I’m an aunt. Which means, I make a whole lotta projects for babies and kids. I don’t know what it is about my siblings breeding that compels me to crochet for baby. Do you guys get that same tic? The one where the sight of any exposed baby skin seems to biologically obligate you to find the nearest hook and skein of yarn to cover it?
Have you ever looked at your calendar, realized it’s only a week until Christmas/Easter/child’s birthday/forecast predicting aggressive breezes and thought, Oh My God, I’ve got to crochet for baby?? And have you ever found yourself Christmas Eve/Easter Eve/anniversary of your sister in law’s water breaking/sign of first breeze and been tangled in a ball of yarn, project half finished, coming off a six hour red-bull-and-aran-worsted bender and having lost your will to live?
Because I’ve been there. I’ve been there a lot. You get it into your head that [insert any gift giving occasion] simply cannot be allowed to pass you by without some type of homemade gift. After all, I’m The Crafty One. I’m the one who shows up to every birthday party with something soft and cuddly and awkwardly wrapped. They’ve come to expect it of me. And I love to crochet for baby things! The soft yarn, the pastels, the fluff.
Pride Goeth Before the Fall
Plus, there’s more than a little ego involved. I imagine the child’s delight when they open their special, handmade, one of a kind gift. They give it a big squeeze and skip off with their new best friend, cementing my status as Coolest Aunt Ever. I can just see their parent’s appreciative nod, no doubt understanding the hours of work and love that went into that project. Imagining the admiring clucks of onlookers, I think about how they are clearly impressed with my skill and expertise.
“I need to use up some of this pink yarn anyway”, I inevitably tell myself, “and surely it won’t take more than a few hours.” I’ll bang the project out in a weekend, piece of cake, and I’ll be the hero of the baby shower. 32 hours later, I’ve had two pattern corrections, three disappearing hooks, many many swear words, and the sinking realization that I’ve yet again vastly underestimated the amount of time it’ll take to finish this nightmarish half finished monkey toy that definitely looks more like an alien in the cold, harsh light of day.
It’s a sickness. So what’s the cure?
Here’s some tips from a reformed addict pro:
Babies grow insanely fast. When their mothers buy them clothes, they understand that it will probably only be worn about a half dozen times. That’s all there’s time for before the season changes and the baby has outgrown them. If you crochet for baby, try to predict what size they will be when they’ll wear it, and know in your heart that this is purely a product of your own masochism.
Take materials into consideration. Think about how hot or cold it is outside, and whether or not an extra pound and a half of yarn is something you should put on a baby. I ignored this rule, which lead to the unfortunate decision to crochet a cute lacy summer dress in a scratchy worsted weight acrylic yarn. The dress weighed about three pounds and was worn for maybe seven minutes total.
Will this project be as attractive under several layers of spit up, ice cream, marker, dirt and/or slime? Will it survive the subsequent washings required to remove them?
Is this project difficult to put on the baby or maintain in any way? Would it be difficult to put onto a child who is screaming? Squirming? Flailing all four limbs or auditioning for the 2025 remake of the Exorcist? Does your garment have multiple snaps or delicate/complicated closures? If the answer to any of these is yes, your heartfelt gift will never be worn. Period.
Are you prepared for the excellent possibility that the child receiving your gift will spend less time wearing/playing with it than you spent making it?
If you still have any desire to knit for your loved ones’ offspring, seek help. And stay away from wool.