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Baby To Big

November 7, 2019

Confession: When Alexa suggested we size our patterns from baby all the way up through adult sizes, I wasn’t sure it was a great idea. At the time, I didn’t have kids, grand-kids, nieces or nephews, or even any friends with kids. I had never knit for little ones, and to be honest, it seemed a grand and flagrant waste of yarn and time that would be better spent knitting for me! Alexa was expecting Hunter at the time, and she was pretty insistent that it would be awesome. She already had adorable matchy sweater pictures in mind I’m sure!

So I was uncertain, but I trusted Alexa! A few short years later, I found there was an endless supply of little ones around and I felt the JOY of tiny knits. Honestly, the best part of my job is seeing beautiful things I made on the people I love, for me it’s even better than wearing my own sweaters!

Moraine Sweater Pattern

the #matchymatchy cuteness factor

We started taking cheesy #matchymatchy photos back in 2011, and you’d think by now it would have gotten old, but nope, for us it just keeps getting better and better!

Old Growth Cardigan Pattern
Romping around the rain forest in matching Old Growth cardigans!

It’s not always easy to get the toddlers to cooperate. OK, to restate that a bit more accurately: it’s always nearly impossible to get toddlers to cooperate! But they are so cute in the photos that we often forget the suffering it took to get the shot.

Spotlight Sweater Pattern
Bodhi, your attitude is showing! There was more than a few toddler moods when we shot the Spotlight sweater on one-year-old Bodhi and her big cousin!

The people that we love, the people that we knit for, and knitters themselves come in all shapes and sizes, right? We decided our patterns should be sized accordingly.

Clayoquot Toque Free Knitting Pattern
Good looking person plus tiny baby? And it’s a free pattern too? We can say yes to that!

making high value patterns

From the beginning, our goal has been to make trusted patterns that are high quality and high value, while offering excellent learning resources and responsive customer service, so knitters can really enjoy our designs. Our baby-to-big size range has been one of the ways we sought to deliver a lot of value. Publishing free patterns is another way we seek to offer value, so you can try our work, and buy with confidence. The Simple Collection, our free learn-to-knit series with 12 free patterns and in-depth tutorials, is perfect for learners, teachers, and knitters who just love simple satisfying projects.

Flax Light Free Pattern
It’s not always easy to get the ‘baby’ and the ‘big’ in frame at the same time! The Flax Light sweater is a free pattern, part of The Simple Collection.

Not all knitters can afford to pay for patterns, there were times in my knitting journey that I thought paying $7 for a pattern was ludicrous. We like to do our part to add to the gigantic resource of free patterns available online. We treat our free patterns just as we do our pay ones. They go through the same rigorous process, and we put all the same love in too.

Gather Hat Pattern
Heads, of course, come in all sizes! We think the Gather hat is adorable on all ages and genders.

when in doubt, take baby steps

Clothes are worn differently by adults and kids. Part of the joy about knitting for little ones is not worrying too much about sizing. If the knit is bigger than the kid, you can be confident it will fit one day. If it’s a bit small, there’s likely a littler child coming down the pipe; your beautiful creation will be enjoyed one way or another. If you’re more serious about ensuring fit, we suggest you measure the kid rather than guessing based upon their age; the sizes and shapes of little ones vary widely, just like grown-ups do.

Rye Socks free knitting pattern
The Rye Socks are a free pattern, and you can learn to knit socks following our tutorial! Start with a kid size and you will bind of your first sock in no time!

One convenient thing about having the full size range in a single design is the ability to try out a new technique, project type or yarn quickly. We often suggest that knitters new to sweater or sock knitting begin with a kid size if practical. In half (or less!) the yardage and time you will practice all of the new techniques, think of it like a GIANT swatch. Plus, it’s bound to fit SOME kid at SOME point, even if it comes out vastly larger or smaller than intended! We all know how gauge can be a fickle friend!

Love Note Pattern
The Love Note sweater is lovely on grown ups and cute on kids too!

how does baby-to-big sizing make our designs different?

We generally need to design multiple versions of a motif or stitch pattern, in order for the size range to work, but again, we see this as an upside, because more practice is better when it comes to creative work, right?!

An adult sized stranded yoke sweater has a LOT more yoke rounds in which to work patterning! This means that the smaller size appears quite a bit simplified in comparison.

The design challenge of making a concept ‘read’ over our extensive size range generally results in more simple designs. We consider from the beginning how an idea might adapt to a 20″ chest, a 44″ chest, and a 60″ chest. But the truth is, Alexa and I were fans of simplicity to begin with, so this works for us.

Compass Sweater Pattern
For the Compass Sweater, the chart for baby and toddler sizes was scaled down and simplified significantly order to give a similar look and feel as the crisp details of the adult size design. Instead of starting with a 8-stitch repeat, it begins with a 4-stitch repeat.

