Thursday, October 20, 2011

Button-Up Baby Wraps

There’s nothing better than snuggling up with a brand-new baby, right?  Well, okay, maybe I’m feeling a bit biased at the moment, and perhaps a little impatient as we wait for Lovebug’s arrival.  Can you blame me?

Anywho – one of the things I remember so well about Squishy is how he loved to be swaddled up tight, held in someone’s arms or cradled against your chest.  Mr. Man and I agree that taking naps with him like that was the best!  While we will certainly still be swaddling this little girl, I thought it would be nice to have some alternative means for keeping her snuggly and warm. 

You’ve heard me talking for a long time about the Baby Chalice Blanket, which I PROMISE you’ll see soon.  Tracking says blocking wires should arrive on Saturday (later than I hoped, but before Lovebug makes her appearance! Plenty of time.)  What you haven’t heard me talk about is the Button-Up Baby Wrap.  Okay, I mentioned it once, several months ago.  I even showed a picture while it was being knit.  
Ravelry has a few patterns for little baby cocoons.  You know, the little snuggly sacks you can put babies in to keep them warm and toasty.  There were several versions but this one really drew me in. 

The original pattern just calls for a stockinette stitch sack, top to bottom.  But I knew I didn’t want that.  The first featured photo on the pattern page is of a chunky, ribbed wrap with a tiny baby inside.  Looking through many project pages, I finally settled on a twisted rib pattern I was happy with.  It combines a rib and an eyelet pattern, which adds a feminine touch. 
I didn’t continue with the eyelets down the entire wrap because I didn’t want any fingers or toes getting stuck.  If you’d like to see or use my modifications, you can find them on my project page HERE. 
This wrap is knit with Cascade 128 Superwash in Charcoal (a bulky yarn).  This is yarn I had leftover from Mr. Man’s Big Ribs.  It was the perfect yarn because it’s durable, soft, and machine-washable (always important with babies!).   I liked the gray because it was different, even though I knew it would be for our little girl.  I added some blue buttons that gave it just the right touch.  The original pattern didn’t include directions for button-holes but I think that has since been fixed.  I wasn’t worried about it, though, because I was knitting eyelets that served as my button-holes. 
I probably knit this longer than was necessary but I wanted to make sure that if we had a larger baby, it would still fit.  The ribbing should help with that as well.  My intention is to get some newborn photos of Lovebug all wrapped up in this. 
 (The color in the picture gives the appearance that the wrap has different shades - that's just the light - it's all very monochromatic.)
Since I had enjoyed this pattern so much and since it was so quick, I decided to make a second one.  This one, though, was to be gifted.  My friend, Ber (from Ireland), was expecting a baby in September.  I don’t know much about the weather in Ireland, but I figured this would come in handy.  She didn’t yet know if she was having a boy or a girl, so I chose something more neutral. 

I had some Hobby Lobby Epais in Expresso on hand, which is really soft and squishy.  To me, there is a handspun look to this yarn and a neat color gradient.  The wrap goes from light to darker to light again.   I probably used about ½ of the 393 yard skein.  It was good to put this to use because I was having trouble finding just the right pattern for it. 
Although I had the wrap finished a long, long time ago – I only recently got it in the mail.  Ber received it Monday and had a picture of her little boy happily sleeping in his wrap that same day.  I really appreciate pictures of the knits I make – it’s always fun to see the recipient wear or use what you’ve made them.
 (This one does change color!)
Ber’s version has simple wood buttons that blend in a little bit.  My hope is that she and her son get a lot of use out of this in the coming months when it gets a bit chilly!  I know I hope ours lasts us awhile! 
I also knit this version with the eyelet pattern, as I did for the first wrap.  The Epais is a big floofier (yes, that’s a technical term) than the Cascade so it doesn’t show the eyelets as well, but they’re there.
Other things I like about this pattern:  1) It’s fast – each wrap only took a couple days.  Large needles and bulky yarn is awesome.  2) It buttons up.  It’s not just a sack.  So if it’s too large/long, you just leave the top buttons undone and use it sort of like a blanket.  3) Simple.  It would sound funny if you just told someone you put your baby in a sack, but essentially that’s what you’re doing.  Wrap sounds much better.  Either way, you don’t have to worry about tucking in blanket ends, etc. 

I do want to mention a word of caution.  The buttons are great, and make for great versatility, but I do NOT recommend leaving your baby unattended while in his or her wrap.  I know I heavily secured the buttons on both wraps, but you never know with babies.  Especially as they get older.  They grab on to things and put them in their mouths.  Okay – I feel better having said that.

I know this was a long post, so thanks for sticking with me if you made it to the end.  Hopefully the pictures helped.  I hope everyone’s week has gone well.  Mine is zooming by at an alarming speed.  Welcome to the almost weekend!


  1. Great bebe cocoons!!! I remember the days when I napped w/Jo on my chest all cuddled underneath the down quilt before her daddy and sister came home. I'll see if I can dig up that pic.

  2. The baby is going to be so warm!