Most people would think raising 8 children is a full-time job, but Denise Balvanz balanced that with various entrepreneurial endeavors. She spent 25 years running a sewing and alterations business. Then she got into teaching and designing knitting patterns.
Denise was inspired to design her Snug-as-a-Bug Baby Bunting while expecting her first grandchild. Knit in our Vintage yarn, the cozy sack is intended to keep little ones warm with practical features for easy dressing and undressing. That includes a long, buttoned front, wide sleeves and a lapped back opening to allow for seat belts in a car seat or stroller. The bottom opening is cinched and tied together with a long i-cord. The pattern is available in the August 2015 issue of I Like Knitting.
How long have you been knitting/crocheting?
I learned to knit when I was quite young. A friend of my mother taught me when we were on vacation because I was bored. I was maybe 6 or 7 years old. Now there is hardly a day that goes by that I don’t spend at least a little time knitting.
How did you come up with this design?
My daughter and her husband were living in Las Vegas at the time, but I knew that they would be coming with the baby to visit us in Iowa for Christmas. The baby would of course need warm knits to wear! I had seen some baby bunting patterns but none of them had quite the features that I was looking for.
For the first bunting, I used blue and purple Berroco Vintage yarn thinking that it was going to be a boy. What a surprise that it was a beautiful little girl! The blue looked great on her too!
How did you decide on the yarn?
I love the Berroco Vintage yarn because it has a bit of wool for warmth but it is so soft and washable, too. It is a great yarn for baby and children’s clothing. When I made the sample for the pattern in the magazine, I knew that I wanted to make it in the same yarn. The spring green and navy are perfect for boy or girl.
Any disaster stories?
I am famous for getting distracted and knitting several inches past where I was supposed to do something or making mittens in two very different sizes or two left mittens! Fortunately, I don’t get upset at having to frog my work.
I once made a man’s window pane sweater, which had stripes of four colors of blue and gray. On the back of the left shoulder I had missed two or three stripes of colors and didn’t notice it until the collar was finished and all the ends woven in. It was a model to be displayed in a yarn shop so I didn’t worry about it. I later entered it in our state fair and it got a blue ribbon!
What’s your favorite thing about knitting?
Sharing it! I love to teach and help others with their knitting. Most of my children learned how to knit from me and some of them crochet as well. I give away a lot of my knit and crochet items, too. I have a couple of charities that I like to support and each year I make dozens of hats, scarves, mittens, sweaters and blankets to give away.