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How to help
You can take items to the Fort Wayne March of Dimes office, 303 Stable Drive. Its number is 482-4201.
Items for Parkview Hospital can be taken to Parkview Foundation, 2120 Carew St.; 260-373-7970.
Lutheran Health Network officials suggest you call to find out what items are needed. Donations can be dropped off with the NICU secretary at the hospital, 7950 W. Jefferson Blvd.; 435-7001.
Items for Dupont Hospital can be left with the NICU secretary at the hospital, 2520 E. Dupont Road; 416-3000.
Donations to St. Joseph Hospital can be dropped off with the NICU secretary at the hospital at 700 Broadway; 425-3000.
11-inch preemie hat
Gauge: 7 stitches to the inch in stockinette stitch
You will need:
•No. 3 needles (or needle size you use to get gauge), in whatever version you like to use for knitting in the round. Lara Neel used either 4 or 5 double-pointed needles.
•Bernat Sox yarn in Crazy Hot color or any yarn that gets you to gauge. Yarn should not contain wool or be at all fuzzy. It should be super-soft.
Cast on 80 stitches and join, without twisting, to knit in the round. Work knit 1, purl 1 around until your work is 1 inch long. Switch to stockinette stitch (knit every stitch) and work until your piece is 5 inches long.
Decreases for crown
Round 1: (knit 8 stitches, knit 2 stitches together) repeat around. (72 stitches left)
Round 2: (and all even-numbered rounds) knit all stitches.
Round 3: (knit 7 stitches, knit 2 stitches together) repeat around. (64 stitches left)
Round 5: (knit 6 stitches, knit 2 stitches together) repeat around. (56 stitches left)
Round 7: (knit 5 stitches, knit 2 stitches together) repeat around. (48 stitches left)
Round 9: (knit 4 stitches, knit 2 stitches together) repeat around. (40 stitches left)
Round 11: (knit 3 stitches, knit 2 stitches together) repeat around. (32 stitches left)
Round 13: (knit 2 stitches, knit 2 stitches together) repeat around. (24 stitches left)
Round 15: (knit 1 stitch, knit 2 stitches together) repeat around. (16 stitches left)
Round 17: (knit 2 stitches together) repeat around. (8 stitches left) Break the yarn and draw it through the remaining 8 stitches. Pull yarn tail to the inside of the hat. Darn in all ends.
Lara Neel | The Journal Gazette
Preemie hats are quick and easy to knit.

Raise awareness with a hat

November is Prematurity Awareness Month, a time when the March of Dimes strives to raise awareness about premature births.

And Wednesday has been set aside as Prematurity Awareness Day, when March of Dimes chapters across the U.S. host special events. In Fort Wayne, the local March of Dimes office will deliver gift bags of handmade hats, mittens and blankets to families of children born prematurely.

What better time to provide you a knit hat pattern that will fit premature babies?

Lara Neel, of Math4Knitters (Crafty Living’s companion podcast), came up with patterns for three different-sized hats. After talking to some neonatal and newborn intensive care unit nurses, we decided to print the largest size here. You can find the others by clicking on Math4Knitters show 46 at www.journalgazette.net/craftyliving.

There, you can also hear the nurses – Renell Leichty from Parkview Hospital and Irene Wagley from Lutheran Hospital – talk about the importance of these items to premature newborns and their families.

All the hospitals that have NICUs accept donations year-round. At Parkview, donations go through the foundation and are reviewed by a team before distribution. At Lutheran Health Network hospitals, items can be dropped off at the NICU and are then sent home with a nurse to be laundered.

In separate interviews Leichty and Wagley offered up several suggestions for knitters (and crocheters) interested in making items to donate (it doesn’t have to be hats; they accept blankets and clothing items as well).

The single most important thing to keep in mind is that these babies are sensitive so soft material (nothing wool) should be used.

As much as some of us might like the eyelash or fuzzy yarns, those are no good because they don’t want loose fibers in the babies’ beds. Plus, these items have to stand up to a hot-water wash.

The donated items should not be exposed to cigarette smoke or pet hair and dander, both nurses said. Any clothing items should have Velcro or tie closures and be easy access. Also, there should not be small parts that can end up loose in the baby’s bed (such as silk flower adornments). However, Wagley says crochet flowers would be nice for hats made for baby girls.

In terms of colors, both women said that colors that match the seasons are always nice, and Wagley said she’s seen a lot of families who like to dress their babies in their favorite teams’ colors. So, this time of year, fall colors may be nice, but it is also a good time to start working on holiday season colors of red, green and white.

“I would always recommend for anyone making anything to go ahead and include maybe a Bible verse, poem or saying,” Wagley said, adding that words of comfort help families during trying times.

And, Leichty encouraged people to maybe say a prayer while making their items.

Joyce McCartney is not a craft expert. She is, however, interested in crafting of all types. She shares her experiences and those of area crafters. To reach Joyce, call 461-8364 or e-mail craftyliving@jg.net. Also, go to the blog at www.journalgazette.net/craftyliving. Hear podcasts on knitting at Crafty Living: Math4Knitters. – Lara Neel of Math4Knitters

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