Knitting a hat for a preemie requires some forethought. You can’t simply use any yarn for these delicate little babies. You need to ensure the yarn you use is soft and gentle on their skin, keeping them warm and comfortable at the same time.
With such a wide variety of yarns available to choose from, it can get quite overwhelming trying to decide which one to use.
Before looking for yarn, here are some things to consider:
- You must only use exceptionally soft yarn. To check how soft yarn is, you can rub it on the tender part of your neck or upper arm.
- Avoid using super bulky yarn, this will be too warm for the baby and they will not be able to properly regulate their heat.
- Avoid using eyelash yarn, it could become tangled in wires and tubing in the NICU.
- Acrylic yarn is generally the best choice for NICU preemie babies. Cotton tends to be too stiff and wool isn’t the greatest choice either.
Best Yarns For Preemie Baby Hats
Here are the best yarn options to use when knitting a little hat for a preemie baby:
|1.||Patons Beehive Baby Sport||Sport weight, acrylic-nylon blend|
|2.||Bernat Softee Baby Yarn||Light worsted weight, acrylic|
|3.||Berroco Comfort DK||DK weight, superfine acrylic-nylon blend|
|4.||Peter Pan Baby Knitting Yarn||DK weight, acrylic-nylon blend|
|5.||Lion Brand Babysoft Yarn||Light (3) weight, acrylic blend|
Read on to pick the best for your little loved one!
1. Patons Beehive Baby Sport
This incredibly soft yarn is a sport weight fingering yarn. It is an easy-care yarn that is machine washable.
It is made from a blend of 70% acrylic and 30% nylon, featuring the best of both.
Patons Beehive Baby Sport yarn is available in a range of pastel colors and is great to use to make baby hats, blankets and garments.
It is soft and lightweight, but still durable. It keeps in warmth but still allows for breathability.
2. Bernat Softee Baby Yarn
Bernat is the perfect go-to yarn for the whole family, but the Softee Baby Yarn range is absolutely wonderful to use for preemie babies.
It is available in a wide range of baby shades, with both solid and ombre colors available.
The yarn has been tested for over 300 harmful chemicals and substances and has been ruled completely safe to use on soft, sensitive baby skin.
It is machine washable and dryable, allowing for easy care. The yarn has a light sheen and is made from 100% acrylic, meaning it is long-lasting.
For a reliable, soft and safe yarn, this is one of the greatest options around.
3. Berroco Comfort DK
This comfort yarn collection by Berroco is popular among avid knitters. The soft fiber blend found with Berroco yarns has been developed into this DK weight yarn. It is the perfect blend of 50% acrylic and 50% nylon fibers.
It is lightweight and non-allergenic, which makes it great to use for sensitive preemie skin.
The yarn is available in a wide range of colors so you can get quite creative with the preemie hats you make!
4. Peter Pan Baby Knitting Yarn
This wonderfully colored ball of yarn is a great option for beanie hats. It is DK weight and the ball measures 50 grams.
It is made from a blend of 55% nylon and 45% acrylic. It is easy to wash in a machine and holds its shape and size well.
The blend of acrylic and nylon make the yarn soft, durable and easy to clean. It is gentle on sensitive baby skin and will serve well when being used as yarn to make preemie hats.
5. Lion Brand Babysoft Yarn
Everyone loves Lion Brand yarn, and this Babysoft variation gives you more reason to do so.
While it is a cotton and acrylic blend yarn, it is incredibly soft and can be machine washed and dried.
The sport weight yarn is available in beautiful pastel colors.
It is a ball of affordable wool but still offers great quality, warmth, and comfort. It is easy to knit with and holds its shape and size well, even after repeated wearing.
This is a reliable yarn to use for preemie babies, and you could make many beanie hats thanks to its affordability.
I suggested a similar yarn in my popular guide to the best yarn for baby booties!
