Yes, time is money. But to parents today, time is EVERYTHING.
As outlined in Our Story, part of the impetus for creating koko's nest was my realization that the heirloom baby blanket I carefully hand knit for my first-born was ultimately a waste of time, money, and a lot of nesting energy. After spending about $175 on yarn, weeks of spare time doing a tedious stitch pattern, and many many trips to the yarn store, I ended up with a blanket that was beautiful, but too stiff to be breathable, too thick to be used indoors, and too small to be useful beyond the first three months. What I wish I had done is invest in a functional and versatile blanket and devote my time and limited energy to knitting an abundance of other baby things!
I'm sure there are knitters out there who love starting an enormous project and knitting away at it forever... I am not one of them. As soon as I start a knitting project, it's a race to the finish. And knitting for babies is actually the best opportunity for time-efficient knitting because of their small size.
So I thought I'd round up my favorite picks for the best bang-for-your-buck-and-time knitting projects for new babies that I would prioritize over baby blankets.
Who doesn't obsess over the unbelievable smallness of a baby's feet? Baby booties are the ultimate baby knitting project -- especially if you're expecting during the colder months. The key thing is to ensure a snug, stretchy fit around the ankle so that the booties stay on. Try Ruth's perfect baby booties.
2. Stuffed animal
A stuffed cuddly toy should really be at the top of your knitting projects because you get a lot of bang for your buck. While you sometimes have to pay $50+ retail for something like this at a store, you can knit one with leftover yarn and a $5 bag of stuffing over a weekend. If you have a dog... beware. Your mutt might mistake these things as their new chew toy! Try a knit hedgehog (pictured above), horse, or beluga.
3. Christmas stockings and ornaments
There's nothing like the holiday season to make you want to DIY. And once you add a baby into the mix, the more you want to create something special and handmade. If you're going for a more ambitious project, a customized Christmas stocking is the way to go. But you can also make a whole lot of knit ornaments that will be lasting treasures in your family for generations. Try these Christmas stockings or this snowman ornament.
4. Vest or Cardigan
If you can't help but ogle the teeny tiny knit clothes on Pinterest and Ravelry, a vest or cardigan is the best invest of your energy. If you want it to fit for longer than a hot second, the key is to make the torso long enough. Try a newborn vest or a versatile cardigan.
5. Hat or Bonnet
And finally, when a baby is born, the first thing we do is put on a hat. Regardless of the season, all newborns need to cover their noggins. And a knit hat or bonnet is an adorable project that is quick to knit up and super functional. Some quick tips: though bonnets are all the rage, newborns especially may not like the tie around their neck. For hats, a stretchy rib design is the way to go and a design with a fold-over brim gives the baby some room to grow. And a breathable cotton or cotton blend is an ideal yarn to ensure there is no irritation against your baby's sensitive skin. Try this hat with optional earflaps.