby. And having lost a baby myself in the 2nd trimester, I know the pain of coming home to wee baby clothes with no baby in your arms. So I think family traditions and the parents-to-be must be respected in this regard (but it is okay, in my opinion, to knit secretly before the baby is born and not decide WHO it is going to be for until the baby arrives safely. Self-delusion?).

  155. I personally do not have any knitting superstitions, but I think it’s wonderful that you knit so many items for babies. I don’t knit for babies for my own reasons, but I think it’s great when people knit for them. If I believe anything about knitting and babies, it’s that if you knit enough things for them they will grow to appreciate the finer things in life. But I could be totally wrong. Happy knitting!

  156. Nope, no superstitions here. I wouldn’t want my knitting to have that kind of power. Way too much pressure.

  157. I have just caught up with you since you announced the baby knits. I, too, could not afford anything but acrylic when I made my best friend’s baby girl some cute little tops. I forgot about them until I was visiting her in her home and she showed me her “treasure box”. Inside were things she had treasured all her life that were made from various family members. She pulled out three little snarly things that were pretty awful looking. She was so proud of her baby tops that I had made. Her mother had washed them until they were unrecognizable to anyone. I told her to get rid of them, and I will make her some much nicer ones when she had her baby. “no, I am going to bring my baby home in one of these!” I made her a beautiful purple cardigan and sockies to bring the baby home. And, oh, I made a pile of homemade washcloths to bathe the baby with. She loved those to death.

  158. I remember that we were not supposed to monogram anything for a wedding present before the wedding. The monogramming was supposed to be done after the couple was married. Same kind of superstition. Also, that it was bad luck to give knives as a wedding present. I don’t want to think about the reason for that one!

  159. I wasn’t knitting/crocheting when my own daughters were born, but my grandmothers and aunts were, so my girls had lovely blankies and sweaters that their own children have worn 30+ years later (heirlooms by any definition). The first blanket/sweater/bootie/hat set was made by my grandmother for my first child, whom we lost at birth. But when we happily had our older daughter some years later, that little white set was the first thing I used…joyously. It was made with love for my child to wear, and that’s what she did. I make afghans and sweaters for new babies but don’t present until the child is here. Just a little caution, remembering the difficulty in looking at those lovely unused pieces.

  160. I had two friends at my baby shower– one from Ghana and another from the Netherlands– who had never been to a baby shower before because that was just not done in their home countries. I knit for babies before they’re born pretty consistently, though.
    My only “superstition”, if you can call it that, is that I won’t give an item I knit for a baby who was lost to anyone else but that mother. I made a wee stuffed lamb for a baby who was miscarried, and refuse to give it away to any of my own children or to any other friends who are expecting. Every stitch in that thing was meant for this mom-to-be and her first sweet babe, so I pray she gets pregnant again so I can give it to her. Otherwise, it will just stay in my closet.

  161. Like so many other people commenting here, I don’t really believe it is bad luck to knit for an expected baby. I knit my friend a huge, round, colourful baby blanket and little Penny is thriving now 8 months later. I have recently started laying by stuff in a “random baby bin” (inspired by you and your emergency knit-baby-things stories); since I have many engaged and newlywed friends, I expect babies to start popping up like popcorn. Or maybe for me (eventually) since I think my wee baby knits are too darn cute.
    I have purchased special yarn to make myself a baby blanket when the time comes – even though my beau and I are just on the verge of moving in together after two years, and we are a long way from babies. I won’t start that blanket until I am pregnant, so I guess that is my personal superstition. One thing I am pretty adamant about is I don’t want a shower before my babe arrives. My mother lost her first baby 3 days after he was born and she kind of /PutFootDown about showers before baby. And I am totally ok with that.

  162. My father was in hospice and struggling to let go, he had lung cancer. I sat next to him knitting rainbow stripped socks (Harlot’s vanilla recipe) for 4 days. On the fifth day, as I weaving together the toe, I pulled my yarn through the last stitch and he took his last breath.
    I can’t bring myself to wear the socks just yet. Although it may sound poetic and simple, his death was not peaceful and the last seconds after that last stitch were heart breaking.

