Category Archives: Crochet Techniques

New Term Tuesday: American vs. European Crochet Terms

It’s frustrating when you’re trying to reproduce a cute crochet pattern you found and yet it just doesn’t look anything like the photo you saw.

The problem could be something as simple, but profoundly affective, as this: Basic American crochet terms are different from European (including British and Australian) crochet terms.

And just because you grew up in the US doesn’t mean you necessarily learned crochet vernacular according to “American Crochet Standards.” Many patterns published in America during the 1800’s and early 1900’s also used terms from standards we refer to today as European or British.

So we’ll clear that up a bit today. And if you like to collect antique crochet patterns (as I do), take note because there are terms you’ll need to watch for, no matter which side of the ocean it came from.

What influenced the differences? I’m not really sure. However, the basic stitch we call single crochet in America, for instance, is called double crochet in Europe. As you can see, discrepancies in stitch terminology such as this can make a huge difference in end results.

Reference point: Australia, the UK and Europe in general all fall under the umbrella of “European terms.” Canada and the U.S. fall under the umbrella of “American terms.” Some refer to them instead as “American/British terms” or “UK/US terms.” For the purpose of this article, and the sake of clarity, I’ve simply left it at “European vs. American.” This list comes from my notes and cross-references over the years.

Here’s a quick list of American/European terms and their counterparts:

American: chain stitch (ch)
European: chain (ch)

These terms are essentially the same everywhere.

American: slip stitch (ss)
European: slip stitch (ss); sometimes shows up as single crochet in antique patterns (sc)

I have also seen slip stitch referred to as single crochet (sc) or “single stitch” in some British patterns, especially from the late 1800’s. Additionally, I’ve seen the terms “mitten stitch” and “close joining stitch” used.

American: single crochet (sc)
European: double crochet (dc)

I have also seen this referred to as “plain stitch” in some British patterns, especially from the late 1800’s.

American: half double crochet (hdc)
European: half treble crochet (htr) or extended double crochet

American: double crochet (dc)
European: treble crochet (tc)

American: triple crochet (tr)
European: double treble crochet (dtr or dbl tr)

I have also seen this referred to as a “long stitch” in some antique patterns.

American: double triple crochet (dtr or dtrc)
European: triple treble crochet (trtr)

I have also seen this referred to as an “extra long stitch” or “long treble” in some antique patterns.

American: triple treble (trtr or trtrc)
European: quadruple treble (quadtr)

American: yarn over (yo)
European: wool round hook (wrh) or yarn over hook (yoh)

American: skip
European: miss

American: gauge
European: tension

American: bind off or fasten off
European: cast off

OK!  So these are the most common basic English terms you’ll run into out there while comparing crochet patterns from across the oceans.

Today it is pretty standard practice to print on the pattern whether the pattern is written according to American Crochet Standards or British/English/Australian/European Crochet Standards.  I list all four there, because I have seen each of these in variation.

There are also Japanese, Chinese, Croatian, Scandinavian, South American and other terms as well, not to mention universal symbol crochet.  But this will get you started with the most common terms published in English.

Thanks for reading!  If you have resources and ideas to share, feel free to post them in the comments.

Until next time then….!

Go ahead and click a link below to “share this.”  You know you want to!  : )



Filed under crochet, Crochet Education, Crochet Techniques

Stitches Make A Difference, Crochet!

After some prompting from peers on the matter, I’ve decided to at least occasionally write about technique on my blog.  I’ve crocheted for over 33 years now, so there’s a lot of information and observations in my head and much of it is outside of the box.  I don’t always think about it, but some of it might be helpful to others as we continue together to promote and explore the art of crochet.  So though I’ll have to work on these entries in bites, we can add all this to the learning community.  I’ll also see in the future if I can get some of my peers to chime in and lend their expertise as well.  After all, crochet is a very large umbrella with many specialties.  And who knows, maybe we can drum up some give-aways here at some point.  I’m short on time, but I’m up for some game time fun.  You too?  Please remember though, if you find a post helpful or interesting, please be sure to give it a star rating, thumb it up and share it with others.  I appreciate it!

