Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bye baby bunting

A colleague at work is just commencing parental leave for her first baby. Yesterday we had afternoon tea with her and gave her a number of presents for the baby. I love the opportunity to knit baby clothes and had fun choosing pattern and yarn for a little jacket. She'd commented many times that almost everything she's been given so far for the baby is pink (she's expecting a girl) and lamented the current pinkness of everything for girl babies. So it was easy to decide to knit in soft green yarn. I also wanted a pattern that wasn't aggressively girly as it was clear my colleague prefers plainer, less sex-specific designs.

Knitting designer Laura Chau (Cosmicpluto) has produced a very cute baby cardigan she named Sweet Bunting; a simple, bottom-up seamless design with a natty pattern of bunting at the base of the yoke. It would be equally suitable for a boy or girl.

Baby bunting 1
Baby bunting close-up

I'm not a very experienced or very expert fair isle knitter and would like to have done a better job of controlling the tension of the simple fair isle patterning in the yoke. It's a little bit loose; though that's better than being too tight. Fair isle in a highly processed superwash yarn (such as the Morris Empire Superwash Merino 8 ply which I used for practicality with this jacket) does not sit as neatly as fair isle with catchy yarns. Still, I did learn to weave in the floats of yarn as I carried them across the longer stretches of the pattern, and I think I'm developing a desire to improve my colourwork knitting.

I decided to use up the remainder of a ball of green yarn by knitting a hat. Whit's Knits from Purl Bee often has simple but very effective free patterns. I used the size and shape of the hat from the Little Fair Isle Hat pattern, omitting the attractive fair isle design and substituting two row stripes of the contrasting colours. I'm very happy with the outcome.

Baby bunting + hat
baby bunting + hat close-up

I seem to be on a bit of a bunting kick lately, having made bunting for a Christmas gift swap and now knitting the bunting pattern on this jacket. I like simple, geometric, repetitive patterns, and bunting fits these characteristics.

I also liked the gentle pun in the name of this pattern. Bunting originally was the word for a rough fabric made with a glazed surface, ideal for flags and ribbons. Over time the term has transferred from the fabric to the flags themselves. But it has another association. There's the rhyme I remember from my childhood as a chant for rocking or jiggling babies

Bye baby bunting
Daddy's gone a-hunting
Gone to get a rabbit skin
To wrap the baby bunting in.

The internet informs me it's also a lullaby, though this is not part of my association for it.

So this is a playful pattern rich in associations. My colleague was surprised and delighted by the gift and I've had a great deal of pleasure making it.


Rose Red said...

It is so lovely, I am not surprised that she was delighted with it. Beautifully knit and blocked and great colours.

Lynne said...

Very lovely indeed. And a great play on words in the title!

jp said...

Lyn this is delightful. Such a gorgeous piece of knitting.

Also love the hat.

Brendaknits said...

That is a very cute baby sweater. Your fair isle looks great. Better too loose that too tight, as you say.

missfee said...

oh Lyn this is just so gorgeous - and great not being pink too

love the titile too

Yarna said...

As you know, I was very taken with this pattern and with your colour chouices. It will be filed away for future use! I love the "top knot" on the hat, too.

DrK said...

i just about died of the cuteness lyn. what a perfect little set, and so beautifully knit. im tempted to try my hand at colourwork too this year, so i will talk to you before i do!

Bells said...

oh it's lovely! I've seen that before but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder lyn. I think it'll go on my list. You've done a lovely job!

Zena said...

I love this so much! I'm a fan of bunting too, and this cardi is just too sweet. So beautifully knit too.

1funkyknitwit said...

oh my ->too cute for words!
So much better than pink, this is thinking outside of the 'pink box' when it comes to girly bubwear - perfect & sweet!