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!

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