Here is another project that I've been doing to try to use up some bits of yarn I have. Preemie hats are really great at using up those tiny balls of soft luxury yarn that are left over from other projects. I usually don't follow a pattern although there are lots of really great ones if you want to mix things up.
Here is my very basic "recipe" for a Preemie Hat
I start by casting on either 56 or 64 stitches (this all depends on how big your needles are and the weight of the yarn you're using) and I personally like a 2x2 rib (again you can do all kind of brims from the rolled to seed stitch). I knit the ribbing for about an inch or an inch and half and then just knit stockinette until the entire hat measures between 4-5 inches. Feel free to do a pattern or stripes or fair isle, what ever floats your boat. You have what amounts to a swatch really, so play around!
Then I decrease the top:
Knit 6, k2tog across round
Knit 5, k2tog across round
Knit one round
Knit 4, k2tog across round
Knit 3, k2tog across round
Knit one round
Knit 2, k2tog across round
Knit 1, k2tog across round
K2tog across round
Break yarn, weave through remaining 8 stitches to close hole. Or if you want an i-cord stem don't break the yarn, do another round of k2togs and place all 4 stitches on one dpn, knit an i-cord for an inch and a half, bind off. Tie the stem in a knot (it's supposed to resemble the umbilical cord but I think it just looks cute).
The little hats in my pictures are knit out of dk yarn so I used 3.75mm dpns. If I was using worsted I'd go up to a 4.5mm. The best preemie hats are the ones that can survive hospital washing, so super soft acrylic and cottons. I'm also careful to try not to pick any yarns that may cause allergies like wool, mohair, angora, etc... And it's important to chose yarns that won't shed as the fibers could interfere with the hospital equipment that help to keep these tiny babies alive.
So now I get to weave in ends. In my case, lots of ends... I think I'll find a movie on Netflix and sit down with a cup of tea tonight...
Happy knitting : )