I am knitting a baby blanket for our former baby-sitter. I have already finished a kimono jacket and a bib. I know the sex of the baby, but am not allowed to divulge it so I chose white, yellow, red and taupe.
I am knitting gifts for this baby – a child of a woman I like. I am not knitting for some baby that may be born at some time in the future and for whom I might need a gift at a short notice. If I care enough to give somebody something, it should be knitted/bought/prepared just for that person/baby/relative.
When my first son was born, a friend gave me a hat and sweater set. They were lovely, in a nice blue yarn and in an intricate lacy pattern; but it was quite a dated design and not very flattering (yes! there are things that are flattering and not flattering for babies). It turned out that the set came from a stash of baby clothes that she had knitted over the years “just in case”. No, not just in case she got pregnant and needed a layette, but just in case somebody she knew had a baby and she needed a gift.
Now, the thing about babies is that they come with about nine months’ warning. If you cannot make a baby gift in that time you should probably consider buying something – for that specific baby, at this specific time. Buy a hand-knit, if that is your desire. I am sure that the mother will appreciate it more than a gift knitted “just in case” for just any nameless baby. My friend knew about my pregnancy and the sex of my baby for as long as I knew – about 28 weeks.
The same goes for buying gifts in bulk when travelling. I was a recipient of a nice printed batik place mats and a runner brought from India. The giver went on and on about how she always brings loads of stuff from her trips “just in case she needs gifts” in the future. I am not complaining about the gifts that I have received, but this “gift preparadness policy” irks me. It is quite popular, I know. But I do prefer something bought or knit for me, because it shows that the giver was thinking about me at the time of purchase or about me and my baby during the many hours of knitting the baby gift.