Knitting for Baby, the book I co-authored with Melanie Falick, is out in paperback! I’ve got them in stock now if you want to order one, hop on over to my books page for signed copy or buy here from that big place.
Knitting for Baby was the first book I authored after I left my job at the yarn company. Melanie and I had become friends through her book Knitting in America (now called America Knits in paperback). We met when she proposed the idea of including a profile of me in her first book. When she began working on Kids Knitting, she asked me to do the illustrations for her and to design a few projects. Kids Knitting was first published in 1998 and in that summer, we both had our children. Julia was born in July and Melanie's Ben in August.
When I was starting to think about leaving my full-time job to begin a freelance career, Melanie kindly proposed the idea to me of collaborating on a baby book. We proposed it to a publisher and all of a sudden, I was busy designing all the projects in the book. It was the perfect way for me to stay involved in the yarn world and begin a new part of my career.
Because we were both knitters and both mothers, we thought we knew what most mothers would want as handknit gifts for their babies. The concept behind the book is that a new knitter could begin at the first chapter of the book and start knitting for their upcoming baby. As they worked their way through the book, their skills would increase and they would move beyond garter stitch. The first few very simple patterns in the book were written in normal language. As the book progressed, “knitting language” was introduced.
From the beginning, we wanted the book to have a cohesive, pretty and soft look – similar to the cuddliness a woman feels when she has her first child. Here is the color palette I developed.
From this palette, we chose the yarns to match and coordinate with these shades. This was a real challenge. We had to source yarns we deemed appropriate for little babies. Oftentimes, we would find the perfect yarn for the project but the colors weren’t what we were looking for. I found this to be one of the most frustrating stages of the book. (This is before my yarn Julia was developed.)
Here are the swatches I worked up for the little garter stitch striped pullover that was on the cover of the hard cover Knitting for Baby. Hard to believe I could find them! The yarn (now discontinued) was called Waterspun – a lovely merino from Australia which was barely twisted. It was perfect for baby projects. I started swatching with the colors that were in our chosen palette and kept at it. The other pre-requisite was that the sweater color would not be only for boys or girls – this further limited the choices. In the end, we chose the swatch at the lower left in a tan, grey and aqua.
The sweater that is on the new cover we called the Harvard Square Cardigan. I love this sweater. It was an easy combination of garter stripes and moss stitch panels. If it is finished neatly, it is reversible. That little child was so incredibly cute in it. It really looks nice on the new paperback cover with the chartreuse layout. By the way, all of the photos were taken by the extremely talented Ross Whitaker in his studio in NYC.
I’m so glad Knitting for Baby has been reprinted again. It’s nice to see a project I work on have a long shelf-life. Not all of them do. My only regret with this project was the size of my illustrations. I did over 60 hand-painted how-to illustrations for the book and because of space limitations, they were reproduced so small. But they looked lovely none the less. The art direction on the book was beautiful including the cute little chapter openers.
If you are looking for a book to learn from and have baby projects in mind, make sure you check out Knitting for Baby.