Sharing the crochet love. And some robots.

Posts tagged ‘preemie’

Bless all the dear children (free preemie hat pattern.)

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It’s not too late to make a special gift for a tiny stranger and their family. Today would have been my nephew’s 5th birthday, if all had gone well, but sadly he didn’t make it to his due date and arrived far too early to survive, tiny but perfect and beautiful. In his 17 minutes of life he touched each and every one of us, and changed our lives forever.

I cannot even begin to comprehend the loss suffered by my sister that day, and the gaping hole left in her heart ever since. I experienced this boy’s loss as his aunt, as his mum’s sister, and I will never forget how utterly useless we all felt, standing around, lost for words, trying to find a way to share the burden of grief and yet knowing, at the same time, that there was nothing we could do other than just be there.

One thing I wish I could have done for him was clothe him. He was wrapped in a blanket, but to me he looked cold. I know, of course, he wasn’t cold, he was at peace and he didn’t need anything other than the love and prayers we offered. But it hurt me, and felt wrong, to see him without any little clothes of his own.

Since that day, I have felt a strong need to pass on the love we still feel for our little angel boy by making and donating tiny clothes for all of the other little children who may, or may not, get a chance to grow into newborn sized clothing. I started with hats, of all sizes and colours, and then added little cardigans, and this year some trousers and blankets too. It is hard, emotional work, but it also brings a sense of peace. I know just how precious these little clothes will be to the families of the tiny children, and it keeps me going.

Tonight I am sharing a basic pattern for a stretchy, soft preemie hat that crochets up in next to no time. If you start now, you could have 10 made before bedtime, and drop them off at your local NICU tomorrow for a share in that inner glow.

Basic Crocheted Preemie Hat

You will need; less than 50g soft DK yarn, 4mm hook.

Tension is not crucial for size of finished item, as preemie heads come in all sizes – but try to aim for a stretchy fit rather than a tight fabric. Use a larger hook if necessary.

Start with a loop of yarn, and work 6 SC into the loop.

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Pull gently on the end of the yarn to draw your stitches into a ring. The hat will be worked in a continuous spiral. Work over the yarn end and you won’t have to sew it in at the end.

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From this point on, work into the BACK LOOP ONLY. This increases the stretch of the hat, and gives a spiral pattern.

Working in HDC , increase as follows;

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First increase row; Work 2 HDC into each stitch (12 HDC)

Next increase row; Work 1 HDC into next stitch, 2 HDC into following stitch, and repeat 5 more times (18 HDC)

Next increase row; Work 1 HDC into next 2 stitches, 2 HDC into following stitch, and repeat 5 more times ( 24 HDC)

Next increase row; Work 1 HDC into next 3 stitches, 2 HDC into following stitch, and repeat 5 more times (30 HDC)

Next increase row; Work 1 HDC into next 4 stitches, 2 HDC into following stitch, and repeat 5 more times (36 HDC)

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Your work may start curving into a bowl shape; that’s fine. You can continue to increase in this manner for a bigger hat, or work fewer increases for a smaller hat.

Now work 1 HDC into each stitch and continue until your hat reaches the size you need. I like to work a longer hat, as the brim can be rolled up or down to give an adjustable fit.

Finish by working 1 SC into each stitch for one round, then slip stitching into next stitch, and fastening off. Weave in the loose end, and your basic hat is complete.

You can customise your little hats to make them more personal, adding a button or bow, maybe working a row of SC in a contrasting colour around the brim, or sewing a bobble (securely!) on the top.

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If you work this pattern in a 4 ply yarn you can make a hat about the size of a tangerine, for the micro-preemies. Heartbreaking to make but so appreciated. I try to make the hats and clothes in as many different colours as possible, bright as well as pastel, as you just never know the preferences of the parents, and choice is always a good thing.

I hope this hasn’t been an upsetting post for anyone suffering from grief and loss right now – I just wanted to share a positive thing that came from something painful. My sister inspired us all with a strength we never knew she had, and life went on. Time passed slowly but it did pass, and healing came. I hope if you are in pain that healing comes for you too.

Make some tiny pants today

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Here they are, tiny little trousers for tiny little legs. I’ve used a pen for scale today, mainly because the apple from my last pic has been eaten by my boy.

Most of the patterns I come up with remain inside my head, but this one I have written down and am going to share. I don’t mind what you choose to do with this pattern, but if you do give it a go, I would love if you could donate a pair or two of these little trousers to your nearest NICU ward. (They were designed with teeny babies in mind.)

I have used dk yarn and a 4mm hook for this, and use US crochet terms. (I’m not in the US, but my magazine habits have caused me to US-ify my terminology!)

  1. Leaving a long end (roughly 12 inches,) ch 21. HDC in 2nd chain and HDC to end. 20 stitches. Place a stitch marker in the bottom of the 10th stitch from the hook.

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2. Work 12 rows in HDC.

3. Work HDC into first 9 stitches, then fold work in half so that the stitch marker is beside the hook.

Now work into the underneath of the marked stitch; back into the opposite side of the foundation chain. Complete this row by working a HDC into the next 8 stitches.

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You have now completed one leg of the trousers and your hook is at the waistband, ready to begin the next leg. Turn your work. Here is how it should look.

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4. Work a HDC into the next 9 stitches, turn. Make 12 chain stitches.

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5. HDC into second chain from hook, and into next 11 chain. HDC into 9 stitches, back up to waistband again. You should now have 20 stitches again, for the second leg.

6. Work 12 rows of HDC into these 20 stitches.

7. Fold this leg in half. You can now slip stitch the 11 stitches of the leg seam together.

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I’ve left the stitch marker in place to help you make sense of the photo, in case my instructions are not clear enough!

8. From this point, you can also slip stitch the back of the trousers together. You may notice a slight gap, caused by the extra row between the trouser legs. I normally just ease the edges together and slip stitch them ,the extra row Β is not noticeable once the trousers are finished.

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9. At this point, the hook should be back up at the top of the waistband again.

Chain 1, then work a row of SC evenly around the waistband of the trousers. The actual number is not important as long as they are evenly spaced. My count was 28 on this pair. Slip stitch to first SC.

10. Chain 2, then work a DC into each SC around. Slip stitch to first DC, then fasten off and sew in the loose end. Make a drawstring from about 70 chain stitches, then thread it through the gaps between the DC.

11. Finally, using the long end, slip stitch the first leg seam, and fasten off. Weave in the last loose end, turn the right way out, and you are finished!

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If you prefer not to use a drawstring for a baby, you could always put in a length of elastic, but I find that stitching the drawstring in place gives reassurance if needed.

I have shared this pattern for two reasons;

First of all, it was World Prematurity Day a few days ago, and the whole month of November has been dedicated to raising awareness of premature babies and those who care for them. I thought sharing a pattern would be a nice way to do my small bit for them.

Secondly, if you are just learning to crochet or just beginning to design your own items, this pattern is a great way to see just how versatile crochet can be. Who knew you could create a pair of trousers with no making up to do and only 2 loose ends to weave in?! (Making up and weaving in are my two least favourite bits of this craft – so lets just not do them!) I have also found a way to make a cardigan with very few seams and very little making up – I may be sharing that pattern at a later date πŸ™‚

Once you get your head around changing direction and seaming-as-you-go, the possibilities are endless. So many ideas – I would quite like to turn these into dungarees, for example, or see them in stripes, like pyjama trousers. If you decide to give them a go, I would love to see your pictures! Enjoy πŸ™‚

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