Another knit for a girl

It’s quite remarkable that all of my friends who are currently expecting are either having boys, choosing not to find out the sex of the baby ahead of time, or are too early in the pregnancy to know. Honeymoon Blanket, Número Dos was my first attempt at something gender-neutral for the babies of these lovely ladies. After reading your comments, I agree that it’s not as girly as I originally declared. But considering I’ll be cranking out many baby gifts in the coming months, I think I’ll have the chance to give it to a little girl, which would be quite lovely :).

Anyway, in lieu of your reaction to the blanket, it is with much hesitation that I present to you the girl’s sweater below:

Pattern: Super-Natural Stripes by f. pea (on Ravelry). I knit the smallest size without changes to the stitch counts/measurements, but continued the striping all the way down, and knit a true button band.

Yarn: Mission Falls 1824 cotton, 102 Ivory, 772 Wheat, 774 Lush, and 775 Vintage. I used about 1.5 skeins of the ivory, and less than 1 skein of each of the other colors.

Needles: basic Boye US 7 circs.

Finished dimensions: about 19″ around the chest, 9.25″ from hem to shoulder, 5.25″ from cuff to armpit. Glancing through various patterns, these measurements are typical for 0-6 months sizing.

When I started knitting this sweater, I thought it would look great on any baby: boy, girl, whatever. But then at some point I changed my mind – the pretty purl ridges, the nubbly texture, for some reason they were whispering “girl” into my ear. Stupidly, I “sealed the deal,” if you will, by placing the button holes on the right side of the sweater.

Here’s a funny Catch-22: I usually like to knit the button holes before picking out the buttons. I find it way easier to pick out buttons, buttons which will work well, if I already have button holes into which they need to fit. Plus with a store like Windsor Button (aka, Button Mecca) at my disposal, narrowing the button selection by having a diameter limit already in place is a good thing. Anyway, that means I make the boy/girl button band decision before the buttons are picked! It burned me in this case, because the mysteriously-colored green-gray buttons totally brought this sweater back to gender-neutrality. Oh, well. This time it will be a girl’s sweater.

The whole idea of knitting stripes for a baby sweater is very appealing to me. First of all, it’s adorable. I’m warning you right now, there are already other boy- or girl-appropriate stripey baby sweaters on the way. Second of all, it allows you to use up scraps of yarn. In this case, I got odds and ends of Mission Falls 1824 cotton at a destash sale, and I didn’t have enough of any one color to knit an entire sweater. Second of all, part B, is that I really love to alternate colors in this specific way. Third, of course those stripes generated a ton of ends to weave in, but not as many as there would have been if this sweater was adult-sized!

Overall I’m exceptionally pleased with this sweater ;). The pattern is very simple, and it allowed me to enjoy many hours in front of the TV with my hands happily busy. For the most part, I wove in ends as I went along, so the finishing wasn’t too terrible.

The yarn is really wonderful – it is the opposite of that crisp, firm, shiny cotton that I typically use. After washing, the whole sweater feels like the softest hand towel. Furthermore, during blocking this highly-textured cotton blooms and molds itself into place. Unlike other cottons, the yarn ends are solidly secured and will not work themselves out to the right side of the sweater. The inside definitely has some stringy bits from the yarn ends, but I think they’ll flatten down over time. In fact, knitting this sweater makes me look forward to knitting up other nubbly-tastic cottons in my stash.

One word of warning! There’s a little bit of lint shedding in the wash, and I wouldn’t recommend washing this with, say, your favorite pair of dark work pants. If you do, be ready to unearth all your lint-removing implements. There may also be cursing. I’m just sayin’.

64 thoughts on “Another knit for a girl

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  1. Trisha

    I love it! I love your choice of yarn and colors. So cute! I have been wanting to make a sweater for my baby nephew. Maybe this is just the thing!

  2. Lee Cockrum

    I think this is very gender neutral. And I have to say for myself, that I would have to look up which way things are supposed to button for boys vs girls, so I do not think that is an issue, in my humble opinion!!

  3. Tasha

    I find the idea of which side the buttons should be on to be an archaic one (and I find my grammar atrocious, but you get my point). Honestly, I doubt many people would even notice, let alone care, about the button placement. I think this is totally a boy’s sweater.

  4. ponka

    this is gorgeous! i love the look of the alternate solid and variegated yarns.

    on an unrelated note, did you ever hear back from true jeans about plus sizes? just wondering =)

  5. juniperjune

    adorable! and i don’t think it’s super girly either; i could totally imagine it on a little boy. 0-6-month-old boys are not so macho that they can’t wear some brightly-colored stripes, nor do they generally care which side their buttons are on. ;)

  6. Susan

    It looks great! I agree that it could be for either boy or girl. One point from an experienced mom: putting the buttons on this way makes it easier for the (predominantly right-handed) moms to fasten them. Nice job!

  7. Joanna

    EZ says that in making gender neutral kiddy sweaters, to always make the button band on the boy side. This is because little girls can adapt but little boys cannot. This is probably true for bigger ones as well.

