A Knitted Bonnet for Baby

When she found out her daughter-in-law was expecting a baby, one of my dear friends knit her way through a book of baby hats and her granddaughter had a wardrobe of hats for her first winter. They were special little knitted hats, too, some with fruit themes, some with flowers, some with intricate colorwork designs. Lovely gift, huh?

Bonnet for Baby Emma

I love the thought of showering a newborn with knitted gifts; they're so personal and heartfelt.

I found an absolutely precious knitted bonnet in the new issue of Jane Austen Knits, and it's paired with unique baby wristlets, too. So cute on those chubby little wrists! Knitting scholar and designer Susan Strawn developed this darling duo after she was inspired by Jane Austen heroine Emma Woodhouse.

Here's Susan to tell her about her design:

Bonnet and Wristlets for Baby Emma

Emma Woodhouse of Jane Austen's Emma was born to a life of wealth and privilege, a fortunate child indulged by an affectionate father. Emma's mother may have knitted such finery as this white baby bonnet for her precious infant.

Her baby's lovely and happy little face shone from the delicate lace pattern handknitted using fine steel needles and laceweight yarn, perhaps in cotton as a christening cap.

When Emma grew to young womanhood, she had no need or desire to marry, and she did not anticipate babes of her own. Instead, she saved the delicate bonnet for her niece and namesake, baby Emma. The knitted white openwork baby bonnet with the star-pattern crown dates, at least, to the early nineteenth century.

Bonnet for Baby Emma,
back view
Wristlets for Baby Emma

The shape of the baby bonnet resembles the medieval coif, a modest cap with ties that made a practical and versatile head covering often worn beneath a soldier's military helmet or lady's mop cap. The coif was made from woven cloth, but knitting became widespread in Britain during the late Middle Ages and proved well-suited for better fit and comfort in stockings and caps. A passion for white work appeared after the French Revolution and continued throughout the Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian eras.

—Susan Strawn, from Jane Austen Knits, Fall 2012

Fascinating! And so darn cute. One of the gals in my knitting group just found out she's pregnant, and I hope it's a girl so I can knit this bonnet for her. If it's a boy, though, I know I can find tons of cute options for hat knitting, too.

Get your copy of Jane Austen Knits today!


P.S. What's your favorite thing to knit for baby? Let us know in the comments!

Other Things You May Like to Check Out:


Baby, Hats
Kathleen Cubley

About Kathleen Cubley

Hello daily knitters! I'm the editor of Knitting Daily. I've been obsessed with knitting for about ten years now and my favorite projects are sweaters. I like the occasional smaller project, but there's nothing like yards of stockinette with a well-placed cable or a subtle stitch pattern here and there. I crochet a bit now and then—especially when I need to produce a baby blanket in time for the baby shower. I've been in publishing for 20 years and I'm finally exactly where I want to be: at the crossroads of knitting and communication. I live in Spokane, Washington and when I'm not knitting I enjoy gardening, snuggling with my dogs, swimming, reading, and playing in the snow in the winter. But, really, I'm pretty much always knitting!

11 thoughts on “A Knitted Bonnet for Baby

  1. You don’t happen to remember the name of your friend’s book of knitted baby hats do you, please?

    I think we all need to know that. Two lots of friends are both expecting twins before Christmas and I need to get into multiple hat production mode soon.

    Many thanks
    Rowey Perrett

  2. I have a pattern from a Woman’s Day in 1987 for a back-zip baby sweater. The pattern calls for “2 skeins of 4-ply yarn”. Remember those days??? It’s still one of my faves and is so quick and easy to knit on size 8 needles! Martha B.

  3. I created a completely seamless bootie pattern (I know I’m not the only one) that I like to make for babies. I remember when my daughter received a pair of little pink booties that I had her wear all the time. I even asked for another pair in a larger size when she grew out of them. That was before I had ever knit a bootie. They’re quick, easy, and I always hope the moms will like them as much as I did for my sweet baby girl.

  4. Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket is my favourite. Sadly, her knitted engineering is not as widely known in my part of the world as it ought to be, butI keep spreading the word.

  5. Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket is my favourite. Sadly, her knitted engineering is not as widely known in my part of the world as it ought to be, butI keep spreading the word.

  6. I have actually been trying to decide what would be most useful as a gift for my friend’s new baby. It’s hard! I want to find something that won’t just go out of use as the kid gets older.
    So I had an idea for combining a bag/hat or bunting so they can wear it when small and use it for outings when they’re bigger. Maybe use snaps to combine elements … like a blanket into a bag or bunting… too many options!^^

  7. I was thinking it’d be nice if you guys could group together all the Jane Austen special magazines on a CD since some of the hard copies are sold out & that way it’d be easier to wrap up a CD than to try to get your friend to download a digital copies that you’d want to buy for them.

  8. I don’t know if this is an appropriate place to ask a question about the pattern, but I’m not sure where else to go… I’ve begun work on this gorgeous little bonnet and am just starting the openwork diamonds chart. The even rows are shown as straight knit rows, but I wonder if this is correct. Since you’re switching from knitting in the round to knitting back and forth, shouldn’t the even rows be purled? Maybe the author assumes that knitters have enough experience to know this without being told explicitly, but I’m second-guessing myself. Any guidance?

    I do have to say that I adore this pattern — I would have bought this issue of Jane Austen Knits for the bonnet alone. I swoon every time I look at it!