I’m so excited to have had the opportunity to chat with Amy Polcyn about her new book, Baby Nouveau: Stylish Blankets for Baby. In this 48-page pattern book, you’ll find 10 baby blankets and play mats made in uncommon colors, such as jewel tones, neutrals and bolds. The designs incorporate a wide variety of knitting techniques, creating opportunities for knitters to learn something new.
Amy was so gracious to take some time to answer a few of my burning questions. Read on to learn about what inspired her to create these refreshing designs!
Kara: Why go the route of your “not so common” baby blanket book? Why do you think new moms want bolder, more innovative color choices?
Amy: When I was a new mom (gosh, almost 12 years ago now!), I got many lovely gifts for my new baby, including several handmade blankets. As much as I appreciated the gifts (they were beautiful, don’t get me wrong!) they were, without exception, pastel, ruffle, dainty—that sort of thing. Of course, the baby doesn’t care as long as he or she is warm and cozy, but for me, I’d rather wrap my baby in a blanket that I enjoy looking at—the kind of blanket I wouldn’t mind wrapping myself up in. Baby blankets also make perfect gifts, because there’s no need to worry about the baby’s size. Plus, by choosing more modern colors, there’s no need to worry about pink and blue!
Kara: Please share with us the different techniques used and how this book can be a great skill-building experience for many knitters.
Amy: I feel that books like these are a great opportunity to build skills, something I also tried to achieve in my last book, Knit a Dozen Plus Slippers. For Baby Nouveau, some of the techniques used include mitered squares (though instead of many small squares it’s one big one, similar to my Mitered Magic sweater in the September 2009 issue of Creative Knitting), lace, log cabin knitting—a basic project perfect for beginners (or using up scrap yarn!)—attached I-cord and I-cord used as embellishment, brioche stitch, bias knitting, stripes, unusual shaping, chevrons and slip stitch mosaic colorwork, which is perfect for baby knits since you don’t get long floats on the back to trap tiny fingers. The projects range in difficulty from beginner on up, so there’s something for just about everyone, and plenty to help a knitter learn new techniques. Several are knit in chunky yarn and can be worked up quickly for a last-minute gift. Diagonal Stripes is made with super bulky yarn and makes a wonderfully cushioned play mat (not to mention I knit the sample in an afternoon!)
Kara: Can you share why you chose the yarns featured in the book? They are all easy-care and machine washable. Why do you think that’s important for today’s moms on the go?
Amy: When selecting yarns for the book, my biggest concern was to make sure the yarns were very easy to care for, and my next concern was softness. All of the yarns used are machine washable and many are machine dryable as well, including a number of superwash wools, cottons, acrylics and blends. Babies might look like perfect angels, but all moms know they are MESSY. New moms have their hands full and don’t want to have to hand-wash baby things when the inevitable happens—at least I sure didn’t!
Kara: How can knitters find out about you?
Amy: I spend plenty of time on Ravelry as amypolcyn, and design updates can be found on my Twitter feed, amypolcyn, or my page on Facebook: Amy Polcyn Designs. You can also learn more about me by visiting amypolcyn.com
Kara: Anything new coming up? New books, new events?
Amy: Busy as usual! I’ve designed a few pieces for a fashion show to be held later this month at Vogue Knitting Live (sponsored by Premier Yarns), and am working on a number of pieces for a variety of magazines, including, of course, Creative Knitting.
I’d like to share just one last bit of advice: Even if you don’t have a baby to knit for, it’s easy to adjust the patterns in Baby Nouveau to make a full-size afghan. My daughter, who’s now in middle school and well beyond the need for a baby blanket, is dying to have a larger version of the Magnificent Miters blanket. Poor thing, I almost never have time to knit for her, but one of these days I’ll get around to it! It’s pretty easy to enlarge this particular blanket, because all you need to do is cast on more stitches.
I want to thank Amy for stopping by to share some of her insightful words about Baby Nouveau. It’s so refreshing to finally have a book of baby blanket knitting patterns where everything isn’t pink and blue. It gives today’s mom so many more options.