General Crafting Guidelines

These guidelines were developed to meet the needs and requirements of the hospitals we support. Please see each individual TPP program to find more detailed information about our programs

Third Hand Smoke Policy

In accordance with hospital policies, items from smoking homes will not be donated to hospitals for use in the NICU. Research has proven that tobacco and tobacco smoke clings to furniture, clothes, walls. This is called “third hand smoke”. “Third hand smoke” cannot be adequately washed out of fabrics and thus raises the risks for many illness in children. Please see the March of Dimes website for more information.


  • Fabrics and yarns must be very soft and machine washable
  • Acrylic yarns are best; cotton yarns are acceptable but tend to work up too stiff for tiny babies.
  • We cannot accept items made with wool or pompadour yarn.
  • Do NOT use yarn that is excessively old. Yarn can become dry and brittle with age.
  • Do NOT use “eyelash yarn or other similar yarns. The nurses report the strings become tangled in equipment.
  • Do NOT use worsted weight yarn for tiny hats or for any blanket for our bereavement program. See list of suggested yarns.  
  • Try our “Scratch Test” when choosing yarn or fabric. Rub the yarn/fabric on the inside of your forearm. Compare it to a super soft yarn like Bernat Softee Baby. If it feels scratchier, it is too rough to be used to make preemie items.


See our Measurement Guide.

Hats: verify that the length and width of hats fall within the same size category so they fit properly.

Hat/Bootie Sets: check the measurements to confirm that the sizes for both items fall within the same size range

Bereavement Gowns/Dresses/Sleep Sacks: Measure the chest first to determine the size range. Then make sure the sleeves and garment length are correct. A bit longer is always better than too short. Dresses should be long enough to flow over the feet. Refer to Knit Sleep Sacks, Sewn Bereavement Gown/Bunting, and Knit Dresses for Infant Bereavement for current information on the sizes most needed for Infant Bereavement.

Blankets:  Refer to the Knit and Crochet Blanket for Bereavement Packages. We do not have a need for any blankets other than those for bereavement


  • For items used in the NICU, we accept all colors and patterns. But, bright and pastel colors are most requested for the NICU.
  • Boy items are always in highest demand.
  • For items for our infant bereavement program, please use white or soft pastel solid colors only. Do NOT use variegated yarns, multiple colors or dark/bold colors for bereavement.

Preparing Your Donations

  • Please wash soiled items with unscented detergent before sending.
  • Do not use fabric softener
  • Don’t forget to weave in your ends on knit/crochet items!
  • For a sewn item, double check for pins and clip all loose threads.
  • Package each hat/bootie set for the NICU in a separate ziploc bag.
  • Bereavement and NICU bedding items do NOT need to be in separate bags. Put all items in a large plastic bag to keep them clean in the event of a post office mishap.
  • Include a Donation Tag. Do not attach the donation with yarn or safety pin. Just include it in the bag with the item.
  • We log all donations. If sending a large donation, a written inventory of your items is very helpful.
  • If you would like feedback on the items you sent, please include an email address.

Mail or drop off your donations at:

The Preemie Project
2607 Flagstone Court 
Coralville, IA 52241 

NOTE: If you are local, you can drop off items at the above address. Just put the items in a closed plastic bag and leave on the front step. Please include contact information so we know who to thank.


If it is more convenient, you can drop you items off at an Iowa Donation Center.