Newborn babies have very delicate skin. You do not know if the baby you are making items for has any allergies or intolerances, This makes choosing the yarn for your newborn blanket or garment daunting.
I created this short checklist to make the yarn-choosing process less stressful. It also will ensure that the baby will like to use or wear your item.
The one absolute must-have for newborn project yarn is to be pleasant in touch. Yarn must be soft, and silky. It should not scratch the skin or make the baby ticklish.
If the yarn is not pleasant on the skin, a baby will never feel comfortable using your item. My kids have a bunch of sweaters they tried once and never touched again because they do not like how the fiber fills on skin.
Personally, I would avoid mohair, angora, or any other “hairy” yarns. Not all babies tolerate them. These fibers make babies ticklish which makes them feel uncomfortable. The items made of these fibers are often used for photo sessions as they look very nice. But believe me, I heard from many photographers that they could not photograph my mohair wraps or pants because it was impossible to make babies wear these items without making them nervous, waking up, or crying.
The season your item is for is a very important thing to consider. If you are crafting a present, check what season the baby will be born or make the item that can be used all -year-round.
For example, if you making an item that will be used in winter, you will use warm fibers like wool. If you are making an item that will be used in summer you might consider cotton, silk, and bamboo yarns. If you want to make 4 seasons item, you might look for chunky cotton yarns or mixed fibers. Like wool-cotton, wool-silk, etc.
It is highly recommended to use natural fibers for the baby. Natural yarns have a minor risk of causing allergies on the skin. Thus, the softest and most durable yarn I found after years of research is a chunky yarn that is a mix of cotton and acrylic fibers.
The beauty of the yarns is that they are the whole universe. You never stop discovering new horizons, you never stop finding new yarn that are very pleasant to work with. Do not be afraid to try a few – make a small sample before you decide to use the yarn for the project. Especially if you are choosing yarn for a baby blanket.
The most neutral and popular fibers to use are merino wool and cotton. They are also more budget-friendly than let’s say cashmere or silk.
If you are working on a pattern, the yarn weight you need will be specified in it.
More details and a handy chart for the yarn weights can be found in this blog post.
If you do not use a pattern, bear in mind that chunky yarns look best if you use simple patterns and basic stitches. The lacy, sock-weight yarns can be used for more complicated patterns and stitch combinations.
You might also consider the weight of the finished project compared to the baby’s total weight so it will not be too heavy.
For example, the blankets from jumbo-weight yarns look very nice and they are heavenly soft. But even a small blanket made of this yarn has 2- 3 kg weight which is almost the complete baby weight. It means these blankets are not suitable for newborns. Unless you use such a blanket as a mat and put the baby above it.
Artistic and handmade yarns
A quick note about using artistic and hand-dyed yarns. They are amazing to work with but make sure yarn does not have small stackable pieces for the sake of baby safety. Be sure that the dyes used are not harmful or harsh to avoid allergic reactions. In doubt, ask the artist if the yarn is safe to use for newborns before purchasing.
Well, those are the main criteria I use when choosing yarns for newborn blankets or garments.
Now tell me, what is your favorite yarn for newborn projects? I would love to know it, please comment below.