I recently realized I had waaaaaaay too much yarn lying around. Actually, it wasn't so much me noticing as much as my family. You see, I'm not one of those people that likes to throw away small bits of leftover yarn from projects, but I also don't have too much use for bits under 100 yards long. So, I save them in baskets around my house and every so often whip out a bunch of baby hats to donate to local fire departments, woman's shelters and hospitals.
These hats take little to no time whatsoever, maybe 1/2 hour. They are simple, plain, warm and GREATLY appreciated from the recipients. They can be made in infant sizes, or preemie sizes according to yarn, needle size or gauge...and it really doesn't matter since babies come in all sizes.
Here's a few pictures from the 40+ hats I recently finished for donation:
Admittedly most of the pictures I selected are the more feminine looking hats...Yes, I make many plain or embellished for boys hats, too...These are just the pictures that turned out the best!
I'll even include my favorite method for making these hats if anyone is interested. This hat pattern was given to me from a friend some years ago, and it's my favorite for making simple baby beanies. The brim naturally rolls up, so there's no need to create your own edge, although you can do a few rows in a simple rib if you prefer that look. I usually end with an I cord coming off the top, but you can also cast off at the crown, add a pom pom or something, really it's up to you.
Here's the pattern:
Use size 6 DPNs (or size needed for gauge and or yarn choice...I typically use worsted and size 4-6)
Cast on 68 stitches
divide evenly between 3or 4 DPNs depending on knitting preference, use stitch marker to determine beginning of the row
Knit even rounds for 4-5 inches depending on preference for baby's head
Knit 1 round placing a marker every 8 stitches
decrease 1 stitch (k2tog) before each marker
Continue till 4 sts. remain, cast off or create I-cord for knot
...And that's all there is to it!
Most local hospitals, fire departments and woman's shelters really appreciate appreciate donations of baby hats. If you'd like to send hats abroad for donation you can inquire about programs like Caps For Good through your local red cross as well.
On a personal note, I for one can say just how much these hats mean to a new mother for their infant. I received a knit hat donated to my local hospital when my son was born as a 2 month preemie. Feeling so alone and scared by the whole NICU process, and having a baby so incredibly tiny just having something as simple as a hat knit that would actually fit him from a caring donor made all the difference in my day. I still have that hat as a memory of how tiny my little angel was