Let's start off your baby blanket right with helpful tips in this knitting guide. I've also included some links to some helpful baby blanket patterns.
Needles for a Baby Blanket
Conventionally, straight knitting needles are used for baby blankets. For larger blanket projects like full-sized afghans the project will have to either be split into strips or done on circular needles to accommodate the width.
But for the typical width of a infant-sized blanket straight needles are usually just fine for fitting the whole length.
Choose needles within one size of the size recommended for the yarn weight. If you need help selecting yarn, read on below.
Yarn for a Baby Blanket
The yarn you choose for your blanket will play a big part in how the final project looks and feels. When shopping for yarn you want to take into account the weight, the color and what material it will be made from.
I recommend choosing an Aran or Worsetted weight yarn for your blanket. Anything bulkier will make the blanket too heavy for baby's use. But anything thinner will mean your blanket will be very delicate and take a very long time to finish.
Knitters often choose a gender specific color for their blanket or a color that will match the nursery. These are great ideas but you might want to think about keeping it neutral. For all the effort you're putting in, you want this gift to be used anywhere and possibly passed on to other children.
What materials the yarn is made of affect it's texture, appearance, durability and (so important for babies) how easy it is to care for.
Wool or alpaca is usually chosen for it's warmth but they can be irritating to an infant's skin and difficult to clean. Ask mom or dad about wool allergies first and chose a super fine merino wool that is washable.
Cotton is a usually a great choice. Consider this for warmer climates or outdoor and car seat uses. A nice pima cotton or cotton blend gives a wonderful, breathable result.
Acrylic yarn is can be a good pick too. They're cheaper than natural fibers and easier to care for.
Many yarn makers have a few special baby-specific yarns. They're particularly soft, machine-washable and come in light, pastel colors.
How Many Stitches for a Baby Blanket?
One of the first decisions to make in planning your blanket is how many stitches to cast on to start. The number of stitches you cast on will determine the width of your baby blanket.
You'll need to know both the width of your final project and your gauge.
Knitted Baby Blanket Size
Depending on the intended use, baby blankets can range in size from 15 inches by 30 inches for bassinette blanket to a 40 inches by 60 inches crib blanket intended to grow with them as a toddler.
A smaller option is to knit a lovey or snuggle blanket, which could be just a 10 inch by 10 inch square. They're not made to cover up the child, just for a toy.
Finding Your Gauge
Your knitting gauge is the length of fabric produced per number of stitches. This depends on the needle size you're using, the weight of the yarn and your own knitting tension.
The only fool-proof way to know your knitting gauge is to knit a swatch. Using the yarn and needles you'll use for the final project, knit a small square that's at least 10 stitches wide and 10 rows long. Measure the length and width of the swatch. Use those measurements to calculate your stitches per inch and rows per inch. That information will help you determine how many stitches you'll need to cast on with.
Easy "Knit and Purl" Baby Blanket Patterns (Garter Stitch)
The most basic form of any blanket is a garter stitch. A garter stitch is the stitch formed by knitting one row and purling the next. It creates a bumpy, seed-like texture.
A knit and purl baby blanket is great for beginners because there's no pattern to follow and no edges to add.
If you are looking for actual instructions to guide you use the Wavy Waters Baby Blanket, it's free on Ravelry.
Here's an important tip when knitting a garter stitch blanket with stripes: change colors on the knit row. Making a color change on the purl row will cause an uneven join on the new color. You'll get a more polished result by using the knit row to switch yarns.
Quick and Easy Knit Baby Blanket Patterns
Lovey Blanket or Toy
"Lovies" knit up quick because they don't need to be very big. Try this free pattern from The Knitting Space when you need something cute for a little one.
Lace or intricate patterns can really slow you down as you knit an entire blanket. An easy way to get around this is to use some simple stripes. The Chevron Baby Blanket from Espacetricot is an excellent example to follow.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Katy Medium
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 30, 2021:
At one time, I crocheted a baby blanket. A knitted one would make a lovely gift, as did my crocheted one.
Liz Westwood from UK on April 30, 2021:
This is a useful and well-explained article.