The Snuggle Bonding Squares is a free crochet pattern for bonding squares. These squares are designed to help premature babies bond with their mothers. Choose a soft DK weight yarn. If you’d like to donate the squares, make sure the yarn meets the requirements of your chosen charity or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The squares use a solid shell stitch pattern that creates a beautiful texture. The pattern is free on the blog so that you can use it freely to make handmade gifts.
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The squares pattern is written for squares that are approximately 5″ x 5″. Adjust the width and length of the squares if you’d like to turn the project into a small blanket. If you are inspired to make a blanket, you could also check out the Cuddly Cloud blanket pattern. This free preemie blanket pattern uses a solid shell stitch along with other stitches for a beautifully textured blanket.
About the Inspiration for the Crochet Bonding Squares Pattern
Sunflower Cottage Crochet hosts and annual Preemie Crochet Challenge. For the first annual challenge, I contributed the Cuddly Cloud blanket pattern. This year I wanted to do something a little different. I loved the idea of the bonding squares when I learned about them through the first challenge. Something fast and easy to make was also prefect.
These squares are made in pairs so that mom and baby can each have a square when mom cannot hold or be with her baby. By wearing a square against her skin for a few hours, the mom can transfer her scent to the square. Then, the square is given to the baby to learn mom’s scent. This can be a wonderful way for mom and baby to bond.
The squares are usually between 5″ and 7″ so they are quick projects to make. Sunflower Cottage Crochet explains that the squares are more commonly used in Europe so please make sure that your NICU will allow the use of the squares.
Preemie Crochet Challenge 2021
This pattern was featured as part of the second annual Preemie Crochet Challenge hosted by Sunflower Cottage Crochet in August 2021.
About the Yarn
I chose Bernat Softee Baby for this pattern for several reasons. Most importantly Knots of Love has it on its recommended yarn list for NICU blankets. This is one of the charities that has a mission to provide tiny blankets for preemie babies. They also collect hats for those going through chemo treatments if you’d like to contribute to that mission as well. The yarn is also easy to find, super soft, and comes in generous skeins. You can also choose from a wide variety of solid colors.
The Snuggle Bonding Squares is a free crochet pattern for a preemie baby bonding squares in U.S. crochet terminology. It is included for free on the blog below.
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Crochet Bonding Squares
What You’ll Need
Yarn: DK Weight (#3 Light) approximately 70 yards.
Shown: Bernat Softee Baby (100% Acrylic), 362 yds [331m]/5oz[140g] #166030-02004 Mint, partial skein.
Hook Size: Size G/6 (4.0 mm) or size needed to obtain gauge.
Sizing and Gauge
Finished Measurements: Approximately 5” x 5″.
Gauge: 16 sts x 8 rows in dc = 4” x 4” (10cm x 10cm).
Standard Stitch Abbreviations (U.S. Crochet Terminology):
dc: double crochet
sc: single crochet
sl st: slip stitch
Special Stitch Abbreviation, Instructions, and Tutorial:
stdc: stacked double crochet: start a new row without a turning chain, insert hook into first st and make a sc, then insert hook under two loops on the left-hand side of the sc and make another sc – stacked double crochet completed
A tutorial is available for the stdc at https://craftingeachday.com/how-to-do-a-stacked-double-crochet
- All odd rows start with stdc to avoid the gaps that can occur with turning chs.
- Stdc sts count as dcs in the st count for each odd row.
- Work row one into the bottom bumps (sometimes called back bumps) of the foundation ch. Tutorial at https://craftingeachday.com/how-to-crochet-in-the-bottom-bump-of-the-chain.
- The multiple is included if you would like to adjust the width of the squares. Learn more about crochet stitch multiples at https://craftingeachday.com/crochet-stitch-multiples/.
- To make a wider square, adjust the base chain by adding more sts.
- To make a taller square, adjust the height by adding more rows.
- Placing a marker in the first st of each row and moving it up as you go along can help with finding the edge stitches and maintaining straight edges.
Crochet Bonding Squares Pattern
Squares (Make 2)
Multiple: Any odd number of sts (see notes for more information about crochet stitch multiples)
Base Chain: Ch 19.
Row 1: Stdc in first ch, dc in next ch and each ch across, turn. (19 dc)
Row 2: Sl st in first st, *dc in next st, sl st in next st, rep from * across, turn. (10 sl st, 9 dc)
Row 3: Stdc in first st, dc in each st across, turn. (19 dc)
Rows 4 – 15: Rep rows 2 and 3. At end of Row 15, do not turn and go to Border instructions.
Without chaining, work 1 sc in first corner. Continue working a round of sc evenly around the edges and sides of the square in the following manner: Work 17 sc evenly spaced between the corners on all edges and sides of the square. Work 3 sc in every other corner. Once you have gone around the square, work 2 sc in the original corner. Join with a sl st to first sc and fasten off or if you would like an invisible looking join, use the invisible join method to finish the border instead. Tutorial for invisible join at https://craftingeachday.com/crochet-invisible-join-tutorial-crochet-in-the-round/.
Finishing: Weave in ends; block squares to measure approximately 5” x 5” if desired.