  8. Kristel

    I’d gladly have worn that one on my boy when he was a baby. :) (As well as my daughter. :)

    I tend to put the buttons for baby jackets on the “girl” side unless I know the mom is left handed. The little ones won’t start dressing themselves until they’re at least a year or two old, and probably won’t handle buttons until much later.

  9. Linder

    Several people have already commented that if the buttons are on the left, it’s easier for right-handed moms to dress the baby. The yarnharlot had a post earlier this year (http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2009/02/06/the_button_thing.html) in which she explained that historically men’s and women’s buttons were placed on different sides because men dressed themselves but women were dressed by their ladies, so a woman’s buttons were positioned for the convenience of someone facing her. By that logic, buttons on all baby clothes should be on the “girl” side, unless, as Kristel said, the mom is left-handed.

  10. Linder

    What a yummy sweater!

    Several people have already commented that if the buttons are on the left, it’s easier for right-handed moms to dress the baby. The yarnharlot had a post earlier this year (http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2009/02/06/the_button_thing.html) in which she explained that historically men’s and women’s buttons were placed on different sides because men dressed themselves but women were dressed by their ladies, so a woman’s buttons were positioned for the convenience of a person facing her. By that logic, buttons on all baby clothes should be on the “girl” side, unless, as Kristel said, the mom is left-handed.

  11. TheBon

    I love this sweater. I knit it in chocolate, orange and bright-arse green for a little boy. He looks pretty darned cute in it, so I think it really works for both genders.

  12. Carolyn

    Beautiful! I’m glad you striped it all the way down. The colors would work for either a boy or a girl. What a great way to use up scraps!

  13. amalia

    Lovely! I adore that sweater. What a wonderful way to use up stash!

    I had no idea that button bands were gender specific. I learned something new today!

  14. Sharleen

    I love the sweater, anyone of my 4 boys would have worn it happily. In any case, as I was the one dressing them, what choice would they have had;)

  15. Luise

    Love the S-N Sweater. Have been wanting to make it ever since I saw it. I agree with Tasha et al. about the irrelevance of the button bands. It’s the beauty that’s apparent, not the button bands.

    Thought of you last night when there was something about the MGH’s disease-specific cancer treatment on the news. Beauty takes many forms.

  16. mai

    super cute! and i definitely think this sweater is gender neutral. i was coming to comment that all baby sweaters have the buttons on the right-hand side, but it seems as though your other commenters have already made this point! :) only adult/young adult males have buttons on the left-hand side :)

  17. cath

    What a beautiful little sweater. Since I’ve never managed to keep straight which side of the button band goes with the appropriate gender, this is still a gender neutral sweater to me :)

    When the right baby comes around for this sweater you will know.

    Meanwhile, I’m taking notes for knitting for my gender unknown peanut that is kicking me :)

  18. martha in mobile

    I think this is the perfect sweater for whichever gender! The real reason to dress a child in the pink/blue dichotomy is to provide clues to strangers so that sleep-deprived and hormonally-deranged new mothers won’t bash in their heads if they incorrectly guess the baby’s gender. (I speak from experience — I was that new mother.)

  19. Judith Foldi

    I love the sweater and also think it would work for either gender. I would make it for bigger kids too. It’s great!

  20. Robin

    More about buttons! If you care about having the buttons on the right side of an otherwise gender-neutral sweater, you can put button holes on both sides of the button band, then sew the extra holes closed when you attach the buttons over them. So you can finish the sweater and pick out buttons, then sew them on quickly when the baby is born!

  21. Carol

    Beautiful sweater for a stylish girl! I love stripes on babies, too. This version reminds me of the famous Tulip cardi…and that I have many single skeins of Mission Falls 1824 which must be destined for just such a project.

  22. Hillary

    It’s a very cute sweater. Maybe even cute enough to justify all the ends that I’d need the weave in. I think the business about the placement of buttons for boys and girls is a little silly personally but then again, sewing on buttons is my very least favorite task so I do my best to avoid them ayway.

  23. Jessica

    As a parent of both genders, I really appreciated gifts that could be used with either child. They got used twice as long, and they were such a relief from the stereotypical pink/purple/flower/heart/lettuce edged girls’ clothes, or the truck/sports/dead frog palette of boys’ clothes. Nothing calms an excess of pink like greens, and cream, and blues.. and stripes are always adorable, imo. :)

  24. Seanna Lea

    Ah, girl, boy. It doesn’t matter. Placement of the buttons only matters to parents (and only some parents at that). It looks comfy, which is all that any baby will be thinking about!

  25. tasha

    Gorgeous!! I’m sure whoever receives this sweater will be thrilled! I’ve used lots of Mission Falls cotton to knit for my 18 month old, and everything has stood up to washing and wearing very well.

  26. Giedra Bowser

    I think it would br lovely on a boy. I never really understood the whole button on different sides thing. I didn’t even know about it until I went to school for fashion design and did a blouse with the buttons on the “wrong” side. I think it’s silly.

