Even as I await for this baby to emerge and suck all the crafting time out of my life (in addition to most of the sleeping, eating, and showering time I've grown so accustomed to), other friends keep having babies or announcing they'll be having babies in the near future. So I find myself on this perilous tightrope: on one hand wanting to make beautiful baby gifts for my friend, on the other hand needing every project to be small and easily completable within a couple of hours.
Right now I'm relying heavily on my favorite quick baby patterns. Here, let me share my secrets with you. If you're a pregnant overachiever who handmakes gifts months in advance, or if you're just lazy and need a gift tomorrow without leaving your house, this is a blog post for you.
First of all, here's the quickest baby gift I know. Sewn baby booties.
The pattern for these comes free from the burl bee, and they're intended to be sewn out of felt, though I always use a felted sweater. (In the picture above I actually used a sweater that I cut up raw and felted in the washer after the booties were sewn.) I guess you could use regular felt, if you're not like a magnet for everyone's unwanted wool sweaters. But one wool sweater will get you several pairs of booties, so its worth stashing the old things away instead of trashing them. It helps if your husband himself is a magnet for old mason jars and toilet paper rolls; in that case he can't say anything to you.
I've given these booties at least five times now, and I always get a good response from the mom-to-be, especially if she's a hippy and appreciates the up-cycled street-cred. But as I was making a pair for a friend last month, I realized I should probably do my diligence and TRY THEM ON A BABY. Because seriously, I've always taken the pattern at face value and never really tested if they fit on a newborn or stay on for more than two minutes. So the pair above is for baby Archibald as a tester. The pair below was a gift. I added an elastic around the ankle as an afterthought, just incase my doubts about the pattern functionality are correct.
For this gift I paired the booties with a feed-bag bib, which is my second go-to quick baby present. Looking back at our archives, it appears I never actually blogged about these feed bag bibs. I should rectify that some day, with a tutorial or whatever. For now I'll just throw up a really old picture and give you the one-sentence instruction. Cut two bibs out out of a feed bag and sew em together with bias tape. If that's not self-explanatory, a pattern and tutorial for such a thing (albeit with vinyl as opposed to plastic) can be found in the Oliver & S pattern book.
That's a 30 minute project if there's bias tape and velcro in the house. If you have to make your own bias tape it will take much longer and you may want to kill yourself. Then again, if you have to run to JoAnnes for bias tape you may want to kill yourself after sitting in the Burlington traffic. The moral of the story may be ALWAYS BUY BIAS TAPE. At least there are always empty feed bags in this house, THAT I can be sure of.
But if the woman having a baby is not just an acquaintance but a friend? The kind of friend who comes over your house once a week and listens to you complain about your fat uterus and your acid reflux and your unborn child kicking you in the vag? Well, for that friend you should really knit something. Even if it takes a few hours longer, suck it up and get out the needles.
I've written about these booties here and here. They're from this book, and they're a quick knit as compared with anything else you might think about knitting. These I HAVE used on my own babies, and I'm pleased to report they stay on VERY well. So they hit all my good gift button points: they're a gift I'd like to get myself, they're pretty enjoyable to make, and I can use up materials I already have in the house (in this case scrap yarn.) Here I am yesterday, knitting another pair that happened to be the exact same yarn as the sweater I was wearing.
Those are for a friend, of course. I made a fresh pair for baby Archibald in white, and I tucked them into the drawer next to the sewn test booties and a bunch of hand-me-down knits and onesies I hope to use VERY SOON.
So I guess we're ready to go, then. My baby has its drawer all set, and there are gifts for the next few months quickly filling up the drawer in my closet I reserve for homemade presents. It's good to get some things neat and finished. Especially when what looms in the future is labor and delivery and RAISING ANOTHER CHILD.