What is the Best Yarn for Baby Blankets?


What is the Best Yarn for Baby Blankets?

Check out our take on ideal, machine washable yarn for baby blankets!

What is the Best Yarn for Baby Blankets

If you thought picking out yarn for your own sweaters or scarves was a challenge, things get even more complicated when you're knitting for someone else. What if they don't like the color? What if they think it's too chunky? What if they're a newborn baby?

Even though babies may not necessarily have color or yarn size preferences, they do have one thing: sensitive skin and a penchant towards messiness. That means there are a few things that you absolutely want to keep in mind when knitting for babies: softness and washability. In this article, we'll go over the best yarn for baby blankets by fiber type that you're bound to love.

Is Wool Yarn Safe for Babies?

While yarn enthusiasts may have a particular love for wool yarn, believe it or not, wool may not be necessarily the best yarn for baby blankets (though it's not as bad as some may think). While textile dermatitis, or a skin allergy caused by textiles, could have to do with chemical treatments or dyes, Michaela Zallman et al in their study entitled Debunking the Myth of Wool Allergy: Reviewing the Evidence for Immune and Non-immune Cutaneous Reactions claim in their abstract that "Current evidence does not suggest that wool-fibre is a cutaneous allergen. Furthermore, contact allergy from lanolin, chromium and formaldehyde is highly unlikely with modern wool garments." However, this doesn't change the fact that wool is typically quite itchy and not washable. If you find yourself with a few skeins of particularly soft superwash wool, more power to you! Go ahead and knit the baby blanket with it. The little one is very unlikely to have an averse reaction, and they'll get to start their life with a very luxurious fiber.

As for other natural mammalian fibers, like alpaca, qiviut, or cashmere, if you can find these fibers in a superwash format, you're golden! Just know that allergies to just about any animal can exist, so you can never discount the possibility that the baby won't have the best reaction. It's best to just play it safe and avoid mammalian fibers.

Cambrie Knit Blanket

Acrylic Yarn

Acrylic is the favorite for baby blankets, and it's no wonder why. Not only is it washable by nature of being a synthetic fiber, but often, it will get softer the more it is washed (and we all know how often babies spit up on lovingly-made handknits). It surely seems to be the best yarn for baby blankets on paper. The problem with acrylic is that there's definitely a range in the softness department, so if you have the opportunity to feel the yarn in-person, I highly recommend that you do, as scratchy acrylics can be tough on a baby's sensitive skin. A high-quality acrylic can be the softest yarn for baby blankets. If your only option to picking out this yarn is online, read as many reviews as you can before committing. Ravelry's yarn index is often a great place for this.

Lavender Cream Baby Blanket

Cotton Yarn

Cotton is another fantastic choice for baby blankets, and a favorite among many. It's the best yarn for a summer baby blanket, by far, given the fact that it's more breathable than acrylic yarn and much lighter than wool. Added to all of this, you can chuck cotton in the washing machine without a care, which is so important when knitting for babies. It is worth noting, however, that cotton is often a bit more expensive than acrylic yarn, and can also present anywhere from rough-to-the-touch to silky-smooth. For this reason, I still recommend touching this yarn in-person, if possible.

Waterfall Baby Blanket

Other Plant-Based Fibers

If cotton is one of the best yarns for baby blankets, it stands to reason that other plant-based fibers, such as bamboo, hemp, or linen, would also be on the table. While all are washable, definitely recommend that the parents do so on a gentle cycle and lay flat to dry, as these types of fibers are often less hard-wearing than cotton. My advice for these kinds of fibers still stand: feel the yarn first (or read many reviews). With any of these options, baby is guaranteed to remain cozy-yet-cool in the summer months, with the blanket working as an excellent layering option in the winter.

Le Pom Baby Blanket

Novelty Yarn

While it seems like the only chance you'll get to use novelty yarn is with babies and children, because they're all often a little... much for adults, most patterns get tricky when it comes to novelty yarn. Maybe you've found a lovely seed stitch blanket pattern that you want to knit. It probably goes without saying that it probably won't look quite the same with ribbon yarn, and you may lose the pattern altogether in furry yarn. If you're dead-set on a novelty yarn, consider a simple garter or stockinette stitch blanket (with a non-curling border, of course) to make the yarn the star of the show. No matter what, make sure the yarn you choose doesn't have any holes or openings in it for little baby fingers and toes to get caught in, and double-check the fiber content.

Velvety Basketweave Baby Blanket

Our Favorite Yarns for Baby Blankets

We review a lot of yarn here on AllFreeKnitting, so it gives us the opportunity to find the perfect kinds of yarn for every project. Of course, everything is subjective, but the following yarns are some of our personal favorites for baby blankets, so take them into consideration when shopping for your next project.


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