Babies Galore!
April 30, 2012 8:38 AM   Subscribe

What kind of thoughtful yet not-time-expensive gift can I make my sister for her new baby?

My older sister just announced she is having a baby in October! Awesome! I am having a baby (my second) in October too! Awesome!

What kind of gift do you suggest I can give her? We are a homemade kind of family rather than a purchased item type. For example, she and my mom collaborated on a baby quilt for my first, and my other sister needlepointed a birth announcement. I knit, sew, embroider and am generally handy with fabric, so it would probably be something along those lines.

But I want to be realistic about what I'm actually going to get done over the summer, given that I already have an active toddler and little space to spread out, and another one on the way. I already owe this sister a pair of socks from about two years ago that I haven't gotten to. And I still owe my sister-in-law a baby present, and the kid is two months already. Not to mention the residual guilt over the fact that I haven't knitted any clothing for my existing kid yet, just toys.

Do you have a go-to knitting pattern that doesn't take too much time? It is possible to make multiple of that item without getting bored to death? Are there other craft domains that I haven't thought of?
posted by Liesl to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You could always try sewing a sling or mei tai baby carrier. I'm not sure of the relative difficulty of the mei tai style, but a sling should be fairly simple (and not at all time consuming) to make.
posted by daikaisho at 8:43 AM on April 30, 2012

A fantastically cute gift I did once, that was also easy and inexpensive:

1. Get a pair of canvas baby sneakers. (I think the smallest size is for like 9 months; but you want real sneakers, canvas, that the kid will eventually be able to wear.)

2. Get a set of acryllic paints.

3. Paint the sneakers in crazy-cute fun designs.

4. PROFIT! (Okay, maybe not....)

If you're leery of your skill with the paint, you can just do a sort of "colorblock" thing. I did this for a childhood friend's first baby, who was born on July 4th - I did a modified flag design and the mother loved the shit out of them. I think the total cost was something like 10 bucks and took only about 20 minutes' worth of hands-on work.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:50 AM on April 30, 2012

Best answer: October? That's going into fall, so warm clothes are justified - adorable hats that look like animals, or like fruit, or like cupcakes, or monsters, or whatever you can dream up. Simple, because you don't have to make the hats, just buy fleece beanie hats and decorate them (and you're a crafty person so you might have a stash to work from)
posted by aimedwander at 8:52 AM on April 30, 2012

How about sewing some really simple burp cloths? I am an average-to-below-average sewer and a friend of mine showed me how to make burp cloths. They took minutes to put together and they were so so cute!

Or maybe a quilted changing pad.
posted by Sassyfras at 8:54 AM on April 30, 2012

My family has a traditional crochet baby blanket that is extremely easy and very quick to make particularly if you use a slight heavier weight of yarn. I just made one on a 4mm hook which took about 3 weeks (working on it 1 hour or less a day, generally when watching TV or on the bus).

I don't have a pattern, but it's the classic granny square sized up as large as you want - instead of stopping at 6 or 8 rounds, we just keep going until it's 2 or 3 or 4 feet across. We pattern them by changing colours every few rounds - the baby blanket I just made was an antique white with concentric squares of lemon yellow and soft green, all in a soft acrylic (washable, yay).

It can get large for carrying around, but if you're stopping at 2 or 3 feet across, it's not unreasonable - I was working on mine on public transit.
posted by jb at 8:54 AM on April 30, 2012

If you're into sewing but a baby carrier is too much to sew, there are patterns for all kinds of simple things like burp cloths, bibs and swaddling blanket. Or I'm sure a knitted blanket wouldn't go amiss.
There's a website called Make for Baby that I feel would be really useful.
posted by mangoprawn at 8:57 AM on April 30, 2012

You could find some really cute flannel or "minky" fabric and just do a blanket or two - either by hemming the edges or backing two pieces of fabric onto each other and sewing them together. Light flannel blankets are super-handy and minky fabric is so soft and cuddly. Sewing a baby blanket is pretty fast!

Cotton Print and Minky Baby Blanket tutorial
Project #10: Boutique Style Baby Blanket
Minky blanket tutorial
20+ Baby Blankets To Make: {Free Sewing Patterns}
posted by flex at 8:58 AM on April 30, 2012

I did this "yoda sweater" for my October nephew last year. I was able to get the bulk of it done in a couple of weeks (similar time crunches of my own preschooler, full time job, etc.). It's a quick, easy pattern and was perfect for the time of year. It's also one that grows a bit with the little one, so they are able to get more than just a few weeks wear out of it.

I also really like the idea of lots of simple burp cloths. Really can't go wrong with that.
posted by goggie at 9:02 AM on April 30, 2012

Oh - looking closely at that granny square pattern - my family (aka my mom and I) only put one chain stitch between our groups of 3 double crochets - that makes for a fuller fabric.

But there are lots of variations - I'm currently working on a motif-based baby blanket (for a baby due in September), so I'm doing a series of these squares with one colour making a kind of flower/round shape within the square. I've actually altered that pattern to size it up (adding 4 rounds) so that I have less to sew together; memail me if you would like details on the sized up square.

