Sizing A Preemie Hat

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This week, I’m going to continue the discussion I started last week when I announced the Preemie Hat Drive I’m hosting on the Ravelry Itty Bitty Knits group this month with a discussion about sizing a preemie hat. Before getting into that, though, let’s take a look a the other things that have been going on in my knitting world over the last week.

Preemie Hat

About 5″ Wide

This Week In Podcasts

As I predicted, my new job with the amazingly short commute is making it difficult to keep up with my podcast listening. I seem to be finding some success shifting my listening to when I’m cooking and cleaning the kitchen, though, so I’m still staying somewhat abreast of what’s going on in the podcasts I enjoy This week, I listened to episodes of 2 Knit Lit Chicks (2 episodes!), Curious Handmade, Down Cellar Studio, Knitmore Girls, TwinSet Designs, and Yarn Thing With Marly Bird.

I’m glad I noticed that something seemed to be amiss with my 2 Knit Lit Chicks feed last week, which hadn’t updated in a while. I was on their website and noticed that it looked like the feed had moved. Sure enough, it did. So if you love the 2 Knit Lit Chicks and haven’t heard an episode in a while, you probably need to resubscribe to their feed. See a very important post on their blog for more details. In Episode 71 (RIP Emma’s Taco House), Barb and Tracie continue talking about the Mother Bear KAL/CAL, review a book about breathable knits, and talk about all of the knitting projects and books they’ve been working on. In Episode 72 (There’s Always A Lame One), share more details about why their podcast feed changed, and have more of the knitting and book talk we all love.

In Curious Handmade 37 (Curious Collective DKAL – Choose Your Tribe), Helen talks more about her DKAL and gives details about how to choose your tribe if you’re participating. This is a really neat project — she’s essentially crowdsourcing the direction her current shawl design will take — design elements, colors, etc. I’ve got too many other things going on right now to join the DKAL, but I wish I could. Instead, I enjoy keeping up with what’s going via her regular updates on the podcast.

Down Cellar Studio is a relatively new-to-me podcast. I’ve heard it mentioned very favorably on several of the podcasts I enjoy. I finally took the plunge and subscribed. No surprise, I really enjoy it, too. In Episode 50, Jen talks about her knitting, running, and shares the announcement that she’s starting a blog that she intends to update at least 5 times a week. Good luck with the new venture, Jen! It’s going to be great to keep up with your blog as well as the podcast.

In Knitmore Girls Episode 293 (User Error), Jasmin and Gigi spend a decent amount of time talking about spinning. Of particular interest was the discussion related to choosing a spinning wheel. I want to learn how to spin, but I’m afraid to try because I fear I will become addicted to it.

In TwinSet Designs Episode 44 (Back At It!!), Ellen and Jan return from a bit of a hiatus and catch up on what’s been going on in their lives. It’s been a lot! As usual, this was a fun episode to listen to — you can really feel the love between these sisters, and it feels as though you are hanging out with them and chatting. I especially enjoyed all of the talk about TwinSet Summer Camp. It sounds like everyone had a great time. I wish I could have gone. Maybe next time. I wonder — is TwinSet Summer Camp open to dudes?

In the Yarn Thing With Marly Bird episode that featured Knitting Expert and Author Anne Berk, Marly talks with Anne Berk about her new intarsia book: Annetarsia. Someday, when I decide to tackle intarsia, this is the book I will get and use as my go-to resource.

As a rule, I don’t watch video podcasts. This is for a couple of reasons: my ancient iPod doesn’t support the video format most video podcasts come in, and I’m usually listening to podcasts where my visual attention needs to be elsewhere. I make an exception whenever Susan B. Anderson has a new video podcast episode available, which she did this week. In Northwoods Version, Susan takes her audience with her to experience a slice of vacation at the lake. She also previews a few shawl patterns she has in the works. It’s definitely worth a watch.

This Week On My Needles

I’m finding bits and pieces of time to knit, still. My lunch break at work and the end of the day, as I’m settling down to sleep seem to be the most popular times for me. Having the comfort of knitting during my lunch break is something that is helping me with the transition from my former job to my current one. It’s nice to have that.

This week, I continued to make some progress on my Serenity Socks. I’m a little more than halfway down the leg. I think I’m going to keep this project at the office and it can be my go-to project for breaks during work. The second sock is pooling on the leg like the first one did, which is interesting. It will be neat to see if it changes to stripes like the first one did once I turn the heel.

Serenity Socks

Halfway down the leg!

Ravelry Project Page: Greg’s Serenity Socks
Pattern: How I Make My Socks by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn Used: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Serenity colorway

The preemie hat I knitted at the beginning of the month flew off my needles so quickly, that I knitted another one last week. I used the same pattern as the first one, but chose the hearts motif instead of the eyelets motif. I was skeptical about the hearts being able to stand out enough with the speckled yarn, but they came out great.

