My new neighbor is expecting a baby girl next month, so I'm working on a gift. She is strictly a wash-and-wear person, so I investigated which inexpensive yarns are available at my local chain stores. It's been a long time since I last did any serious shopping for cheap baby yarn and what I found was rather different than the old stand-bys I'd expected.
Most of the things I found were yarns that are soft and drapey (I call them limp). I don't like these yarns, they don't have body and the finished garment looks sloppy. I tried to find good old baby pompadour, but even that has changed; it's thicker and squeakier, no longer that reasonable substitute for wool. In the end I chose to settle for Lion Brand Baby Soft. The colors are nice and the texture is close to what I expected, although I fear it may pill after a few washings. We shall see.
My neighbor is not fond of pink. In fact, she expressed her irritation at her husband for doing a bit of shopping on his own, where he chose several items in pink, the hated color. I tucked that bit of information away and held it close while shopping.
That's why I have chosen to use this lovely pistachio color for my gifts. I've finished a February Sweater (by Elizabeth Zimmermann) and am now working on a bonnet to match. I used US size 3 needles and the sweater turned out a good size. That is, it will fit a typical newborn with the cuffs turned back and will stretch to fit for a few months. It will also fit a larger-than-average newborn as well. It would be a shame for the baby to be born too big to wear that sweater that took a week to make, don't you think?
I also picked up a bit of fabric and some notions to match that green. That's a yard of flannel to make a receiving blanket and a yard of terrycloth to make a hooded towel; some buttons, thread and grosgrain ribbon for finishing. A quick trip through the serger and you have some items she will definitely use, even if she isn't impressed with the handknits.
Oh yes, sometimes the recipient is less than thrilled with the dorky, home-made stuff. In this case, I know she will love them because she misses her late grandmother who used to make all those wonderful things for the babies in the family. It will be a delightful surprise when I deliver the goods and she discovers that I am one of the crafty people who actually knows how to knit!