  163. I lost a sister at birth when I was in my teens, and when her mom (my stepmom) got pregnant again, I knitted a blanket for that baby as an act of faith that he would live. He’s 26 now, and he still keeps it. <3

  164. Absolutely agree! What could make a new baby feel more loved, secure, and wanted than a whole pile of handmade yarnie goodness?

  165. I have a friend who lost a baby days before he was supposed to be born. It was a big traumatic thing where she had to continue carrying the baby for a couple of days before they could take it out.
    I had started knitting her baby blanket before all this happened but I hadn’t finished it. It was an original design that I had come up with just for her and her baby boy. It is still on the needles, a year later. I have been so uncomfortable with the thought of using the blanket or the yarn for any one else.
    I think part of it is a fear of bad luck and part of it was that this was Lucca’s blanket. I designed it for him. I bought the yarn for him. I was knitting it for him. It seems a little rude to unravel that or to repurpose it.
    I don’t think of myself as a superstitious person but I can’t get past it with this blanket.

  166. My daughter was stillborn two years ago. It was my first pregnancy and I had knit a chest full of little things to welcome her into the world. None of them have ever been used. I keep some of the things that were special and completely “hers” in a keepsake box with her photos and hospital bracelet. They are incredibly special to me. The other items I have tucked away for a future baby (hopefully). I don’t know if I’ll be able to knit with the same abandon for future pregnancies. It’s not that I’m superstitious, it’s just that my experience has taught me to be cautious.
    There is nothing worse than coming home from the hospital to a nursery that will never hold a baby. However, having items handmade for that baby by friends and family is something tangible to hold onto after the shock has worn off. It reminds us that there were others who were touched by our child and loved them even if they never got to meet them outside of our tummies.

  167. I started knitting for my soon to be baby *fingers crossed* after the 12 week mark when I finally felt OK about telling anyone. It just felt like it wasn’t happening before then!

  168. I can now see why a few get offended at your occasional posts. This is one for me. I can’t put an exact finger on which words, but just the tone. Carry on.

  169. I generally don’t hear about babies until they’re fairly far along (or even born) – just my karma, I guess. But I crochet baby blankets. Sometimes they’re for a specific baby, but more often they’re made with no baby in mind. I don’t worry about bad luck,and everyone knows I make them, so pregnant women who know me well enough generally know I’m going to give them a baby afghan.
    A friend of mine at work had a baby which, it turned out,had a heart defect. He was a sweet little guy, but he only lived for about 18 months. When they buried him,they put my baby afghan and one made by his grandmother into the coffin with him. My friend told me it was a comfort, knowing he would always be warm in our afghans.

  170. Interesting read. Liked the idea of a lifeline to the baby!
    I knit presents for babies before they are born, but I wait to give the present until the birth is over. Baby showers are not common in Norway, so most presents are given after birth.

  171. Love your views on this- a cosmic knitted life jacket. I’ve been knitting for a grandchild that is not even conceived yet, but is planned and intended. I guess that makes me even more odd to some people, but it doesn’t matter to me.
    Tell us how you are liking this yarn, please. Perhaps you won’t have too much of an opinion before they are wet blocked. I’ll check back.

  172. No disrespect to the lady who wrote you that note — but that’s like saying that by grabbing my reusable grocery bags that I am endangering my life by assuming I will make it to the grocery store.
    There are those who live their life this way — for me it just won’t work. I refuse to be afraid of the consequences to things that are beyond my control.
    Beyond that, knitting a baby blanket is not a quick thing to do. If you work full time, it takes even longer. Personally, if I didn’t start knitting the moment I found out the baby was due, the baby would have outgrown it by the time they received it. 🙂
    Just saying…

  173. Your reply made me laugh out loud – mental pic of you knitting furiously while spitting over your shoulder. Love it!

  174. I always knit for babies as soon as we know they’re on their way, but I can’t bring myself to hand it over until the bairn is with us. But that’s just me 😉

  175. My mother was not a superstitious woman, except when it came to baby gifts and baby showers. My sisters convinced her to attend the baby shower they were giving me before our first daughter was born. The day after, we discovered she was to be stillborn. I still knit for unborn babies, but will never give a gift until birth.

