If you’ve never looked into the history of baby clothes and knitting it’s really terribly interesting. For example, many women took up knitting after the Stock Market crash in the 1930s. It made sense at the time. A few ounces of wool could keep somebody knitting for weeks at a time when most folks could not afford much in the way of entertainment. Knitting your family’s clothes, including baby clothes, was a wonderful way to save money. Throughout the thirties, as interest in knitting grew, so did the number of patterns. Manufacturers created patterns for every skill level with more diversity in style and technique than ever before.
During the 1940s knitting baby clothes became even more popular. When the war broke out in England, millions of women started knitting for the soldiers and for refugees. They also did even more knitting for themselves and their children. This was the era when, because of wool rationing and chemical shortages, women sometimes chose to unravel old sweaters and reuse the yarn. Because of the shortage of rubber, rubber diaper covers for babies became hard to come by therefore women started knitting wool soakers to help keep things dry.
By the late forties countless ladies had learned to knit and now that the war was over they turned their energies to knitting for their families. Rationing was at an end and supplies were readily available. Now that the men were home there was a “baby boom” and baby knitting was very popular.
Near the end of the 1950s, though, the popularity of knitting started to take a downturn, blamed largely on television. Ladies were more interested in watching their TV shows and could not stay focused on the knitting task at hand. This is when bulkier yarns and larger needles were introduced in an attempt to make knitting quick and easy but, sadly, knitting was being left behind.
Over the years ladies continued to knit as a pastime or hobby, not because they needed to to save money. Patterns became even easier and yarns became more fanciful and knitting for babies still remained a popular pastime. Women began knitting baby hats and blankets to donate to hospitals, and mittens and scarves to donate to orphanages. (See also, “Handcrafting to Support Charities” and “Octopuses (Octopi?) For Premature Babies“.) Little neighborhood knitting guilds started popping up here and there.
There have always been enough women interested in knitting to keep it alive and countless individuals are once more adopting this well-liked activity. This time men have joined in too, and children are taking up knitting and creating their own distinctive works of art.
Now, knitting clubs can be found everywhere – your neighborhood, your church, even online, and the patterns that you can find at no cost are unbelievable. There are so many free patterns online that you’d never be able to knit them all. “Ravelry” has been mentioned before on this site. Another site you could look at is “Baby Knitting Patterns”