>Preemie Hats – A Template

>Yesterday, Claudia Speak, who works in the NICU at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, came into the store and talked with me about the preemie hats that they receive from knitters and crocheters. They love the fact that people are making the hats for the babies! Claudia said that the look on the mother’s faces when they see their little ones wearing one of the handmade hats is priceless!

Unfortunately, they’ve had some issues with the knitted hats, in particular, not fitting properly. Often if the hat is made with a ribbed brim, the cast on for the brim is too tight. Here is a photo of one that the nurse had to cut at the cast on in four places in order for the hat to be used.

In addition, some of the hats are a little too short for a preemie.

So, Claudia has come up with a basic template to use for knitted preemie caps. She has used a rolled brim for her cap (if you want to use a ribbed brim, try using a cable cast on, which is much more elastic than the more typical long-tail cast on). Here is a photo of a finished preemie cap using Claudia’s template.

Use DK weight yarn and US 6/4.0mm needles for all sizes:

Preemie Size (in grams) Cast On Join & Knit in the Round Until Piece Measures Decrease Finish
900 42 3.25″ Row 1: K2tog, K6 around Pull yarn through
Row 2: K2tog, K5 around    remaining stitches
Continue in this manner Draw up tightly
until 12 sts remain Sew in all ends
1100 48 3.5″ Row 1: K2tog, K6 around, Pull yarn through
Row 2: K2tog, K5 around,    remaining stitches
Continue in this manner Draw up tightly
until 12 sts remain Sew in all ends
2100 54 4″ Row 1: K2tog, K7 around Pull yarn through
Row 2: K2tog, K6 around    remaining stitches
Continue in this manner Draw up tightly
until 12 sts remain Sew in all ends
2700 58 4.5″ Row 1: K2tog, K7 around Pull yarn through
           end with K2    remaining stitches
Row 2: K2tog, K6 around, Draw up tightly
           end with K2 Sew in all ends
Continue in this manner
until 14 sts remain

Hope this helps all of you who are interested in knitting preemie hats. I’ll try to come up with a similar template for crochet preemie hats soon.

If you have preemie hats you would like to donate to Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, feel free to drop them off at the store. I will make sure that Claudia gets them!

22 thoughts on “>Preemie Hats – A Template

  1. >Claudia didn't tell me what size needles to use. The hat sample that I have is knit at 6 sts/inch. I would check your yarn label and use the needles recommended on the band for your first hat, then check the gauge and adjust your needle size accordingly for subsequent hats.


  2. >Well, I must admit that I still have not test knit any of these. I thought the calculations were right, but maybe not. I'll dig up some yarn from my stash & try the various sizes out for you.


  3. >I have done some of the 900 gram and 1100 gram hats. I have been doing different decreases then those on the templete which seems to be working better for me. For the 1100 gram hats I cast on 48 instead of 46 to be able to decrease evenly. I am a tight knitter so should still be ok. These have been so much fun to make:). Thank you for posting this and for being a drop spot for them!


  4. >Thanks for the post – and for making the hats. I'm not sure when I'll actually have time to make one of the hats, but whatever decreases you use will be fine. The point is to decrease evenly until you have few enough stitches to close the hat at the top. I will try to get a hat or two done over the coming weekend, and I'll post more here.


  5. >Thank you for this post. I plan to make many. Was there a decision on a good size needle to use? I understand worsted yarn is a better choice, as it is warmer for newborn heads.


  6. >I have had a couple of questions regarding which size needle to use. The template is for DK weight yarn (6.5 sts/inch), so generally the needle size will be US 5-6 (3.75-4mm).


    1. You are absolutely right!! I’m surprised that no one has noticed this before. You can simply do one stitch less after each K2tog than is typed. E.G., for the smallest size, do K2tog, K5 on the first row instead of K2tog, K6… I’m not sure when I will be able to update the actual chart, but I will try to correct it as soon as possible.

      Thank you for catching this error!



  7. Do you have the pattern (template) for the preemie hat on this website? I’ve searched, but seem to be going about in circles. 🙂

    Carla Riggs


  8. Thank you, Laura for your quick reply. However, I still cannot find the template itself. DK knit, perhaps a 68 stitch cast on and a better decrease is all I’ve managed to eek out of the comments. And from your remark above, it sounds as if you have a chart.
    So my question is ~ where may I find the chart? We’ve several hospitals with NICUs nearby. I know they would be grateful for any preemie hats donated.



    1. EEK! I didn’t realize that when we transferred our blog last September that the chart disappeared. I have added it to the post again, so you should be able to view it now. Unfortunately, I cannot get the separator lines to appear, so I hope it is understandable.

      Thank you for your patience and persistence!


  9. Well, aren’t you the sweetheart! Thanks for taking the time to find the pattern and then repost it to your site. I do appreciate it. These will be fun little projects, and very useful!

    Thank you again. Carla Riggs


  10. Were you able to come up with a crochet pattern? I work at Children’s and shared this will my department and some of the staff have asked for the crochet version, Thank you!


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