Cradle bag and itty bitty doll clothes

All together now: make your happy sound. Like you’re 5 and expected that your grandmother was going to knit your “lovies” the backpack and pillows you asked for (and received) but then she knit this too. It’s Frankie Brown’s Cradle Bag.

The pattern is free and includes the cradle, with its combo sleeping bag, and attached pillow. Here’s one of the best parts of this:

You pull up on the cradle sides, gather the cords together, and your doll is packed up and ready to go. As with all Brown’s patterns, this one’s a freebie. The pattern calls for DK weight yarn. I used Sandes Garn’s “Smart,” a washable wool. I’ve not used this yarn before. It feels great and worked up very nicely.

I had trouble finding a quality 5 inch doll. I purchased my Berenguer Itty Bitty 5 inch baby doll from this Etsy seller. I am tickled with the Cradle Bag and with the quality of Itty Bitty.

Clearly, she needed some itty bitty clothes.

This is Frankie Brown’s freebie Mini Doll Summertime, wearing the hat from the companion rompers included in the same pattern.

I knit mine in Kate Davies Milarrochy Tweed. I bought these colors of this pricey yarn for a special project that didn’t work. But I’ve had fun using small amounts of it in other projects.

This next one is from the same Mini Doll Summertime pattern. Brown calls them “rompers.” Same hat as the red one, but I added a band and a tiny knitted flower. I knit this set in Brooklyn Tweed Peerie. These tiny outfits use so little yarn that I was able to knit them in small amounts of leftovers from other projects. You need about as much yarn as you’d use in the heel of a sock!

Rather than make two straps and fasten them in the back with a small sew-on snap, as the pattern directs, I decided to criss-cross the straps in the back. Then I sewed them both to the ribbed band. Why? I didn’t have any small snaps. My hack makes it harder to dress the doll. But my granddaughter quickly figured it out. You put the feet in first, bring the dolls arms down next to her body, and then the arms go through the straps easily.

Next up Itty Bitty is modeling a heavily modified version of Angelica Dress for 5″ doll by Taffylass. The original is cute, but the size was coming out way off for me, even when I went down a number of needle sizes. The hat is Joyce Summers freebie Sun Hat for 5-inch Doll. The white and yellow are the same yarn as the Cradle Bag. And that green is a bit of Plymouth Yarn Superwash Merino DK.

Here’s the same hat knit in the Plymouth Yarn superwash.

These little bits are such quick knits that even a bilnd follower knitter like me is tempted to experiment. The diaper cover is my experiment. It worked out just fine. I cast on 24 stitches in the round. Then I knit 3 rounds of k2, p2. In the next round, I knit 4, made 1, around the round because Itty Bitty is fat, fat the water rat. I’m sorry, I meant to say that Itty Bitty is chubby. Then I knit 5 rounds. In the next round, I k2 together, k 3 all around the round to the last 4 stitches, k 4. For the top ribbing, I K1, p1 for 3 rounds. I reversed direction and bound off loosely, knit wise. To create the leg holes, I just stitched through the middle stitches at the bottom of the ribbing.

So far, the knits were easy and not really fiddly. These last two were admittedly fiddly, but I like them best of all. This one is Frankie Brown’s Mini Doll Bedtime. My granddaughter reached for these first off. She seems quite taken with these pjs. They are knit in Wobble Gobble SW Merino Fingering Weight.

Brown is really a major knitting talent. And her doll outfits are just the tip of a very big iceberg. This next set is from her Mini Doll Wintertime pattern. It’s a frilly skirt and hat in Socks that Rock leftovers and a sweater in Peppino by Rhichard Devrieze.

Here’s a look at the whole set. You’ll see me experimenting with a pair of underpants. And there’s a pair of pants too.

And, finally, one more look at Frankie Brown’s sweet cradle bag.

My dad might have said it’s “the greatest thing since sliced bread.” What’s the greatest thing before sliced bread, you might ask? The expression derives from a 1921 advertising campaign for Wonder Bread that bragged it was “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.” Somehow our collective brain thought that funny and transposed the expression from wrapping bread to pre-slicing it. This little cradle bag is an old idea. Maybe it helped a child occupy themselves when they needed to be quiet. Like in church. My granddaughter thinks it’s…the greatest thing. Period.

Stash Knit Down

Late last year I found my fade.  Such a beautiful shawl, in seven coordinating (and expensive) skeins of fingering weight.

Having invested in all that beautiful yarn, I set the task for myself to use up the remnants. What I call my Faded Ursula Sockhead Hat worked out well.

