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Home : Community : Newsletters & Stories

Newsletters & Stories

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Stories from the Prayer Shawl Ministry
Charity Stories

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Charity Feature - The Preemie Project
By: Lion Brand
Knitters and crocheters are wonderfully generous people. To honor the work that yarncrafters around the world are doing, each month, we feature a charity that is helping people through knitting and crochet. This month, we feature the Preemie Project, an organization reaching out to the families of preemies and many other parents.
A preemie set made by the Preemie Project
Photo courtesy of the Preemie Project
In 2005, founder Laura Aker was taking a break from college and knitting up a storm. She wanted to give back, so she went online to see if she could gather some knitters together to do some charity projects. Right away, she had recruited 5 other knitters to make items for preemies. She was amazed at the generous nature of yarncrafters.

Nowadays, the Preemie Project has received items from over 300 crafters totaling over 4,000 Hat and Booties Sets, 3,000 blankets, and 500 bereavement packages, as well as many 900 yards of fabric, 400 skeins of yarn, 575 clothing items (onesies, pants, shirts, socks, etc). The organization makes quarterly donations to the University of Iowa Children's hospital of between 200 and 250 blankets, and just as many booty and hat sets.

The organization has grown from serving the UIHC neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to also providing bereavement clothing and items of remembrance to grieving families who have suffered a loss, as well as supporting the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and also providing baby clothing, toiletries, and other personal items to families of newborns with financial challenges.

"One thing we try to do as an organization is to get people of all ages involved," Laura said. To that end, the organization is holding its first annual Craft-A-Thon on February 5th from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Pappajohn Pavillion Lobby. Knitting lessons will be given out throughout the day, and local girl scout troups are participating. There will be a special Crafting for Preemies contest that crafters can enter (even if they will not be at the event). Visit the Preemie Project's website for more details. Entrants are encouraged to donate their items.

After all, giving to those in need is what it's all about. "It enriches your life more than you can imagine," Laura said.

To get involved with the Preemie Project, visit the website by clicking here. Popular items to make include hats and booties, as well as sleeper sacks (a pattern Laura recommends) and baptismal gowns. The most requested colors are pastel blue and pastel pink, but any color is acceptable for donations. Patterns can be found by clicking here.

Yarns should be extremely soft, because preemies' skin is very delicate, and also acrylic because it's easy-care and machine-washable. Some yarns recommended by the Preemie Project are Babysoft, Microspun, and Cotton-Ease. Another great yarn for baby items is Vanna's Choice.

Free baby item patterns on our website include:

Authored by Lion Brand

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