It did strike me the other day that if I am intending to find my child under a gooseberry bush come September, dressing him or her in gooseberry colours might not be my brightest ever idea. However, I was saved from adding that to every new mother-to-be's list of crazy and unlikely baby concerns by the recollection that the gooseberry season in England generally runs from mid June to early August and so if I just look for the bush with a berry on or under it, I'll be OK to find the baby. Also, I hear rumours that this method of delivery is now considered rather passe, even by the hippy-crunchy earth mother brigade, and that something involving hospitals and improbable biology may be closer to the truth - I'm sure they'll clear it all up at the NCT classes. In the meantime, maybe I should plant a gooseberry bush just in case!
Whatever method of arrival the baby bear chooses (and if you're reading this and you're from social services, trust me, there really isn't any need to send the men in white coats), I do now have a little something to dress him or her in:
A Baby Origami jacket, also known as Judy's Grandmother's Baby Jacket from Greetings from Knit Cafe.
If I'm being brutally honest, I don't think that the pictures of this jacket in the book are that great, and it wasn't until I saw some of the finished jackets on Ravelry that it became a definite on the 'to knit' list.
This is the newborn size and it took about 2.5 50g balls of the Rooster Almerino DK. The only modification I made was not to slip the last stitch of each row; my edges are pretty neat and I like the look I have better than the book pictures. What I think it really clever is the way that the shoulder seams are knit up. Essentially you pick up and knit up on edge to the neck, down the opposite edge to the cuff and then 3 needle bind off. Initially I thought it might give a bit of a ridge but it's smooth and almost flat and looks very smart, I'm tempted to try it out on a baby surprise jacket because I've never been entirely happy about the way in which those shoulder seams either look neat but with a seam, or slightly messy but flat seamed.
This could be the front, or the back, the jacket is completely reversible and you can change it according to whether the baby is asleep on his or her back, or having a little bit of tummy time. I've also made the ties long enough to tie under an arm at one side so I suspect I'll be going for this as the back, and the clever cross over bit at the front - I mean, who wants to waste that cleverness on a side of the baby that won't be seen?
The only thing I might change if I knit this again is to shorten the sleeves; to my inexperienced eye they just seem a little on the long side, but the jacket looks very cute with the cuffs turned up so it's not a real problem.
All this finishing left me with a ball and a half of yarn leftover, and a good knitter can never see good yarn lying fallow, so after a little consultation with Ravelry, I made these:
The wonderfully titled Page 81 Booties by Susan B Anderson (it's a pattern to some booties photographed on page 81 of Itty Bitty Hats). They're soft, cozy, and double thickness so (a) the baby will have warm feet and (b) they're sturdy enough to stand a chance of staying on (so say the mothers of small babies who work in my office).
They are also a high ranking project in the category 'things to knit on the train to totally freak out the ordinary commuter'. Given that you start with a selection of squares and end up with two shoes, it is not perhaps so very surprising that the bloke opposite me kept craning a worried glance!
So here we have it, the baby bear's first outfit (the woolly section anyway).
Now all we have to do is wait for the stork to tap at the door to pick up the baby clothes; I'm presuming that's how they get the clothes from your house to put on the baby so that it's dressed when they pop it under the bush, otherwise it would get cold or prickly, especially if you were looking in a field of gooseberries - and it's the only explanation that really covers the need for storks in the whole baby process ... air mail, so much more efficient than Royal Mail.