This is a total mashup, that doesn’t bear much resemblance to Wendy Ellis’s After Ursula. But it was the inspiration for my hat. I cast on the Ursula number of stitches.  After 5 inches of ribbing in Madelintosh Merino Light in the “gilded” colorway, I worked 4 rounds of gilded in stockinette, followed by pairs of that shade, faded in with a second color from the shawl.  I worked the fade section over 12 rounds. Then I knit 8 rounds of color 2. Next came a fade section, alternating pairs of rounds in color 3 with color 2 over 12 rounds, followed by 8 rounds of color 3. And so on. I worked almost 8 inches of stockinette, after the ribbing, and then started the decreases.

I used the decreases from Kelly McClure’s Sockhead Slouch Hat–decreasing 18 stitches every 3 rounds. So, this is a mash up of Sockhead Hat, Find your Fade and a bit of After Ursula. And I used 6 of my 7 colors from my Find Your Fade shawl.

But there was still a ton of yarn left.The remaining color with the most yardage was Malabrigo Mechita in the Sabiduria colorway. I decided to knit tincanknits light version of their much-loved “Barley.” Here’s my child-sized Barley Light.

Glasshead wanted to model it, but I didn’t want it all stretched out.

Hmm. What to do with short yardage? I decided to knit for baby feet even though I don’t presently have many babies in my world. These are Vauvan Sukka (roughly, train socks, in Finnish), knit in Alexandra’s Craft’s Diamond Lake and a bit of Bad Amy yellow-gold.

I like to make these socks in interesting and sometimes arresting color combinations.

The Train Socks story has been retold a good bit, including on my blog.  The pattern is attributed on Ravelry to Kerttu Latvala, and is posted by her daughter Terttu Latvala as a free pattern. The story of Vauvan Sukka is explained by Terttu, as translated into English at Teakat Translation, where the free pattern is also available. In 1939, with World War II already underway in Europe, mother and child were evacuating.There were delays because sections of railroad track had been bombed. Terttu was an infant. An infant with no socks. While they waited, a fellow passenger unraveled yarn from her white hand-knit sweater and knit Terttu a pair of socks. To pay forward that passenger’s kindness, first Kerttu and then Terttu have gifted hundreds of pairs of these baby socks to newborns.

I gifted my pair to Cecelia, who has lots of socks but now has one more pair. A pair with a story.

With one set of warm baby feet, I sort of couldn’t stop myself.

This is Frankie Brown’s free pattern, Baby Boots. One piece, worked flat, on size one needles. That Number 2 pencil eraser (remember pencils, people used to use them to write stuff) is included to show you the tiny scale of these booties.

Totally sweet, in Hedgehog Fibers Sock, in the Truffles colorway. I don’t associate gold and rose with truffles, but maybe. And it’s wonderful yarn. These were the only booties Isaac didn’t kick off.

Emboldened, it was time for a booties and hat set for the baby I’ve not yet met. This next knit is an old favorite. I’ve knit it many times.The pattern is from Homespun, Handknit, edited by Linda Ligon. It’s a wonderful Interweave Press book published in 1988 filled with patterns for hats, scarves, socks, mittens and gloves.

This is Bouncing Baby Set, by Jean Scorgie, minus its thumbless mittens. Babies look super cute in this head-hugger hat. And the kneesocks. Well they stay on a baby’s feet, unlike so much other stuff that we knitters knit for the wee ones’ feet.

There was still a bit more yarn left. So I knit a pair of my very own bears, Sunrise Side Bear. But instead of using worsted weight and size 5 US needles, I knit this set in fingering weight Malabrigo Mechita on size 1 needles.

These Sunrise Side Bears stand 5 and 1/2 inches tall, with a fist-to-fist span of 3 and 1/2 inches. To appreciate the scale, that mouse in the middle is holding a US penny.

They were bare. I had a little yarn left. It was enough for a vest for Boy Bear and a dress for Girl Bear. And with the last bits, came their tiny scarves.

I am feel quite proud of completing my de-stash challenge.

Baby Boots

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These are Frankie Brown’s “Baby Boots.”  Actually, these are Isaac’s baby boots, but Frankie Brown designed them. Brown is an amazingly prolific, creative and generous knitwear designer. She has 212 patterns currently posted on Ravelry and I’ve not yet encountered one that isn’t a freebie. All she asks, in exchange for knitting her patterns, is that we consider donating to the UK charity “Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.” The Foundation “takes action against the effects of childhood liver disease, providing information, emotional support, research funds and a voice for all affected.” You can follow Brown’s fundraising here, at justgiving.com.

These baby boots are knit in 100% superwash wool, Wollmeise “Pure,” a 4-ply fingering weight. They are the cat’s meow if I do say so myself. They fit an 8-pound newborn, with a little room for growing.

Isaac’s grandmother even has a Color Affection Shawl that matches her first grandchild’s boots:

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And, just to let Isaac’s inner hippie shine a bit, one of his boots–just one–has a hidden stripe:

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