Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Baby Knitting: Easiest Ever Gift!

A very good friend is being induced this morning with her 5th baby -- this always happens as her babies always need a little noodge to greet the new day. But, when that baby does arrive I have the perfect new baby gift.

I wanted to make this 5th baby something special -- often the more babies someone has the less the new babies get. I remembered a pattern that I'd designed for my first "book", Glory of America Knits. I called it "Raggy Maggy" as it looks like a traditional rag doll ... with a bit of a twist.

So, here is a tutorial for making your own "Raggy Maggy" or teething doll:

First, as far as materials needed: #3 US knitting needles, worsted weight cotton yarn (the doll pictured here was knitted with Coats & Clarks Aunt Lydia Denim in ecru), 5 elastic hairbands (large) with no metal (you can see them in the picture, I found set of different brights from Conair).

Gauge: this is not ultra-critical but I got a gauge of 5st x 7rs. You want a tight-ish feel to the fabric. The final rectangle will measure about 13 x 20.

CO 100 sts and work 4 rows garter. Then, keeping first and last 2 sts in garter, do a stockinette center for approx. 12 inches. Finish with 4 more rows of all garter (on last round, reduce 10 sts evenly across so you'll be binding off 90 sts).
Now, for creating this little doll:

Here is the finished rectangle -- approx. 13 inches by 20 inches. Notice how it is on the table on it's short side which will be the "hem" edge (the CO edge is on the right, BO edge is on the left).

[NOTE: I used Conair's "large, no metal hair bands - a pack of 32 cost $2]

Fold the rectangle in half, with the RS out and the hems lined up. From the remaining yarn, wrap a TIGHT, two-inch ball for the head.

Place the "head" in the center of the top fold and wrap a hair-band of desired color (we know this baby is a girl so that's why I used deep pink -- you could use ANY color). You can move the fabric around a bit to get a smooth "face" while tucking the folds around the sides.

For the limbs -- do the left leg first by measuring 6" from the hem up the left side and half the hem (6-1/2"), grab this section and wrap a band around leg portion tightly. Grab the remaining 4 inches and make the arm. Repeat for the right side. Play with these wrappings a bit until you have Raggy Maggy just as you'd like her.

This makes a GREAT teething doll -- easy to grasp, cotton that softens as it washes, and easy-care: just take off the bands, remove the head and wash the rectangle and re-make. The cotton soaks up the burbles and droolings of a baby and looks just as good the 300th day as on the first day.

CAUTION: occasionally check the hair bands for any signs of fraying -- replace immediately!

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