Sunday, January 6, 2008

Knitting for Charity: Baby Hats

I (maybe not so) secretly stalk this blog titled josh + kati. I mentioned before that we shared due date club memberships during my most pregnancy and loss. I periodically check in on her blog for updates and to admire her gorgeous knitting.

I wish I could knit. I tried once, but I made this really long red cord of nothingness, and out of frustration, threw all my yarn in the trash. I'm so mature.

Enough about me, more about her -- this girl can knit. She makes creative caps and really cute socks, and uses her dogs for models. I wish I knew her personally because I would absolutely have her make something for me, and I would absolutely appreciate it and love it forever. But I don't, so I'm out of luck. (Unless she drops in here and feels compelled, and then to her I would say, "Socks, just like your Mom's.")

Tonight, while reading her blog, I noticed that for the New Year she resolved to knit for charity, and it made me think of something I wanted to tell her and the entire knitting world. If you knit, listen up.

When Zachary was born at 22 weeks, the hospital where I had him -- Baylor Grapevine, here in Texas -- had a selection of little handmade baby gowns, knit baby hats and miniature baby blankets, all of them made by volunteers. Though Zachary was born only to die, the nurse was able to dress him for me. This served a couple of purposes:

  • The clothes and hat protected his very thin, very fragile skin, and kept it from sloughing off when he was touched or held. Skin coming off your baby can be very disturbing.

  • By him wearing the baby gown and baby hat, I had something to bring home that belonged to him, something that he wore, something I could hold. Eight months later, I still like to have it out and around all the time.

  • Our Baby in His Hat

    This little hat is so small. Fully extended, it's shorter than a dollar bill. On Zachary's tiny little head, the edge had to be rolled three times, so it could have been made even smaller.

    Fully Extended

    The Size on Baby's Head

    To an experienced and skilled knitter, I imagine this would be an afternoon project -- something to do while watching T.V.

    To a mom whose baby has died or will die, it's an irreplacable treasure.

    Not Just a Hat -- A Treasure

    If making gowns, blankets, and hats for dead/dying babies seems too morbid, I know the volunteer staff at Baylor Grapevine also makes baby hats for full-term newborns (see here). (In my understanding, they just do hats for the full-term babies -- only preemies, or maybe only dead/dying babies, have access to the gowns and knit blankets.) It's all the same department, so I'm sure contact info for either option would be the same.

    If you're like me and can't knit for the life of you, they accept donations of baby-colored yarn. In addition to privately contributing, a yarn or material collection could be a service project for a Sunday School class or community group. These are very unconventional (and yet, extraordinary) ways to serve in the community. Something to think about, and to pass along...


    • The Dukes Family

      Great idea - thanks for the prompting. I'd like to check into that.

    • taralynn819

      If you like to knit would like my friend Celeste's blog. She's very creative, and a believer also. :)

    • Elizabeth

      Great idea! I can't knit, but I can donate.

      I'm not comparing situations, but the idea here...when I placed Addi for adoption, the hospital I was at had the same thing. Clothes made by volunteers for babies...I dressed her in a couple of their outfits, and kept them. I can't tell you how many times I took them out and held them, smelled them. Yes, they are invaluable!

    • Amanda

      See, friend -- you know. Such a great idea. I'm sure there are lots of hospitals around that offer this sort of thing, but I also know there are some who offer nothing. My friend who lost her son last year got nothing, whereas we took home blankets, clothes, bears, diapers, a camera, hospital photos, etc. We came home with a whole bereavement package, which we appreciated greatly.

    • Elizabeth


    • Amy

      I remember your sweet Zachary in that little hat. The night that he was born, I went to the nurses station to ask them something, and they were choosing exactly which gown and hat and blanket and bear to give your little one. They had tears in their eyes. I was so touched that he was honored in that way and that you got to have those tangible reminders of things that were your baby's.

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