  176. I sing to my baby blankets – loving happy children’s songs and sometimes a lullaby. I often make up songs with the child’s name and sing to the blanket. My way of welcoming the new baby.

  177. My grandmother crocheted baby blanket after baby blanket as she struggled with emphysema. She only met three of her great grandchildren, but three more were wrapped in her stitches. I miss her so much.

  178. When an old friend was pregnant with triplet girls, I designed tiny aran sweater/cardigans for them. After I finished the first one, I thought I was nuts to do three. It turned out, I was! All three were much bigger than expected, and the sweater wouldn’t have even fit. I gifted them something else.
    Much later, another dear friend had a premature girl, and I gifted their family that tiny cardigan I had finished. She came home healthy, but then died at 6 weeks of SIDS. My sweater was the only handmade item they had received, and it meant so much to the mama.
    I never told her it was intended for another, or that it was a miracle it fit her girl, but I’m so glad I had a special item for her!

  179. I personally don’t have any baby superstitions. My mother did. Her attitude is that you wait until you are sure there is a baby in there (very old-fashioned and didn’t believe in pregnancy tests and the results). No furniture could be gotten until the 7th month and no clothes until a week or two before the due date.
    I go crazy for a new baby before he or she arrives. I have a layette (traditional hat, sweater, booties, mittens, blanket. Then I try to add a pair of pants to it. I never understood the reasoning behind a naked from the waist down baby. Mom said something about diapering.) or some unique toy or lovey. My hand knits/crochets are usually the only ones at a shower or hospital room.
    Meanwhile the bag of wet weasels comment will have me laughing all through peach peeling

  180. I personally don’t have any baby superstitions. My mother did. Her attitude is that you wait until you are sure there is a baby in there (very old-fashioned and didn’t believe in pregnancy tests and the results). No furniture could be gotten until the 7th month and no clothes until a week or two before the due date.
    I go crazy for a new baby before he or she arrives. I have a layette (traditional hat, sweater, booties, mittens, blanket. Then I try to add a pair of pants to it. I never understood the reasoning behind a naked from the waist down baby. Mom said something about diapering.) or some unique toy or lovey. My hand knits/crochets are usually the only ones at a shower or hospital room.
    Meanwhile the bag of wet weasels comment will have me laughing all through peach peeling

  181. Not superstition, just raw sorrow — 8 babies, who would have now ranged in age from 13-26 make me ultra sensitive to this particular issue. Gifts only appear after the child is safely in arms.

  182. No, I don’t have any superstitions regarding knitting for babies… I knit for other people’s babies, many of whom I will never know. My current project on this year’s road trip is knitting up purple hats for the “Click for Babies” Period of Purple Crying campaign, whose ultimate goal is to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome.
    I am sitting on the beach at Lake Tahoe churning these hats out amid the laughter of children building sand castles… I like to think some happiness and love ends up In each stitch… When my purple yarn runs out, I will have about a dozen hats to mail to Legacy Emanuel Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon.
    In reading many of the comments I learned I do something quite naturally, I give my hand knits to the recipients I know after the baby is born. This came as a result of a few friends who lost their babies along the way, and the heartache of coming home to a nursery that wouldn’t be used.
    I think each person has personal thoughts on this, judging by the comments here. And each must deal with how they handle it as their heart dictates.

  183. So much pain in these comments. As one in the midst of a challenging pregnancy, I’d welcome hand knits but there are no other knitters in my family and I’m scared to start something. I’m not sure, rationally, why… perhaps a sewing project rather than knitting. I’m a faster seamstress than knitter, anyway.

  184. Not really superstitious… well, except the boyfriend sweater thing. I’d made socks for boyfriends, but didn’t make any men sweaters until after I’d married him. 🙂 Now he has 3. That he never wears because they’re too hot.
    As for “something happening to babies” and having to come home to the nursery, I think of my friend, Moira, who lost her baby in the 8th month. Her sister-in-law (bless her) is a psychologist and during the family discussion about packing away the nursery before she came home, the SIL insisted they ask Moira what she wanted.
    She wanted to pack it away herself. She’d only gotten to hold the baby for a few minutes to say good bye and as part of her grieving process, she handled and folded and packed up and gave away all the baby stuff she’d been given. She wanted to remember that the baby had been wanted and blessed and loved.
    It’s a very personal thing, and something, I think, everyone needs to deal with on their own terms. So I knit for babies who aren’t here yet. Because even before they’re here, they’re wanted and blessed and loved.

