Like many knitters, I love knitting baby clothes – one of my last projects before I took a break from knitting was a baby cardigan for one of my teachers at school. They’re really quick to make because they’re so small and they’re always adorable! So, when my friend Jessica told me she was expecting a baby, I immediately starting planning a new project!
It was really important to me for us to work on this project together, so when Jessica told me she was having a baby boy I went home and put together a collection of patterns which she might like. When I showed her, one of them really stood out: the Zig Zag Set by Paintbox Yarns. We decided to make the hat, cardigan and booties for her new arrival!
Next, we had to choose a yarn. The pattern recommends Paintbox Yarns Baby DK but, as baby is due in July, I thought an acrylic and nylon mix might be too cosy. Instead, I decided to use Paintbox Yarns Cotton DK; when I showed Jessica the colour selection, she picked out Washed Teal, a lovely shade of blue!
I started off with a tension square, I found out that it was a little small with 4mm needles so I jumped up to 4.5mm.
As the cardigan is the largest part of the set, I decided to work on that first. This cardigan was really easy to put together, it doesn’t have any shaping except for the shoulders and the sleeves. It also gave me the opportunity to learn a new skill – cabling without a needle! Once I got the hang of it, it was really easy and I didn’t have to break momentum with a cable needle. To cable without a needle, I put my working needle into the stitch that would be at the back of the cable, slipped all stitches off the needle, then slipped the front stitches back onto the needle. I can’t wait to use this new skill on future projects!
The only part of the cardigan that I had trouble with was the front band. Knitting the front band itself was easy but my cast off was really tight. As this is a cardigan for a baby, I wanted it to be really comfy! To fix this, I undid the cast off and redid it with a 5mm needle to give it a bit more stretch. With that, all I had left to do was sew on the buttons and it was done!
Next I moved on to the booties, I had never made baby booties before so I was really excited to try something new. I struggled a little bit with the instructions for knitting the instep and ‘pleat’ around the instep – I had to read it carefully a few times but then when it made sense it was easy! First you knit the ‘square’ at the top of the instep, then you break the yarn and knit along the three sides of the square and knit a few rows of stocking stitch to make the pleat. Then you knit the last row of the pleat into the first row of the pleat and continue knitting in reverse stocking stitch before shaping the sole. To finish, I sewed up the sole and back seam.
With the booties and cardigan finished, all I had left to do was work on the hat. It was really easy to make, I worked about 4 of the diamond motifs before shaping the top of the hat. The instructions for the shaping are a little intricate but, with careful reading, it all comes together really nicely as the decreases are worked evenly into the pattern. I finished the hat while sailing on a boat on the Wey Navigation with my family for my Dad’s birthday – it was idyllic!
With that the set was finished, all I had to do was block it before I could wrap it up. I do think it turned out a little bigger than I wanted – I made a 0-3 months but I think it’s more on the 3 months end than newborn! However, I would rather it was a little big than too small, after all the baby will grow into it if it’s too big. When I gave it to Jessica, she was absolutely thrilled, she thinks it’s adorable! It was such a joy to make something so adorable for my friend and to know that it will be worn by a little one very soon! I can’t wait to see him wearing it.