Monday, March 10, 2008

Knitting for Baby - Re-Issued in Paperback

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.


Mama Urchin said...

This book was my introduction to your designs and I've told you before, I still love it more than five years after I bought it. It is definitely a go to book for baby gifts.

Lisa said...

This book holds a special place in my heart as I knitted like crazy from it while waiting to adopt my son in 2002. I once chatted with you in Boston about the baby in the cabled pullover who was so adorable and convinced me to knit that beautiful sweater.

Sadly my son has outgrown everything I knit back then.

Deborah Newton said...

A GREAT book-- i rely on it heavily for making gifts for babies that I meet in my travels! I love the sweater with the big heart-- so simple, so perfect. All elegant straightforward projects and lots of fun to make. Bravo !

kelley said...

I love this book. It was the book I bought for my sister when she announced her pregnancy. Besides being gender neutral all the knits are timeless and charming.

Andye said...

I LOVE this book. I bought it when I was a fairly new knitter, and I think I've knit more designs from it than from any other pattern book I own. The blankets, the sweaters, the bear - all great. And I think I may have the baby booties memorized; I've made them so many times. Thanks to you and Melanie for writing it -- elegant, practical baby clothes and clear instructions are a great combination.

Anonymous said...

this book was the first knitting book i bought after Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac, and i have made and LOVED countless items out of it for my two little girls, many friends' babies, and our baby on the way. it is a GREAT book, and i'm glad to see that the 2nd printing will allow others to be introduced to it.

Anonymous said...

This is my favorite book of baby projects. I've knitted the Party Dress, Bear, and Ear Flap Hat. Great, easy to follow patterns. I'd recommend this book also for the knitting instructions, illustrations and the beautiful pictures.

ColorJoy LynnH said...

Congratulations on the re-issue. I've had very few babies in my life, so I've looked at the book with a smile but have not yet knit from it. A friend has been working cute projects from it, though.

However, Kids Knitting? I ***LOVE*** that book. I have a copy in my classroom where I teach kids. I even recommend it to my adult beginning knitters. It is just simply a wonderful book... projects, explanations of technique, photos and illustrations. Thank you for that one. Very big thanks.


ellen said...

If I didn't already own it, I's zip on over and buy it! I've knit the booties and hats from it. I love this book!
Thanks and congratulations.

Suzanne said...

Looks like a wonderful book. Unfortunately my children are not cooperating in my desire for grandchildren to knit for, and there don't seem to be any peripheral babies in my life either!

Perhaps I should just "knit for the future"!

- Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife

Willow said...

I'm so glad this book is republished. I'll be looking out here in California to see when it hits the shelves on the West Coast.

Susan said...

Love, love, love this book, Kristin. That was so fun to read about the behind the scenes and start up of Knitting for Baby. I can't believe you still have those swatches. Really, this is one of my all-time favorite books with each project being better than the last. It is hard to choose what to knit first. I love the new cover color, too. You are a talent and all of your books deserve a long shelf-life!

Julie said...

This book, as well as Knitting for Kids, were the ones I turned to over and over again for clear instructions and illustrations when I first learned to knit and got stuck! Hopefully it will get introduced to a whole new generation of knitters!