Today I want to illustrate the possibilities in creating soft structure that remains as comfortable to sensitive skin all crocheted up, as it feels on the skein.  I have learned a lot over the years from creating crochet for chemo patients who have extremely sensitive skin.  I also have always marveled at what people will create and put on babies, especially preemies and newborns, who also have very tender skin.  A good test is to rub your proposed end fiber (in a stitched swatch) on your inner wrist for a few seconds.  If it feels even a little uncomfortable, it’s not going to be comfortable to an infant.  And unfortunately, not only can they not tell you, they can’t stop you either.  This is always an issue to me when it comes to donations for preemies – please remember your end product’s actual comfort!  Use quality materials and careful stitches.  You can read more about crocheting for preemies here and chemo patients here.

OK, so let’s talk about structure.  What you see pictured here is just one of three different proto-types of a pattern I’m working on.  I wanted an eclectic look, something outside the usual “rectangle” style scarves you see.  However, I did not want to sacrifice warmth or the soft feel either. One of the reasons a rectangle scarf is a classic is not only its ease of creation, but the physics behind a single layer of stitches wrapped around a neck.

Carnival Twist Prototype

However, everyone has a classic style scarf.  When you are competing for attention, or simply want something different, you need a new edge of some sort.  In this case, I chose a new “twist” to the idea of soft structure.  This is one of my favorite design pieces, just for achieving a striking unique look and comfort simultaneously via stitch work alone.  This numbly scarf is buttery soft, made from some of the softest materials I’ve ever worked with.  And it was carefully crafted with the right kind of stitches so the feel of the yarn was preserved in-stitch.

Wondering what I mean?  Well, your stitches really do have a lot to do with how soft your end product will be, no matter how soft your fiber is on the skein.  It is entirely possible to take an incredibly soft (and expensive) yarn and crochet it into an incredibly uncomfortable and scratchy feeling garment on the skin – all based on your stitches.

One of the easiest ways to ruin the feel of your garment is to make your stitches too tight.  Tight stitches have their place.  You need them in many lace techniques.  You need them for many amigurumi techniques too.  But when you are working with something to be worn against the skin, take extra care to watch your tension.  Too-tight stitches make it difficult to frog errors and to work with fine yarns altogether.  And unless you are creating an industrial style piece that needs to be stiff and strong, I recommend a looser tension or a larger hook to carry out your goals.

As far as our example here, this particular scarf design also utilizes a-typical stitches as well, which lend to the shape as well as the skin sensation at the touch.  So when you are getting ready to create something new, take notice of the structure of the stitches you are preparing to use.  Some stitches are best suited for strength, as when being applied to a belt or a purse.  Others are more conducive to flow.  And some, like broomstick lace, are somewhat of a combo, with the large flowing stitches that show off the beauty of yarn, combined with locking stitches.  When softness is important to you, I highly recommend swatching, not just to be sure your gauge is correct and that your yarn will look good in that stitch, but also to test on your wrist and feel the result of the texture you will create.  You are also testing to see how your fibers behave.  You can get different results from equally soft yarns in the same stitch based on how those yarns are structured and what they are made of as well.  Alpaca and cashmere do not behave the same.  Equally, when you mix either with silk.  All are incredibly soft, but may feel dramatically different in the stitch.

So give it a whirl and make some swatches to see what I mean.  Leave your comments or write an article about your experiments and link it here.
I’d love for you to share your experiences and photos here to help others while we continue to promote the art of crochet and expand our creativity.

See you soon!


Filed under Charity Crochet, crochet, Crochet Techniques

Mini Bullions with Cobalt Czech Glass Choker




Mini Bullions and Czech Glass Choker. My “sleepless so might as well quietly crochet” idea.  Not exactly a quick project, but fairly simple.  And not bad for a proof of concept piece.

Now that the family is waking up, I guess I can get back to moving furniture before the window guys get here later.

