Some Ponyo Love

A pinafore dress patterned with Ponyo running on top of giant waves laying next to a pair of matching baby bloomers.

When we first found out we were pregnant, I enthusiastically purchased 3 yards of gender-neutral patterns from Spoonflower. A yard of firefighter fabric in their organic cotton knit, a yard of kiwi bird fabric in their organic sweet pea gauze and a yard of Ponyo Fabric in petal signature cotton. Then, I enthusiastically set off to find gender-neutral patterns to work each of the fabrics up in.

For the firefighter fabric, I made a pair of easy-knit overalls. The kiwi bird fabric became a bubble romper. Ponyo, however, sat staring at me for months because I couldn’t find a gender-neutral pattern that fit what I wanted to make with it. There isn’t a good reason as to why, but for some reason, all I wanted to do was make a Flutter Pinafore Dress out of the material. Honestly, it wasn’t even that the dress had ruffles (especially when you consider that I didn’t even add ruffles!). Something about the fabric just screamed to me that it wanted to be a dress and not overalls or a romper.

So I sat on it, occasionally taking the adorable fabric out from time to time to see if I could find a pattern that excited me as much as the Flutter Pinafore Dress. Trying to decide if I should cut my losses and make the dress for a friend or if I should compromise and convert the dress into a romper. In the end, I spent a lot of time knitting and sewing other things. Allowing my mind to forget about Ponyo until about a week ago when I started to have enough energy to start thinking about being creative.

The back view of a pinafore dress patterned with Ponyo running on top of giant waves laying next to a pair of matching baby bloomers.

I would be lying if I said that the Flutter Pinafore Dress was not enthusiastically printed and taped together. Due to looking for alternative patterns for so long, the Ponyo fabric was going to become this little dress no matter what, it was just a matter of who was I going to make it for (and I was sort of hoping to keep this one).

Monica Bacon is a fantastic pattern writer for beginners because each step shows an image of what you’re meant to do. In true Paige fashion, I hated gathering the skirt but am happy with how it came out. The only thing I would do differently would be the addition of the elastic on the back of the dress. For starters, using 1/4 in was too small to synch the back completely (but I had so much of it leftover from making crib sheets that I couldn’t help but commit). The other thing I would do differently would be to thread the elastic through the back instead of attaching it before sewing around the waist (which is what the pattern called for). In my mind, I would have less sewing to do and less ends to clip, but in the end, attaching the elastic early lead to a finicky five minutes. I also added a decorative star stitch to the bottom of the skirt, which would have looked even cuter if I had considered the color of starfish instead of using white thread (but hey it’s still cute!).

I love this little dress and wish I had the skill set required to convert it into adult size.

Madonna Sorrel Mini

Red Sorrel Mini in progress photo with the yoke and half the body completed.

Wool and Pine has been on my radar since the beginning, I love the way their patterns use color and texture to create beautiful knitwear pieces. It’s also hard not to love their body positivity and inclusivity model of designing. Despite my enthusiasm and owning one of their patterns, I had yet to sit down and actually create one of their designs. Some of this was knowing that we were trying for a baby and I didn’t want to make a garment that would never fit and some of this was having a queue of knits already in the works. Either way, I quickly added their Minis Collection to my queue and have loosely decided to work my way through the book.

The first pattern I started with was Sorrel Mini. I thought it would look super cute in a skein of madelinetosh TML + TWEED in Madonna from my stash (I was right!) and I have almost enough of a sweater quantity to make myself a larger DK version if I liked working the pattern. After finding gauge with a US size 2, I enthusiastically cast on size 6-12 months and worked my way through the yoke and down to the body of the sweater.

This is a very silly observation to bring to the table because it should have been obvious to me just by looking at the sweater, but Sorrel is a lot of purling. In fact, the entire sweater minus the yoke and ribbing is worked in reverse stockinette. While it looks gorgeous, I had to pay a bit more attention to my stitches and the little sweater seemed to take longer due to my speed when purling vs knitting. That’s really my only complaint about the little sweater, and it’s not really a fair complaint to make because I should have noticed it going in!

