While many crocheters and knitters are focused on making handmade holiday gifts this time of year, others will find time to use their skills to provide a handmade hug for those in need. I’m sharing 30 free crochet and knitting patterns for preemie hats, which are small projects so it’s easy to make a few to contribute. Preemie hats are also a great way to use up small bits of yarn. If you’d like to get involved with Warm Up America‘s East African Preterm Birth Initiative (also known as Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies), send a preemie hat to Warm Up America by November 5, 2017! This post is part of my charity spotlight series, where I spotlight a charity that distributes crochet projects and share a free pattern suitable for donation to that organization.
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October’s Featured Charity Project: Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies
I’ve featured Warm Up America previously in the charity spotlight series when I shared the Piggyback Stitch Block crochet pattern. (You can find my other crochet pattern for a Warm Up America block here.) One of the things that I enjoy about Warm Up America as a charitable group that accepts handmade creations is that their website is always updated with their current needs. While they accept crocheted and knitted 7″ x 9″ (18 cm x 23 cm) blocks, finished blankets, hats and scarves for adults, and baby clothing all the time, they are currently hosting a campaign called Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies. This campaign coincides with a World Prematurity Event in San Francisco that will be attended by East African health ministers. Warm Up America is hoping to share 1,117 preemie hats with these ministers (since the event takes place on 11/17). You can read more about Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies, including instructions for where to mail/deliver your hats by November 5, 2017, here.
Tips for Making Great Preemie Hats
Choose an easy care, soft acrylic yarn since preemie heads are very sensitive. Many organizations (including Warm Up America) will recommend that you prewash any preemie donations with a non-scented or baby-friendly detergent before shipping. Other organizations (including Warm Up America) will stress the use of light color yarn.
Check with the group collecting hats for recommended sizing. For the Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies initiative, hats should be sized to fit 10″ (26 cm) to 12.5″ (32 cm) head circumference. Depending on the amount of stretch in your pattern, you may choose a hat circumference that is the same size as these measurements or slightly (about 1″/2.5 cm) smaller.
Weave in your ends securely with a yarn needle. Do not tie knots to finish off your yarn as these may unravel in the wash and also, knots can rub uncomfortably on a baby’s head.
Many organizations will recommend against adding embellishments like pom poms or buttons. Other groups will allow these embellishments, but use common sense. Large pom poms or buttons can add weight to the hat which may make it uncomfortable for a tiny baby to wear.
30 Free Crochet and Knitting Patterns for Preemie Hats
Roundup by Underground Crafter
Now that you know more about what makes a great preemie hat for donation, here is a roundup of 24 free crochet patterns and 6 free knitting patterns to get you started on a project for Warm Up America or another charity.
Twelve Underground Crafter crochet hat patterns can be used for this challenge.
Shown clockwise from top left corner:
- The Cluster Stitch Hat is available in 10 sizes. Use the newborn size.
- The C2C Pom Pom Hat is available in 9 sizes. Follow the instructions but make the straight edge of your square panel so that it measures 5” (13 cm) to 6.25” (16 cm) long instead. Do not attach the pom poms, as those are probably too heavy for a preemie.
- The Cuddly Soft Slouchy Hat is available in 10 sizes. Use the newborn size.
- The Aqua Ridge Slouchy Hat is available in 5 sizes. Use the newborn size.
- The Not Too Fussy Cap is available in 4 sizes. Use the newborn size.
- The Not Too Fussy Cap (Super Bulky Version) is available in 6 sizes. Use the newborn size.
- The Shimmering Frost Beanie is available in 3 sizes. Use the newborn size.
- The Pebble Stitch Hat is available in 7 sizes. Use the newborn size.
- The Under the Bridge Hat is available in 6 sizes. Use the newborn size.
- The Simple Spiral Beanie is available in 8 sizes. Use the newborn size.
- The Faux Mistake Rib Watchman’s Cap is available in 8 sizes. Use the newborn size.
- The Triangles Beanie is available in 8 sizes. Use the newborn size.
Here are twelve more crochet patterns for hats in preemie sizes that meet the Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies sizing guidelines. Shown clockwise from top left corner:
- Ocean Sea Shells Hat by Oombawka Design: This hat is available in 11 sizes, including preemie, and includes links to helpful video tutorials.
- Chunky-Like Preemie Granny Square Beanies by Eye Love Knots: This pattern is available in 4 preemie sizes, including the middle 2 that meet the Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies guidelines.
- Little Bitty Noggins by M2H Designs: Andee shares a personal story along with her preemie hat pattern.
- Preemie Hat by Petals to Picots: This pattern is available in 2 sizes, and the second size meets the Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies guidelines.
- Lavender Blue Baby Bonnet by Kirsten Holloway Designs: This pattern includes instructions for making a preemie version with #10 cotton thread.
- Apple of My Eye Preemie Hat by Janaya Chouinard: This cute little fruit hat is available in 3 preemie sizes.
- Wrapped with Love Preemie Hat by Janaya Chouinard: This feminine hat is available in 3 preemie sizes, including 2 that meet the Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies guidelines.
- Quick and Easy Preemie Hat by KT and the Squid: This simple pattern includes instructions for adding stripes.
- Simple Double Crochet Beanie by Oombawka Design: This pattern is available in 11 sizes, including a preemie size.
- Textured Beanie by The Stitchin’ Mommy: This pattern is available in 4 infant sizes, including 1 preemie size.
- Bottoms Up Double Crochet Beanie by Oombawka Design: This hat is available in 11 sizes, including a preemie size.
- Super Speedy Preemie Hat by Moogly: This pattern includes links to video tutorials for all of the special stitches.
I also found 6 knitting patterns that would work for the Tiny Hats for Tiny Babies initiative. Shown clockwise from top left corner:
- Garter Rib Beanie by Underground Crafter: This simple, stretchy pattern is available in 8 sizes. Use the newborn size and skip the pom pom, which may be too heavy for a preemie.
- Premature Baby Beanie by CraftBits: This stockinette hat starts with ribbing.
- Baby Bear Hat by Fiber Flux: This pattern is available in 2 infant sizes, including a preemie size, and links to the pattern for larger children and adult sizes.
- Simple Stripes Baby Hat by marianna’s lazy daisy days: This pattern is available in preemie and newborn sizes.
- Lightning Fast NICU and Preemie Hats by Fiber Flux: This pattern includes ribbed and roll brim variations and an optional flower applique.
- Preemie Baby Hats via Red Heart is no longer available. Try the Burlington Bulky Hat by Banana Moon Studio instead.