Leave a comment

Filed under Artist Information & Notes, Crochet Techniques

Hat Embellishments From Crochet and Vintage Elements



Here are some hat pins I made at the show today.  One is made from a vintage button, the other from a scarf pin from West Germany.

Leave a comment

Filed under Artist Information & Notes, Crochet Techniques, Doing the Show Circuit

The Best Potholders Ever…

Bookmark and Share

Complimentary colors for my sister in law

Lately I’ve had a hankering for simpler projects than I usually have my hands in. And after some recent stress and discouragement I found myself looking back for sources of comfort, to one of the very first “real” projects I ever learned to crochet some 30+ years ago – my Grandmother’s pattern for potholders.

Grandma’s double layer potholders have, to this day, been the absolute best potholders I’ve ever had. (And I’ve bought a lot of pot holders and hot pads too.) She made me a pair some 20 years ago that became my everyday potholders in motherhood. They’ve never burned me. They’ve never torn nor have they fallen apart from singeing and heat. Neither have any of the ones I’ve made in child or adulthood before or since. (Can you tell I cook – a LOT?) They wash and dry so well and overall, they still look pretty good! And not only that, but I prefer them equally to cork for use as hot pads too, when I need to set something on the counter or table.

They’ve done an excellent job of protecting my furniture from heat damage.

Various sizes, even for my little tea pot

The potholders you see pictured here are the new ones I made last week. I made several in different sizes, even some small enough for my little tea pot. And a complimentary pair for my sister-in-law who dug through my bag ‘o yarn and picked out the fibers. I really like how the textures play out.

It was comforting to “sit with Grandma” again. I’ve updated the look a bit, but in my heart it’s still Grandma’s pattern.

Miss you…


Filed under Artist Information & Notes, crochet, Crochet Techniques

Giant Crochet Spider Web Pattern…

I am working on my Giant Crochet Spider Web pattern for you folks. This is the kind that can be made up to many feet wide to display in your yard, or a large space. I hope to have it ready to list in my Etsy store this weekend.

Advantages to this design are its durability over most crochet designs, while at the same time, not becoming too bulky or using mass amounts of yarn to achieve this strength.

This spider web pattern utilizes unconventional stitches outside mainstream crochet, which will likely cause it to have an “advanced” crochet skill rating according to the international standard guidelines. However, I believe these unconventional stitches will be easy enough to learn for most folks and are somewhat repetitious.

So stayed tuned for photos and the pattern listing!

Also, watch for a series of spider web umbrellas to be released as well! These umbrellas are a limited run. (I only have so many umbrellas to make these with and only so many webs can be made per week anyway!) So once they are up, grab what you want, because they will be limited this year. Price range for spider web umbrellas depend largely on complexity of the web design and time involved, after consideration of supply cost for the umbrellas themselves. Average time to create a single fairly straight forward spider web umbrella is about 3 hours. Careful handwork in securing the spider web to the umbrella and weaving in several feet of ends is a significant part of the time in my process as well, again depending on complexity of the design. I like to leave several feet for the tails to add to the durability and long-term strength of my crochet webs.

UPDATE: You can find my regular spider web pattern (pdf file) for sale in my Etsy store here:


Filed under Artist Information & Notes, Crochet Patterns, Crochet Techniques

Getting the Most Out of Your Fiber Blends – The “Half-Stitch” Technique…

Bookmark and Share

This is an article I wrote over a year ago for potential use on Ravelry or for The Crochet Liberation Front First Ever Book.  Thought I’d reprint it here for your reference.

Getting the Most Out of Your Fiber Blends
The “Half-Stitch” Technique

by Julia Meek Chambers – Aberrant Crochet ™

 Fiber blending in crochet is when we use more than one color and/or fiber in a project at the same time.  Many people have crocheted with at least two fibers at a time to increase the gage of the stitch or add variety to the colors and shading in a product.  It is a great way to add extra dimension to any look.

 Sometimes, in our work, we assemble the perfect combination of colors and textures for a project, only to discover that there’s not enough of one of the fibers to complete it as envisioned.  Whether the lack of yardage is due to budget constraints or because the fiber itself is simply discontinued or otherwise unattainable, this limitation does not have to mean a disappointing dead-end to an otherwise fantastic fiber combination. 

