If you are a knitter or crocheter, giving your hand-crafted creations is a meaningful way to show that you care about the recipient. It’s also a great, cost-effective way to give a thoughtful present without costing you too much money.
If you know an expectant mother (or if you yourself are expecting), a knitted or crocheted baby blanket is a wonderful present for a new baby. You can be as creative as you’d like while giving a one-of-a-kind comforting gift that can accompany the young child for years to come.
If you are thinking about creating a baby blanket for a young child, there are a few things to consider, especially regarding sizes and materials. In this guide, we will walk you through everything you should consider when crafting a new baby blanket.
What to Consider When Crocheting Or Knitting Baby Blankets
If you are not using a pattern to knit or crochet your baby blanket, we recommend sticking to smaller stitches, with smaller or few gaps and even smaller needle sizes.
Gaps may make for beautiful work, and lace is fine for a receiving blanket or one that is meant to be more ornamental, but baby fingers and hands are tiny and can get caught in lacey gaps or between chunky stitches that are knitted too loosely.
When you choose a yarn for your baby blanket, opt for lighter weight yarns, such as fingering, sport weight, or even lighter DK (double knitting) yarns.
Before you knit or crochet a baby blanket, make sure that you knit or crochet a swatch first. Washing and blocking this swatch will give you the correct gauge for your design (how big your work will be with a certain number of stitches) and let you anticipate any shrinkage that the yarn may experience after washing.
Not every yarn will shrink in the wash, but if it does, this step will help you make the correct blanket size and prevent any unwanted shrinkage after you have finished your work.
As a small note, take care when choosing the color or colors for a baby blanket. Babies need stimulating colors that are bright enough to be cheerful, but not overwhelming or even agitating. This is why those classic soft pinks, cozy yellows, and cheery cool tones such as light mint are popular for baby items.
A darker, muted tone isn’t the end of the world for a baby blanket, especially as most nurseries or cribs will have more colors (on the sheets, in a mobile, on the wall, etc.). However, it is something to keep in mind, especially if you are already looking to match a baby’s room. You will probably want to avoid excess white, grey, or black in a baby blanket.
Materials For Baby Blankets
You will also need to pick a yarn that feels soft against a baby’s skin, doesn’t shed too much.
Babies’ skin is very sensitive, and you’ll want to avoid any rough yarn that can damage their skin. Yarn that sheds a lot, like wool or mohair, can also affect the baby’s sensitive nose, so it’s definitely not recommended. Wool can also be a little itchy and a few people are allergic to the lanolin in it, so it is generally avoided for baby items anyway.
You should also pick a type of yarn that is easy to care for. Like everything else that babies touch, a baby blanket can easily get dirty with all types of “accidents.” A yarn that is machine-washable, like cotton or acrylic yarn, would save a ton of energy for the new parents.
Both cotton and acrylic yarn are quite friendly to babies since they feel soft against the skin, do not shed too much, and are quite easy to care for. Cotton yarn can be a bit stiffer than acrylic yarn, so you may want to look for one that has been treated to be softer.
When you knit or crochet a baby blanket with cotton yarn, make sure to purchase a thinner yarn and a slightly lacy pattern (but one that is knit finely enough not to cause issues with large gaps) that allows the blanket to drape a little.
Linen and rayon are also good for babies, though they have a couple of downsides. Neither is as easy to find as acrylic or cotton (or wool). Linen can be a bit more expensive while rayon can be at times difficult to care for. Rayon can be difficult to care for or easy to snag, so you would need to choose a less fine example or look for one made to withstand more care.
Either is gentle around baby’s skin, however, and come from natural sources.
What is the Standard Size For a Baby Blanket?
Baby blankets can come in various sizes, designed for a few different purposes. Most baby blankets are square or rectangular shaped, typically ranging from 20” by 20” to 48” by 48” in size. Smaller blankets are often used as receiving blankets, while bigger blankets can be used as swaddles.
Baby blankets designed for strollers, car seats, and cribs are usually rectangular, and they can come in various sizes as well. Smaller rectangular blankets can be 30” by 40”, while bigger blankets can be 40” by 80” or 60” by 80”.
If you are following a pattern, make sure to follow the instructions, including washing and blocking your work, to achieve the desired size for your baby blanket. If you are free-styling it, make sure to knit or crochet a swatch first in order to calculate the correct size for your baby blanket.
