Book review on Petite Purls| Bay Area Book Photographer

Vintage KnitsI remember browsing through a few books that had just hit the stands a couple months ago, and without a doubt, Vintage Knits for Modern Babies, by Hadley Fierlinger, practically jumped into my arms. The cover design is adorable, classic, full of color, yet simplistic, all at the same time. How could it not reel you in?

Fierlinger became passionate about baby knits when she saw her friend’s baby wearing a beautiful handknit cardigan that had been passed down a few generations. This led Fierlinger to design knitting patterns that captured vintage style, but with modern simplicity. The knits found in Vintage Knits for Modern Babies are boutique-quality and really encapsulate Fierlinger’s style of trendy baby knitwear, which you can find at

Fierlinger gives some history behind knitting for babies, both past and present. She gives great information about how to choose yarn for baby knits and how to care for the garments so that your modern heirloom can last for generations to come. I really like how she includes the usual knitting terms and abbreviations on the fold-out jacket cover. This makes them easy to find and you can always use the the jacket leaf as a bookmark. Fierlinger also gives very nice information on special techniques, including creating your own cloth buttons, embroidery and how to make twisted cords.
I find it very thoughtful that Fierlinger includes the sweet rhymes that are used to teach children how to knit. “Into the bunny hole, run around the tree, out of the bunny hole, away runs he.” If this doesn’t evoke nostalgia, I don’t know what does! This is yet another lovely piece of vintage information. She also adds personal anecdotes and memories, from friends, customers and herself, which gives a very personal and thoughtful feel to the book.

Each pattern in this book is darling. Fierlinger tags each pattern with a skill level, ranging from beginner to experienced. Many of the patterns use RYC Cashsoft and Debbie Bliss’ array of Cashmerino yarns. Some projects call for organic cotton, intelligently chosen for those projects that could easily end up in a baby’s mouth, such as toys and blankets. There are handknits for newborns and older babies; a nice selection for both boys and girls, as well as accessories and sweet knits for the home such as hangers and sachets.

I could easily say that I love all of the designs in this book, and it would be true. But there are a few that really make my heart melt:

Nana’s Bunnies: these adorable creatures were borrowed from a friend of Fierlinger’s pattern collection.The pattern had been handed down for three generations, giving every newborn that joined the family one of these sweet bunnies. I love that Fierlinger also incorporates these bunnies into the Bunny Mobile and adds one to the pocket of her Apron Dress. It’s little thoughtful details like this that makes me admire a book and it’s designer. Wavy Cashmere Blanket: I love everything about this blanket. The color combination is fantastic (cream, mustard and lavender), the classic feather and fan pattern, and it’s knit in cashmere. What a lucky baby to receive such a blanket! Modern Baby Bonnet: I love the stitch pattern used in this pattern and that the bonnet is snug against the baby’s head. Double Breasted Car Coat and Petite Beret Set: Oh my! The blue that Fierlinger chose for this set is so striking and the model is adorable. I know that I will be knitting this beret sometime in the near future. For those who are interested in a “supersized” version of the beret, you can find the “Mademoiselle” beret on Fierlinger’s site (this is also on my to-do list of knits!). Fierlinger rounds out the collection with a few nice bootie patterns, as well as pullovers and two very sweet wrap sweaters. All in all, it’s a lovely collection of knits.

I’d like to give credit to the book’s photographer, Angela Lang and whoever was in charge of the styling of the pattern pages. The colors used throughout the book are beautiful and very easy on the eye.

Congratulations to Hadley for such a beautiful book and wonderful designs. I look forward to seeing more from her in the future. For the time being, you can check out all of her designs at


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