This is a difficult question to answer, as each book is an entirely different experience. I find writing books to be a similar experience to hanging out with friends - each one is unique, each has its own set of issues, some need to be treated more carefully because they are more emotional, while some like to banter back and forth. Occasionally it's an effortless experience, like being with a friend who has known you your entire life and you immediately fall into an easy rhythm. Sometimes it's an exasperating experience and you want to kick it in the teeth and ask it why it's being so difficult. The short answer? It's not easy, but it sure is fun.
My latest book (my seventh) is coming out on Friday, and it's a special one. 3 Skeins or Less - Modern Baby Knits is a collection of 23 knitted baby garments, blankets and toys. It's an ode to knitting mamas everywhere and my mantra for this book was "fuss-free knitting." Moms are the busiest people I know. Often times we are the head of the household, we're the maintenance staff, the medic, the teacher, the chef, the psychologist, the friend, the disciplinarian, the chauffeur, the maker, the kisser of boo boos and the giver of hugs. We wear a lot of hats, so when we sit down to knit something for the little loves in our lives, whether it's for your own children or someone else's, we don't want to spend 168,729,359 hours making and finishing it on size 0 needles. I often hear "I started a sweater for my baby. My baby is now 38 years old and that sweater still isn't done." These knits are designed to be quick, satisfying, modern and most importantly, wearable.
Another thing that was very important to me while working on this book was to have knits that children can live their lives in. Gone are the days of "children should be seen and not heard" (and good riddance) and that children should dress like small adults. Kids are in constant motion and when I pick my son up from morning preschool and he's covered in mud, I empty out tons of sand from his sneakers, he has marker all over his face, and there's play dough in his hair, I consider it a good day. I want my kid getting dirty, I want him exploring the world around him and getting into it. I want him to dig his hands deep into the earth and plant something, to hold worms and watch them wriggle around, to watch the birds at the bird feeder and to chase the butterflies. This is what kids do and one of my favorite hats to wear as a mom with my son is the "explorer" hat. Oh, and I want him doing all of these things in hand knits that I've made for him.
I often marvel at how spoiled we are as knitters. We have glorious superwash yarn that has all the wonderful elements of wool without the worrisome issue of accidental felting. We have fantastic plant fiber blends for warmer weather or for children with sensory issues. Our LYSs are stuffed to the gills with beautiful fibers, stunning colorways and options we may never have dreamed of. Keeping this in mind, I chose the fibers quite carefully when curating this collection. We run the gamut of yarns in this book and there is absolutely something for everyone. Everything in this book can be made with 3 skeins of yarn or less! How great is that?!
Many of the designs in this book are unisex - another thing I like to think about when knitting for little ones. Many folks have more than one child, or are gifting a hand knit into a family with multiple kids. One of the very best things about hand knits is they can last forever, especially when cared for and stored properly. I love the idea of knitting a sweater and giving it to someone who has all their children wear it, then perhaps they pass it on to a cousin that puts all their children in it, then maybe it goes to a friend and they put all their children in it. Hand knits are like library books, being passed to a new person and living a new adventure with them. Knits tell stories and I always whisper to whatever I've made for a new baby as I wrap it up and prepare to gift it, "I hope you are loved and bring love to whomever you travel with. I hope you outlive me and bring warmth and happiness for generations." I am by no means a superstitious person, but I always do this, sealing in my good intentions for the lucky wearer and those to come.
With a roster of international designers including folks like myself, Suvi Simola, Justine Turner, Shannon Cook, Melissa LaBarre, Svetlana Volkova, Nadia Crétin-Léchenne, Kate Oates, Rebecca Danger, Ekaterina Blanchard, Julie Partie, Kelly Herdrich, Taiga Hilliard, Melissa Schaschwary, Karen Borrel, Megan Grewal, Elizabeth Murphy, Helen Rose, Terri Kruse and Lisa Chemery, many are mothers themselves and understood the modern, fuss-free aesthetic I was going for. Everyone did an amazing job with their design and I am so proud of them as well as how the book turned out. My toughest critic - my 5-year-old, loves everything in this book. Mission accomplished!
Finally, this book was dedicated to one of the three women who were instrumental in teaching me how to knit, encouraging me and throwing me into the deep in of knitting. Debbie Marchetti was the mom of one of my brother's friends growing up. Our family became close with their family (and remains so today). Debbie lost her battle with cancer early last year as this book was wrapping up and heading off to the tech editor. Debbie was a wonderful knitter, a gentle soul, mother of three and gave me one of my favorite knitting books that still sits on my shelf today. She lived long enough to see her fourth grandchild be born and I'd like to think she'd have a copy of this book on her shelf, knitting for all the little ones in her life.
I hope you enjoy Modern Baby Knits. I hope it becomes your go-to book anytime someone announces they're expecting or if you have a baby of your own on the way. Maybe you know a child who needs a new sweater, blanket, toy or accessory and this is the book you grab off your shelf. I hope your copy becomes tattered and worn over the years as you keep coming back it to, knitting for the new life that constantly surrounds us.