  185. Don’t believe in superstitious jinxing. God alone is in control and he can make a baby wait for it’s assigned layette.
    Knit away my dear!

  186. No superstitions… but one coincidence. I knit a sweater for my cousin when she was pregnant with her first baby–a drapey front one that imagined might be lovely for late night feeding or just for feeling loved when lounging around in comfy clothes. I planned to bring it to the hospital when she gave birth. I finished the knitting and all that was left to do was block the huge thing — basically a large rectangle with sleeves. I wasn’t sure how to do it and I was quite busy, so I let it sit there for weeks… her due date passed, and still the sweater was unblocked. Finally, I wrapped my head around the blocking, did it, and as SOON as it was dry, I got a call saying she was in the hospital delivering. I quite appreciated baby Siena giving me a few more days to finish the sweater “on time.”

  187. I’m intrigued by Louise’s comment just above. I did the same thing with a baby hat: meant to do it, in my case, didn’t, didn’t, the baby was overdue, and finally I did it–and the mom went into labor at about the hour I cast off, done. She thanked me for helping her finally get that baby here.
    And yes. I firmly believe every baby deserves something handmade just for them to welcome them into the world from the whole human family, all the knitters before me, all the ones that will come after.

  188. I’m of the same mind when it comes to knitting for babies. I think it’s a way to let the universe, the gods, the higher powers or what have you know that this baby is wanted and loved.
    That said, I also believe in knitting your emotions into your projects, and there I have limits. For example, a coworker who was having a really unstable pregnancy was the recepient of my first Baby Surprise Jacket. Unfortunately, halfway through knitting it, my 22YO cousin died in a motorcycle accident. While knitting the BSJ would have been just the thing, as it was both charming and mindless, there was NO WAY I was going to knit on a baby present while my family was grieving this kind of shocking loss.
    The baby arrived happily (and she’s gone on to have 3 more) and she DID receive the BSJ, but it took an extra month because I needed to be able to think happy thoughts and knit lovely baby mojo into the sweater.

  189. When I was pregnant with my first child, my mom told me not to buy anything before the second trimester. The next day, she came in with a pj! I’m not superstitious but since I miscarried once, I tend to knit and buy stuff after I hear an heartbeat and the doctor tell me everything is fine!

  190. I think that you have less of a problem, technically speaking, than I do. It’s like a cliffhanger. I’m dying of curiousity. Which buttons did you choose?! Do tell! Quick! Please!
    Really, it should not matter to me so much, except that I suppose that most, if not all, of us reading this blog have warped knitting brains. Oh, to be in the button and ribbon shops!
    Ok, I’m back to knitting my mittens. Yes, in August. Maybe I’ll go visit my own ribbon stash to take the edge off. Maybe it was just the gorgeous photos.
    Strangely enough, any button/ribbon combo that you choose will be perfect… although, I’m inclined towards the button with the brown edge.

  191. Oops… commented on the wrong post (I’m catching up!).
    Anyhow, I knit for my own babies while I was pregnant, and for the babies of friends as well. It’s such a beautiful, wonderful act of creative anticipation. If the unthinkable had happened with either one of my two children, I think that it would have been an odd sort of comfort to have something tangible that I had made in my hands while I was grieving, sort of an acknowledgement of the loss.
    When a close friend of mine died young, she left an unfinished sweater that she had worked on for a long time. We had knit and talked together. Her mother asked me if there was anything from her that I wanted – I asked her for the sweater, and worked and finished it over the next year as I grieved. When it was finally done, I sent it to her family (she had intended it to be for her mother). Something about finishing that sweater helped me, in a sense, tie up all the loose ends of the relationship.

