Monday, March 17, 2008

why I knit for preemies

I'm in a sentimental mood today and was looking thru the photos on my computer (which of course still haven't been printed or scrapbooked, terrible mother that I am. Knitting has taken over my scrapbook time!) Anyway, I thought I would share with you the main reason I started knitting for preemies:

My Daughter Meghan. Born at 29 weeks, 2 lbs 14 oz. In this first photo she is only a couple hours old and is still on the respirator. Those are my mom's hands in the photo, I didn't get to see her until she was 15 hours old because I was recovering from the c-section.

in this next photo she is less than 2 days old. Notice the respirator is already gone, they figured she'd be on it for a couple weeks but she was only on it for 12 hours, hen a c-pap for another 12 hours and here she is just using a nasal cannula which she used for about another 10 days. By 2 weeks old she was already breathing completely on her own.

my tiny little princess snuggling with Momma. look how small her little hand was!

And here she is today, less than 2 years later. She'll be 2 at the end of April. She spent 8 weeks in the NICU and is now a healthy normal girl. Not to mention the fact that she's a ham whenever there's a camera involved! :-)

And that's why I knit for preemies. :-)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Free pattern--fair isle spiral preemie hat

Thank you so much to my friend Vicki M. for her help with the chart for this pattern. Vicki, you rock!!!

size 4 straight needles (gauge is not critical for this project)
light worsted or worsted weight yarn (#3 or #4) I used Caron Simply Soft and some sparkly light purple from my stash.

c/o 55 sts. Work in k1, p1 ribbing for about an inch, taking care to work p1,k1 on wrong side so you don't end up with seed stitch instead. I did k1tbl, p1 ribbing on the hat in the photo just for a change of pace.

Work 10 rows of chart, following the 11 stitch repeat, pulling the working yarn over top of the non working yarn each time. watch your tension so that the floats aren't too loose or too tight, especially on the rows where you will have long floats.

after chart, drop coordinating color and work 2 rows in stockinette stitch in main color.

next row (right side) k 7, k2og across, ending in k3 tog instead of k2 tog.
p 1 row
k6, k2 tog across row
p 1 row
k5 k2 tog across row
p 1 row.

At this point I began the k2tog across, but you can add k4, k2tog across row and p 1 row if you want to make the top a little taller. Either way, after you do those decreases you will begin the k2tog across row, p 1 row, then k2 tog across row once more. there will be a total of 2 rows that you k2tog across.

cut yarn, leaving a long tail for seaming. Thread yarn onto a tapestry needle and draw thru remaining stitches. Pull tight and seam using mattress stitch, maching up pattern on either side of seam.

if you have any questions please leave a comment so I can help! Hope you enjoyed this pattern as much as I enjoyed making it! :-)

Stitches From The Heart--Texas rep!

I got the quarterly newsletter from Stitches from the Heart last week. First thing I noticed were the really cute bags they had for sale in the back, and after filling out my order form for 2 of them (hey, it goes toward charity! :-D) I noticed something else. A list of regional representatives. I read thru it and saw that there was no rep for Texas listed. I thought about it for a couple of days then emailed Kathy at SFTH about what is involved in being a rep. She said that reps go around to local yarn stores, knitting groups and retirement communities to try to get more people involved in knitting or crocheting items for preemies, and they also collect the items and ship them to SFTH. She said she'd send me several booklets to give out if I'd like to be their Texas rep, and I said I'd love to. So, I'm now the Texas rep for Stitches from the Heart! :-D I'm going to talk to the owner of my LYS (I'm planning to go to a couple of other ones in the area too) and see if I can put up a sign or collection box or something. There's a couple of retirement communities nearby too that I will talk to.

So, if you want to donate preemie items (hats, blankets, sweaters, booties, etc) please let me know! All items are welcome and appreciated! Don't worry if you're just a beginner and the stitches aren't even or you make a mistake--the items will still be appreciated.

My daughter still uses the blankets she recieved in the NICU. As a matter of fact, she's got one in her crib right now. She will be 2 next month (GASP! Where has the time gone?!?!). I've also got a dear friend who lost her son, and she still has the crocheted gown he recieved in the NICU (it was the only thing that would fit him!). She said that she takes it out occasionally and even though it has been a few years, it still smells like him. While my heart breaks for her, I am glad to know that items like the ones we make and donate bring so much comfort to families struggling thru the hardships of a premature birth, whether the baby thrives or sadly doesn't make it.

