What are Preemie Quilts?
These are small quilts which the Guild donates to the Special Care Nursery of the Children’s & Women’s Health Centre of BC, Vancouver BC.
The quilt accompanies the baby when it is time to leave the hospital. Sadly, some babies do not make it, but the parents get to keep their quilt – sometimes it is the only memento they have, and they are treasured.
Since the beginning of 1990 when we started the program, we have given well over 10,000 quilts, an average of over 500 quilts per year.
Why do we make them?
The Guild is a non-profit association, and as such is required to meet certain conditions, one of which is to participate in a community or charity project. Some years ago the Guild chose to support the program for the NICU. This is not an option – it is an obligation.
Some 60 babies, on average pass through the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) each month, making a total of about 600 quilts needed per year. As we have often stressed, if every member of the Guild made just two quilts a year, it would bring us close to our commitment. We deliver to the hospital 12 months of the year, so need a bit of a “stash” to keep us going over the summer when we are not meeting.
Preemie Quilt Specifications
- Preemie quilts should be 36 inches square (approximately)
- They can be appliquéd or pieced by hand or machine in any pattern of your choice. There are some very nice cheater panels with very cute pictures on them that are suitable.
- Fabrics should be prewashed 100% cotton for the tops — do not use fabric with glitter or harsh metallic threads.
- Backing must be prewashed flannelette.
- Batting can be polyester or cotton.
- Use 100% cotton thread
- Quilting can be done by hand or machine, but PLEASE put enough stitching on the quilt to hold it securely together. Use at least 1/4 inch seam allowances so the patchwork is going to stay together.
- Do not use any monofilament or metallic thread as it is too harsh for the fragile skin of the preemie babies. Also do not tie the quilts.
- A label is attached to the back of the quilt. These labels are available at the preemie table or you can create your own label. It must contain your name and the mailing address and email address of the Guild. The date is optional.
Remember — These quilts do not have to be elaborate. A simple nine patch, or four patch quilt can be lovely!