Monday, August 24, 2009

Announcing a Contest to Encourage Donations to the 'Heads Up for Infant Mortality' Project in D.C.

OK, so I think I might have gotten just a teensy bit obsessed with this 'Heads Up for Infant Mortality' project. I'm thinking it's because I love babies so much and I really can't believe that in Washington, D.C.--our nation's capitol, the rate of infant mortality is like that of a third world country! (or should I say developing nation) Anyway, I'm working on my fifth little baby cap since I heard about the project last week. I wrote a blog post about it last week, and I have been knitting the caps in public and telling everyone who will listen about the project.

So, I'm doing my part to raise awareness. Now I want to inspire you all to take some action. The only thing of value that I have right now to give away is my time. I have decided to create a contest where I will give 1 hour of knitting instruction to the person who donates the most baby caps to this project. I am an expert knitter with about 30 years of experience. I have taught knitting classes at the Knit-Out on the National Mall, and several other venues over the years. My specialties include lace and socks, but I can teach you pretty much anything you'd like to learn about knitting. I usually charge $40. per hour for private instruction, so that's the value of this prize.

In order to win, knit up as many infant caps as you can between now and September 15, 2009. Take a photo of the caps before you send them off to Claudia, and send it to me. When she verifies with me that she has indeed received your caps, I will contact you right away to schedule your lesson. The lesson must be taken between the end of September and December 1, 2009.

Keep those pointy sticks clicking and whip up some caps for the tiny babies and you could get a free, private lesson in the bargain. Go to for the free hat patterns. These hats take me about an hour to whip up. I hear that crocheting them is even faster.

Here's where to send them:

Birthing Hands, D.C.
106 Michigan Avenue, NE #D-44
Washington, DC 20017

birthinghandsdc (AT)

You can reach me at:
ebb567 (AT)

If you plan to participate, please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks in advance for all that you are doing to help our tiniest citizens have a healthy start in this world.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Heads Up on Infant Mortality: Knit a Baby Cap to Raise Awareness About Infant Mortality

As an African American mother of three healthy girls the issue of infant mortality in the Black community is one that concerns me greatly. I was perusing the dc/md/va fiber arts group on and I saw this article about the alarming rate of infant mortality for minority infants in the DC/MD/VA area.

I was glad to step in and help with the "Caps to the Capital" program that had the goal of knitting thousands of infant caps to keep newborns warm in developing countries. It was a way of raising awareness about infant mortality in developing countries, but when I heard about how many newborns are dying here in the DC area I jumped at the chance to do my part to raise awareness and get involved.

Please join me and knit up a few hats to help raise awareness about infant mortality in urban areas, and then the hats will be donated to newborns in local hospitals.

Here is the article with all of the details about the project.

“Heads Up on Infant Mortality”.

This project is to promote public awareness regarding the huge numbers of babies who do not reach their first birthday by knitting or crocheting infant hats in remembrance of them. This project is being done in Chicago, Florida, New Mexico, Richmond Virginia, and DC by me. We hope to present these infant hats to our local elected officials during the last week in September. At the end of the public awareness project the DC hats will be given to infants as “Going Home” gifts when they live the local NICU units. We need as many infant hats as we can get!!!!

A client of mine told me how her heart was touched by the hats and blankets her preemie twin daughter received as a gift when they left the Washington Hospital Center NICU.

The patterns are on my web site Infant hats should be sent to me by September 15th. Recently WPFW Radio did an interview on this project and I hope to get more press attention.

I need help getting these infant hats made by the September 15th deadline. More would be better. I would like to flood local NICUs with these hats as “Going Home” gifts of their babies.

Can you help spread the word and get folks knitting and crocheting?

Claudia Booker,

Did you Know?

In the District of Columbia during 2004 - 2006:

Live Births:

Of the live births, 57.9% were African American, 25.4% were white, 14.1% were Hispanic, 2.2% were Asian, and .1% where Native American.

In 2005, there were 109 infants who died before reaching their first birthdays. Of that number 17.2% were African American, 7.2% were Hispanic and 3.4% were white. African American babies were 5 times more likely as white babies to die during their first year.

Pre Term Births:

In 2006, 16% of the infants born (1, 3860) were born preterm.

During 2004 – 2006, preterm birth rates were highest for African American infants (18.5%), followed by Hispanics (13.6%), Asians (11.0%) and whites (9.7%). African American babies were twice as likely to be born preterm as white babies.
Low Birth Weight:

In 2006 1 of 9 babies (11.5% of the live births) were low birth weight.

Low birth weight rates were highest for Native American infants (21.7%), followed by African American infants (13.2%), Hispanic infants (13.6%), Asians (9.4%) and whites (6.9%). Native American babies were three times as likely to be born preterm as white babies.