Hand-knits for babies are one of the loveliest handmade items you can create. They’re welcomed as great gifts, made with love for a new arrival, and they can be passed on to other babies – or even the next generation – once they’re outgrown.
Knitting baby clothes and toys is also satisfying because small items knit up quickly, and they’re just so cute!
When picking patterns for babies, bear in mind that new parents generally want machine-washable yarns; when you’re sleep-deprived there’s no time for handwashing!
The patterns are by reputable designers and can be found on the websites of yarn manufacturers, craft suppliers and the designers themselves. Each of these sites offers more free patterns, as well as patterns to purchase.
Some of the patterns are in PDF form, so you need to download them, unless you like to knit in front of your laptop. You can open the PDF, then save it on your computer, or save it directly to your computer, then open it. (You need to have Adobe software to view a PDF file. Download the free software here.)
A lovely alternative to a teddy bear, this gossypium cotton rabbit toy, designed by Erika Knight, is knitted in garter stitch, and its shape is achieved simply by decreasing and increasing. It’s finished off with an embroidered face, pom-pom tail and a smart ribbon bow.
Download the knitted bunny pattern without registering.
Debbie Bliss is one of the UK’s most published knitting designers, with over 35 books to her name. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2015 honours list for services to hand-knitting and the craft industry.
One of her designs is this sporty little baseball jacket, which has contrast sleeves, with striped collar and cuffs. It’s knitted in stocking stitch and moss stitch. The pattern comes in sizes to fit three months to two years.
Download the baseball jacket PDF pattern without registering.
A simple design by Debbie Bliss, who also appreciates how quick to knit baby patterns are, saying: 'I prefer to knit simple baby knits or accessories because I have so little time to knit for my family or myself.’
The self-striping yarn creates the random patterning for this pull-on hat, knitted on a circular needle. The pattern is sized to fit babies from three to 12 months, and uses just one ball of cotton DK yarn.
Download the stripy hat PDF pattern without registering.
Wrap up warm
Knit a little blanket to welcome a new baby. This pattern is designed by Erika Knight, a highly respected knitwear designer, with her own yarn range, whose mission is to make knitting simple. It’s knitted in stocking stitch, edged in garter stitch, with the baby’s initial worked in reverse stocking stitch in the centre from the alphabet chart provided.
The finished blanket measures approx. 50cm/193⁄4in wide x 70cm/273⁄4in long. Download the knitted blanket pattern without registering.
This smart stripy classic cardigan with a three-quarter-length raglan sleeve comes in two sizes to fit newborn to three months, and three to six months. Suitable for intermediate knitters, it’s knitted on circular needles in stocking stitch.
Independent designer Louise Tilbrook would be very grateful if you’d consider making a donation to Bliss, the charity that helps premature and sick babies.
You'll need to register on the Love Knitting website – free – to download the cardigan PDF pattern.
Bootees with bows
Known for her novelty knits, designer Susie Johns has also written books on papercraft, jewellery-making and embroidery. These ribbon-tied bootees are so pretty, and they’re a great way to use up your yarn stash, as you can knit two pairs from one ball of yarn.
Knitted in garter stitch, so it’s suitable for beginners, the pattern comes in three sizes: three to six months, six to nine months and nine to 12 months.
You'll need to register on the Let’s Knit website – free – to download the bootees with bows PDF pattern.
Knit this gorgeous beanie topped with a cute pair of rabbit ears, designed by Andrea McHugh to fit babies from newborn to nine months. The two-colour pattern, suitable for beginners, is worked in stocking stitch, using two 50g balls of Rowan Fine Bouclé yarn, a British wool.
You'll need to register on the Rowan website – free – to download the rabbit beanie PDF pattern.
This heartwarming motif jumper, with contrasting hem and cuffs, is ideal for inexperienced knitters or as a quick knit for the more advanced. It comes in five sizes: newborn to three months, three to six months, six to 12 months, one to two years, and three to four years. The word ‘love’ is worked in Swiss darning; instructions are included.
You'll need to register on the Make It Coats website – free – to download the jumper PDF pattern.
These turned-over cuff booties, knitted in fluffy Sirdar Snuggly Snowflake Chunky yarn, are soft and cosy for bare baby feet (also includes three other shoe patterns), and they’re a ‘one-ball wonder’, taking a single ball of yarn. The pattern (which includes three other shoe and bootee patterns) comes in three sizes: newborn to six months, six to 12 months and one to two years.
Download the booty pattern without registering.
Keep a little one cosy with this striped raglan-sleeved hoodie, designed by Martin Storey, an influential knitting designer who learnt to knit at primary school. It’s worked in stocking stitch using three yarn colours. The pattern has three sizes: newborn to three months, three to six months, six to 12 months, and 12 to 18 months, and includes left- and right-hand buttoning details for girls and boys.
Download the hoodie pattern from McAree Brothers without registering.