Tips For Knitting For Preemies
Knitting items for preemie babies isn’t as simple as making patterns for babies smaller. These precious little ones have certain needs that need to be considered when creating items for them. Many people choose to knit preemie items for charity, it is a great cause and the items are fairly quick and easy to make. Here are some more things to think about:
- Yarn used for preemie babies should be warm, soft, washable and hypoallergenic. Acrylic, cotton and similar yarns are the best choices.
- Preemie babies in the NICU need baby hats and blankets more than any other items. Booties and socks are also helpful, to keep their little feet warm.
- Sweaters aren’t so useful for babies in NICU, as they are often connected up to wires and tubes. However, they are a great leaving gift for babies when it is time for them to go home.
- Diaper covers are also useful for babies in NICU, they are usually too small to wear any clothes, so preemie hats and preemie diaper covers are sometimes the only things they can wear.
- Don’t try and wing the size of a preemie hat. Instead, use a pattern or a size guide to ensure the hat you make isn’t too small or too large.
Simple Preemie Hat Pattern
If you want to get started on knitting some simple preemie hats, here is an easy pattern to try.
What you need:
• 1 ball 4 ply wool (for 3 beanies)
• Size 4 or 6 needles (depending on the size of the beanie)
1. Cast on 60 sts. K1 P1 for 6 rows.
2. Stockinette stitch for 10 rows.
3. 17th row: K2tog, K 8, K2tog, repeat to end of the row
4. 18th row: Purl to end
5. 19th row: K2tog, K 7, K2tog, repeat to end of the row
6. 20th row: Purl to end
7. 21st row: K2tog, K6, K2tog, repeat to end of the row
8. Carry on with this until 31st row
9. 31st row: K2tog 6 times
10. 32nd row: Cast off and sew together
Preemie Hat Size Chart
To better understand how to create the right size beanie for a preemie, you need to know the different sizes. Here is a size chart to help you make the right size preemie beanie:
Preemie (4.5-5lbs) – Head circumference 12’’ – Hat height 4.5’’
Preemie (5.5-6.5 lbs) – Head circumference 13’’ – Hat height 5’’
Newborn – Head circumference 14’’ – Hat height 6’’
Baby 3-6 months – Head circumference 17’’ – Hat height 7’’
Use the right size needles for the yarn you choose and keep a measuring tape close by to carefully measure the hat as you go. This will ensure you have the right size beanie to gift or donate to a preemie baby.
Knitting For Charity
For many, knitting is a hobby that can translate into helping others along the way. There are many organizations available to join which consist of knitters and crocheters creating pieces to help others.
One of the most popular types of organization like this is knitting for preemies. Nobody plans for a preemie, so finding yourself with a tiny baby one day is incredibly tough. More often than not, parents aren’t prepared for a preemie, and it is really difficult, and expensive, to buy preemie clothes that actually fit.
That is where many knitters step in to make and donate preemie hats and items for little babies in need. These preemie hats, blankets, and diaper covers might seem like a small gesture, but they really do help to make the babies more comfortable during their NICU stay, and it helps parents of the preemies know that there are people out there willing to help them and their new baby.
If you are looking to join one of these amazing organizations, look online for one near you and find out the best way to register or donate. It is a great way to give back to your community, while doing what you love – knitting!
Best Yarn for Preemie Hats
Finding clothes that fit preemie babies is really tricky, not to mention that most preemies cant actually wear clothes due to being wired up in NICU. This is why a preemie hat can be such an important piece of clothing for them.
A preemie hat offers warmth and comfort and helps preemies better regulate their heat. They add some personality and fun to a preemie in hospital as well.
It is important however to pick the right yarn for preemie hats, as some might be too stiff, not washable or too warm. There are some wonderful yarns available that work well when used to make preemie hats, and many of them are affordable, allowing you to knit numerous hats to donate to a charity or hospital.
Preemies are brought into the world a little early, and deserve some extra love and comfort, so why not get started on a preemie hat knitting project today? It will keep you busy and it is serving a wonderful purpose.
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