Essential Baby Review
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Over the last couple of years, I’ve knit an awful lot of baby stuff. From blankets, bibs, and burp cloths to sweaters and booties and cute little cotton jumpers, I’ve created all kinds of little knitted gifts to welcome countless little baby boys and girls. At first, it was so much fun—all those cute little baby things. But, after a pile of cute little sweaters, they just weren’t all that fun anymore. In fact, it’s a little embarrassing to think of all the baby sweaters that are lying around the house, waiting for me to finish that last sleeve….

But then I picked up a copy of the latest by Debbie Bliss, Essential Baby. As soon as I started flipping through, I was once again inspired to knit cute little baby things. Maybe it’s because of the beautiful pictures—and the adorable little models. Or maybe it’s just because of Bliss’s classic style. But I immediately fell in love with this book.

The 20-plus patterns in Essential Baby are divided into three sections: Coming Home (baby basics), At Home (designs for downtime at home), and On the Go (all those essentials for jet-setting babies). And the patterns aren’t just the same old baby designs. Yes, there are sweaters and pants and blankets, but they all have that classic (and classy), Debbie Bliss look. And there are plenty of patterns that you won’t see just anywhere—like the cute pinafore dress or the felted slippers. And my fingers are already itchin’ to cast on the adorable vest and the double-breasted duffle coat.

But there’s more to this book than just sweaters and slippers. There are also plenty of accessories—like the color-block stroller blanket and the beautiful lacy shawl that’s sure to become a family heirloom. There’s also a bag that doubles as a changing mat and a baby beanbag for lounging around the house. And perhaps my favorite design in the book is the hooded carrying bag (like a sleeping bag with arms and a hood) for babies on the go. Although there are a few patterns in this book that I would never make (like the knitted wall hanging), there really aren’t many.

While some of the patterns in Essential Baby use lighter-weight yarn (thus requiring tiny size 2 and 3 needles—but they’re just tiny projects for tiny people, so tiny needles are okay, right?), others go up to 6s or 8s. And the yarns used in the patterns are all practical yarns—none of those scratchy wools that are not only itchy to wear but also require hand-washing. These yarns are machine washable—so Mom won’t have to worry about ruining baby’s beautiful sweater.

Though I’ve found that Debbie Bliss’s books are often hit-or-miss, Essential Baby is definitely a hit. Whether you’re an excited mom-to-be or a burned-out baby-gift knitter, like me, the beautiful patterns in this book will have you racing to pick up your needles and get to work.

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