 Why not try using the determinate fiber for partial stitches only?  I call this the “Half-Stitch Technique.”  This technique is accomplished by using the fiber in question for only some loops of a given stitch, but not others in the same stitch. 

 For instance, a single crochet stitch is accomplished in two steps.  If you don’t have enough of a fiber to complete an entire project or section of single crochet, then with the Half-Stitch technique, you would instead use the fiber in only one half of each stitch and then drop it for the second half of each stitch.  Though more understated than being used in a full stitch, this allows the color and texture of your limited fiber to still be present in the project. 

 Remember, there really are no rules in crochet other than the use of a hook, so give it a whirl and see what this technique can do for you!

  Copyright © 2003 – 2009 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Artist Information & Notes, Crochet News, Crochet Techniques

Crochet for Chemo Patients…

Bookmark and Share

I have created many hats for chemo patients. Even sold some of my work to a local wig store who caters to chemo patients. There are far too many victims and survivors of cancer in my family. And I’ve received a lot of valuable input over the years from local patients that has influenced my hat designs and work.

With so many people asking questions these days, I decided to compile some of my various posts on the subject in one place for everyone’s reference. Not every item I design or make is with chemo patients in mind, but the vast majority of my life’s crochet work is. I hope you will find it helpful.

Where to start?

Materials: Chemotherapy tends to break down the skin, on the scalp especially. So patients’ skin is generally extremely tender, not just because they used to have hair and now suddenly don’t, but because the skin is not as strong. Using soft materials is very important for someone undergoing chemo.

Baby alpaca, pashmina and even cashmere and such are quite soft, but can still eventually become annoying or even painful. But I find this is largely tied to quality. I have purchased “baby alpaca” from totally different farms and found them to be drastically different in quality. Still, we’re talking expense and up-keep. Many patients are going through enough just trying to keep up with their appointments.

Some patients find themselves developing an allergy or sensitivity to animal fibers and many folks like to think in terms of non-animal sources. Soft cotton has been used a lot, but I have found that cotton is not always comfortable to all patients. I have heard complaints of cotton feeling rough to some tender heads. However, this may be due to the type of stitches used or honestly the way the fiber has been plied. If you want to use some measure of natural fibers, bamboo is a nice non-animal option.

Silk is an option that is usually hypoallergenic and is both durable and soft. But I must share that it is not impossible to be allergic to silk. I had a repeat customer who couldn’t touch it, but would buy my silk meditation shawls for his wife (what love!). I find silk fiber to be easy to do up too tightly when working with it. Silk is less comfortable without “flow.” It is also a unique fiber in it’s ability to both breathe and yet provide warmth, even in hair fine fibers.

Man-made micro-fibers certainly add a variety of options, some actually derived from plant bases, such as rayon. There are many micro-fiber possibilities including acrylics, nylons, and viscoses, which most of my chemo customers seem to prefer. Today’s micro-fiber technology has come very far in creating incredibly soft fibers and at a fraction of the cost of pashmina and the like. The up-keep is also easier.

All fibers to note. However, if scabs or cracked skin are present on the scalp, even micro-fibers may actually snag/tear at the skin, which is understandably uncomfortable. If you know your beneficiary, you’ll want to evaluate their situation and needs. When thinking about your beneficiary’s needs, keep in mind that acrylic fibers are generally preferred by most US hospitals for preemies in part because they can be sterilized. If you feel washing and sterilization might be a factor for your cancer patient, this should be considered when weighing what fibers to use.

Every person is different and their tolerance of chemo treatment varies. I find the skin sensitivity issues seem similar to what happens during labor. Everything that used to be comfortable to you suddenly may not be and may even be downright awful! Skin sensory input seems to peak during chemo and the skin breaks down, so it’s extra frustrating to some patients.

