Donating hand knit items for preemies is great way to enjoy your love of knitting while also benefiting a worthy cause. In 2007, Stitches from the Heart, a charity located in Santa Monica, Calif., donated over 200,000 handmade preemie items to area hospitals, and the need never stops. Every year more preemie babies are born across the U.S. Your hand knit items can help make their early entrance into our world a little more comfortable. Many yarn companies support charity donations for preemies and provide information to connect knitters with organisations that need their handiwork.
Check yarn company websites for any links to charities they recommend or support. The Lion Brand Yarn company has a database of charities where you can search by state or area of interest, such as preemie. See Resources for the link.
Check knitting magazine websites such as CreativeKnittingMagazine.com, KnitSimpleMag.com or InterweaveKnits.com. These magazines often feature articles about charities and as part of that feature they include links and additional information for contacting the charity on their website.
Contact your local hospital to find out what their policies are for accepting handmade gifts.
Contact your local social services department to find out if they have any programs that collect hand knit items for preemies in need.
Ask your church if they have any charity programs that could use your hand knit preemie items.
Browse knitting magazines or knitting magazine websites for preemie patterns to use if you aren't good at designing your own patterns for preemie items.
Check yarn company websites for free patterns for preemie items.
Check the website for the charity you wish to donate to for any free patterns. Often they have at least one to help donors get started or to serve as inspiration and show knitters what sort of items they need the most.
Choose a yarn that will be kind to the delicate skin of preemie babies and is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Acrylic or 100% cotton are better choices than wool or another animal fibre, for example.
Complete the hand knit preemie item according to the pattern directions.
Wrap the item in unscented tissue paper, pack it for shipping and send it to the charity organisation of your choice.
Join an online knitting community such as Ravelry.com to network with other knitters who may know of smaller charity organisations that need hand knit preemie items.
Some organisations have specific requirements for the preemie items they can accept. Be sure to check their website and read the guidelines thoroughly before donating an item. Never attach buttons, cords or long ribbons to a preemie item. Anything that poses a choking or strangulation danger to children must be avoided. Avoid using extra fuzzy yarns or those that shed fibres into the air. The baby could accidentally ingest the stray fibres or the fibres could get into the baby's eyes or nose.