SANDS (Stillbirth And Neonatal Death Charity) Knitted & Crochet Blankets

The following post has been written by my awesome friend Judi, who along with her mum Jan developed the crochet blanket pattern for the SANDS (Stillbirth And Neonatal Death charity) ‘Always Loved, Never Forgotten’ memory boxes. For more information on why we chose to become involved, please click to read THIS post about our friends Indi and Trevor, and how the loss of their daughter Alice spurred us into action.

You can find the pattern here on the SANDS website.

Over to Judi:

So, it all started like this, an innocent little message from Emma requesting some help with the SANDS knitting blanket pattern. She had asked for a crochet pattern but as one wasn’t available, she asked if we’d have a look at it.

‘We’ and ‘help’ – hmmmm, I could see where this might be going! We immediately took up the challenge after hearing why Emma wanted to get involved.

The first job was to send the knitting pattern off to someone that can actually knit! That is not a skill that I am blessed with, unless the pattern calls for a triangle of dubious tension, full of holes. Lucky for me, my mum (Jan) had just retired and had a bit of time on her hands. Voila! As though by magic, a beautiful knitted blanket appeared. Well done mum, that’s a lot of knitting to squeeze on your needles.

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Once the ‘royal we’ could see what the knitted blanket looked and felt like, it was time to break out some baby white yarn, 2 brand new balls of double knit (DK). I wanted the finished blanket to have a nice soft drape so chose a size 4.5 hook.

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I chose a textured stitch for the body of the blanket. I had used this one a few times for smaller projects and love the texture it gives. It also uses basic crochet stitches; just chain, double and treble crochet, but the results are really effective.

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To get started, chain 104, as per the pattern – so far so good, as long as you keep count.

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Row 1 is just as simple – double crochet in every other stitch with a chain in between. In row 2, you double crochet in the double crochets, and treble crochet into the chain spaces. I stalled here for the night as it was getting too dark for pictures!

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First thing the next morning and before breakfast had even been devoured, I was on to row 3. In this row you double crochet in the double crochets and chain 1 in between. Be sure to read the actual pattern to keep track of where you are!

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Then you just keep repeating rows 2 and 3 over and over until it’s square! In between other jobs (gardening, dog walking and cooking!) I got this far before bedtime!

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The next morning I whizzed along and before I knew it the blanket was square. About 19 inches square in fact, which is roughly 84 rows.

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I love the pretty edging and I continued with this on a rainy day…

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By Bank Holiday Monday, the edging was complete, 3 lovely lacy rows.

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This was quickly followed by the picot detailing. Once the ends were secured and woven in I had one complete memory blanket ready to be checked and approved by SANDS.

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From Emma: We thought a visual reference to assist you while you work through the pattern would be great for those of you (like me!) who prefer to view photos to see what your work ‘should’ look like. Thanks Judi and Jan for your help! 

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SANDS Crochet Blankets – Alice’s Army & Our Involvement

At the Open Day in July, we had an ‘Alice’s Army’ area, you may have seen it in the photos:

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We chose to support a cause close to our hearts and we proudly became part of ‘Alice’s Army’, raising funds in memory of Alice Lawrence, who was born sleeping on 7th September 2013. Her parents, Indi and Trevor, are friends of mine and I was devastated to hear of their experience. Indi had experienced a textbook pregnancy and was in excellent health. The shock almost a year later is still evident. This is why we chose to raise funds using the umbrella term ‘Alice’s Army’ (which is not a charity itself). We raised £250 at the Open Day. Half has been donated to the British Wildlife Rescue Centre, the other half to SANDS (the Stillbirth And Neonatal Death charity).

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Whilst I researched how we could support SANDS in particular, I discovered that one way to get involved is to hand knit blankets, as part of their ‘Always Loved. Never Forgotten’ memory boxes. These bring much comfort to parents at such a difficult time. The knitting pattern has been available for some time, but there have been lots of requests for a crochet pattern also.

I got in touch with SANDS to ask if we could help develop a crochet pattern, something I felt we could help with. I asked Emma’s Fabric Studio woolly superstars Judi and Jan if they could help me with this. In typical fashion, they were amazing at translating the pattern from knitting to crochet. After making up a knitted version to get the size, feel and texture, they went about writing a crochet pattern.

We worked with SANDS to get the pattern produced and ensure they were happy with the finished blanket. At the Open Day in July we had a tremendous response from our visitors. So many people took patterns and I was stopped in the village (whilst walking my dog!) by a lovely lady who had taken a pattern and was half way through her blanket. We were quite overwhelmed at the interest and response.

So, for the next Open Day (5th October 2014 at Tithe Barn in Lenham), we will again be supporting SANDS with their cause. They put this urgent request for help on Facebook this week:

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You can see at the time of me posting this, 4,000 people had shared their plea for assistance. The crochet pattern has been released by SANDS and can be found HERE.

If you would like to come along to the Open Day and pick up a pattern, speak to Judi and Jan and see the knitted/crochet versions of the finished blankets, we would love to see you! They will also be hand to help with any parts of the SANDS blanket pattern you might be struggling with. On the day we will collate and send any completed blankets to SANDS for you. If you complete your blanket after the Open Day we will ensure you have the address to send it to.

So if you would like to join our mini ‘blanket drive’ to help SANDS please do! All the details of the Open Day are at the bottom of this post. For a walk through of the pattern, with photos too, please click THIS link to take you to the separate blog post.

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