To compensate or rather to take a break from purling, I ended up knitting the sleeves inside out. While this mentally solved the problem, it did change my gauge a little bit. The sleeve stitches are a little bit looser than the body stitches (baby doesn’t care!), so if I do end up making a DK version for myself that’s something I’ll need to keep in mind. The other modification that I made to the pattern was to knit the sleeves 6 inches with 1 inch of ribbing instead of 5 inches with two inches of ribbing. I have a feeling the longer cuff was used with the idea that it could be folded over, but my preference is to fold the ribbing over onto stockinette on little sweaters.

Since I don’t usually work with single ply yarn, I wanted to take a minute to note that I enjoyed working with the skein of TML + Tweed that I picked up from my local yarn store. It was a little bit of an impulse buy, but seeing as I was eyeing the skeins during our craft night it’s safe to say that there are more skeins in my future.

Sorrel Mini knit in madelinetosh TML + Tweed in the colorway Mondona.

Firefighter Knit Overalls

A while ago now, I stumbled across a firefighter-inspired print on Spoonflower and purchased a yard of it in their organic cotton knit. The theory behind this purchase was twofold: it’s a super cute pattern to make something for a baby and it would give me the chance to work with their organic cotton knit without committing to an adult size project.

Sewing with this fabric is like sewing with butter. Seriously, there were parts of this project that were 4-5 layers thick and my machine didn’t even skip a beat. Plus, it’s softer than I was expecting and one can’t help but imagine a pair of pajamas or an everyday dress being made with a different print.

In terms of choosing a pattern for the fabric, I knew that I wanted something on the gender-neutral side. As much as I love the Germanium Pattern as a dress workhorse, even using the sunsuit hack limits the sewist to a more feminine garment. Not that baby cares! Let’s be honest, baby will wear anything that you dress them in at this stage of the game. It’s really the parents that you’re sewing for at this stage of the game and, even though my husband and I are the parents for this one, I really wanted to add another workhorse pattern to my arsenal.

I don’t remember how exactly I stumbled upon OhMeOhMySewing Patterns, perhaps a Pinterest search for baby sewing patterns put them on my radar? While they have many patterns that have quickly earned an “ohh I want to make that someday”, I knew I found the pattern I was looking for when I saw their Knit Overalls Pattern. Cute little pocket on the front, the ability to choose between snap or button closures… it was perfect for filling the hole in my pattern collection. I also love that it goes up to a size 5 years!

Initially, I meant to sew the 9-12 month version in pants because it’s going to be chilly by the time our little one can wear that size, but I wasn’t paying attention when selecting pattern pieces to cut out and ended up cutting out the front and back pieces for the shorts instead of the pants. Completely my fault and not a reflection of the pattern.

All in all, these little overalls came together super quickly and I’m thrilled with the final result. I may modify the bottom closure next time in order to incorporate snaps for easier diaper changes, but otherwise, the only change to the pattern I made this time around was to add topstitching to the top edging in order to help the lining stay in place after washing.

Having sewn the pattern using a knit fabric, I’m confident that the shorts version of this pattern could also be used when working with woven fabric (and you could probably lengthen the legs to turn them into a pants version). That being said, if you’re someone who works more with wovens than knits, OhMeOhMy also has a Woven Overall Pattern.

In case you were wondering, I’m already jonesing to make this one again. Perhaps another shorts version for my niece’s upcoming birthday?

Toddler sized overalls with yellow buttons and a firefighter pattern printed on them that includes hoses, fire extinguishers, hats, boots, axes and fire hydrants.

Baby Patterns I’m Enjoying Right Now

I suppose I’ve hit the time in my life where all my friends (and a good chunk of my family) are having children. While I am not quite ready to have children of my own, it’s very exciting to see pregnancy and birth announcements pop up in my Instagram feed for two reasons: 1) I’m happy for them! 2) I get to knit for them.

Is it fair to say that I’m happy I get to knit for them? Baby items, as it unfortunately took me way to many years of knitting to learn, make for amazing projects. For starters, they don’t require a ton of yardage. This means that I can use up a special skein of fingering weight that I’ve been saving or purchase new yarn without the price tag that comes with making an adult sweater. While I would recommend a washable fiber, what this really means is that baby items are the most economical things to knit — other than socks of course.

