Aug 17, 2010

Simple Knits For Babies: Hats

In the last year or so, I’ve noticed a trend – the women around me are all having babies! From close friends to acquaintances to friends-of-friends, there have been at least a dozen babes born in the last year, with no sign of slowing as more and more gals I know are sending out “we’re expecting!” e-mails and Facebook status updates!

In the past, I’ve been able to keep up with my desire to knit an entire room’s worth of clothing and blankets for each new babe I hear of, but with everyone I know suddenly giving birth, I’ve had to temper back my desire to clothe every baby I may ever meet, and settle into a “new baby kit” sort of routine.

The easiest gifts for me to knit for babes are hats. After working my way through One Hundred Hats over the last year, I’ve become a wiz at knocking out a hat from start to finish in just under a day, and with baby hats it takes a mere few hours, thanks to the small size. What I love about baby hats {besides their quick time} is that I can rock out more than just pale blues and pinks thanks to a plethora of baby-friendly yarns hitting my local craft stores. And with a few basic patterns under my belt, I always have a baby hat either on or just off the needles.

Below are my four favorite baby hat patterns. I love them for their minimalist tendencies: all are freely available, all use worsted weight yarn, and all are gender-neutral so you can whip them up for a boy or a girl. Plus, each pattern is easy to remember after the first few lines, so you might not need to keep the pattern handy!  
{listed as shown in photo from left to right}

Noggin Hat. This hat is the newest to be added to my baby-hat repertoire. In the photo above, I extended out the point of the hat so that it could wrap around the babe more for a photographer, but usually I make the pattern as stated. This is the perfect understated hat for a babe whose parents love them some classic lines and are all about dressing their kid in understated basics.

Mock Cabled Hat. For quite some time I only knit this hat up for little girls, due to what I thought were very delicate cables. Then I whipped one up in a deep red, and was smitten – this hat is perfect for a boy or a girl! I love the idea of girl/boy twins rocking this hat – one in hot pink and the other in sapphire blue – for birth announcements.

Little Boy Blue. Simple ribs are the best way to go if you want a hat that can be worn for months and months. I tend to knit this one up for babes that have been born a bit early {and are therefore a bit smaller} or for babes born at the tail-end of fall, giving them more time to wear a warm hat as the weather turns cold.

Cabled Baby Hat. I tend to make the 10-cable version, as I love the gaggle of cables it creates. This is my go-to hat for spring/early summer babes. They may not be able to wear it for long due to most babies’ fast-growing tendencies, but while they’re rocking it, it looks so good!

The super double-bonus part of these hats? I can knit one of each from one skein of Caron’s Simply Soft yarn and have enough left over for a pom or two to top the hats off! This means I can whip out four different hats using the same yarn – perfect for charity knitting, or for knitting hats for quadruplets {which is who the four hats pictured were for}!

If you’re like me, and you have a bunch of new babies on the way in your friendship circle, cranking out a few of these at a time can increase the odds those babes will end up with something handmade, and it will up your “awesome Auntie” factor for sure! And to all you friends out there having babes soon? Please act shocked and surprised when one of these hats turns up in your gift package!

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