We're honored to participate in the bi-annual hat and shawl drive benefiting area families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss in collaboration with DC PAIL Net, the DC/DMV Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network, the Solace Foundation and Stephen's Heart. From now until April 15, please consider making and donating prayer shawls, baby hats, touch blankets or baby buntings. Donations will be made to at least 10 local area hospitals throughout VA, DC, and MD, including INOVA and MedStar hospitals and will be received by families that have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, and/or neonatal loss. Details on donations: For those volunteers that choose to knit a baby hat, small touch blanket, or "baby burrito"/bunting (see more details below), your item will be received by a family that has experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, and/or neonatal loss. Your item may be kept by the family as one of their precious keepsakes from their baby's short life, or the item may be used by the family for their baby in memorial picture-taking, visitation, cremation, or burial. Your donation is *extremely important* to these families, and will serve in a lifetime of memories. For those volunteers who may choose to make a "prayer shawl", these will be used to support the mission of The Solace Foundation to provide comfort to bereaved mothers experiencing perinatal or neonatal loss. Project Parameters Items - Hats, Prayer Shawls, Touch Blankets, Buntings (for miscarriage) Styles - Traditional baby hats, may include hearts, animals, etc.; not flamboyant. Keep in mind that parents want things that are very much indicative of a baby, but also in accordance with the circumstance. Suggestion of soft yarns for all items. For the comfort shawls, The Solace Foundation suggests to not use pastels/"baby colors". Colors - all traditional baby colors, plus any pretty but not overly-flamboyant hats for Valentine's Day, Easter, Fall colors, Winter theme/snowflakes, Christmas, Hannukah Yarn - Any fiber may be used/no fiber restrictions, typically DK or worsted weight. In DK, cast on 60 stitches for preemie, 72 for newborn, smaller for smaller circumference. Sizes - Please calculate a stitch count for cast on for your project based on yarn gauge. Newborn 36cm/12-14 inches 30 weeks 26 cm/10 in (preemie size 10-11 inches) 20 weeks 17 cm/6.6 in (small/micro preemie 7-9 inch hat size) 16 weeks: 13 cm/6 in and smaller With the focus of greatest need on the last two - 6 inches and 7-9 inches. Pattern Examples- Hats: http://stitcheryprojects.com/2011/03/21/basic-baby-hat/ http://www.fiberfluxblog.com/2011/02/free-pattern.html http://www.carissaknits.com/2007/07/preemie-hats-for-charity.html http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tiny-knitted-bonnet-with-eyelet-brim http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/poppys-premie-hat http://prayingwithmyfeet.blogspot.com/2013/03/baby-bear-hat-pattern.html http://pregnancy.about.com/od/pregnancyloss/tp/Hats-for-Babies-Who-Are-Stillborn.htm And The Solace Foundation has a page of ideas on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/solacefound/comfort-shawl-pattern-ideas/ "Burritos"/pouch/bunting: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/fetal-demise-pouch http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/knitted-burial-bunting http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/angels-pocket http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/micro-bunting-for-early-losses http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/wrapping-cloth-for-stillborn-infants If, as a volunteer, you would like to tag your work with a small note saying something such as, "Made with Love for you By _____", you are welcome to. We will keep the tags on and pass them on to the families. These tags can be very meaningful to show someone cares about the loss they are experiencing.