Tip: Use the inside of your wrist for a little help in the soft department when you are trying to judge your fibers. You want to rub it for a few seconds. Do this with a swatch as well. Inside of the wrist is a more tender area and better helps establish the feel you are looking for. I’ve been doing this for some time and after awhile you begin to intuitively recognize certain feels and stitch patterns that work better than others. Yes, even stitches change the texture and how a scalp senses the garment it’s wearing.

Stitches: Loose stitches are generally better than tight stitches. No matter how soft the fiber is, you can make it less comfortable to the skin with tight stitches. I also prefer to make items that breathe. Part of that is because down here in Central Texas, we don’t get much winter. Garments that breathe are both cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter – providing a “thermal” effect.

Style: Many female chemo patients have told me they really want to wear something not just to keep their heads warm, but so they don’t have to look in the mirror and see only a bald head, but see a pretty lady. Several ladies have been drawn to my hats because they “don’t look like chemo hats.” I think this emotional response is something important to note. Having cancer is hard enough, much less adding the emotional impact of your change in appearance. I even heard one lady reference the typical “turban” style as “death” caps – that she didn’t want to wear it because people associated it with emotional pain and dying. I’m not saying that every cancer patient feels this way. I am however pointing out things I have taken notice of when I go about the crochet designs I do.

Also, the patients I have talked to often want to have a handful of things they can wear to cover their head, not just one item. Personality plays a role, but some patients appreciate being able to treat their situation more lightly and with more adventure than others. One wonderful light described to me her new adventure into a world of style she’d never previously known.

Kids: I have to admit they are my soft spot. I read once about one little girl’s anxiety about being so sick, but also suddenly losing her hair and becoming bald. And it nearly broke my heart. It was then that I resolved myself to make and donate hats for children going through chemo. I like to make fun things for kids, because kids like to have fun and “be cool.” And they need compliments and smiles too. We adults have our insecurities about our appearances, but fact is – we’re adults. Kids are resilient, but depending on their age especially, are barely mature enough to deal with all the emotions themselves. Being sick and losing your hair can be scary. Something fun can make all the difference in their experience of their battle.

I hope some of this helps. If you are considering making something special for a cancer patient, what you are doing for them is very loving and wonderful. I would also highly recommend the charity “Spirit Jump” to you as well. It is a wonderful charity, whether for your crochet efforts, or to benefit someone you know who may need their spirits lifted. If you need more help, let me know.

Dorothy - Sweet and soft Cloche

Dorothy – Sweet and soft Cloche

I began crocheting hats for chemo patients in part due to my grandmother Dorothy who helped teach me to crochet when I was little. Everytime she has gone through chemo, she always had hugs and smiles for everyone, never complaining for herself and crocheted herself a cute new hat. Everyone has always loved her and she has many adopted grandkids. And every time she has a new hat, so do several people in her church as they love her hats too. You’d hardly know what she’s been through. She is and always has been “The Crafting Queen.” Believe it or not, she’s still alive at nearly 90 years and fighting lymphoma for some 15. The hat you see pictured here is named after her.

There are too many cancer victims and survivors in my family, now including my mother. As such, I now often crochet with these in mind; choosing the softest, highest quality materials I can find for the tenderest skin going through chemo. I’ve also been blessed to receive a lot of highly appreciated input from survivors over the years that has led to the development and creation of these unique designs.

May these creations bless everyone they touch.


Filed under Artist Information & Notes, Charity Crochet, Crochet Techniques

The Book My Crochet Design Was Published In….!

Since some have asked, here’s a link to the Crochet Liberation Front’s First Ever Book now on sale that my “Flaming Crochet Hook” tapestry crochet design was published in:

My tapestry design is even featured in the “Look Inside This Book” links! Yay! Very cool!

Fair warning though, this is an advanced crochet book. If you are into crochet, this is not a book for beginners and it’s that way by design. Though some patterns require less skill than others, none of these patterns are basic by any means. This book is a crochet book designed to push the bar. A book for avid crocheters, by avid crocheters and mostly targeted towards those who want so much more out of a book of crochet patterns. You will be exposed to all sorts of techniques in here that if you do not already know, you will be expected to learn them first elsewhere before you can really implement them in these patterns.

