Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Preemie Bonnets

Members of The Preemie Project bereavement committee recently met with representatives of the hospital we donate to in Iowa to find out how we can better meet their needs. They were told that bonnets are preferable over stocking caps for the smallest size bereavement sets because it makes it easier to dress the baby, so I decided to find a pattern and give it a try.

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Pattern: Bonnet to Match Knit Burial Gown
Yarn: Bernat Softee Baby Sport D.K.
Needles: US 3 throughout
Size: 1-3 lbs

The size needles I used are a little small for this yarn, but I wanted the bonnet to be tiny. I normally prefer to use size 5 with this yarn.

After it was knitted, I found it difficult to know what size baby this bonnet would fit. It's easy to measure the circumference of a stocking cap and compare it to the measurements guideline, but a bonnet is different. I began to look around the house to find something to test it on. I discovered that a vanity light bulb measures 10 inches in circumference which is the size listed for a 1-3 pound baby. It fit nicely on the light bulb, so I'm hoping it will work as well on a baby.

I like this bonnet, but I began to think of ways to change it up. The design is a simple T-shape. The bottom of the T is folded to meet the top of the T and then sewn together (refer to the illustration on the pattern). It's easy to plug in different stitch patterns to each section to achieve a different look. The possibilities are unlimited.

I knitted up two more bonnets using sport weight Red Heart Soft Baby and size US 3 needles. This is a lighter weight yarn and it worked much better with size 3 needles. The resulting bonnet is slightly smaller, but will still work for 1-3 pounds.

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The yellow one turned out to be my favorite, though the detail didn't photograph well. It is stockinette stitch with rows of garter stitch for the front and 1x1 rib for the back.

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The lavender one is garter rib stitch on the front and 1x1 rib on the back. I like the ribbing in the back because I think it draws the bonnet in nicely, but any stitch would work.

Next, I experimented with reducing the number of cast on stitches to make a smaller size bonnet for a baby weighing less than one pound. I think this is the size the bonnets were requested for in the first place. You can see the difference in size in the picture below.


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The stitch pattern for the tiny one is garter stitch for the front and my favorite 1x1 rib in the back.

I think I'll be making lots of bonnets in the future. The versatility of the pattern makes it fun to knit. For those of you who want to try it out, here is the formula I used based on the original pattern.

Yarn: Sport Weight Baby Yarn
Needles: US 3
Size: less than 1 lb (1-3 lbs)

*CO 31 (41) sts.
Work stitch pattern of your choice for 1.5 (2) inches.
Bind off 9 (12) sts. at the beginning of the next two rows.
Work remaining sts. in stitch pattern of your choice until it aligns with the front.
Bind off and sew together.
(I omitted the single crochet around the edge of the hat.)
Weave ribbon along the bottom edge of bonnet to use for tying under the chin.

* You may need to adjust the number of stitches cast on to work with the stitch pattern you select.

20 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting your review of this pattern, Tracy! I've not knit any bonnets yet either, so I'm looking forward to trying this one soon. Your bonnets are beautiful, BTW. :o)
    Sara

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  2. These are beautiful. Thanks so much for putting all of this information together. I'm hoping to give it a try soon.

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  3. The bonnets are so lovely. I know when our knitting group in Virginia knit for preemies we were told head size = the size of an orange or a lemon. And for blankets, nothing larger than the size of a dinner napkin.

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  4. Thank you for posting this pattern. I have been wanting to knit bonnets but couldn't seem to find a pattern. Your bonnets turned out very nice.

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  5. Thank you for providing this information, I too have been trying to deal with the size differences between hats and bonnets. I've been working with a simple "top-down" bonnet pattern that I'm trying to adapt to preemie and micro preemie sizes, but and struggling with the sizing because I just don't really know how to measure it. I'll share the pattern once I get home and get the link for it (I can't seem to find it now, but it's kind of like this one without the face and ears: http://www.helloyarn.com/wp/?p=370).

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  6. Wow, those are tiny caps. I thought I saw a light bulb and then read further and sure enough. Maybe now I should try my Santa hats on a light bulb. Good thinking! All the patterns look good to me. You always so such a nice job.

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  7. Such sweet hats. I like the yellow one best too. It's a wonderful thing you do!

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  8. I just love the little bonnets. I will be trying some of those next. I like the blue one as well as the yellow. Thanks for posting about the measurements. I just printed the info.

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  9. Using a light bulb to check the fit is a grea idea. I would have never thought of that. These little hats are just too cute.

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  10. The little bonnets are adorable! I like the yellow one best. Thanks for posting the pattern - I think I'll give it a try.

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  11. Laura Aker10:35 AM

    hi tracy! Oh so precious. Thank you for taking this on. I miss reading your blog and having email chats with you. I really hope all is well. Just super busy with school, work and my boyfriend. :0) I'll have to send you some updates pics. Look for an email from me soon. I am bound and determined to stay in touch with all of my TPP friends. I'm looking forward to only taking 1 class this summer so that I have more time on my hands. Miss you!

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  12. Tracy, these are fantastic. And very timely - I just knit a bonnet on Sunday afternoon and sort of made up the pattern, but I like yours much better. I'll post a link to it when I'm home tonight. I like bonnets because they seem more "dressy" than stocking caps - never occurred to me they might be easier for gentle dressing as well. Thanks so much, as always.

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  13. Thank you for the beautiful bonnet pictures and the pattern. I am going to give it a try this weekend. Blessings to you!

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  14. Such precious little bonnets!!!

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  15. What a great pattern. The bonnets are absolutely adorable. I'll have to try one soon...I'm currently working on the mother bear project.

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  16. Those are really beautiful. It's so hard to imagine the baby that those would fit. The bonnets are sweet but there is a sadness to them too.

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  17. Those are precious. And on a completely unrelated note, thanks for the delightful engagement wishes. We're thrilled, of course.

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  18. So precious! Brings tears to my eyes!

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  19. Anonymous12:52 AM

    So cute. I want it.

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  20. I agree, those hats are so cute and I can see that it can really fit a premature baby. Great design and the pattern are just so amazing.

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Thank you for commenting!
~Tracy