If you don't crochet at all, I've also seen lots of relatively simple knitting patterns on the cheaper brands of wool - when I was buying wool for my previous project, I ended up getting a knit pattern and a different crochet pattern on the labels.
posted by jb at 9:02 AM on April 30, 2012

Best answer: Saartje booties (ravelry link) are super fast to knit--I've started them the night before a shower. Cute, too.
posted by neda at 9:03 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sew a wall growth chart. And then maybe offer safety pins with a little age-appropriate charm on each one for pinning to the chart as baby grows. Or little stuffed animals that can be pinned where the height mark would be.

It could be as simple as felt or more complicated like something quilted.
posted by vitabellosi at 9:11 AM on April 30, 2012 [2 favorites]

The Japanese are the masters of adorable, quick baby crafts. Here's a link to a blog with a lot of pictures, there are zillions more if you google/flickr "Japanese Craft Books". I think it would be adorable if your preschooler did a drawing for the baby on a canvas bag and you embroidered over it, similar to the pics at the link.
posted by apparently at 9:19 AM on April 30, 2012

Have you ever given a baby a stuffed animal and all the baby wants from it is to play with the tag? Tag blankets (a little lovey-size blanket with loops of ribbon sewn all around the edge) are like a whole thing -- and they are a big hit with all the babies I've known. Especially if you get different widths and textures for the ribbons/tags. They are easy and simple and quick to sew, too. Here are a few ideas for inspiration.
posted by fancyoats at 9:22 AM on April 30, 2012 [3 favorites]

My sister-in-law made us a hooded bath towel and it is so effing easy. Look at patterns on the internet if you want to see how to overcomplicate something.

You will need:
1 bath towel, soft and fluffy
1 matching or contrasting hand towel, soft and fluffy

Set them up with one long edge touching so that the hand towel is centered. Sew them together. Fold the hand towel so that short edges are together. Sew the remaining long edge of the hand towel to itself to make the hood.

It takes longer to set up the sewing machine than it does to make this.
posted by plinth at 9:44 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

It took me twenty minutes to make one of each of these baby booties:

Worsted weight version:

Sport weight version:

Seriously --- no time at all. They are knit straight, then you sew up the back. They are so easy and so quick and oh-so-cute! You could probably frill them up anyhow you wanted, too, by adding your own pom poms or other little designs to them.
posted by zizzle at 9:44 AM on April 30, 2012

Best answer: When my second child was a baby, a friend who had just started knitting made him a hat. It was basically a knitted rectangle, no fancy stitches or anything, folded over and stitched together bag-style, with tassles added to the corners where it had been folded. This hat was so cute that people were constantly stopping me on the street to ask where they could buy one. It was just a rectangle folded over, but the extra fabric at the corners flopped over like little ears and the tassles were adorable.
posted by not that girl at 10:07 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

Make up a basket of all the things you liked best when you had your baby; bonus points for hard-to-find items, and/or start the baby's library of children's books and/or music. Still very personal, but not time-consuming.
posted by theora55 at 10:10 AM on April 30, 2012

Five Hour Baby Sweater. Does what it says on the tin. It looks kind of chintzy in the picture on that site but if you make it in a nice yarn (I like jewel tones and earth tones) it's lovely and impressive. It does have a ribbon-around-the-neck closure, which is of course a choking hazard, so I usually add a button or sew a ribbon tie to the front.
posted by mskyle at 10:13 AM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]

How about making a very, very, very simple quilt? Like this one which really is just two pieces of fabric with batting in between but looks great!

Or how about a patchwork scottie dog? Here's a free pattern. I've made two for little babies out of small (1-2in) squares, left out the side strip between the two halves and stuffed it really tightly, and both kids still love these dogs very much. (I didn't use buttons for the eyes because I was afraid a little baby might swallow it.)
posted by amf at 10:16 AM on April 30, 2012

Taggie blanket

Hoodie bath towel

(those specific patterns are randomly chosen, google the phrases to find a million variations)

Homemade Christmas stockings are good, and if you were ambitious you could do them so all the cousins have similar ones. There are tons of patterns online, from very simple to very complex, sewn or knitted, etc.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:02 PM on April 30, 2012

For a fall baby I would totally do a knit hat or scarf or booties. I made a hat for my baby cousin when I was twelve, very similar to the one not that girl describes. Crochet though. Sooooo easy. I made another for my little brother that consisted of a circle (at the back of the head), a long rectangle joined to the circle most of the way around, and two tiny squares on the sides for "ear flaps" with a chin tie. Both hats were widely admired and well-worn.
posted by celtalitha at 3:59 PM on April 30, 2012

Buy a blanket, and embroider something personal on one of the corners.
posted by kjs4 at 4:53 PM on April 30, 2012

No sew fleece blankets are quick and easy to make, and are extremely comfy.
posted by SisterHavana at 7:19 PM on April 30, 2012

« Older I need a Torg-Over.   |   Need online bookkeeping website Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.