Preemie items take little time to make and are great projects for the small amounts of yarn you have leftover on a skein. They're great take-along projects for car trips or soccer games too. and if your children have long outgrown the baby stage, but you have a pattern you really want to make because it is too cute not to, then consider making it for Stitches From The Heart. :-)

Monday, March 10, 2008

FO's and new friend

OK finally remembered to charge the batteries on the camera. When I downloaded the photos I realized why the batteries had run down--there were 41 photos of my stamp room from an angle about 3 feet off the ground, close ups of my 4 year old's face and feet, and lots of out of focus potos of Lord only knows what. I'm assuming the cuprit forgot to turn the camera off when he was done! :-) Ahhhhh, kids.
Anyway, here's some photos of my recent finished projects and works in progress as well as photos of our latest addition. Enjoy!
preemie blankets, the only thing I really know how to do with crochet. Its a simple pattern I adapted, it was with a size 35 hook and 3 strands, I used a 10.5 and one strand.

Egg people. Hee hee hee. My Dad just rolled his eyes at me when I gave him one. Maybe because of the theme of it--I did the base in black with a white square in the middle and said it was Fr. Egghead. My Dad is a Catholic Deacon. LOL.

more knit food, for another friend of mine. Sandwiches and cake. Hee hee hee. When I showed these to my parents, my Dad thought I had lost my mind!! :-D

A dress I made for Meg when she was like 7 or 8 mos old. The reason this photo is here is you will see her wearing it in some of the following photos. It is too small now, but she found it today and wanted to wear it so I put it on over her tshirt. It looks like a longish tank top now. :-)

my sweater, hard to tell b/c it is so bunched on the needles, but I am on the last color section before I bind off, then I will just have to pick up and knit the sleeves. :-) I hope it fits, I can't try it on really b/c of the needles.

A little chickie that somehow made his way up to my mantle. ;-)

our newest addition, meet Fuzz Wuzz. (the 4 year old named him!) an Easter present from my parents to my kids-at least they asked first! :-)

meeting Fuzz Wuzz. My daughter is wearing the dress from above.

me and my new snuggly bunny.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

dissatisfying knitting

Ever have a project you worked hard on but just weren't that thrilled with it? Did you give into the urge to just rip it all out and give up or did you keep going, possibly ending up with a project you don't like and spent wayyyy too much time on? Or worse, is it sitting unfinished in a closet somwhere taking up valuable knitting needle space?

I'm here to tell you it is OK to rip. no matter how many clues, er, rows you have done. Ok, yes, you guessed, I'm going to rip my Secret of the Stole ii. I'm wayyyyyyy behind and I'm just not liking the pattern, and I think my yarn deserves better. I have super yummy soft alpaca cloud in the mist heather that is G-E-Orgeous. Love love love it. Want it to become a project I love, and thus far I'm just not. So in order to regain my sanity and a spare pair of size 2 circs, I'm going to rip. But I'm not just stopping there folks. Oh no, I'm fearless. I'm also going to rip not one but TWO pairs of socks!!! Yes, that's right. I've gone ripcrazy. Actually, I already ripped the first pair, a pair of purple lace socks I wasn't liking. Love the pattern but the yarn wasn't turning out right. So, rippppppppp. The yarn will be used for something else entirely I think, I'm not liking it for socks. Knitpicks Pallete for anyone who wonders. Not soft enough for my tastes. I'm using some of it for a knit doll right now, from a book called precious knits for kids or something, I browsed thru someone's copy at my knitting night and LOVED it. Dh got a great deal on too. :-) Anywhoo, I'm making the doll out of that book with pallette right now, and will probably do the castle and finger puppets with it too. Maybe some knit food as well, I have some cute patterns I've been wanting to try, and of course have a friend requesting some.

The other pair of socks I may not rip, I may choose to stop the madness. We'll see. I love the colorway of the yarn, its a bit rough for me but once it is knit it feels softer. I'm knitting it on size ones though, and that is taking a while. I think I'm considering doing the ripping because I'm dreading having to pick up all those stitches. Hey, for anyone readin this who is a sock knitter--when you do toe up and/or short row heels, do you have to pick up all those gusset sts? I hate doing that and having that awquard feeling on my needles for several rows not to mention the work involoved in picking the stitches up. And the yarn in question is dark and verigated so with tiny size 1s it will not be pleasant. We'll see.

Still working on the sweater. A nasty kidney infection and ensuing reaction to my antibiotic left me too ill to knit (GASP!) for much of this week. I'm finally getting back on my feet and back on the needles though. Now I gotta whip my hands back into shape, using those size 2's for that doll was hurting my poor fingers! They're out of shape. Are there finger push ups? LOL.

Happy knitting!