How to Make Hats for Premature Babies

Homemade baby gifts are a thoughtful way to show your excitement for a new baby. Unlike other more elaborate projects, baby hats knit up fairly quickly, and you can make several colours to go with multiple outfits. If the baby is premature, the hats will keep his head warm as he continues to adjust to life and grow stronger.

Determine your gauge. You can knit a hat for a premature baby in whatever yarn and needle size you prefer; however, you first need to knit a swatch, which will tell you your gauge. Cast on 20 stitches and knit for about 10 rows. Lay the piece flat and count how many stitches per inch you knit in your desired needle size and yarn weight.

Cast on 32 stitches if your gauge is three stitches per inch, 44 stitches per inch if it is four stitches per inch and 54 stitches if your gauge is five stitches per inch. Use circular needles, and put a place marker at the end of the row.

Knit in the round in your preferred rib stitch for about an inch. You could knit one, purl one for a tighter rib, or do a basic knit two, purl two.

Knit the hat with an even knit stitch for 2 inches.

Decrease stitches. If your gauge was three stitches per inch, knit two and knit two together for one row and then knit one row even. Knit two together for a row. If your gauge was four stitches per inch, knit two and knit two together. Knit even for two rows and then knit two together on your final row. For a five stitch per inch gauge, knit four and knit two together. Knit a row even. Knit three and knit two together. Knit another row even. Knit two and knit two together. Knit another row. Knit one and knit two together. Knit another row and finish by knitting two together for the last row.

Cut the yarn. With a tapestry needle, weave the yarn through the live stitches and pull them off the needle.

Pull the thread until the stitches bunch up to create the top of the hat.

Tie a knot and weave in your loose end.


Vary your colours if you would like. Switch colours every few rows to create a striped effect.


Avoid wool yarn because some babies, especially premature babies, are likely to be sensitive to it, and it could irritate their scalps.

Things You'll Need

  • Yarn -- acrylic or cotton blend
  • Circular knitting needles
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Tapestry needle
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About the Author

Katie Tonarely started writing professionally in 2008. Her work appears in the Springfield "News-Leader" and she provides consumer-related content for various websites. Tonarely received a Bachelor of Arts in English education with a minor in journalism from Evangel University in Springfield, Mo.