What baby hat should I make, and with what materials?
November 29, 2020 12:12 PM   Subscribe

I would like to handmake a cute winter hat for an infant, out of maximally soft, stretchy, warm materials. Sewing, knitting, crochet, or [other?] are all options. What should I make?

My preference would be for a design that looks unique and high-quality (so I guess natural materials like alpaca/ silk/ angora/ fur might be better, although I could go for a nice stretch minky if such a thing exists).

I am fairly experienced at sewing, and have basic 3-project-level experience with knitting, crochet, and embroidery.

I have tried searching both Pinterest and Etsy, and was immediately overwhelmed by all the options. This feels more like a knitting project to me (?), but while I'm OK at eyeballing a sewing pattern and estimating how hard it'd be to complete at my skill level, I don't have the same ability to assess feasibility for knitting and crochet.

Ideas? Suggestions? Thanks in advance!
posted by Bardolph to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This shadow hat is one of my favorites for a baby - super stretchy and super cute!

However I think this cable hat is my all-time favorite - I made one for myself in adult size and it's my go-to winter hat, and I made a baby one for a friend and her kid LOVED it. I'm planning on making my baby one just as soon as she tolerates hats.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:34 PM on November 29, 2020

Baby hats are very easy to knit - if you have done any knitting you will probably be fine. Cables are a little more tricky than other stitches, but not much. Others will give you pattern links, but you can go on Ravelry and search the most popular patterns.

On material, steer clear of alpaca, which can be scratchy. You might want to be careful with other fluffy yarns (angora, fur) which can also irritate sensitive skin. Silk does not stretch so you'd need it in a blend. Superwash (machine washable) very soft wools or wool blends work well for baby hats. For warmth you could go lined/ double layer (reversible), which is about the same difficulty if not easier than a normal hat.
posted by neatsocks at 12:42 PM on November 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

I’m a big fan of Mishka! There’s both a cabled and no cable version and there’s no shaping at the crown, so it should be more than feasible at your skill level.
posted by bettafish at 12:47 PM on November 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

Regarding yarns, I am a huge fan of possum wool. It is super-warm, super-light and super-soft. You'd probably only need one skein (if that) to do a baby hat.
posted by rednikki at 12:53 PM on November 29, 2020 [4 favorites]

I love the Purl Soho free hat patterns.

The Garter Ear Flap baby hat is very cute. I made it and it turned out well. I’d say this is an intermediate level hat. You will need to do short rows, which are easy to learn from YouTube tutorials if you don’t already know how to do them.

Little Fair Isle Hat: advanced skills because of the Fair Isle, but I’d say at your knitting level, if you don’t already know how to do Fair Isle/ stranded knitting, you can teach yourself via Youtube. It’s easier than it looks, and the payoff is so worth it because the end result is so impressive, especially to non-knitters.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:04 PM on November 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

As for the fibre: you said you’d like high-end, stretchy and soft. A luxurious merino will meet all those and is unlikely to be irritating to the baby. The only downside is it absolutely can’t go in the washing machine. The upside is baby hats don’t need frequent washing, and when they absolutely need to be washed, you can do it in 30 seconds by putting a small amount of baby shampoo in a sink of cool water, squeezing the suds through, rinsing the suds out under cool running water, squeezing the water out gently and laying flat to dry. If you think your friend would be willing to follow those washing guidelines then I’d go with a luxury merino.

(I don’t tend to like superwash merino even though it’s tempting because of the softness and washability factor. Superwash wools can grow horrifically, and a cute baby sized hat can suddenly become a hat for a giant when you wash it. There’s some superwash that doesn’t do that, but I’ve been unpleasantly surprised too many times, even by high end superwash wools. I avoid it now, and instead I go with a high quality acrylic or blend for parents who don’t wish to hand wash. Berroco Vintage wool/acrylic blend is excellent and comes in lots of weights and colours with some very pretty subtly heathered yarns in there.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:18 PM on November 29, 2020

FYI, most items made with superwash will bounce back if you put it in the dryer like you would with anything else.

I really like this pattern and have made it for my own kids as well as kids of friends. I usually leave off the buttoned neckband and make I-cord ties instead.

Stella Pixie Hat
posted by fancyoats at 4:18 PM on November 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

Bear hat.
posted by brook horse at 5:34 PM on November 29, 2020 [1 favorite]

some of my most favorite pics of my babies were of them wearing this strawberry hat.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:35 PM on November 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

As a knitter and the mother of a 3 year old and soon a 2nd baby, alpaca can be beautifully soft but it has zero stretch recovery. Anything you make from alpaca will grow and never shrink back.

I'd go with a very soft washable blend. I made some mittens from HiKoo® by skacel Sueño Worsted last winter and they're soft, durable and easy to work with.
posted by The Librarian at 6:59 PM on November 29, 2020

I forgot about materials! Super important - nobody with a baby is going to have time for something that isn't machine washable/dryable. I say that as a knitter AND as a parent to an almost 5 month old.

I use Knitpicks mighty stitch-worsted for most of my baby projects now. It has nice stitch definition, super soft, lots of color options, and machine wash/dryable.
posted by DoubleLune at 4:11 AM on November 30, 2020

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