Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Baby

My son's teacher had her baby on Sunday.  Early.  Mom and baby are doing just fine.  Eleven weeks early, but he's doing fine.  Some of the moms have been working on some fun things for the kids in anticipation for a small classroom baby shower in April.  All those plans are still in place.  The kids are excited.

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!

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