I found out recently that one of my cousins is having a baby girl, and her baby shower is coming up at the end of the month.  For years, I gave everyone the exact same knitted baby gift: a hat and matching booties.  But recently, I’ve started experimenting a little with some other things as gifts.

Unless it is absolutely necessary, I always make baby gifts from my stash.  I have bought several skeins of baby-friendly yarn over the years, and rarely use it all in one project, so I like to mix and match and recombine what I have.  I realized this time around that I had a whole rainbow’s worth of baby yarns in a similar weight, so I decided to make a rainbow hat.  But there wasn’t quite enough to add matching booties.  There also wasn’t quite enough of the pink and heather chunky yarn I used on a bunny blankie for a coworker’s baby gift to make another one of those.  And then, as I was rooting through my stash, I found the cat toys.

But you don’t have a cat, you point out.  Why do you have cat toys in your yarn stash?

Well, thanks to L, a master knitter and amigurumi afficionado in my former Fabulous Fibers knitting group, I have cat toys.  Because they are the basis for knitted toadstool baby rattles that are just the absolute cutest thing ever.  L made a few, as did M from the same group, and I just thought they were amazing.  And I definitely had enough yarn to make one!

I went online and found the pattern at the purl bee.  And then I made it.  And here’s how they both came out:

hat and rattle

To be honest, I’m not really sure it’s my best work.  I always have trouble with rolled brims, for some reason, and you can see the single row of ribbing that is supposed to help stop the roll. I had to go with a chunkier yarn for the “sky,” and maybe that’s why the roll didn’t work perfectly.  I did manage to increase and decrease as I was going in and out of the rainbow to make sure the hat didn’t shrink in the middle.  Had I gone with thinner color bands, I could have gone for a double rainbow hat, but I went wider instead, and it took up more of the body of the hat than I’d intended.  And I kinda wish I had some white yarn, so I could add clouds somehow.  I have no idea if my cousin will like a rainbow hat for her baby girl, but I figured, the baby’s room is going to be decorated in Hello Kitty, so it’s probably okay.

As for the rattle, I think it came out pretty good, although I was trying to adapt to a different gauge and only the horizonal gauge was provided in the pattern, meaning I just kinda winged it.  So I think the cap should be a little bigger to fit the stem more proportionally, and the rolled brim of the cap should be a little more robust.  And I also wish I could have used slightly more realistic colors, since it ended up looking like a mushroom out of Mario Brothers or something.  But I like how the spots turned out — they recommend a technique I hadn’t used before, duplicate stitch, where you essentially embroider the pattern on after the fact.  It was a little tricky, but I liked the variability of the spots.  But what I really hope is that my cousin likes them!

The best part of this pattern, for me, is the fact that it’s botanically accurate!  You have ribbing under the cap for the gills, and a little band of garter stitch for the ring.  That’s part of why I think more naturalistic colors would look really nice.

Finding all the boxes with my knitting and books was probably the hardest part of the whole project.  But now that the weather is cooling down and I have them out, I think I’m gonna keep coming up with projects to work on.  Like that really cool stash-buster scarf pattern M gave me last spring… *rubs hands together with anticipation*  Can’t wait!

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