Knitting for preemies is a popular choice for knitters who want to knit for charity, but you can't just pick any old knitting pattern for a baby and make it in a smaller size for successful preemie knitting.
About.com's Guide to Preemies, Cheryl Morrissette, shared some tips with me about the best choices for knitting projects for premature babies.
- Yarn should be soft, warm, washable and hypoallergenic. Superwash wool is not a great idea because some babies may be sensitive; cotton, acrylic and the like are better choices.
- Hats and blankets are the most needed items in the NICU, but booties are also useful.
- Sweaters are not really practical for when babies are in the hospital because of all the wires babies are often connected to, but babies can use sweaters after they go home. Newborn sized patterns are the best choices for these projects.
- Diaper covers are another good choice, particularly for micro-preemies who can't wear anything but a hat and a diaper.
Morrissette, who works in a 20-bed NICU, says another mistake a lot of knitters make is that their hats are too small for many of the babies. She says the size charts at Bev's Country Cottage are good estimations of the sizes of preemies, but that she wouldn't recommend knitting hats that are much smaller than the circumference of the babies' already small heads.