Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Wonderful Weekend

It was wonderful weekend in Iowa! I finally met Laura, the founder of The Preemie Project.
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She is an amazing person. A little over a year ago, after a knee surgery that didn't go as well as planned, Laura found herself needing something to do. With limited mobility and having to cope with a lot of pain, she turned to knitting to keep her sanity. Her mom, Linda, suggested that she knit some booties for the babies at the hospital and from that simple suggestion, The Preemie Project was started. Laura began to ask others through her knitting blog to help her. I believe I'm correct in saying that the project has grown to over 200 volunteers. Some are national volunteers like me, but many are from the Iowa City area. Working together we are able to donate a large number of hats, booties, blankets and bereavement outfits to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Cinics every two months.

All of the volunteers are important to the success of The Preemie Project, but the local volunteers are called upon to help in ways that those of us that live far away cannot. On Saturday and Sunday there were workdays planned to sew blankets for the babies and I was thrilled to be able to join the local volunteers in this effort.

We had an assembly line going. Linda cut out the majority of the blankets. I think this is the hardest part.
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Next they were sewn. There were five sewing machines in use on Saturday and six on Sunday. I used a machine that was donated and though old, it sewed beautifully.
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Other volunteers turned the blankets, trimmed and pressed the seams to get them ready to be top stitched.
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Here's a picture of the group that was there on Sunday.
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I had so much fun getting to know everyone. The way things were organized, I got to spend the most time with those in the sewing room. I met Darlene and discovered that she spends time each winter in a little town only 1 1/2 hours from my house. Small world. I learned that Carla can sew us under the table. She worked for hours without ever taking a break. Jane will probably have a new sewing machine by the end of the week. Hers was acting up and besides she needs one with fancy stitches for top stitching. It's for the babies afterall. Laura was sewing too and we spent a lot of time discussing The Preemie Project. She has great ideas and the will to make them happen.

I wish I could have spent more time with everyone working in the other room. Some were friends I know through blogging.
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Heather, Me and Megan
(I also met Libby and we took a picture together too, but it's on Laura's camera.)

It was great to meet each volunteer and so much fun to work together. My visit was way too short. I hope I get to go back another day.

At the end of two days of sewing, we had 96 finished blankets! Most of these are the large size. It truly was a wonderful weekend.
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Laura, Linda and me

Added later: Must have missed one blanket in the first count. The total blankets sewn this weekend was actually 97.

13 comments:

  1. Wow that is fantastic! It sounds like it was a wonderful time. :)

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  2. It was so great to meet you. I have to apologize for my short appearance at the work groups. What a great turn out, and such fabulous results. You are amazing for traveling all that way and helping out so much.

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  3. Linda5:14 PM

    What a great weekend. If we had just cut out 3 more blanket. (Laura did a recount yesterday while packaging them up -it was 97!!!) It was so wonderful to finally meet you. Your commitment to the babies has been an inspiration for Laura and I. You have inspired us to do more when we think we cannot. Thank you for the honor of meeting you and John. I want everyone to know what wonderful people you are. I feel like we have known you forever.

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  4. Wow! How cool that you got to meet everyone! I'm so glad you included so many nice pictures of the group. Looks like it was a very productive weekend! :-)

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  5. It looks like a good time was had by all and SO much good work:D It's wonderful that you got to go!

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  6. awesome awesome awesome! sounds like a great weekend.

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  7. Sounds like a wonderful weekend and even better knowing it is all for such a special cause. Congrats to you all for your hard work!

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  8. Oh wow what an awesome weekend you must have had, such fun. Laura is so young and beautiful, she must be an amazing person.

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  9. I'm so sorry I didn't get to meet you, it sounds like you all had a great time and did some great work. Next time, I promise.

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  10. I would love to see a close up of the blankets. Are they just two layers with a decorative topstitch? Plain topstitch? What size to they measure?
    I know this had to be a wonderful weekend and so very inspiring!!

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  11. Hi Candy,

    I didn't take a close up picture of the blankets we made, but it is just as you think--two pieces of fabric sewn together and finished with a decorative topstitch on most (a few of them were just plain topstitch).

    I believe the large sizes measure at least 30"x30" and the small ones are about 20"x20".

    When I make these blankets at home I use two pieces of cotton flannel. Many of the ones we sewed this time were fleece and flannel. The fleece does not really need to be used with another piece of fabric, but this combination is a favorite of the nurses at the hospital we donate to.

    Tracy

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  12. oh wow tracy! i just got finished reading lauras post! you guys got busy with those blankets! i am so glad that you got to go work with them this past weekend... you have given so much talent time and love to this charity..it's inspiring!

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  13. Sounds like a fabulous weekend!! YOu all did such a wonderful job =) YEAH!!

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Thank you for commenting!
~Tracy