For younger children, we recommend a smaller blanket using a lighter material and design so that the blanket can be more useful and practical, especially on the go. For children older than 12 months old, a bigger blanket would be a wonderful addition to a crib.
Can Babies Sleep With Crocheted/Knitted Blankets?
The first thing that you should know when giving a baby blanket to an expectant mother is that babies are not supposed to sleep with a loose blanket. Many people are surprised by this fact, mainly because a baby blanket is such a popular gift item for new moms.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should not put anything in a crib when a baby is sleeping because of the risk of suffocation by those objects. Babies are supposed to sleep flat on their backs, with only a fitted sheet, so that there are no unfortunate accidents when the baby is sleeping.
A baby blanket is only recommended when the child is supervised. That’s why it is still a useful item in a car seat or stroller since it can keep the baby warm when he or she is awake, outside, and under parental supervision.
That said, knitted and crocheted baby blankets are wonderful gifts for young children because they are cozy yet still light and breathable.
How Much Yarn Do You Need to Crochet a Baby Blanket?
The amount of yarn you should purchase to craft your baby blanket depends on the size of the baby blanket that you are making. If you are following a pattern, the pattern should tell you approximately how many balls of yarn to purchase.
If you are crocheting a baby blanket using DK yarn (typically using crochet hook sizes 5 mm to 7 mm), you should purchase 700 – 1,000 yards of yarn for a 40” by 60” blanket. This amount of yarn translates to about 3 to 5 standard sized balls of yarn.
Keep in mind that if you want to make a bigger blanket, you will need to purchase more yarn. Crocheting also requires more yarn than knitting – you will need more yarn to create the same sized blanket when crocheting. If you want to use less yarn, you can explore some knitting patterns instead of crocheting.
What is the Fastest Stitch For a Crocheted Blanket?
With crocheting, there are so many options for stitches, and you can be as creative as you’d like when making a baby blanket for your loved ones.
Crocheting a baby blanket is fairly straightforward since you are just going back and forth in a row to create a square or rectangle.
As mentioned above, we recommend using a thinner (smaller weight) yarn.
This keeps a baby blanket lighter, especially as you will not want to pick a stitch that is too lacy – unless you are using a very small hook and yarn size. Since crocheting tends to yield very stiff fabric, a lighter yarn will keep the blanket from feeling like a fuzzy board!
When you crochet the first chain, you will establish the width of your blanket. You can use a measuring tape to make sure that you have the desired length.
Then, you can choose a stitch to crochet your blanket, but remember, some stitch patterns require a certain ‘multiple’ of stitches. A pattern that needs a multiple of 3, for example, must be divisible by 3; so 99 stitches would be perfect, but 100 would be one too many.
Some stitch patterns may also “eat up” an inch of your chain during the first row (it will be consistent from the second row on, however).
If you are a beginner crocheter, you can use a basic stitch, like a single crochet (sc), double stitch (dc), or half double stitch (hdc). Using double stitches throughout your work is probably the fastest stitch to crochet your blanket since it is a longer stitch. This is a decent compromise if you are using especially fine yarn.
If you’d like to create a fancier pattern with your crochet blanket, there are a few other stitches that can give you a lacy effect. Below are some crochet stitches that you can explore to create a baby blanket.
The sedge stitch creates a series of fans (half circles) going in a diagonal direction instead of all going in the same direction.
This stitch is lovely in baby blankets, as it looks delicate and eye-catching, but doesn’t leave large gaping holes.
By knitting a series of sc, hdc, and dc over and over, you will be able to create rows of fans that are left-leaning from the right side and right-leaning from the wrong side. The result is a raised pattern that would look adorable on a baby blanket.
Here is how to crochet a sedge stitch:
Chain (ch) stitches in a multiple of 3. Make sure to chain enough to get the desired width for your blanket.
How long the chain is will decide the width of the blanket, you can use a measuring tape to get the desired length. If you know your yarn shrinks in the wash, you can create a longer chain to accommodate this shrinkage.
Insert your crochet hook into the second chain from the hook. [Hdc and dc] into the same chain. *Skip 2 chains, then insert your crochet hook into the next chain and work a [sc, hdc, and dc] into the same chain.* Repeat from * to * until the end of the row.
Insert your crochet hook into the last chain on the row and work 1 sc. Turn your work to create a new row.