Hearts Preemie Hat

Preemie Hat with Hearts Design.

Ravelry Project Page: 2014-08 IBK Charity – Preemie Hats For Charity
Pattern: Preemie Hats For Charity by Carissa Browning
Yarn Used: Ummm… It’s a soft acrylic, but I don’t know exactly what it is since the band was missing. My friend Mary Sue sent me a box of baby-appropriate yarn when she heard about the preemie hat drive I’m hosting.

I also started a secret knitting project for my Mom’s birthday, which is next month. I’ll talk about it here more later, but in the mean time, if you’re mot my Mom, feel free to check out my Instagram for some in-progress snapshots. If you are my Mom, wait until next month (if I finish in time) and see it in person.

Sizing Preemie Hats

Last week, I talked about the Preemie Hat Drive I’m hosting in the IBK group on Ravelry. The response to it has been wonderful! I’ve already collected a pile of hats for the Women’s Hospital NICU and a handful of books for Family Support Network of Central Carolina (FSNCC). The donations continue to come in, and I will be actively collecting them throughout the month of August. Since starting this charity drive, I’ve received a few questions about how big a preemie hat should be and thought it would be a good topic for this week’s post. I also addressed the question in the IBK forum, which is where most of the content of this portion of the post is coming from.

If you’ve never knitted a preemie hat before, or seen a preemie baby, the hats are going to come out smaller than you think they should. Preemies can be tiny. Blueberry was 2.5 pounds when she was born, and about 4.5 pounds when she came home from the NICU 5 weeks later. She could fit in my baseball glove when we brought her home. And Blueberry was not the smallest baby in the NICU. Medical science has come so far that it’s not unheard of for babies born at less than 1 pound (micro-preemies) to survive.

Here’s a picture of the eyelet hat I knitted last week for the charity, with my yardstick to give it scale:

Preemie Hat

About 4.5″ Tall

Also see the picture at the top of this post. So, lying flat, ~5” at the brim (making ~10” circumference) and ~4.5” tall. When that came off my needles, my first thought was that it actually might be too big! It’s not too big, that’s a good average size for a preemie hat. A little bit smaller would be OK, too — in fact, the first knitted item I ever made was Blueberry’s preemie hat, which was slightly smaller than the ones I made last week. It’s the blue one in the left of this picture.

Two Preemie Hats

My first knitting project, the blue preemie hat, is slightly smaller than the preemie hats I’m knitting this month.

That one barely fit Blueberry when I finished it and she could only wear it a couple of times before it was too small for her head. She was about 3 weeks old at that point, so if I had it a week earlier she would have got more wear out of it. It’s the hat she’s wearing in the following picture If I stretch it a little, it fits snugly over my fist. A good rule of thumb is that a preemie hat should fit nicely on an orange.

Blueberry In Preemie Hat

Blueberry In Preemie Hat

So it’s hard to knit something too small! And that’s one of the things that makes preemie hats so popular (and addictive) — they tend to fly on and off the needles quickly. Of course, if you make hats that are larger, that’s OK, too — baby heads come in all sizes, and if anything comes in that’s too large for a preemie in the NICU, the hospital will be happy to give it to a full-term baby. 🙂

I hope this helps give some perspective on the hat sizing. The important thing is to relax and have fun knitting — whatever size hat you make will find a happy home on top of some baby’s head. 🙂

If you’d like to contribute hats to my Preemie Hat Drive, please get in touch with me and I’ll let you know where to send your donations.


Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!


6 thoughts on “Sizing A Preemie Hat

    • Hi, Pam! So far, I’ve only knitted 2 hats this month. But I’ve received over 60 from other people for the hat drive! It’s really cool how quickly the hats jump on and off the needles, and it’s a lot of fun seeing the hats other folks are knitting up for the charity. Knitters are some of the most generous people out there. 🙂

  1. Ack! I need to get a move on. I feel like I wandered off the road from my WIPs. I will try to check out the podcasts you listen to. I’m glad they are some audio only ones. I can’t knit and watch a video podcast at the same time.

    • The nice thing about preemie hats is that they are so quick to knit. So there’s plenty of time still. 🙂 I completely agree with you about the video podcasts. I know there are a lot of great ones out there, but I always need my visual focus elsewhere when I have time for podcasts. Some people just listen to video podcasts without watching, but I know I would have a hard time keeping myself from checking out the video.

  2. Thank you for the examples. I’m trying to knit some hats for nicu. I’ve been having a hard time trying to figure out the measurements I need to make them.

    • Hi, Miriam! One of the great things about NICU hats is that the heads come in all sorts of sizes. The guidelines I shared here are great, but your hat will find an appropriately-sized head as long as you’re in the neighborhood.

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