I am honored and proud to be featured in this book and to rub shoulders with so many talented designers and artists from around the world!


Project Bag sporting my "Flaming Crochet Hook" tapestry Crochet Design

Project Bag sporting my "Flaming Crochet Hook" tapestry Crochet Design

The CLF First Ever Book

The CLF First Ever Book

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Crochet News, Crochet Techniques

Crochet Color and Texture – Unintended Consequences of Fiber Combos

Crochet Color and Texture
Unintended Consequences of Fiber Combos

by Julia Meek Chambers – Aberrant Crochet ™

When discussing custom orders with my customers, the subject of fiber/color combinations and texture often comes up. The more you work with fiber art and a variety of projects, the more obvious it becomes that texture plays a huge role in the visual outcome of a project due to its three-dimensional nature. Fiber alone is not just a shade of color, but a texture that is visual as well as tactile. There are smooth fibers and rough fibers, shiny ones and dull, and any variety in between. These qualities greatly affect how the human eye visually perceives color and the blend of colors in a finished fiber product. As a three dimensional product, there are natural variations in how the eye perceives color and shading on the various surfaces involved. As such, the visual assessment of three-dimensional work is much different than that of the two-dimensional.

The before and after stages of the felting process are a fine example of how a product’s appearance can look different to us, simply due to the change in texture, not the actual color itself. You can see an example of this difference in a before and after felting photo from Dr. Carol Ventura’s website here. But this becomes true in any use of yarns and fibers and never more so than in crochet. (Btw, Dr. Carol Ventura is the leading go-to gal for tapestry crochet.)

The look of crochet, by its very nature, is built upon variations of texture via stitches alone. When students ask, “How many different crochet stitches are there?” The answer is simply: hundreds that are documented and an infinity of possibilities. The solitary hook truly has very few limitations as a creative tool.

When you calculate the texture of your fibers into the equation, the visual possibilities in your projects become magnified and without a little preventative effort, can sometimes even bring frustration. As such, careful consideration should go into how fibers will look together in a fabric of stitches, not just by themselves wrapped into a skein.

More times than not, I find customers picking through beautiful fibers for combinations of colors that visually would look fine, if mixed on a flat surface. However as fibrous textures they just simply cannot mesh into the same outcome.

When picking your fibers for a blended project, crochet a swatch to see how the fibers work together as a fabric piece. Keep in mind what form of stitches you plan to use to create the fiber combination. The colors of some fibers perform best when used in looser stitches than in tighter ones. Some fibers are simply overpowering in a combination and render others pointless. If crocheting a swatch first is not possible, try taking the fibers and weaving them together around your fingers a bit to get an idea of how the textures will play off each other. In doing so you may save yourself a lot of frogging and grief. Just like painting your house, the more time spent in preparation will yield a more beautiful product.

Copyright © 2003 – 2009 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.


Filed under Crochet Techniques

Crochet for Preemies….

Bookmark and Share

While on my latest trip, I was asked to help teach 3 young girls how to crochet simple “preemie hats” for a charity project in their area. It was a fairly simple task, however I’d never been asked to make hats for preemies before. Generally when I get involved “crocheted-ly” in a charity project, it’s been for children going through chemo. So I learned a few things regarding the needs for preemies-related handcraft.

Initially, the one basic bit of “requirement” guidance I received (3rd hand), as to what the hospital wanted, was to make a hat for about the size of a doll……

Ah hmmmm…. Well now…

Unless you have a good frame of reference, this guidance alone may seem confusing. As, after all, dolls come in various sizes – so just what does that mean? But the truth is, so do preemies.

Preemies can burn a lot of calories to keep their bodies warm. Something we don’t want, because then those calories are not there to aid them in gaining weight, etc.. So the need to keep little preemie heads covered, and save those calories to help them thrive, is great. NICUs can also go through a lot of hats as, once one has been dropped on the floor or the like, it cannot be put back on the baby. The parents are allowed to keep it, wash it at home or whatever, but it cannot be put back on the baby while still hospitalized. Needs for multiple sized hats are also high because they get outgrown pretty quickly. An 8 to 12″ circumference seems to be a good place to start for most preemie hats. But there are needs for preemie sizes even smaller.

