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Monday, October 8, 2012

Crafting for preemies

This past weekend was the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival held in Ridgewood, NJ.  This is a yearly event that is now in its fourth year and it brings together crafters of all different fiber arts.  There are knitters and crocheters, hand and wheel spinners, lace makers, sewers, quilters, etc. and it keeps growing every year!  I've visited the festival each year since it began and I must say that it is always a nice time.  

I think my favorite thing about the festival is that each year they have a different charity project that they ask festival goers to donate to, if they have the time.  I actually had not decided if I was going to have the time to make it to this years festival until maybe a week and a half ago.  I decided that I would definitely make the time to get to the festival because I really wanted to donate something to the charity.  

This year the charity they were collecting donations for was Care Wear.  Care Wear is an organization that collects items for preemies and newborns (and I think maybe even older children) and donates them to local hospitals.  They look for hats and blankets as well as kimonos, toys, burial gowns, and other handmade items.  So, to benefit Care Wear, the festival asked for donations of preemie hats and blankets.

Prior to a week and a half ago I had never made an item for a preemie.  Once I started making a few hats I was amazed at how TINY they were.  It totally touched my heart that a baby could be born so small and still be alive--and not just living, but fighting for his or her life!  I knew that I had to make as many items as I could in the weeks time before the festival.  I was able to knit and crochet 7 hats and 3 blankets by the deadline that I set for myself (Saturday morning).  I also had found something in my closet I had made a few years back that was going to be a blanket for myself...but that I fell out of love with...and it seemed the perfect size for a preemie blanket!  I donated that one too.

So in total I gave 11 items! 7 hats and 4 blankets.  I used up yarns from my stash that were really soft and of course washable.  I tried to make the items as pretty as I could.  Starting clockwise below you see a knit square blanket that is striped and made up of left over baby yarns, next is a pink flower blanket (that's what I made years ago and fell out of love with), then a pastel granny stitch blanket with a purple ruffle, and finally a knit square blanket with multicolors, green, and a heart.

I made two different sized pumpkin hats (itty bitty preemie and larger preemie), a teddy bear hat (the ears were just too cute), a pastel colored knit umbilical cord hat, two crocheted hats with little loops on top, and a simply blue and white beanie.  These hat patterns (minus my little embellishment of ears and top loops) are available on the Care Wear website in this lovely 70+ page book of guidelines, patterns, and stories.

I plan on making more items to donate to hospitals.  I really enjoyed doing this.  Each little hat or blanket I made, I stitched with love hoping that it would help a little baby get stronger, healthier, and be able to come home to their families.


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