I’m new to designing, new to having a blog, new to this world of turning my hobby into a business. It seems like a good idea to team up with others who are more established.

This pattern was created in response to a challenge from Sunflower Cottage Crochet to create a pattern suitable for a donation to a NICU or other preemie charity. They will be featuring one pattern a day from different designers for the month of August, 2020. And we will all be using the hashtag #preemiecrochetchallenge2020 so you can find the projects easily! Don’t forget to tag your works too!

The challenge is that each free download (see below for the link) will be considered a pledge to make that pattern and donate it by the end of November (which is Preemie Awareness Month). I don’t have a nearby NICU centre (since I live in the middle of nowhere, Saskatchewan), but I do have a new baby niece!

I will likely have to make this blanket again because I have 3 children and 2 blankets – not a good ratio!

This pattern holds a special place in my heart because my first baby was preemie. She was born at 36 weeks – which is considered a late premature. Some babies are fine at this point, others can still have a lot of problems. After a 30-hour labour, my little 5 lb 13 oz girl was born. We stayed in the hospital for 5 days because baby Alice needed to stay in the warming isolette for a day or two (the details are a bit fuzzy to be honest).

The first few months at home were stressful. She hard a hard time eating. She always wanted to sleep. She dropped down to 5 lbs 3 oz and was in the 6th percentile for weight and the doctor considered diagnosing her “failure to thrive”.

Somehow we made it through. And I have a proud-mama-picture of her at 3 months old, FINALLY over 8 lbs! However, shortly after that, we discovered that the heart murmur she had since birth was not benign. She would need surgery.

A 7 months old, my baby girl underwent a balloon valvuloplasty to correct the pulmonary stenosis. One sentence doesn’t describe the stress.

But everything went smoothly. Every few years they check on her heart and so far, so good. She’s growing like a weed (do they say that about kids everywhere, or only here in Saskatchewan?) and she’s a sweet, kind, caring 5 year old now (well, she’ll be 6 in three weeks).

But, back to the crochet!

I could tell you a completely different story about the baby in this picture, but I’ll save that for another time. She’s my 3rd and she’s just as sweet as her sister and brother.

I crocheted this blanket using both the techniques I make my patterns for. The orange and blue one (with the thick blue envelope border) is mosaic. The colors seem more accurate in the picture with my baby versus the picture with the older kids holding the blankets but either way, you get the point, you can see the hearts and the word “love” and it’s soft and a good size.

The purple-on-purple blanket is interlocking crochet. It’s slightly smaller because there’s no extra border. This technique also uses *slightly* less yarn.

I’m also MUCH faster at crocheting using the interlocking technique. It is sort of difficult for me to constantly be using the front loop or back loop of a stitch. Based on what they show in the magazines, mosaic seems to be the more popular choice. But I will definitely be sticking with the interlocking technique!

Another thing to note is that I used a medium (4) weight yarn but you could easily use a different yarn! When I use a baby or sport weight yarn I usually get about 6 stitches per inch which would make the finished blanket around 20″ (about 51 cm).

Many centers have restrictions on the size of blanket you can donate (example, it must be less than 30”). Make sure you do a gauge swatch if your finished piece needs to be a certain size.

You can buy this pattern on Etsy or Ravelry (it is on sale on Ravelry for the month of August – add it to your cart to see the automatic discount).

PROMOTION ENDED! For 3 DAYS ONLY (August 25 & 26 & 27, 2020) you will be able to download this pattern for free on Ravelry! The code “Preemie2020” is being used for every pattern in this promotion.

I will send a tally back to Sunflower Cottage Crochet and they will announce the numbers (downloads/pledges) on their pattern round-up post.

Go to Sunflower Cottage Crochet

I can’t wait to see everything you all create!

Personal update: 977 of you took advantage of the free promotion code! That is a lot of blankets! Wow! I did not expect so many! Great job everyone!