Baby Knits and a design journey – what I started with and how my design ended up

It depends on the design, sometimes I doodle with the yarn, swatch and play around and the yarn tells me what it wants to be. That’s easy, it’s intuitive and pretty much always works out.

Other times, I have a vision in mind, in this case a dress with a bib/bodice top and a lace skirt. I started knitting the skirt bottom up and in the round. I wanted to keep the piece as a seamless dress, minimum finishing.

Mary Eleanor Dress Pattern
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Mary Eleanor Dress Pattern

Baby Knits and a design journey – Version 1

Version 1 was knitted half a dozen times as I perfected the shaping of the bib/bodice to make it easier to knit and reduce the finishing as much as possible. There is a neckband at the front to pick up, but that’s the only time you pick up and knit any stitches.

Baby Knits and a design journey – Yarn Choices

My go to for baby projects would normally be Stylecraft Special DK where I know that the Mum is busy, hasn’t time to hand wash and won’t need to worry about the item being washable. In this case I had a bag of several colours of Patons 100% Cotton DK, no two the same and wanted to design something using a cotton yarn.

The thought being that it could be a 3 season layering piece in cotton, cotton/bamboo or acrylic/cotton blends. In a superwash wool yarn, it would be suitable for Winter worn over a long sleeved top or sweater.

I’m not a yarn snob and I truly believe that the right yarn for the project has to be suited to the recipient, how they need to care for it and fit their lifestyle. I use a lot of blended yarns, acrylics and cottons for baby knits and prefer superwash wool to non washable wool. That’s my choice. For tea cozies, I’d like a roving wool which is easy to felt and will keep my tea warm.

Baby Knits and a design journey – Version 2

Version 2 was after discussion with the Testers they preferred the idea of buttons on the fronts and straps on the back with buttonholes. A quick bit of editing and a change to narrow the neck (more stitches for the straps) and it was perfect.

Test knitting is for me, a vital part of perfecting the design but also in getting the explanations right so that knitters can follow the instructions easily. I break down the sections of the pattern so it’s clear which part you are working on, try and make any shaping as easy as possible, chart them where needed and ensure it’s really obvious what you need to do.

I narrowed the neckline to make a better fit, but kept the wider shoulders which should be an inch or so wider than the child’s shoulders. Partly for layering but also to allow for the differences in kids. I was a skinny child but my brother was a chunky kid. We’re all different and the best advice I can give is to knit the bodice/bib to fit the child and make the skirt longer or shorter to suit their shape. All the measurements are included in the pattern so to some extent you can pick and mix, but allow extra yarn if you are adding length at all.

Baby Knits and a design journey, the skirt of the Mary Eleanor Dress
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The pattern is available to buy in our online shop on the website, in our Ravelry Shop or our Payhip Shop. 25% off until 31st August with code babybeautiful

There’s no coded needed in our online shop on this site, the pattern is already discounted to make it easier for you.

If you’d like me to chat more about our design process, yarn choices etc, do let me know and what patterns you’d like me to feature.

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