  27. Meredith

    From the first picture, I would have guess that it was a boy’s sweater, but I can’t think of any reason that it wouldn’t be equally fantastic for a baby girl. Either way, it’s completely adorable.

  28. dana

    i knit my daughter a magenta cabled pullover when she was three or four. she looked charming in it, as did my nephew, when it was handed down to him. he is a college graduate now, and seems to have suffered no ill effects from wearing a “girl” sweater.

    i would put your sweater on any baby. and they would look charming in it. and maybe they would grow up with a fondness for handknits….

  29. nancy

    I agree with a few others – I see it as gender neutral. I would have selected such a jacket for either of my two boys.

    if you’re looking for ‘boy’ with less of a hint of gender nuetral – I think you’ll need less cream color, more bright blues and emerald greens.

  30. Van

    Cute! One of the nice things about knitting for my daughter is that it’s small and I can try out lots of ideas, and they all look good on her anyway. BTW, you and Mr. Sweetness do look very alike.

  31. Domina

    This is exactly the kind of baby sweater I’d love to get, especially for a first child. It would look great on a boy or a girl! And a matching mommy sweater would be great too! Way to go! :)

  32. Alexis

    Another vote for gender neutral, regardless of where the buttons are! Which makes it the best kind of sweater to give to someone who might someday want a little brother or sister to go with this new baby. :)

    But yes, very cute for girls! I still love seeing baby stuff that isn’t an overload of pastel pink or baby blue.

  33. MavenKnits

    Woa… its been a while since I’ve been here. Knitting time loophole? I LOVE the sweater. You have excellent colour coordinating skills. I am inspired to give it a try!

  34. marilyn

    I love the sweater! Do people really care that much about which side an infant’s sweater is buttoned? I mean this as a true question, not a jab. Then again, I had the color genderfication that begins at birth and do my best to give/make all baby things gender neutral. You’re friends and their kids are so lucky to have you in their lives!

  35. marilyn

    ERRATA: post above — sorry, that was supposed to say that I “hate” the genderfication that begins at birth. sorry about that!

    p.s. a ton of studies have demonstrated that adults physically handle baby boys and baby girls differently. So the socilization really does begin right away.

  36. Mary K. in Rockport

    The first photo is so beautiful. I think that girls and women can wear anything. Boys and men are the ones who think some colors and styles are not masculine – poor them.

  37. Verdande

    (seconding several other people, I see) Who cares what side the buttons are on? I’ve always been puzzled to read this in American pattern books as though it’s some kind of law.

    Actually, you could argue that ALL baby knits should follow the girls’ convention, since all babies are dressed by others, and for righthanded people dressing others, this placement is easier.

    For knits for myself, I tend to follow the girls’ convention, not because I AM a girl, but because I’m lefthanded. I would have absolutely no hesitation switching sides, were I righthanded.

  38. TracyKM

    That’s very beautiful, but I do think it could be easily, a boy’s sweater. And I do still think the blanket is more girly. As a ‘girl’ who is fond of purple, I find it hard to use for boy’s items. But that’s just me :)

  39. Amy S.

    Think of it as a lovely girl’s sweater (the mom will probably be thrilled to get something pretty that isn’t pink) and one that can also be passed down to a possible future younger brother. Good all around.

  40. sarah

    Very nice! As a beginning knitter, I have obsessively read every.single.one.of.your.posts!! Do you know how long that took? I’ve especially enjoyed the lace knitting entries. Your grandmother is one fortunate lady. Those socks are just amazing – every single pair!! I want to attempt the baby-jays for my kids, but I need to get a few more basics under my belt first. Thank you for all the inspiration!

  41. Marion

    I love that you didn’t use “traditional” colors. 36 years ago I bought my baby girl a dress that was green, red, yellow (bright primary colors). She was adorable. My mother thought differently.

  42. Deepa

    I second Robin’s comment above about making buttonholes on both sides of a baby sweater. This is actually an EZ idea- the woman was a genius of course. Usually the buttons will cover up the unused buttonholes.

    I agree with many others that this sweater is pretty gender-neutral and cute. Also, I think traditionally all baby sweaters had buttons the way you placed them, because someone else would button it up for the baby (the way a lady’s maid would button her clothes for her).

  43. larissa

    As a longtime reader, I love that you share all your awesome projects with us on the internet! Thank you.

    But, I am kind of bothered by the strong gendering of baby projects that you’re espousing recently. Don’t you see potential harm in supporting such gender stereotypes?

  44. Katie K

    I love the way the variegated yarns look in the sweater. It’s funny how washed out they look on the Mission Falls website.

  45. Rose

    Kathy, I can’t email you from this computer so if you read this soon please email me!!!

    I have a vintage sweater that has “frogs” on it for the closures and I want to make button holes and use funky large buttons on it to give it an updated look. The button band is done in bulky seed stitch. I’m wondering if it’s safe to machine sew button holes in to the garment? Your thoughts?

    Rose

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