19 June 2011

Bootees and Babies

I'm knitting bootees at the moment. The family of one of Hannah's school friends has just welcomed a beautiful little girl into their family. As her big sister is 15 and there are 3 big brothers between her and her new sister, pretty baby girl things are in order.

The thing I like to knit best is bootees. Old fashioned I know, but baby bootees are so special. They are such tiny little shoes, for precious, tiny little feet. Bootees are quick to knit too, I can usually do a pair a night if I concentrate on them.

Years ago when I travelled an hour each way by train into the city for work, I could knit a pair of bootees every couple of days. Around that time there was a real baby boom - school friends having their first babies, my cousins having new babies, neighbours having new babies - I spent two years knitting nothing but bootees.

They were then and still are now my favourite "new baby" gift, a selection of bootees, presented in a pretty keepsake box. Colour of course was determined by the gender of the bub and the personality of the new parents. I had the dickens of a time trying to find red, yellow and lime green 4 ply baby wool in the 1970's for a co-worker's new baby. New babies were still meant to be in white or pastel pink or baby blue, not colours!

I've gone through the cupboard and found a ball of 4 ply baby wool I bought on clearance at Spotlight at the end of last year for 99c. It's a 100g ball so I'll get 4 pairs or bootees from it, or two pairs and a bonnet or helmet. 

I knitted dozens of bootees, mittens and helmets for the boys when they were babies and toddlers. Living in Wagga as we were then, the winters were bitterly cold, so helmets and mittens were essential items. We have photos of them playing in the backyard, in snowsuits, helmets and mittens, as happy as Larry. It didn't seem to matter how cold it was, they just wanted to be outside playing. Brrrrrrr some of those days it didn't get above 5 degrees!

Hannah, being our baby girl and a real winter baby, had plenty of bonnets, bootees and matinee jackets, all matching sets.

But I digress.

I've had the knitting for months. The sewing machine has been set up, along with the embroidery machine, waiting to be used. I have a pile of photos to put into albums, I'm just not in the mood.

So instead I've been knitting. The dishcloth basket is overflowing with lovely new dishcloths. I've knitted some and sent them overseas for gifts and given some to a couple of friends who have been a great help while Wayne has been unwell.

I've re-covered old coat hangers and covered some that need doing and used up lots of scraps of yarn in the process. I had lots of fun playing with different patterns and colour combinations. Some are striped, some are plain, others are patterned.

And now I'm onto bootees. As well as Steph's new sister, a dear friend's granddaughter is expecting her first baby, due later this month and she's sent out a call for bootees, mittens and bonnets to keep the baby warm. They live in Goulbourn, where winters are cold (oh so very cold) and wet, so lots of warm knits will make life a little easier for this new mum. I'm thrilled that a young mother wants something that's considered old fashioned and a nuisance for her baby gift, and I'm even more thrilled that she's asked me to knit them for her.

We don't know whether the baby is a precious little girl or a handsome baby boy, so I'm using lots of either-or colours - white, lemon, blue and green, and a few pairs in a pretty pink just in case. I don't know what it is about baby girls, but they do seem to need pink! I've dragged out my pattern books as I said, and yes, it's true, some of them are older than me. Mum used them to knit when she was expecting me and my brother, oh, just a few years ago!

AJ and Tom don't believe they ever had feet so small they'd fit into a newborn bootee. To look at their size 13 planks feet now you'd never believe it either. Thankfully I have photos to prove it to them!

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