Charity Knitting

Last quarter, my Knitting University class (a class that meets here at my home every other Thursday) decided to focus on charity knitting for the quarter. Our charity of choice was the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at a local hospital. The hospital needs baby hats of all sizes, from micro-preemie to full-term size.

So we got to work, and from April to June, we knit 34 caps between the eight of us! Most of us used these caps as a satisfying “in-between projects” project.

Knitters always want details, details, details – so I’ll do my best here. šŸ™‚

These are Baby Gnome Caps. I believe they were all knit on size 3 US needles. The yarns used were Dale of Norway Baby Stork, and Berroco Comfort DK.

These are Eenie, Meenie, Minie, Moe Preemie Hats. I don’t have details of the needle size, and the yarns are different worsted-weight synthetic yarns, some self-striping. The single red heart was made using duplicate stitch, and the yellow hearts around the cap were knit in fair isle.

The next four photos each used the same pattern, Preemie Hats for Charity, which includes a few variations on the standard pattern.

These are eyelet caps, and the yarns are Dale of Norway Stork and Berroco Comfort DK.

Heart caps, using the same yarns as above.

Same pattern, using Knit Picks Comfy Sport. I used duplicate stitch for the little heart, and this simple crocheted flower pattern.

Striped caps and one ribbed cap, using the same pattern. Yarns are Knit Picks Comfy Sport, Dale of Norway Stork, and one other soft yarn – I think it’s Berroco Comfort DK.

And the last three –

The pink cap – no pattern, sorry. I made that one up. The bunny cap is Blue Rabbit Hat, with one little pre-made pompom sewn on for a bunny tail. The fair isle cap is my Learn to Knit Fair Isle tutorial with one modification – instead of using worsted-weight yarn and bigger needles, I knit the baby size using sport weight yarn and size 3 US needles.

If you’re thinking of making baby caps for your local NICU, I suggest you call the hospital to see if they have guidelines for the caps. Our local hospital asked for a few things – first no wool (because of possible allergies), no yellow (because some babies are jaundiced, and yellow makes it hard to tell), and all machine washable and dryable fibers. They also asked that we wash the finished caps in a baby laundry soap (like Dreft) before we drop them off.

Since we knit these as a group, everyone dropped off their finished caps, and I washed them all at once. They filled the sink!

We all really enjoyed this project, and I think many of us plan to continue knitting for the NICU between other projects. We learned from a nurse at the NICU that caps are in high-demand, and whenever there are caps available, they are quickly used.

Couple of notes – the yarn weights I mention are all in American terms. For UK/Australian terms, here is a conversion chart. Additionally, I refer to US needle sizes. Here is a needle size conversion chart.

14 comments on “Charity Knitting

  1. I did this for our NICU over lent when I gave up (almost totally successfully) Facebook! Very rewarding!

  2. Another suggestion for donating is to offer finished knit items – anything really – to local non profits that they can raffle or auction off for fundraising. Most of them will accept items so call your favorite charity and ask. Also, cancer centers would probably welcome hats for the patients in treatment who have lost their hair.

  3. Years ago I knitted very special lap blankets. They were given to our local hospital for those sad times when a baby doesn’t make it. The parents are given their little one to hold in the blanket. Then they have a sweet reminder of their child. It was a very rewarding project.

  4. Years ago I knitted very special lap blankets. They were given to our local hospital for those sad times when a baby doesn’t make it. The parents are given their little one to hold in the blanket. Then they have a sweet reminder of their child. It was a very rewarding project.

  5. What great timing. i just started scouring the web for baby hat patterns for the same reason….except here in SC, they want them in light weight and I guess the best way to convert to regular baby size but lighter weight yarn is to do a swatch and match the starting measurement for casting on??? I have lots of baby yarn leftovers from when the grandkids were babies and I can’t think of a nicer way to use it up. Can anyone help me with the conversion dilemma?

  6. Thanks for sharing Staci. I recently started knitting hats for the NICU at our local Children’s Hospital. I just made a preemie hat today using the Enie, menie, minie, moe pattern. I used size 3 needles and worsted weight yarn. I made it brown with an orange heart duplicate stitched and orange pompom on top. It turned out so cute. Thanks for the ideas Staci. You are alway an inspiration to me in your knitting. Maybe you could write uo the pattern for the pink hat. I love that hat. Also maybe you could do a video on making a pompom. I am having a hard time making them for the preemie hats. Blessings on your work.

  7. I have just completed 10 hats for our LYS charity project. I am ready to move onto a larger project and LOVE the green sweater you wear in your video “toe Up” socks. It looks simple, what is the pattern? Love your blog, I have learned so much from you. Thanks

  8. Staci, this is a beautiful thing that you, and all the other knitters did.

    In 2009, I had twin boys who were micropreemies, and the blankets and hats that were given to us were so comforting – literally and figuratively – in those early, scary days.
    Last spring, I made a little film about our life from the NICU until now. I would love for you to watch it:

    And to change the subject, I saw these and thought of you:

  9. Fabulous idea! I have just started back into knitting and have made dozens of baby hats. Now all my friends grandchildren have them, so have been thinking of what I can do next. My daughter is a Pediatric Cardiologist and is always in the NICU, so… I’m forwarding her your website so she can check out the specifics for her NICU. Thank you for such a worthwhile idea!!

  10. Hi Staci,
    I have just come across this post. I’ve followed you for the past couple of years on youtube and more recently on instagram. I love your posts and videos. I wanted to say thank you for knitting for your local nicu, even with post being several years old. I very recently lost my twin boys due to complications of being mirco-preemies. I am wanting to give back to the nicu the boys stayed in and knitting (and sewing) is one of the ways I know how too. My husband and I were so touched by every hand made item given to us in our short time there. Thank you for putting a list together of patterns. I am in the process of gathering info to pass along to friends and family who are going to be knitting and sewing along with me in honor of the boys. I will be calling the unit this coming week, but your post has been a great help.
    Thank you again!

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