Thursday, March 28, 2013

Featured on Teeny Tears

I had my sewing day today and we got an amazing amount done!  My closet was looking pretty barren and sad before we started, and it's looking nice and full again.  Then I came down to my computer to find that Megan from Teeny Tears featured Elizabeth today on her blog.  Click here to read it.  Thanks Megan!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Latest donations - bracelet sets, kimonos and hats

 One of my most darling angel mamas ever, Kassie, has set about making dozens of these sets in the month since her angel was born, a way to heal her heart.  To say that I was in awe is an understatement!  She and her sister totally outdid themselves!
 Here are the four sizes, largest to smallest, the smallest being for 18-20 weekers with heads about the size of a small plum.  The largest are about the size of a grapefruit.  The elastic they're set on is very stretchy and soft.  I had a large spool donated a couple years ago and we're still chipping away at it.  She hand made each of the flowers on the headbands, and no two are alike.  I love them!!  So creative, so feminine.  She also made two bracelets for the babies, so that one can be buried and one can be kept.  A very thoughtful idea.  The angels are handmade charms from variations of wing beads and other beads.
 Each set comes with a tag telling the recipient that they are made in Chloe's memory.  I have a few of my diaper and kimono making volunteers that have been adding these tags and I think they're a fantastic idea.  It makes the gift so much more personal.
 She also made me several sets of boy ribbon and bracelets, each different.  I use the ribbons to set in the baby boy's hand, with the mom's arm nearby so that you can see the matching charms.  Then the family has the option to either keep the ribbon or else bury it with their baby.
 Another amazing volunteer, Dakoti,  brought me a HUGE sack full of knitted treasures.  Kimonos, diaper shirts, hats and headbands.  The kimono on the left is following the original pattern, which we have deamed to be too wide for these skinny little babes.  She narrowed it a bit for the two on the right, and they're just right.  Stacy has made similar adjustments in her crocheted ones.  These just need buttons and then they are good to go!  After evaluating both kimonos and diaper shirt sets, we've decided to focus more on kimonos with a separate diaper because they are so much more flexible in sizing.  The diaper shirts only fit a specific torso length, and are therefore harder to match to an appropriately sized baby.
 Most of these were made by Dakoti, but I added a couple small ones that were made by someone else.  The small ones are appropriate for 18-22 weekers because they are very stretchy.  Knit hats tend to flex far more than crocheted ones.  The largest solid blue hat with a tail is crocheted, the other two are knit and can flex to nearly double, making them accommodating for a wide range of head sizes.  The little girl headband and hat on the bottom are darling as well.  Christine just alerted me to a a different type of knitting loom that accommodates thin sock yarn, has lots of closely spaced pegs, and is adjustable.  It looks like it has the potential to be super duper awesome for stretchy hats with the advantage that it's easy enough to use to teach kids how to do it!
 Stacy's been busy as usual, and this is a new pattern she tried for a pouch.  I use pouches rarely, but there are some babies that are truly too fragile to dress, and that's when these come in handy.  I like that it opens all the way up with the button flap.  We determined that it's a little on the wide side at roughly 3 1/4" x 6".
 These are just a few of the outfits Stacy sent me.  The tiniest one on the end is suitable for 16-18 weeks gestation.  Suuuuper tiny, but oh so treasured by those families.  The next size is 20 weeker, the cute dress with adjustable headband would go for 22-24 weeks, as well as the dark blue set with blanket.  Stacy's amazing.  She's been making so many sets, and also putting a lot of effort in to figuring out patterns.
I have started a Facebook group where ideas can be exchanged more readily.  Please join us!  Send a request to join and we'll approve you ASAP.  The group is set to "closed" so that we can post information about meeting locations, but we welcome any and all who want to participate.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bracelet sets

 This post has been long in coming.  Apologies to those who have asked me over the last few months and I haven't been able to get it done.  One thing I want to to emphasize is that you don't have to make them just like this.  For purposes of ordering supplies in bulk (which is cheaper), I have mostly stuck with the same basic design.  The photograph above shows two different interpretations of my design, both are fine.  As long as the mom and baby's bracelet/bow have a common element that's matching between them, anything goes.