Chain 1. Insert your crochet hook into the sc from the row below, then [hdc and dc]. *Insert your crochet hook into the next sc from the row below, then [sc, hdc, and dc].* Repeat from * to * until the end of the row.
Insert your crochet hook into the last chain on the row and work 1 sc. Turn your work to create a new row.
Repeat step 3 until you have achieved the desired length for your crochet blanket. You will see the pattern starting from the third row.
For a visual step-by-step to the sedge stitch, check out this awesome tutorial by Daisy Farm Crafts:
A moss stitch is an easy way to achieve a lacy pattern by alternating between single crochet and a chain. The result is a raised mossy stitch that looks quite sophisticated but is quite fast to work up.
Here is how to crochet the moss stitch:
Create a chain with an even number of stitches (multiple of 2). Make sure that the chain is enough to cover the entire width of your blanket.
Insert your crochet hook into the 4th chain from the hook, then sc. Chain 1, and skip the corresponding chain from the row below. Sc into the next chain.
Continue alternating between the sc and chain until the end of the row. Turn your work.
Chain 2. Insert your crochet hook into the chain from the row below, then sc. Chain 1 and skip the corresponding sc from the row below.
Continue alternating between the sc and chain until the end of the row.
Repeat step 3 until you have achieved the desired length for your project.
If you need a visual guide to the lace fan stitch, check out this moss stitch tutorial also by Daisy Farm Crafts:
Lace Fan Stitch
The lace fan stitch gives your final project the appearance of a series of small fans that are inter-connected. This lacy stitch looks quite complicated, but it is quite easy to accomplish.
We recommend this stitch if you are using a very light weight yarn with a small hook only; or you may wish to make it for an older toddler or young child who will not be distressed if their fingers slip through the stitches once in a while.
Here is how to crochet a lace fan stitch for your baby blanket:
Chain a series of stitches to create the width of your blanket.
Insert your crochet hook into the 4th chain from your hook and create 2 dc stitches from the same hole. You have created a half fan.
*Chain 2 stitches, then skip the next 3 chains from the bottom row. Insert your hook into the next chain and create a sc (this sc will be the center of a fan stitch in the next row). Then, chain 2 and skip the next 3 chains from the bottom. Insert your hook into the next chain and create 5 dc from the same hole.*
Repeat from * to * across the row.
At the end of the row, create a half fan to round off the row.
Chain 1 stitch, then create a sc in the first stitch from the row below. *Chain 2, then insert your crochet hook into the sc stitch from the row below and create 5 dc. Chain 2, then create 1 sc in the center of the fan below.*
Repeat from * to * the end of the row. To round out the row, crochet 1 sc on top of half fan at the bottom.
Chain 3, then repeat step 2.
From here on, you can alternate between step 2 and step 3 on each row to create a lace fan pattern for your baby blanket.
However, if you’re a beginner and this feels a little too complicated, you can always go for a simple shell stitch. Here’s a great shell tutorial from Blossom Crochet:
When you have crocheted the entire shape of the blanket, don’t forget to crochet the edges of the blanket.
You can use any of the decorative stitches above to add a nice finishing touch to your baby blanket, which will give your final project a nice and finished look.
Bonus – Free Knitting Patterns For Baby Blankets
Knitting a baby blanket is a little different because knit stitches appear different from the wrong side and the wrong side. The best way to create a nice and patterned look for your knitted blanket is to follow a pattern. Below are some free patterns for knitted blankets that beginners can follow
1. Cascade 220 Superwash Inside Out Baby Blanket
This knitted blanket pattern allows you to knit from the center of the blanket and enlarge it as you knit in the round. It looks quite complicated, but the pattern employs really simple stitches that even complete beginners can follow.
2. Yarnspirations Bernat Knit Waves Blanket
This beautiful knitted blanket is another beginner-friendly and free pattern. This is a very short and straightforward pattern that has a lot of repetition once you have established the pattern. This pattern will help you create a sophisticated-looking baby blanket even if you are a beginner.
3. Yarnspirations Bernat Over the Garden Wall Knit Blanket
This pattern gives you a crisscrossing effect for your blanket, which gives it a store-bought look that makes it a perfect baby blanket as well as a throw for your living room. You will need to follow the pattern quite closely, and this pattern is designed for an intermediate knitter. However, the result is quite worth it!