Next, they provide an avenue to work complicated stitches, simple stitches, and everything in between. Want to knit cables? There’s a pattern for that. Want to knit colorwork? Pattern for that. Lace? Pattern for that. Plain garter or stockinette? There’s a pattern for that too. Actually there are thousands of options for each one of those.

Both of the above reasons point directly to my third reason for enjoying to knit for babies: the time that it takes to knit a baby item is short. Want to try a new yarn or technique? You’re not committing to a giant project!

Pattern’s I’ve knit and enjoyed:

  • French Macaroon by The Noble Thread — I’m currently halfway through this one and “patiently waiting” for the yarn I’m using to come back in stalk. More on that in a future post…
  • Flax Light by tincanknits — I can’t even begin to discuss how much I love this “basic” sweater pattern. I’ve knit it a total of 7 times, twice of those were adult sizes
  • Flax by tincanknits — Literally the same pattern as above but written for worsted weight! I love this one for when I knit for bigger kids, but it create a snuggly fabric for younger ones as well
  • Gingersnap for Bigger Kids by Kristen Rettig — Rettig also has a free version of this pattern, but the paid version comes with so many size options I couldn’t resist.
  • Barley by tincanknits — Yes to quick baby hats, they’re such a great use of leftovers!
  • Rye Light by tincanknits — You know what else is great for leftovers? Baby socks. I think these were done in a matter of hours and I used leftovers from my Lava Lake Shawl.
  • Bearly Bonnet by Pure Stitches — Trust me things that have ears make little ones look 10x cuter, plus they add a little bit of something you don’t knit everyday.
  • Harvest by tincanknits — Actually now that I think about it, I’m not sure I ever got a picture of my niece in this one. Still, it knit up fast!
  • Knit Four Points Baby Blanket by Purl Soho — My only complaint is that you need to either pick up stitches or seam. I went with seaming because I’m apparently anti-picking-up-stitches.
  • Simplest Baby Blanket by Paige Scudder — Shameless plug for my own design, sorry not sorry.
  • Crochet Beginner Blanket by Heidi Wells — I adjusted the stitch count on this to 101 and ended up with a stroller blanket.
  • Marley by tincanknits — Yes, I love tincanknits for baby patterns… but I’ve made this one in larger sizes too and always enjoy casting it on again. Unlike the blanket I designed, it’s a rectangle shape.

Patterns that are on my “to-knit-eventually” list:

  • Garden Gnome Hoodie by Knitting Expat Designs — For starters, it’s a Gnome inspired hood. But also, I love the optional textured stitches and would love to see a little one wearing this in the fall.
  • Fox mittens by Eva Norum Olsen — I love these and have had them as a favorite for a while now. Plus, you have so many baby-child sizes to choose from.
  • Octave or Octavie by imawale imawale — This will be the project that I learn how to double knit on. I already know.
  • Dancing T-Rex sweater by Natalie V — Do I really need to say more than “Dancing T-Rex”?
  • Veggie Patch Cardigan by Lisa Chemery — Not sure if it’s the name or the texture stitches that speak to me on this one. Usually anything with buttons is too much pressure for me to take on. After all, it’s hard enough to select the perfect yarn, now I have to pick buttons too?
  • Easy Puzzle Blanket by Purl Soho — So many colors! Although, somehow I imagine that I would have the same problem that I had with their four point blanket…
  • Hosenmatz by Mayumi Kaliciak und Antje Litzmann — Why haven’t I ever knit baby pants before? Honestly, I think I’m holding out for my future children with this one.
  • Pepita by Martina Behm — I think this one focuses on a very specific age bracket and season, but I love it just the same.
  • Daphne and Delilah the Momma and Baby Monster by Rebecca Danger — I’ve saved so many knit toy patterns and have yet to make any. Perhaps these will come into play more as all of the babies that I’m knitting for get older?
  • Shark Attack Lap Blanket by Angie Hartley — Honestly, I want one of these for myself…

In the interest of not making this post much longer and acknowledging that you might like to see the projects that I’ve been working on, I used a tag to make my baby/kid knits have their own bucket. You can view that search at this link if you are signed into ravelry: https://ravel.me/8odg0l