AUSTIN, Texas - (Jan. 2, 2014) - LeeAnn Tacchi is a busy woman. The ball of yarn on her lap turns and whirls like a top as she busily crochets another soft and welcoming blanket for the newborns in Seton Medical Center Austin's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Over the past few weeks, she has been working on an extra special creation for a very special baby - the first arrival of 2014 in a Seton delivery room.
The blanket will be presented to the baby and the happy parents at Seton Northwest Hospital, where the first Seton baby was born at 12:18 a.m. on New Year's Day.
Tacchi's output for Seton Austin is staggering. She has made 139 crocheted blankets for the hospital.
"I have been working on these for Seton for three and a half or four years," she said. "One of my friends was making a blanket for the NICU and we got to talking. When she learned I could crochet, she brought me enough yarn for one or two blankets. That is how it started."
Her skill and devotion to crocheting began many years ago.
"My grandmother lives in St. Louis and we frequently visit her," Tacchi said. "During one of the visits, when I was was 10, she taught me how to crochet and I've been doing it ever since."
Her grandmother, who is right-handed, taught Tacchi,
who is left-handed, a variety of stitches that have been very
It takes between three days and a week, depending on how busy she is, to finish a blanket. The color and texture of each one varies, depending on what donated yarn is in the yarn cabinet in Seton Austin's workroom.
"Basically, I just make blankets until I run out of yarn," Tacchi said. "Then I deliver them to the NICU."
Tacchi is one of more than 50 volunteers who produce various craft projects for use at the hospital. Baby blankets, layettes, hats and other sewn crafts are all part of the group's crafting repertoire. It has been a very rewarding experience for her.
"I have actually met some of the families I have made
blankets for," she said. "Knowing I am helping families and
making a keepsake for them is a pleasure. I am so pleased that
the first Seton baby of 2014 will be receiving one of my