Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Prem Baby Charity Knitting Patterns

Have you knitted for your children? Your friend’s children? Your friend’s children’s children? Knitting baby clothes is quick and rewarding but sometimes there are only so many babies I could find to knit for so after some searching I found out about charity knitting for premature babies.

Do you want to knit for a good cause? Whether you are nutty about knitting or an eager novice with your needles paused there are lots of charities to choose from. If you are a knitter then knitting for charity can definitely be fun, but it can also be one of the most satisfying things you'll ever do.

Wondering where to start? Is there a need? Yes there is!

There are lots of ways that you can click your knitting needles for a good cause. The information here will help you start charity knitting for prem babies. There is something sweet about knitting a tiny item for the tiniest of babies. Not only are you providing a personal gift for someone who desperately needs it, but also baby clothes are quick and easy to make! So it's satisfying in more ways than one. Even if you're a beginner this is a project you can start and see through right to the end. Read on for some great general advice on charity knitting for prem babies and some details of specific charities you can have a look at before you decide who to get knitting for. The charities often provide free knitting patterns but below is some general advice to help you get those needles clicking.

Advice on Premature Baby Charity Knitting.

Don't put too much emphasis on trying to perfect the size of a preemie garment. There is a great variation between premature baby sizes that an item of any size should be suitable for at least one baby. As a general guide premature babies head circumference is approximately the same as their chest circumference. The average prem baby’s chest measurements are 8"-14”. However clothes of all sizes are required for preemies, so no matter how big or small your item is it will most likely fit at least one baby.

Pastel colours are the most popular. Apart from the obviously baby pinks and blues other colours which may be used are: Lemon, Cream, White, Mint green, Peach, Lilac and Aqua. It is recognised that bright and dark colours should be avoided as they often make prem babies look frailer. When knitting burial garments the advice suggests its best to use colours such as white or cream and to avoid pinks, blues and lilacs, as they aren't suited to the colouring of a stillborn baby.

Premature babies have very delicate skin and can often be allergic to wool; therefore it is best to avoid garments made with a wool mix. Acrylic yarn is more suitable when knitting for preemies. Ideal yarn to use for preemie knits is baby double knit or 4ply yarn. Most preemie patterns will use these.

Plain flat half-inch buttons are best to use for fastening. Avoid nylon and metal fastenings, as they get very hot under the incubator heaters. Do not use Velcro as a fastening, it is very scratchy on the hook side and also damages knitted garments when they are laundered. Ease of dressing is vital for preemies and as a general rule it is best not to use ribbon as a fastening as ribbon can often be fussy to tie on a garment so small.

What to Knit?

These are the most frequently used preemie clothing. V-Necks or round necks are the best to knit for 'give' and ease of dressing. Cuffs and shoulders should have plenty o of 'give' to help make dressing easy. Stretchy knits such as garter stitch work best as they provide the necessary ‘give’.

Prem baby knitting charities usually appreciate blankets. Avoid lacy patterns or blankets with large holes in can be dangerous for little fingers.

The best type is the ventilator hat as they allow the babies to have head scans without removing the hat. Keep the designs simple and preferably without any ties and fastenings. Check the specific sites for the knitting patterns they recommend.

Garter stitch is the best to use for booties as it is stretchy which makes it easier to put the booties on. It is better to knit shaping at the ankle to provide grip rather than use tie or cords.

The charities involved often have free patterns and advice on their websites so do not be worried by all the dos and don’ts as you really will be able to find a garment to suit both your knitting skills and the babies needs.

Where to find Prem Baby Charity Knitting Patterns

One of the many ways that you can support Bliss is by knitting for babies in special care units. Knitted items are most useful for babies about to go home, but there is also a demand for blankets and hats for babies in hospital. Knitted items are not appropriate for intensive care units - stitched cotton is preferable. However for larger babies, and in high dependency and special care units, knitted items are often very welcome.

Bliss request that to reduce their costs volunteer knitters help by sending items direct to their local unit, rather than to Bliss. To find the address of your local unit, and to check which items they have requested to receive, please contact Jodi McNess who will be happy to help you.

Bliss also use Knitted breasts. The knitted breasts allow nurses to easily show women important massage techniques that let them stimulate their milk production and express their valuable first drops of milk. They are particularly helpful when there are language barriers. Woollen breasts are an excellent free alternative to expensive teaching aids that are used by health professionals to teach new mothers to express by hand before going on to use an electric pump.
Preemies UK
This is small group of volunteers that knit and crochet clothing for premature babies.

Bonnie Babies
This charity sends premature baby outfits and blankets to special care baby units around the UK and to parents who need support. A grieving mother who needed a way to deal with the loss of her premature child founded Bonnie Babies six years ago. Instead of turning inward, she decided the best way to honour her baby's memory was to reach out to others. Bonnie Babies makes premature clothing, blankets, and burial outfits for U.K. Special Baby Care Units and families. Their goal is to show each mother and each family that there are people thinking of them and caring for them.
Bonnie Babies primarily makes blankets for premature babies. They provide patterns for toys, hats, and sweaters (even a "5 Hour Baby Sweater!"), but blankets are quick, easy to make, and guaranteed to fit. Not only that, families can continue to treasure them long after the child is grown.

Feed the Children
Feed The Children is a UK charity that has their own knitting pattern for a jumper suitable for children of all ages. They are also looking for knitted hats, gloves and scarves.

Early Angels
This is a site based in the U.K set up to help people to knit, crochet or sew clothes, blankets and other keepsakes for premature, low birth weight and sadly stillborn babies at own local hospital neonatal/SCBU units. They have an extensive range of free knitting, crochet and sewing patterns available on their pattern page.

Knitting items for premature babies can be very rewarding and is definitely appreciated by the charities and the families who receive them. If you are excited by the prospect of getting your knitting needles working for charity and want to explore charity knitting for other organisations here are some ideas to help your search.

Charity Clowns

Teddies for Tragedies

Algerian Action

Save the Children
Knitting for Operation Christmas Child

The Sailors' Society

Loving Hands

Operation Elderly Charity Stitchers
The Baby Pack Project

I hope you find the prem baby charity knitting patterns to suit your skills and enjoy the rewards of knitting for charity.


  1. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting.Many thanks.

    Preemie baby clothing

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