This stuffed baby block is for my niece, a beginning/intermediate knitter, who is expecting her first child this fall. I had been going to explain to her how to make the simplest block, but as I was making the sample I kept thinking: if I to this, it will be so much easier to assemble; if I do this, it will look so much better. So this is a fairly simple baby block. (the simplest is to knit 6 squares of about the same size. Mark the same size square on each, and sew them together, using seam allowances to make up for any size differences in the knit squares.)
MATERIALS: Yarn, stuffing, knitting needles, and 2 stitch markers (plastic rings or loops of contrasting yarn). For a baby toy, I like to use the kind of cotton yarn that is used to knit wash cloths, because it is durable and washable. If you don’t plan for it to be played with, you can use any yarn you like. My block is made with two colors; if you buy skeins of 2 different colors of wash cloth yarn, you can probably make several blocks from them, depending on the block size. I would use polyester toy stuffing for a baby toy; use whatever you like if your block isn’t likely to end up in someone’s mouth. I use knitting needles a size or two smaller than I ordinarily would for that yarn, so that the fabric is dense enough the stuffing won’t show through.
X is the number of stitches on one side of the block. You can make the block any size you like, so cast on some stitches, do several inches of garter stitch (knit every row) on your estimated needle size (start a size smaller than the yarn label recommends if you don’t know what size to use). If the fabric is too stiff for your block, knit a couple of inches with a larger needle; if it is too loose, with a smaller needle. When you get the texture you want, measure out how many stitches it takes to be the size you want the block to be (the sample is about 3″: 14 stitches on size 4 knitting needles in wash cloth cotton).
TO KNIT: cast on 3 times X plus 2 stitches. (sample: 3 x 14 = 42 + 2 = 44). Row 1: Knit across all stitches. 2nd row: Knit X stitches, place a stitch marker, slip 1 stitch as if to purl, knit X stitches, place a stitch marker, slip 1 stitch as if to purl, and knit X stitches. (Use the markers to know when you get to the stitches you will slip the next times you knit this row.) Repeat these 2 rows until you have X ‘garter bumps’ (a garter bump is the raised row you can see on one side of the work. It is made of 2 knit rows.) (Because of the way garter stitch works, a ‘garter bump’ is the same height as a stitch is wide, so you have 3 squares, separated by the line of slipped stitches, which are the ‘corners’ of the block. You have made the first 3 sides of the block, in one color.)
TURNING THE CORNER: Now, when you are knitting on the side where the slipped stitches are visible, bind off X minus one stitch, purl across the middle stitches to X minus one stitch from the end, and bind off the X minus stitches. (It’s okay about binding off the edges, the next 3 sides are in the other color, so you will use the new color to knit the stitches still on the needle. The purl row will make the block fold at the right place.)
USING THE NEW COLOR, knit across the X plus 4 stitches you have on your knitting needle. (The X stitches in the middle are the side of the block. The slipped stitches continue to be the corner stitches, and the extra stitch on each side is the seam allowance.) Continue knitting one row, slip stitches next row, until you have knitted X ‘garter bumps’. Purl one row. (another side of the block) Continue knitting one row, slip stitches next row, until you have knitted X ‘garter bumps’. Purl one row. (another side) Continue knitting one row, slip stitches next row, until you have knitted X ‘garter bumps’ plus one row. (You have knitted three sides of the block plus a seam allowance in the second color.) Bind off.
ASSEMBLING THE BLOCK: fold the sides at the corner and folding lines into a cube following the photos, it is so much easier than my trying to explain in words.
Sew together using the seam allowances, and leave enough space to push the stuffing in.
Stuff, and push stuffing into the corners to get the firmness you want. Add a little bit more stuffing. Sew the hole closed. Poke and prod the block square (this is what the extra bit of stuffing is for).