Hi makers, Stephanie here! I'm the knitter behind @stephanie.elizabeth.designs and I am honored to be writing this post for Our Maker Life to share a little about my knitting journey, and how it has developed into helping support NICU families.
Growing up in England, my Grandma taught me how to knit and then my Mum continued to teach me this wonderful craft. It wasn’t until I moved to Chicago 7 years ago that knitting really became a larger part of my world. There is such a huge creative movement here and I love being inspired by different makers, especially knitters. I started to experiment with my own patterns and began taking special requests from people; hence my instagram @stephanie.elizabeth.designs was born. If I could, I would knit day and night and everything in-between.
In January 2017 all of my knitting came to a screeching halt. I was admitted to hospital at 29 week pregnant due to preterm labor. There was very little the doctor could do to keep our sweet babe from entering this world, and five days later at 30 weeks, Harrison made his appearance. At that time the journey ahead was unknown. Although he appeared healthy it is well known that the life of a preemie is like a rollercoaster, one day would be great, the next they could take a turn for the worse.
We experienced MANY highs and lows, including digestive issues, apnea (where Harrison would stop breathing and his heart rate slowed down), and hernia repair to name just a few. Harrison has certainly overcome huge obstacles in his short 10 months earth-side. Needless to say it was quite a traumatic experience, and both my husband and I can wholeheartedly say we would not want anybody to experience the NICU life.
We had been in the hospital for a total of two months when my once 3lb 8oz boy was strong enough to be discharged. Fast forward to this autumn and we now have a thriving 18lb chunk who keeps us on our toes! He really is our JOY and he has such a story of hope.
Due to being so busy with the hospital and having a preemie at home, I didn’t pick up my knitting supplies until about a month ago when I decided I wanted to knit for a greater cause. During our NICU stay we paid at total of $616 on parking. An already stressful time is made greater because of added expenses.
Since October 2017, the Jackson Chance Foundation has stepped in to provide FREE parking to all NICU families at the Prentice Women’s hospital in Chicago to help ease that financial burden. What a gift! I decided to use my skill to raise money for the Foundation, as my heart just aches for all the NICU families, especially over the holiday season. So, I am making cozy winter beanies, with $5 from all beanies going towards the Foundation.
Please feel free to follow my story through instagram, and ask any questions relating to the beanies, knitting, or the NICU. It can be a pretty lonely time, going to the hospital day in day out, so having community surrounding you is so important!
Stephanie is the knitter behind @stephanie.elizabeth.designs, where she displays her handcrafted knitted items. She is from England, but lives in Chicago with her husband and their sweet 10 month old, Harrison. Currently working on publishing her Etsy shop, she is happy to take requests via personal message on Instagram.