Knitting for babies is pretty cool- you get to knit something in a fairly quick time, finish it before the boredom threshold hits and you look a bit clever to non-knitters. Personally, I think knits for newborns and babies should be fairly straightforward and simple; there’s no point wasting blood, sweat and tears on something that maybe only worn for a few weeks (although you could decide to use a smaller garment to develop new skills. It’s up to you!)
I’ve been knitting for babies for a few years and I have a few fail-safe patterns, which I am now using for my own baby. My criteria for these patterns is pretty simple: they’r usually online, free (or cheap) and either simple enough to not require much thought or interesting enough to pique my interest. I’ve listed a few of my favourites- feel free to put your own in the comments! Where I can, I’ve added what yarn/buttons I’ve used, to help you choose your own materials.
Saartje’s Booties (free)- these are shown above and I think I’ve knitted at least fifteen pairs of them for other people and plan to make some for my own little chap. They’re fast and don’t take much yarn at all. The pattern calls for two colours (here, although you can’t see very well, I’ve used two different reds), but they look cool in a single colour as well. The double straps mean that they should stay on even a fidgety foot! I would strongly recommend making this in a washable wool or acrylic (they’re brilliant for scraps of acrylic too, which will make them hard wearing.) I would also recommend using 10mm buttons- I’ve tried bigger and smaller and these seem to be the optimum size.
Garter Yoke Cardigan (free)- I’ve made one of these in bright yellow with hedgehog buttons, which is gorgeous. I’ve also adapted the pattern to make a simple garter stitch cardi in turquoise with cat buttons. It’s knit in one piece and is fairly simple, as long as you know how to use circular and double pointed needles (and even if you don’t, this could be the time to learn!) I’m a big fan of using King Cole Merino DK for this type of project, as it’s a really reasonably priced superwash wool that comes in loads of bright colours and can be just chucked in the washer without worrying about shrinking etc.
Hoot Cardigan (free)- I’ve not really ever joined the owl bandwagon, but I do love these little cable owls. If I had the confidence that it would suit me, I would knit myself the Owl jumper. As it is, I am planning on enforcing this on my first-born in a sort of olive/brown hand-dyed yarn. I love cables and I think this will keep me interested for a while…
Basil the BoogieWoogie Brontosaurus (£3.94/$6)- I only include this because as a kid I was obsessed with dinosaurs, especially big ones with long necks. I think this would be a really lovely gift and I may actually crack on and make one for Fidget (or myself). It looks pretty straightforward and Rebecca Danger’s patterns are always really well written.