More samples, in more sizes, also means more opportunities for us to inspire you with beautiful examples. If we make a baby size, a child size, and an adult size, we can show you three different ways to do a knit!

Chromatic Sweater Pattern
For the teeny tiny baby size Chromatic sweater, we used a rainbow; because Alexa and I really LOVE a baby in a rainbow!
Chromatic Sweater Pattern
The adult size Chromatic sweater explores ombre, and shifting levels of contrast, while the kid version illustrates how bold and crisp the stitch pattern looks in black and white stripes.

working to be more inclusive

Our intent is high value, inclusive patterns, and we recognize that despite this intent, our work is not currently as size inclusive as it could be. Our baby-to-big size range was established in 2011, following Craft Yarn Council sizing standards, which at the time described women’s sizes up to a 60″ chest measurement. Nearly a decade later, we realize we’ve not been as inclusive as we could be, and will be adding grading for a women’s 64″ and 68″ chest/bust size + ease to future patterns. Alexa and I would like to apologize for excluding you.

Penny Sweater Pattern
Alexa enjoying Paris in a cropped Penny sweater. In her blog post Knitting For Yourself, she shared how for a long time, knitting a garment for herself felt like an seemed like an infinite amount of knitting, but she’s well over that now!

There are a range of other changes we are working on with the goal of making our patterns more accessible to those with differing visual and cognitive abilities; to begin we are including written chart instructions for new designs, and are researching best practices for low vision patterns, requirements for users of screen readers. We are committed to doing better and hope you will join us on this journey.

do you love or hate #matchymatchy knits?

Do you buy our patterns for the grown up sizing, or are you a dedicated baby knitter?

Marshland Sweater Pattern
I think this is one of Alexa’s all time favourite pics… I know where she stands on the matchy question!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Sophie permalink
    November 7, 2019 10:26 pm

    The fact that your patterns come in sizes ranging from newborn to adult has always made me more likely to purchase the paid ones, and to download the free ones. It makes them such great value! I have knit multiple Flax Lights, in many sizes. I’ve also knit many of your hats. This range has also made you my go-to recommendation to new knitters, and to knitters looking to get into sweater knitting. ❤️

  2. November 7, 2019 6:27 pm

    Do like the matchy thing. I wish I had these types of patterns back in the 60’s and 70’s when my kids were small. My baby girl born in 1975 would have loved this stuff. Even when I was having my 12 grandkids. BUT I do have this now with my great-grandkids so I am loving them. Keep up your great ideas. More people should have your want to get knitting of this kind of value and design to the masses of us who are not designers and NOT master knitters. Thank you so much for all that you do. Linda

  3. Hazel Swoboda permalink
    November 7, 2019 4:28 pm

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all the designs I’ve made from your patterns, and look forward to knitting many more! Starting an Antler Toque tonight for a Christmas gift….

  4. November 7, 2019 3:15 pm

    Thank you, as always, for writing about process. I am a massive fan of your brilliant free patterns, and always send newbies to your stuff. Your reliability is second to none.

    As for matchiness, I will admit that 10 years or so from now, I would love to do matchy sweaters for kids and grandkids.

  5. rosethetortoise permalink
    November 7, 2019 2:59 pm

    I can’t wait to have little people in my life to #matchymatchy with but I’m doing super well with not sharing that with my young adult kids. when they are ready… I sure will be! love your work

  6. November 7, 2019 11:13 am

    I love using a kids’ sweater size as a swatch! A baby sweater doesn’t take much more time or yarn than a hat, but I find it feels like a bigger accomplishment :)

  7. KatieS permalink
    November 7, 2019 10:18 am

    I appreciate being able to knit a baby size sweater because it’s so much faster but I can practice the techniques. I’m not at all confident in knitting a sweater yet but I’m practicing.

  8. smonakey permalink
    November 7, 2019 10:14 am

    I’ve been a regular follower of your blog for several years now. I don’t tend to comment much – in fact this may be my first comment here! I do want to say how much I love your patterns, both free & paid. They’re beautiful, timeless pieces & I love the size ranges you offer. I’ve purchased almost all of them & have many in my queue. So, thanks for all your work, from a quiet, lurker.

  9. Sara Wutzke permalink
    November 7, 2019 8:27 am

    You guys made the best decision! As a shop owner it has been awesome to be able to encourage people to try something new ‘make the baby size first if you’re nervous!’ Love all of your patterns so much 💖

    Sara

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  10. achinag permalink
    November 7, 2019 8:26 am

    What a wonderful post! Thank you

  11. Debbie Tucker permalink
    November 7, 2019 8:05 am

    I love the matchy matchy..I have a grandson that things he suppose to get a sweater every time I make one for someone lol.

  12. Jess permalink
    November 7, 2019 7:02 am

    Your commitment to inclusivity and accessibility is really next-level and I would like to applaud you enormously. It makes me want to support you further by buying more of your patterns!

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