After consulting with some of my crochet peers and researching the subject a little, here are a few more details that stood out as significant, most specifically for charities within the US.

1. Most US hospitals require “no natural fibers.” Preemies are born with their immune systems already fighting, so hospitals want to avoid all possibilities of allergies before they start. Also, fuzzier fibers are not allowed at all where oxygen is present, to avoid all static risks. So acrylic fibers only.

However there are other countries that do prefer wool as that’s something they are more used to than we tend to be in the US anyway. And a few charities up north request soft wool for warmth. There’s also the issue that your donated wool hats may also become history with a toss into the washer or when sterilized. Care tags are not helpful as hospitals will remove all tags before using with the babies. Check with your charity for specifics on their fiber requirements. Otherwise, stick to non-static acrylic yarns.

2. Make sure the fibers are soft. Believe it or not, I actually saw a hat made for a preemie out of old scratchy yarn scraps. And had to say something about it too. Because it’s important that they be soft to the most sensitive skin you have – realizing that a preemie (or any baby) is going to be even more skin sensitive than you. When taking on such a charity project, please consider your fibers and don’t skimp. Many hospitals are reluctant to say too much on some of these details because they are afraid people will stop donating and they don’t want to discourage the well-meaning. So nip it in the bud and consider it now before you get started and your donation doesn’t become one of the ones that simply can’t be used.

3. A lot of hospitals require that the hats *not* be laundered. Though I found some places where people do pre-wash them in Dreft or something else baby appropriate, I also found that many hospitals prefer this not to be the case, due to concerns of allergies and soap exposure, etc.. Preemies have unique medical concerns and needs. Of course, then again, you can make a case for gee, why wouldn’t you launder the hat! Unfortunately, when it comes to preemie hats, you are creating something that has the potential to expose an under-developed baby to foreign things, whether chemical in nature due to soap or environmental in nature because you own a pet or crochet around your kids, etc.. Either case can be a potential issue, so I’m not sure there’s an absolute answer here, except to follow your hospital’s requirements.

4. Consider making hats with a fold down flap or a hole in the top for tubes and scanning equipment, etc.. This makes it much more comfortable for the baby and easier on hospital staff so they don’t have to remove the hats constantly.

5. Avoid pom-poms and yarns that shed. These are typical avoids for any baby hat, but certainly for preemies. Pom-poms are one of the most nightmarish of choking hazards, because as one emergency worker put it to me, the fuzziness makes it near impossible to dislodge from the throat. The fibers just tend to “stick.” Yarns that shed easily can also be breathed or swallowed. Either way, they can get inside a baby, and that’s something no one wants.

6. Donations must be from a smoke free home/environment and made from new fibers. That old stuff you might have pulled out of Grandma’s attic unfortunately won’t do.

7. Consider checking with your hospital/charity of choice as to whether they have greater need for preemie hats or newborn NICU hats. Some hospitals receive a ton of preemie hats but their newborn nurseries run low.

Here are some additional websites that offer very helpful preemie-hat related info:

(Be sure to read!) Some very potent and detailed insight about preemie clothing from a nurse!

A list of suggested yarns here:

Preemie growth charts:

Lots of crochet Preemie patterns links listed here:

Patterns for charity here:

These sources and information should give you a good frame of reference to get you started in your own fiber-related preemie charity efforts. However, as we sadly know that many preemies don’t make it, another consideration for fiber related charity work might be via bereavement needs. Charities like Emmazing Grace specialize in serving families who have experienced the loss of an infant. You can find them at:

Here you’ll find a list of patterns for bereavement items:

Here’s a list of hospitals in need:

Hopefully this information will help you in your quest towards charity projects such as these. If you found this info helpful to you, please let me know!

Copyright ©2008 – 2009 by Julia Meek Chambers, all rights reserved.


Filed under Charity Crochet, Crochet Techniques