  192. Having lost 6 pregnancies…I have to say that it would be very difficult to deal with something lovingly made for a little soul who didn’t survive. I’m far too scientific to think knitting for a baby-to-be would have any effect on the pregnancy, but coping with gifts for a lost baby is very painful. I wouldn’t let friends give me anything meaningful until my babies were live-born. My (small) family has had a very high rate of pregnancy loss for generations so we are careful not to count chickens before eggs. I am very proud that I deduced the particular genetic defect involved, which can be treated during pregnancy, and hopefully my extended family will grow more bountiful. A cousin has had a healthy baby since my discovery, after her sisters also suffered years of list pregnancies. Maybe in a generation we will leave behind the fear and become bountiful in both babies and layettes.

  193. My much anticipated nephew was born last October. During his birth something went unexpectedly and terribly wrong. We almost lost him, and in the end the baby we brought home was much, much different from the one we expected. While he was in the NICU, when we weren’t sure he’d ever come home, another NICU mother told us about ‘claiming’ her child. She said that she just claimed him, told the universe he was hers and she wasn’t letting go. I went home that night and finished a sweater I had been knitting in the days before his birth. I told my friends ‘sometimes sewing on buttons is an act of faith.’ I’ve never thought about it before last year, but now all the making I do before a baby is born I feel us a claiming. He’s ours. She’s ours. We claim them now and always.

  194. I need to move to Toronto! A store with ribbons and another for buttons? Seriously, I have never seen such wonders, I am lucky to have a yarn store!

  195. I have to agree with a couple others on here – the tone of this post seemed mocking and insensitive to other people’s fears and beliefs. You could have answered her question with kindness and simply shared how you felt, but instead you chose to ridicule and I felt really uncomfortable reading this post, sort of like watching a mean girl in action.

  196. I’m with Karen of Scotland and 6:29 and a few others who have found the tone of this (and definitely of a few comments) mildly troubling. I think it is the word “superstition” or “jinx” when applied dismissively to something that for me and others is a cherished religious tradition (Jewish in my case but apparently many traditional cultures have retained this custom from the bad old days of high infant mortality). I don’t consider it a superstition or in any way an unscientific attempt to control fate–simply, it is a way to honor the past, the challenges and sufferings of past generations and one’s connection to them. And of course the custom of not giving gifts, not holding baby showers, not furnishing the nursery ahead of time (which one commenter called “lunatic”) not only honors tradition but also holds some continuing wisdom in case of a bad outcome. Bottom line: make any preparations you like for someone else’s baby but don’t give it to them (or talk about it to them) till afterwards if you think they might feel this way. BTW there is also a strong Jewish cultural inhibition against announcing a baby’s name before birth, and the Orthodox don’t tell anyone the baby’s name until the eighth day.

  197. When I found out I was pregnant I was desperate to knit but was terrified of ‘jinxing’ things, so I found an unfinished ‘February baby sweater’ meant for a friend’s baby but the gauge was way too small, and worked on that until I had my twelve-week scan. Little did I know that I’d have such an intense (although at least tiny, so he fit into the cardigan) baby that I wouldn’t have the time or the energy to do even a fraction of the gorgeous baby knitting I’d planned to swathe him in. We’re only having one, so now I’ve missed my chance.

  198. I live in India. I have 3 kids. I was told not to knit or sew anything for my babies before they were born.
    I did, but just didn’t tell anybody about it. It helped me bond with my unborn child and keep sane through pregnancy and even through labour (and false labour). The hospital staff found it strange to see both my mom and I knitting away when I was admitted for delivery.
    Some people here believe that newborns should not wear new clothes. Being the eldest in my generation of a rather small extended family meant having no one to give me hand-me-downs for the newborn. Old clothes are softer on a baby’s skin. I just buy new stuff and wash them as many times as I can.
    I also knit for nieces and nephews-to-be but gift the knits after they are born.

  199. Our church handwork circle often prays while working on an item that is a gift to someone. It’s sort of our way of connecting the recipient to God, and to us, even though it is a material item.

  200. This pregnancy became somehow more real – anchored, tethered, whatever – when I started knitting the blanket. For a baby. My baby. Huh. Sort of mind blowing.

