Skip to content

Baby Knits 101

March 27, 2015

When I knit my first baby sweater for Hunter I didn’t know very much about knitting for babies. It was a yellow February Baby Sweater (pattern by EZ) and it was a fabulous bright yellow. I brought it to knit night to show it off and a woman told me I shouldn’t have knit yellow, it looks terrible on babies and brings out their jaundice…it was a bit crushing.

Since then Emily and I have produced four little ones between us and while that woman was wrong (all my littles look just fine in yellow, and anyone can wear any colour they want) Em and I have learned a thing or two about knitting for babies. Here are our words of wisdom!

Always knit a size up!

Always knit a size up!

1. Size Up

Just knit one tiny sweater. One sweater that will fit them in those first days when you show your babe off to everyone. Then knit everything 1 size bigger than you think. Projects don’t always get finished in the timely fashion you intend and babies grow, just knit the size up and you’ll be fine.

LOOOOONG cuffs for toddler mittens

LOOOOONG cuffs for toddler mittens

2. Long Cuffs for Mittens

This one is more for toddlers but knit the cuffs long. Really long. They need to go almost to the elbow so that the mitten stays on that tiny little hand, and keeps cold and snow from getting at them.

Prairie Fire

Short sleeve sweaters are awesome!

3. Short Sleeved Sweaters are Awesome

Babies are all about the layers. They need their little arms free to flail about and they are always wearing a onesie under everything. Short sleeved sweaters keep their little bodies warm and their arms free, it is a great match.

4. Superwash Wool is Perfect

Babies can wear wool (yes, a select few will have an actual allergy, but I’m talking general rule here). People were ALWAYS telling me babies can’t wear wool or I needed acrylic for washability. I don’t. I don’t even need superwash (although if I’m gifting I do go with superwash), I hand wash little things all the time and it doesn’t take forever and it is fine.

5. Babies can wear Pullovers… Don’t be a Wuss

Need I say more? It just takes 3 seconds to get it over their squirmy heads and then it’s over. Don’t be a wuss.


6. Newborn heads really are that small… and baby heads really are that big 3 months later! 

Don’t knit newborn hats for summer babies…

7. Back neck shaping is not needed on a baby sweater!!!

They simply don’t have necks. You know that they will have necks eventually but as you can see…the really little ones just don’t.

See? No neck here!

See? No neck here!

8. Wool sweaters are absorptive… perfect for drooly and barfy babies! 

They soak up all the nasty stuff! Wool has antibacterial properties so you are good to go!

So go forth an knit for babies…and keep your eyes peeled for some new wee knits from TCK…coming soon!

Do you have any great baby knitting tips to share?  Share your ideas for a chance to win a Munchkin Jelly Bean Reversible Sling! Want to know all about our new collection the second it comes out?  Say hello on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Ravelry!

Tin Can Knits on FacebookTin Can Knits on Instagram Tin Can Knits on Twitter Tin Can Knits on Pinterest Tin Can Knits Email Updates Tin Can Knits on Ravelry

Favourite baby knits from TCK:

19 Comments leave one →
  1. March 23, 2021 3:38 am

    Thanks for sharing this article, this will help me out regarding baby mittens for my little one.

  2. April 3, 2015 1:12 am

    i really like that post, so funny and so true ! And by the way, i really appreciate your work, teaching and designing.

  3. Helen Schendel/ Nellie on ravelry permalink
    March 29, 2015 1:07 pm

    I can’t wait for your new book. Have two baby sweaters on my challenge list. Your patterns are the best ever.

  4. Sue permalink
    March 29, 2015 7:46 am

    Love these tips – entertaining and oh-so-practical!

  5. March 28, 2015 4:21 pm

    I really appreciated the tips in this column. I haven’t attempted a sweater yet, although I picked up the Gramps pattern (and the Road Trip book) at Knit City 2014 and will take the plunge eventually.

  6. March 28, 2015 2:39 pm

    so right on! and such luverly photos of those babes & todds – thanks TCK!

  7. CarrieC permalink
    March 28, 2015 12:47 pm

    Wool is fine and dandy, but for people knitting on the cheap there are DK acyclic yarn. I’m knitting Michaels brand baby yarn for the Flax sweater (my first sweater). The color choice is slim, but enough yardage for a baby and or toddler sweater. Hobby Lobby has baby yarn and DK acyclic too.

  8. March 28, 2015 1:34 am

    Such a joyful positive – and sensible – post! I’m planning to knit Old Growth for a friend’s baby, and have been dithering about finding acrylic or superwash wool. This is just the advice I needed to help me make up my mind. Go for some really beautiful yarn for this beautiful cardi –
    Time to get knitting!!

    • March 29, 2015 11:44 am

      I knit all of Max’s wee sweaters in superwash wool, and they went through the washing machine MANY times. I live in the UK, so we don’t have a dryer, so I can’t comment on how they would hold up through many dryings, but with just the wash it was fine. Plus, the knitting is much more pleasurable in a lovely wool than it is in acrylic!

    • CarrieC permalink
      March 30, 2015 12:07 pm

      I would put it on the air dry setting on the dryer. Beat hanging it outside, unless you’re into that. Timing is a guessing game.

  9. March 27, 2015 5:53 pm

    This is the best post ever! I totally agree with each point. I’m nodding aggressively as I read this, short sleeves, long cuffs on mittens, hand washing, don’t be a wuss! Love it!

  10. Elizabeth permalink
    March 27, 2015 5:08 pm

    Great post. Thank you for all the great tips!

  11. Emily permalink
    March 27, 2015 4:45 pm

    Love your points about wool. In addition it is much safer than acrylic as it is naturally fire resistant.

    Also what a meanie in your knitting group. Babies look great in every color!

  12. March 27, 2015 4:22 pm

    Great tips ! It is just too bad they are growing so quickly, right ? Mine are too big now, but I still enjoy knitting for other people’s babies.

  13. March 27, 2015 2:37 pm

    These are excellent tips, and a few of them I would never have thought of.

    • March 27, 2015 2:37 pm

      Ok. I wouldn’t have thought of any of them. ;-)

  14. Julie Huntsman permalink
    March 27, 2015 1:45 pm

    May I ask what the name of the darling green short sleeve sweater is?
    Thanks Julie

  15. Missy's Crafty Mess permalink
    March 27, 2015 12:55 pm

    Great advice and I so agree with the yellow on babies.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: