If you’re like many crocheters and knitters, you love making gifts for babies. These projects are relatively small and portable, so they’re fun to make year round, and these gifts are loved and cherished by parents and babies alike.
Here are three tips for making amazing baby gifts every time!
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Choose the right yarn
Accessories, garments, and blankets for newborns, infants, and toddlers generally need to be washed frequently. Choosing yarns that can be both machine washed and dried allow for the most versatility.
- Cotton is a breathable, plant based fiber. Cotton typically shrinks, but washing in cold water and machine drying on a low heat setting can reduce the shrinkage. For parents concerned about eco-impact, there are many organic options available, as well as undyed and low-impact dye options.
- Bamboo is another breathable, plant based fiber. Bamboo is said to have antibacterial properties. On its own, it is difficult to wash and often loses its shape, so it best when combined with washable wool to create a more elastic yarn that is appropriate for babies.
- Acrylic is a synthetic fiber that holds up to washing and drying. Colors don’t fade over time. Acrylic is less expensive than natural fibers, so it is a great option for larger projects like blankets.
- Wool is making a comeback for baby projects. A natural animal fiber, wool is breathable, elastic, and has great stitch definition. Choose a superwash or machine washable wool yarn that has been chemically treated to prevent felting, or felt your crochet or knit project after finishing it to create a dense and cozy project.
Many “baby yarns” are blends that combine the best elements of some of these different fibers while also reducing cost and making the final project washable. (Other “baby yarns” are just regular yarns in pastel colors, so be sure to check the labels!)
Other “baby yarns” are light weight (or DK) yarns. Although projects in thicker yarns can make cuddly toys and blankets, garments in thinner yarns allow newborns and infants a great range of motion.
If the parents have a registry, consider selecting yarns that match or coordinate with colors in the nursery. If the gender isn’t yet known (or shared), consider gender-neutral colors. Don’t feel restricted to yellows and whites; experiment with contemporary color combinations like teal and chocolate, rainbow colors, or several greens.
Babies enjoy chewing on everything, including handmade gifts! Make sure to weave in ends carefully with a yarn needle to avoid unraveling.
When making toys, avoid buttons or plastic eyes. Use embroidery to decorate facial expressions. Avoid fringes, chain or icord ties, or other stringy adornments that can present a choking or strangulation hazard.
Prepare your project for gifting
Many parents will avoid using handmade gifts because they worry about damaging these treasured items in the wash. When giving handmade baby gifts, always include care instructions. You can download and print my free care instructions tags, order sew-in labels, or include the yarn ball band inside of a card.
Although many parents will wash gifts before use with a baby detergent, consider washing your project before gifting it anyway. If you smoke, have pets, or have been working on the project while commuting or traveling, washing will reduce the presence of germs, strong odors, dust, and dander.
By keeping these tips in mind, you will be able to crochet and knit wonderful items for babies that can be enjoyed and passed down for years to come!