  201. I like the taupe ribbon/buttons or better the bright green!!
    Just love to read your blog, it makes me feel like I’m not the only person who thinks and does these things. Hope it went well

  202. I started knitting for my babies as soon as we started trying. I knit my way through six miscarriages before having 2 beautiful girls and never for one second did I believe that my knitting was the cause. Knitting for my babies allowed me to dream of what was to come and to take my mind off the misery. As a result, I had an excellent stash of knitted love in which to dress my girls.

  203. It’s a Jewish tradition (one I’m having difficulty adhering to) that nothing is made or purchased for the new baby until after it’s born. Personally, I feel it’s my duty to pour all my love, hope and dreams for a particular baby into a gift for it before it arrives.

  204. I’m 7 months pregnant, I’m an avid knitter and I have to admit that I’m behind on the one thing I swore I will never make in my life – a baby blanket! It’s a beautiful Fair Isle, but it’s still a blanket. Somehow it came to reflect the late pregnancy for me (back pain, wobbling, etc), so I need it to have a happy outcome (completion) before my baby girl comes to this world!

  205. The taupe cotton & buttons that look like stone look the most “heirloom” to me. Perfect!
    What is the pattern??? Absolutely lovely!
    I believe in your ability to finish in time!!!!

  206. I always knit for babies, not too early but I definitely! What a lovely blog post, and I loved the towing in analogy, which reminded me of reading something similar in this thesis (I wrote an article about Spindle and Spinning in History, Mythology and Folklore so I found it during research): http://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol48/mencej.pdf
    I think you will like it. In some Eastern European countries people believed that kids were let down to their mothers by a thread.

  207. Thank you for this.
    We lost our first child last year, stillborn due to preterm labor, and the biggest regret that I had was that I had been afraid to knit more for her; she has a precious February Baby Sweater and it will remain with her things always. Not knitting for her, not buying things, not getting too overly hopeful, none of that saved her, it was just crappy luck.
    We were just blessed to have our second child two months ago, a very healthy and amazing baby boy, and I knit for him my entire pregnancy, through anxiety and through a cerclage surgery and through 4 months of bed rest, I knit for him and others knit for him and it felt exactly like you say, like a lifeline thrown out to my little son to help him make it into the world safely.
    I don’t believe in the jinx anymore; I believe in hope.

  208. Lovely comments. I too loved the wet weasels comment. Such a visual comment! I’m 76 now. Only ever knitted for my two grands. I’m a very slow knitter, not due to age thank goodness, because its so easy to get distracted by a good book, or say, a really good blog, and only knit maybe one sweater a year. But it never occurred to me to superstitious about my pregnancies. As I was the only knitter, etc in my family it was the only thing to do if I wanted anything for them. Growing up my family was more self-isolating or at least my mother was. My dad could look at something, go home and build it. So it follows that if you wanted something you made it. The advantsge was that if no one ever told me that something was too hard, I didn’t know it really was hard so I went ahead and made it, or learned it or taught myself. It’s amazing what you can do if you don’t know better.

  209. I wasn’t a knitter when i had my first, I brought things with plenty of time to go she was all kitted out before i hit 30 weeks. She was born healthy and big. I then lost a baby 8 weeks into my second pregnancy, i was a knitter but not a serious one I didn’t think about knitting very much. Losing a baby tears a pretty big hole in you that never completely heals.
    When I became pregnant last year I was in constant fear, we had a very hard time with a lot of emergency scans and lots of big bleeds nobody could explain, this made me nervous about knitting for the baby so I decided not to until the new year which would give me 3 months to get everything done. I went into premature labour twice and in the end my hind waters started leaking and i was induced a few weeks early. The labour was quick (4hours) and fairly painless but they lost her heartbeat towards the end. She was born perfect.
    I couldn’t bring myself to start her christening gown until after she was born though. This is a personal thing, if i had lost her i am not sure i could of ever knitted again having knitted for her if that makes senses.
    I wait until at least half way mark before i knit for a baby now.

