It was my little boy’s first birthday yesterday, which marks a huge milestone as a parent. You made it. You survived. And they did too. The time flies so fast with your second child, you need to take a day to stop and slow down and realize that a whole year has indeed passed, and your baby really is no longer a newborn but heading into the toddler years. 

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How is this tiny baby 1?! From his newborn photos, in a matching soaker that has long ceased fitting.

A lot of things are just different the second time around, namely time. You just have less time to spend doing things one on one. Less Music Together and more just banging on a drum in the living room. Less library story time and more reading at home. And less Mommy made clothes. I made a huge batch of sleepers, diapers, booties, and hats for his first 6 months but not for the whole first year. I’ll do that while I’m nursing, like I did for my first, I thought. Parents of more than one child, feel free to laugh with me here.

And so it came that we were heading out grocery shopping, and none of his hats and booties and mittens fit anymore. Time to take a night off from my sweater and the pinwheel quilt and whip some up out of stash yarn.

Materials:

Leftover worsted weight yarn; mine are only 1.5 ounces for the pair.  I used Cascade 220.

Sizes 3 and 5 needles, or whatever you need to obtain gauge

Gauge: 22 stitches over 4″ *** Yes, I’m using worsted yarn to knit at a DK gauge.  I like a tighter knit fabric for mittens to help keep warm and keep the snow out.  Feel free to sub in DK or whatever you’ve got.

I’ll give some general instructions and some pithy instructions ala the incomparable Elizabeth Zimmerman, so you can size your own or not as you like. Instructions: 

To fit 12-24 months

Cast on 32 stitches onto smaller double point needles. Join, being careful not to twist. K1 P1 around and continue for 14 rounds in rib.

Eyelet round: SSK, YO, repeat until end. K1 P1 rib round.

Switch to larger needles. K8, make 1. Repeat to end of round. 36 stitches total.

K in the round for 7 rounds.  Work duck border from chart over the next 15 rounds. Or K 22 rounds plain if you prefer no pattern.

Decrease round: K4, K2tog. Repeat until end of round.  30 stitches. K1 round.

K3, K2tog. Repeat until end of round. 24 stitches. K1 round.

K2, K2tog. Repeat until end of round. 18 stitches. K1 round.

K1, K2tog. Repeat until end of round. 12 stitches.

K2tog all the way around. 6 stitches. Cut yarn and draw through remaining stitches, darn in ends.

With a crochet hook, single crochet a chain 18″ long. Thread through eyelets.  Make 1″ pom pons (I used 28 wraps around 2 fingers and trimmed to size) and attach to ends of chain. (Make sure you have the drawstring threaded before you attach them.) Finished!

 

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Sometimes it’s hard to get a clean drawing.  They move so fast!  I always date tracings of the kids to remember how big they were.

To make your own: I drew his hand on a piece of paper and made the final mitten a hair longer and wider so it will fit with room to grow. You could choose to make exactly the size of the hand for a snug mitten. They do stretch, so it’s okay if they’re tight.

I like at least 2″ of ribbing on baby mittens; longer if they’re prone to pulling them off. You can put them on baby before his or her coat, and then the mittens can’t be ripped off as easily. That’s also the reason for the eyelet round and the drawstring with poms: it cinches around baby’s wrist so they can’t rip the mittens off (just don’t cut off their circulation!), and the poms help keep the drawstring from coming out of the eyelets and getting lost. I love the same combo for booties.

I like to do ribbing at 10% of the stitches and on smaller needles to really help it hold in. Increase up to your desired stitch count and switch to larger needles in the first row after your ribbing and eyelets. Mittens generally are a 4:3 ratio of length:width, as hands are. It’s a bit of plain knitting, so get fancy if you want and add pattern. I like doing color work on mittens just to essentially double the yarn covering the hand because it make them warmer. I started decreasing when the length and width (excluding the ribbing) measured the same. You can choose to go at a slower rate the first few decrease rounds and then quicker at the end to help keep it rounded in shape.

Mittens done in a night or two! That actually stay on! Now if I can just wrap my head around that fact that he’s standing and taking steps, I think we’ll both be ready to go.  Happy birthday, baby boy.

Love from Wisco,

Rebekah

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