Knitting Patterns for Premature Babies

Children’s clothes are among the most popular crochet projects, both for new and experienced knitters. Patterns for sweaters, hats, mittens and bootees are all over the internet. But few pattern-makers have created knitting patterns for premature babies, who need them just as much, if not more. But that was a few years ago. Today, preemie clothes have a much larger presence in the knitting community. Whether it’s your child or someone else’s, there’s no better gift for these little babies than one you made yourself.

One important thing to remember is that premature babies tend to have sensitive skin. This means you can’t just use any yarn from the craft store. Take your time to choose the softest, most comfortable yarn you can find, preferably made from all-natural and organic fibers. They may be more expensive, but that’s just a fact with preemie clothing. If you’re not sure, have your project approved by the parents before starting out. It does ruin the surprise element, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Most experts recommend using thin, pure merino wool. Baby alpaca wool also works well but is a little warmer, so it may be too hot in areas with mild winters (but would be perfect for those born up north). Some babies are allergic to wool, however, so again, it’s best to ask. If this is the case, Egyptian cotton is a great alternative—as an added perk, it can insulate when it’s cold and get breathable when it’s hot. Acrylic yarn is a cheaper but less comfortable alternative.

Sizing is also important. Premature babies are small, but even then their size can vary widely. Chest measurements are usually between eight and 14 inches, and lengths are about 18 inches. You can measure the baby yourself, but usually it’ll do just to make it a little bigger than your estimate. Slightly oversized clothes are still usable, plus the baby will have time to grow into it. The length is fairly easy to adjust; you can just add or subtract rounds as you go along.

Hats and mittens are great if you’re a beginner or just don’t have time for a large project. If you think the baby has enough clothes (it’s a popular gift, after all), try making a blanket or playing mat. They’re just as easy to make and don’t require as much planning as clothing items. Stick to bright, happy colors—remember, these babies are struggling and need all the positivity they can get!

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