Novice Knitter in Need for Newborns!

I am having someone knit me so newborn photo props and blankets. I am trying to decide on a type of yarn - All of the premie projects recommend acrylic for its softness (more than cotton, wool, or alpaca), but I am not in love with the environmental effects and want only the best for my business. Obviously, the yarn needs to be super soft and hypoallergenic and preferably machine washable - does such a dream yarn exist? Maybe bamboo? I will settle for acrylic if I have to, but I want to make sure I did my due diligence first.

Also, many of the patterns I have found call for mohair or angora - can I substitute yarns in a pattern with reasonable results? I can’t justify using animal fibers where allergies are concerned (I wish I could!)

Welcome to KH!
What an interesting question. There are some very soft natural fibers and also some very scratchy acrylics so you may want to feel the yarn yourself to be sure.
Here are links to two lists of recommended yarn from groups that knit for cancer patients. They are both very particular that only approved yarns are acceptable for donated items.
I’ve used Bamboo Pop, Cascade Ultra Pima and Caron Simply Soft and they work beautifully.

Thanks so much! I didn’t think to look at Cancer websites as well. I will certainly order some test skeins after I have narrowed down the search some. It seems that all of the cancer and NICU sites are recommending mostly acrylic yarns. Does anyone know if this is because of the softness? Is acrylic as soft as it gets? Bamboo has the same washability and is much more eco-friendly so that seemed like a viable option - I haven’t had the time to look into silk, soy, hemp etc… Is there some kind of website I can find a softness scale on?! (One can dream right lol)

I think I have settled for bamboo! The real question now is, can I substitute the bamboo yarn in patterns that call for things like mohair or angora? I know the effect will obviously be different, but my question is whether it will work.

It all depends on the gauge asked for in the pattern and the recommended gauge on the bamboo. If you’re making blankets, gauge isn’t critical. Can you give us a link to a pattern you’re considering and the name of the bamboo yarn?l.

I’ve used all three of those and they are all nice.

There are also some very nice blends that may work for you. I agree with testing a skein, too. I linked to my project so you can see what I used it for.

I used this for bibs

I’ve used this for dishcloths

Berocco Comfort knits up nicely. It’s acrylic and nylon.

I haven’t bought any patterns yet (I wanted to figure out all the logistics first), but these are a sampling of what I am considering:

As you can see there are a variety of fibers and gauges required - truth be told after looking at all the different supplies I’ll be needing, I am thinking of scrapping the “strictly bamboo” rule and just buying whatever was recommended in the pattern - mostly because I will also be buying various blankets and wraps, all of which will be against babies skin and it will get pretty complicated to micromanage all those fibers. Not to mention I’ll need a variety of colors and the selections I have seen have been pretty limiting.

As far as acrylic goes, I have been looking at Red Heart, Premier, and Bernat. For Bamboo I have mostly been looking at 100% bamboo yarns on etsy as there doesn’t seem to be a huge selection of commercial ones and I may be able to order custom colors. I have yet to find a good mohair or angora. But I am open to any and all suggestions! Thanks so much for helping me navigate - I had no idea knitting could be so complicated!

Bamboo is lovely and drapey, but it might not be best for everything anyway. Remember that the newborn won’t be having the fabric against their skin for long…just long enough for several photos. That said they do have sensitive skin so soft is better and you do get what you pay for. But I wouldn’t worry about a very soft acrylic or even wool. Some of the inexpensive brands are not as soft, but many are okay. One reason to look at them first is to see if you think they will look good in photos. Some yarns of the same fiber are spun differently and some will be fuzzy, some smooth.

The patterns are adorable. Gauge will be very important with garments so make sure you match the gauge if you change yarns or the the garments will not fit a newborn.


Does anyone know of a store that sells eco friendly yarn lines? If I have to use things like synthetics or blends - maybe I can at least find something botanically dyed or sustainably sourced? You ladies have been very helpful. Thanks for the warm welcome!

I personally prefer caron simply soft for all my baby projects

Some of the suggestions on this site may help. I don’t know of an entire store specializing in eco-friendly yarn although there may well be local yarn stores or hand-dyers who do.

Thanks so much! That does help a lot - I will have to order some samples. I appreciate all the help!

Ok ladies! Round two of my research has begun!

I found out that if I use a protein based yarn (animal or soy) I CAN DYE IT MYSELF USING FOOD COLORING! This means I can order organic yarn blanks AND get all the colors I need!

This is great news! Now - I just need you to rank the animal fiber yarns based on softness - what are the very softest fibers (softer than wool or cotton - on par with acrylic)

I am concerned about the same question, and the acrylic yarn is because of the static electricity that the wool (from animals) produces against skin, and it is dangerous on the NICU unities, because they are full of oxigen , first i was very surprised but studied a little more , and it is true,
I hope this help
sorry for the mistakes, english is not my first language

Wow! That’s good to know. I started looking at wools and fibers I could dye myself so I guess I will have to reevaluate

Happy to help.
Think also about dies cause newborn skin is very fragile and
sometimes reacts to unexpected things,
good luck

Yes- I found a great site that gives instructions on how to dye yarn using food dyes!