Crocheting for babies is satisfying. The small size of the work means that you can finish projects quickly. The softness of the required yarn is a tactile pleasure. Plus, it is so satisfying to know that you’re helping a little one start out their life with the love from a handmade item. Whether you’re crocheting for your own baby, someone you know or to donate to charity, there are a few things that you should know when you start to crochet for little ones. With the right yarn, stitches and project choices, your efforts in baby crochet will go a long way.
Choosing Yarn for Baby Crochet
Although you can technically crochet items for babies using any yarn that you have available, it is best if you’re a little bit more selective when crocheting for little ones. You want to think about two main factors: what is going to feel best on baby’s skin and what is going to be most convenient for new parents. Yarn weight is a final thing to take into consideration.
Fiber Choices for Baby Crochet
Babies have that wonderful tender skin that is such a pleasure to brush against; we want to make sure that the fibers we use for them are kind to that skin! You want yarn that is super soft to the touch, something that won’t feel “scratchy” on even the youngest of skin. Cotton can be used for babies, as can other natural fibers, but more commonly you’ll find that baby yarn is made from a very soft acrylic.
Is This Yarn Healthy for Baby?
Many people are concerned about using synthetic yarn for babies because they want to keep their kids chemical-free. One of the things that you can look for is the OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certification. These yarns have been tested for (and are free of) 300+ potentially harmful substances, so you can feel safe using them. Red Heart has many different yarns that have passed this test including Baby Hugs and Bunches of Hugs.
Washability is a Factor with Baby Crochet
There are so many wonderful soft yarn options out there but many of them require hand washing. As anyone who has cared for a baby knows, they get their items dirty quickly and often. Most new parents don’t want the extra hassle of hand washing all of their baby’s items, so it is important to make sure that you use yarn that can be washed (and ideally also dried) by machine. This is especially important when crocheting gifts or baby items for charity donations. Red Heart Baby Hugs, Cutie Pie, and Gumdrop can all be washed and dried by machine. Do note that a yarn doesn’t have to be labeled specifically for baby to meet the criteria for a good baby yarn: Red Heart Dreamy, With Love and even Super Saver are all great baby yarn choices.
Yarn Weight for Babies
There are baby crochet items made in every weight of yarn, from the finest thread to the bulkiest roving. The thicker yarn options are a nice choice when making baby items that need to be really cozy, especially blankets and winter wear. When seeking a lighter option, go for a size 3 DK weight yarn in a comfortably soft fiber.
Little Lamb by Michele Wilcox
The Best Stitches when Crocheting for Babies
You will find crochet baby patterns made with every stitch imaginable, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. However, if you want to make the best baby items, you might want to think about being a little more selective with your stitches. On the one hand, you might not want baby’s hands to be able to easily slip through openwork crochet and tear at it; on the other hand, you might want to give baby a lot of texture to play with. Weather considerations are also important – how breezy or warm do you want the item to be for baby?
Openwork Crochet Stitches and Babies
You might not want to choose lacy stitch patterns for babies if it means that the item is going to be too delicate. Of course, it’s nice for baby to have a few special items – a lacy Easter dress or Christening gown, for example – but for everyday items you want something that the little one can tug and tear at without much risk of damage. The more openwork the design, the more likely that baby fingers are going to slip through the holes; this can mean that intentional “holes” become actual holes and the work gets ruined. It can also mean more tangling for baby, which just becomes a hassle. Closed stitch patterns are, therefore, often a wise choice when crocheting for babies. Consider using single crochet rows instead of treble crochet, working with patterns like chevron and moss stitch instead of techniques like broomstick lace, and even choosing denser squares than the traditional open granny square.
Sweet Baby Hexagon Blanket by Shari White
Textured Crochet Stitches for Babies
The other part of stitch choice, though, is to remember that babies do like to have things to fiddle with, and exploring their worlds with their hands is a great way for them to grow. Densely textured stitches can feel great for baby to tug at; think bobbles and popcorns and puff stitches. Working in the back loop only to create ribbed crochet is an easy way to add texture without creating openwork spaces (especially if you use sc or hdc for the rows). Not every item crocheted for baby needs to last forever, so feel free to play with different options when making utilitarian items.
Keep it Safe for Baby
The key thing to keep in mind with both fiber and stitch choice is that you want this item to be comfortable and safe for the baby. Make sure there aren’t loose ends, embellishments that baby can tear off and stick in her mouth or any other little factors that make the item seem unsafe. When making toys, use embroidery for eyes instead of sewn-on ones, for example. When adding fringe to a blanket, make sure it’s thick and soft and not going to tear off easily.
What to Crochet for Babies
The variety of things that you can crochet for babies is truly endless. They need everything from burp cloths to blankets, shoes to hats, first holiday costumes to every day outfits. Baby items wear out quickly and are grown out of even faster, so the more the better when it comes to crafting for little ones. Consider the season that the item will be worn in; a heavy baby cocoon is cute but not if baby will outgrow it before the colder months set in. Also consider whether or not the item is easy to use; if you add a thousand snaps, mom or dad might not want to struggle to get baby into even the cutest of your handmade creations.
As a crocheter, you might find that you like to make a huge range of different stuff so that you never get bored or you may discover that you like crocheting only baby bonnets or crib blankets. Here are some baby crochet patterns to get you started.
Be My Baby Blanket by Nanette M. Seale is a top choice for crochet baby blankets, because it allows you to play with different types of stitches to create textured rows that baby will love to touch. Baby blankets are definitely among the most common items crochet for little ones, and this is just one of my great options to choose from.
Crochet Bear Hat and Diaper Cover by Michele Wilcox is a perfect set for a new baby. Babies need to keep warm so it is common to make crochet baby hats and animal hats are a favorite choice. The matching diaper cover creates a complete outfit!
Make these easy cute Crochet Baby Socks by Diane McKee to keep baby’s toes toasty warm.
Keep baby clean and cute at the same time by making Crochet Baby Bibs; these were designed by Rebecca J. Venton.
Colorful Striped Pullover by Cristina Mershon is a great choice for the first crochet sweater you make for a little one. It uses super basic stitches and shaping with pretty color changes to create a bold effect.
Find more great crochet baby patterns in the Red Heart ebook Shower Baby with Keepsake Gifts – free to download!