Cute sweater patterns for babies are always the rage in the knitting world, aren't they? I love a good sweater pattern, and I like a cute baby knit; but, I am going to be honest here, I don't like knitting sweaters for babies. I have done it a few times, and while there is a certain amount of instant gratification that comes with being able to say "I finished a sweater!" Lilliputian size aside, I just don't find the activity overly productive.
Babies do not know the intrinsic value of a handknit sweater made with good quality fibers. They just don't. I would like to think my kids are pretty smart, but until Little Sir could actually say "merino" I didn't feel overly compelled to make him anything with said fiber. And I don't like the idea of knitting baby things with synthetics because they don't really breathe well. An overheated baby is a sad sight.
Babies drool alot (or, are otherwise wet...constantly). Little Mister (though technically no longer a baby) generates drool at an exponential rate throughout the day. I will not knit him a pullover sweater until he can demonstrate that he will not felt the top of a sweater with his excessive drooling. I love you kiddo, but Momma's time is valuable.
Babies, in general, are hard to dress. Making a pullover sweater for a baby between the ages of 0-4 months is just cruel. The parents have to contort the baby into the thing, and if you didn't knit it seamlessly, it's going to be uncomfortable and they will likely cry about it (the baby and the parents). I know this from experience. If you are going to make a baby sweater, do the baby (and said baby's parental units) a favor and make a cardigan.
And lastly, but probably primarily (for me), babies are sometimes bigger than you think and they grow really fast. Knitters who are not around babies don't always realize that the size "newborn" is actually kind of relative (and I am not trying to be mean, before I had kids, I was clueless, I had no idea how big babies were, as a rule...I still don't know and I have had two!). Both of my kids entered the world needing to wear clothes sized for 3 month olds because they were just big babies. Generally, "newborn" in the commercial world means up to 7 pounds. Um, yeah, my kids were born with 8 pounds (almost 9, really) of loving. So that cute baby sweater knit with one skein? It might fit...the day after the baby is born (if it fits at all).
But all that being said, I do love a cute pattern, particularly if it's functional. And Linden's Baby Sophisticate pattern is awesome (and she is generously offering is for free on her website and Ravelry). I liked the look of it and figured that it would be a good pattern to size up for my littles, because they are nothing if not sophisticated, right?
The pattern is really easy to knit and easy to resize because of the genius of the construction and design. It's top down, so you can have your kid try it on as you go, which is reason enough to only ever knit top-down sweaters, as far as I am concerned. For Little Mister's I cast on 40 stitches and for Little Sir's 48 (with bulky yarn and size 10 needles)and used the pattern as a general guide. With Little Mister's sweater, I just used his measurements and my gauge as a guide. For Little Sir's, I had him try on the sweater constantly. I am really pleased with the way the sweaters turned out. The boys seem to be pretty satisfied as well.
I suppose if you did want to knit a sweater for a baby, this would probably be a good one to do; you know, if you are into that sort of thing. Otherwise, knit it for a kid who would look terribly dapper and handsome, or, if you'd prefer, sophisticated.