  210. No superstitions about knitting for infants still-in-womb. However, I did make (mostly crochet but some knit) blankets for my three youngest nephews, my dearest friends’ children, and a blog friend’s youngest, beginning as soon as I could formulate a plan after receiving the news. Now I ask my nephews, “Do you know who made you that blanket?” (They do.) “Do you know what that blanket means? It means I have loved you since before you were even born.” And that’s the truth.
    In the case of the blog friend, she became pregnant just a few months after a miscarriage, and for her sake and mine both, as soon as I read the news I hightailed it to the LYS and chose “unisex” yarn adequate for my favorite pattern because I needed to make a tangible demonstration of faith that this baby would be born full-term and healthy. I don’t think it was really superstition per se, but because of that experience I think I understand what you mean about “towing them in,” “preparing a path, paving the way,” and such.
    I also like to pray for babies for whom I knit/crochet as I work, which is another reason I don’t wait until they are born.
    May the wee bairn you’re loving by knitting for it so beautifully enter the world healthy and strong and live a long life that makes a difference for good in the world.

  211. I used to be like you and never worried about jinxing an impending baby. That was until last year when my cousin first baby, a little girl was stillborn in the 8th month. Nothing like this had ever happened in our family, so I guess you could say that until then we were extremely fortunate. There had been a miscarriage here and there, but very early on. And then my grandparents had lost two babies, one a few days after birth, another a toddler who died from croup. We were all heartbroken for my cousin, her husband and her parents. The little girl was her first child and it was until then a normal and unremarkable pregnancy.
    She is now expecting again, this time a little boy and we are all hopeful that this time she will have a healthy baby without incident. But I have to say that I’m now worried about starting anything too soon, whatever that is. Her little girl died before her baby shower, so I now have baby knits without a baby to wear them.
    I am half Jewish and it is tradition in the Jewish religion to not have any preparations for the expected baby to be done until after the baby is born safely. My cousin is from the Christian side of my family, so normally this tradition wouldn’t be followed. Now I’m in a conundrum because I really would like to get started knitting even though I have plenty of time. The baby is due in January. However with the holidays being right before her due date it would be easier to start now. I never was superstitious about this before, however life experience has changed my feelings on it somewhat. We are all ecstatically, but cautiously happy for my cousin. I just don’t want to “jinx” anything. It isn’t rational, but feelings never are, are they?

  212. Hi Stephanie, Longtime fan, first time commenter. Several years ago I knit a beautiful layette for a coworker expecting her first child. We were all so excited for her. Unfortunately, they discovered that the baby had a tumor and had to have emergency surgery immediately after he was born. He didn’t survive surgery. I immediately knit a shawl for his Mom and about a month later went to visit her with her gift and the baby gift. I still wanted her to have it. And we all cried and she wrote to me later how much it meant for her to have it, that having that layette meant that he was here, even if it was for a few hours. I certainly don’t think that my knitting that jinxed anything…I’m certainly not that important in the universe. My friend went on to have three beautiful children, all of whom I knit for, but she still cherishes that first layette.

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  214. I knit for my triplets. I needed to, so I could except the idea, and qualm my fears, and find a sense of piece and hope. Unfortunately they were born too early and all died. The pile of knitted things helped me except that they were real, they had been here, and loved, and helped me grieve as I carefully packed them away.
    To say that I created their death by knitting is to give myself way too much power than I in reality have. Ridiculous! Once upon a time women were not permitted to openly grieve the death of babies, to not remind, to not name them. I think this is the root of the superstition around knitting before the baby is born.

  215. I crocheted a rainbow ripple blanket for my kids when I was 21. I had my first when I was 28. It has kept both my children and both my grandkids warm over the years, and it warms my heart every time we pull it out. Even though I knit it in acrylic and one end is wider than the other, which still bugs the heck out of me. It speaks to the power of certainty, I just knew I was going to have kids and that I wanted them to sleep under something I had made. It was the only knit blanket I finished for them! Having kids means I never finish anything any more…..

  216. I know from the nurses around here, that even if the baby doesn’t make the birth, the layette would still be appreciated. What better way to send a wee one on it’s journey to the angels than wrapped in handknits?
    Our hospital has burial kits ready for the little ones who don’t make it and the moms who receive them appreciate the love in them when they contain handmade items.
    I think any hope and excitement over a new life is beautiful. No matter how it’s expressed.

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