I make the adult bracelets on beading wire.  Sometimes we use closures like the one on the left, but most of the time, again for simplicity, I use a lobster claw clasp and a split ring to hook in to.   Total finished length on an adult bracelet should be between 7 1/2" to 8", with an average of 7 3/4".  I like to carry a few different sizes with me when I go on shoots.  For the 8 mm size pearls, this works out to 10 on each side, two crystals in the middle, and maybe a couple of decorative spacer beads.  As you can see, for the 6 mm size pearls, it takes more to achieve the same length.
 All of the supplies laid out:  Accuflex beading wire (.46 mm/.019 inch diameter), lobster claw clasp, split ring (to hook the clasp into), two crimp beads, 4 mm jump ring and charm, 8 mm crystals and 8 mm glass pearls.

Cut a 9" length of beading wire.  Thread one end through a crimp bead, then the split ring, then back through the crimp bead the opposite direction.  Slide the crimp bead down until there is just a small loop at the end, and smash flat with pliers.  Snip off the excess tail.  String half of the pearls, then a crystal.  Bend the jump ring open, slide the charm on, and bend it back shut.  String it on to the bracelet, then the other crystal and remaining beads followed by the other crimp bead and lobster claw.  Bend the end of the beading wire around to go back through the crimp bead in the opposite direction, tug on the wire to cinch it down until there is just a small loop for the clasp to wiggle around in, and smash the crimp bead flat with pliers.  Snip the excess end, and tuck any remaining tail into the first bead hole.  Ta da!  Done!
 Baby bracelets are threaded on stretchy cord.  .7mm diameter is a durable thickness.  You may either knot/glue the ends or crimp bead.  I have found that I personally prefer the crimp bead ends.  The smallest bracelets should be able to slide easily onto an adult woman's index finger without stretching.  The bigger bracelets should fit a newborn wrist, about 3" in length.   I find it super helpful to us a little clamp on one end of the stretchy cord to keep the beads from rolling off while I work.

 I came up with ribbons for the baby boys.  Bracelets seemed too weird to me.  I photograph them with the boy resting in their hand, or for the tiny babies, with their hand resting on top of the center of the bow, next to the mom's wrist with her matching bracelet.  These are simply an 8" length of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon, looped into a figure 8 shape and the center of the loops hot glued and squashed down to form a double layer bow.  I use a 4 mm jump ring and 10 mm jump ring to dangle the charm off the 1" piece of ribbon that is glued around the center.  The top picture is a top view, the next is a rear view.

And the finished product - ta da!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Knit Hat Patterns (and a BIG link to other great stuff)

My sister makes me the best hats for my angels.  Darling, soft, perfectly knitted, and STRETCHY.  Stretchy is the key, folks.  It's super important when trying to get these on to fragile heads to have some give.  I've received a few crochet hats that are reasonably so, but I have found that hands down, the knit ones stretch the best.  Amy shared her patterns with me.  I'm not a knitter, so they're meaningless gibberish to me, but hopefully some of you smart knitty type people will understand it.

Small Hat With Basket Weave
(5.5 inches in diameter)
Fingering weight yarn, #2 or #3 needles.
Cast on 48 stitches.  K1 P1 first row.  Repeat 7 rows.  K2 P2 one row, repeat on second row.  P2 K2 one row, repeat on second row. Repeat this pattern 2 more times.  K2tog, P2, repeat to the end of the row. K1 P2 one row.  P1, K2tog, repeat to end of the row.  P1 K1 one row. K1 P1 two rows. K2tog, P2tog one row.  Bind off.

This pattern can be made larger by adding on stiches in multiples of 4, and making extra rows before decreasing.
Medium Small Hat
(6.5 inches in diameter)
Fingering weight yarn, #2 or #3 needles.
Cast on 56 stitches.  K1 P1 first row.  Repeat 7 rows.  Knit with stockingette stitch for an aditional 1 and 1/4 inches.  Begin decrease.  K6, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  Knit one plain round.  K5, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  Knit one plain round.  K4, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  Knit one plain round.  K3, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  K2, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  K1, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  Bind off.

Medium Hat
(7. inches in diameter)
Fingering weight yarn, #2 or #3 needles.
Cast on 64 stitches.  K1P1 first row.  Repeat 8 rows. Knit with stockingette stitch for an aditional 1 and 3/4 inches.  Begin decrease.  K6, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  Knit one plain round.  K5, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  Knit one plain round.  K4, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  Knit one plain round.  K3, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  Knit one plain round. K2, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  K1, K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  K2tog, repeat for the rest of the row.  Bind off.


I was forwarded a GREAT LINK today to a newsletter from Care Wear that is chock full of fantastic knit and crochet patterns for hats, booties, buntings, gowns, bonnets, and blankets.  Go take a look!