Tuesday, March 9, 2010
My consistent gift for new babies is a hat. I've made more hats than purses over the years and that truly is saying something. When my youngest was born, he spent 15 days in the NICU with tachypnea, a breathing issue. On his first birthday I took 15 preemie hats up to that same NICU to thank them for watching over my baby. Nate was anything but a preemie, though. He was 6 days late and weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces. He looked positively huge compared to the other babies.
My son's teacher's son is about 3 1/2 pounds. My normal baby hat is 16 inches in circumference and fits a baby up to about 6 months old. Obviously, that's not going to work for a baby less than 4 pounds. I looked up some statistics and a preemie baby head is about 10 inches in circumference instead of 14 inches. 10 inches. Wow. Take your tape measure and see what that looks like!
I decided on 12 inches. This baby is going to grow fast and strong. I prefer to knit baby hats in the round so there's no seam. But, the smallest circular is 16 inches. They make one that's less, but it's really cumbersome. So, I decided to use 2 circular needles, a technique made popular by sock knitters. Easier than double-pointed and still no seam. It's still awkward, because the hat is so darn small.
On size 8 needles, I used 55 stitches. My favorite, all-time, best-ever knitting pattern is Welting Fantastic which appears in the very first Barbara Walker Stitch Dictionary. Truly, if you don't have at least one of her volumes, you aren't a true knitter. I have all four. Thousands of stitches and no repetition.
Anyway, Welting Fantastic is done over a repeat of 11 stitches and creates a wonderful chevron pattern that looks great in almost any color combination. I chose baby blue and buttery yellow. Happily, since my yarn re-organization yesterday, finding the yarn was no trouble at all. I started the hat last night and finished this morning, in time to run it over to school for a teacher friend planning to visit the hospital after work.
I hope she likes it. And, I hope the baby wears it in ever-better health. Welcome to the World!