Hats for premature babies


Thirty or so years ago, I had a premature baby. I have vivid memories of him lying in his incubator dressed in his nappy, a tiny knitted hat and a pair of little booties.

I wondered at the time who knitted these little hats and booties. Now I know. They are knitted by wonderful people who give their knitting time for these tiny, vulnerable babies who were meant to be still tucked inside their mummy, all safe and warm.

I was so happy when a friend asked me recently to help her make some preemie baby hats for her local hospital. They only take a few hours to knit and one of the fun parts is choosing from the bits of left over machine washable, merino baby wool from my stash and then deciding which pattern to use.  They are a great little fill-in project for when you are still in the planning stage of your next big one or when you want something to knit in the car and your current project is too intricate, or is at the picking up stitches stage or seaming stage.

My daughter who has a small baby and is a novice knitter, even found the time to make one of these little hats for the hospital. She made the little green one with the garter stitch hem in the centre of the photo.

My friend mentioned last week that her local hospital now needs booties.

I have used a few different patterns for these hats.

UPDATED August 2015 (one more in grey for the hospital)

DSC_0027 (1)

Pattern site – Andycrafts (free premature baby patterns)
Pattern – Hats for Premature babies (4ply and DK)
Yarn – Shepherds baby wool merino, Cleckheaton merino bambino 4ply and Rowan Baby merino silk DK
Link to Ravelry project here and here

Pattern book – Patons Newborn Collection
Pattern – Jessica
Yarn – Shepherd Baby Wool Merino 4ply
Link to Ravelry here

Pattern book – Knit lace and leaves for baby
Pattern – Leaf pattern hat
Yarn – Shepherd Baby Wool Merino 4ply
Link to Ravelry here



  1. When my son was born six weeks premature 11 years ago, one of the first things I noticed when I first went to see him was that he had on a tiny hand knit hat. He was so small, yet that hat fit him perfectly. After he finally came home and we settled in, I felt that I wanted to donate preemie hats to that hospital. I had learned how to knit and crochet from my grandmother, but never moved beyond the very basics. This new project gave me motivation. All totaled, between two hospitals, I made 300 hats in two years. Sadly, eventually each hospital dropped the ball because at one point I found myself with no one to deliver the hats to. Sad. After that, I continued with both knitting and crochet. Found myself a local group, then ravelry came on the scene. Currently I am making lapghans for nursing homes and will look to restart the preemie hats as I just met someone who does that in my area. Oh, my son grew too big for his hat and now it’s a treasured Christmas tree ornament. Each year when I unwrap it, I marvel at how small it really is and where it has led me throughout the years.

    1. What a beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing. Our local hospital has requested little singlets at the moment. I love knitting for people who really need our little hand knits. I have also recently done some adult hats for our country’s homeless.

      1. Funny how things eventually connect in our lives… I am hoping that homeless veterans find their way to your hats. I’ve done chemo hats and I have friends who are with a church that feeds the needy on Christmas Eve. Every year we make something to give out for presents. Our group has made scarves, pins, hats. Each year it’s something different. Knitting for those who really need it make it worth while for me. I love your little hats.

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