Thursday, February 26, 2009

Original PICC Cover

The following project is the basic pattern that I use to make a PICC pattern. I developed it through trial and error to find out what worked best.

What is a PICC? PICC stands for Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter. It is a long IV line that is inserted in the arm, then stretches from the arm, through the veins, were the line ends near the heart. It allows for large dose antibiotics to be administered in either a hospital or home environment.

This is me with a PICC line. Notice the white netting near my elbow? This is what is provided for patients to cover up the exposed part of the line when not in use. They are uncomfortable and have to be frequently changed because they are not durable at all, so I took to knitting my own.

Okay, so how do I do this? The original PICC line only takes 2 skills to be able to complete - the ability to knit in the round, and knit a 2x2 rib.

Worsted Weight Yarn - Preferably something that is durable and stretchy. I usually make mine out of washable wool, but as long as the finished project is able to hold it's shape over multiple stretchings, it will work. It also would be appropriate to use a lighter fiber, as some patients complain about being too warm under covers, other prefer about being too cool. By multiple knitters participating, it is my hope that everyone gets something that makes them happy.

Size 5 or 6 Circular needle (or 2) or DPN's - Really doesn't matter which technique you use, so use what is comfortable to you. If you don't know what I'm talking about, the Internet is a GREAT resource to learn knitting in the round techniques.

Gauge - Since this is a ribbed project, it is far more important to worry about being sure they stretch to accommodate the bulk of a PICC.

How to Make - For an adult size, cast on 44(48,52,56) stitches. Most CF patients struggle with weight, so their arms are usually smaller in diameter than most. However, the project needs to be able to stretch around the bandages and tubing of a PICC.
Join stitches in the round, being careful not to twist. K2, p2* repeating around the entire band, until it measures about 8 to 9 inches long. Bind off loosely.

To the left is a 44 stitch PICC Cover, 8 inches long. When relaxed it is about 6 inches in diameter, but it easily stretches to 9 inches, then will relax back to the original size.

Finishing - Finishing can be as simple as weaving in the ends. If desired, a long string can be woven near the top and bottom of the band, allowing the patient to tie tighter as the band stretches.

Special Notes While this pattern focuses on adult sizes, young CF patients also commonly use PICC lines. The diameter should be brought down for this, but the length should be no shorter than 7 inches. This is because the dressing and exposed tubing does not go down in size with the patient. Also, you are welcome to modify the pattern, as long as it remains very stretchy and durable. I will be coming up with variations in the coming months.

What Do I Do Now? Please make a tag or card for each work. On it include:
The Finding Jenn Project
Your Name:
Fiber Used:
Care Instructions:
Any Contact Information You Would Like to Provide: (Loneliness is a constant in the hospital, and being able to send a thank you would be awesome)
The Finding Jenn Project was founded in memory of Jenn W. Jenn was a talented knitter who tried to reach out to the CF community in any way possible. The enclosed PICC cover is made in her memory. Please let us know if you have received one by visiting the site or emailing

(A sample card template will soon be available!)

How Do I Get These to Patients? - This can happen in one of two ways. In the coming days I will be acquiring a PO Box for PICC covers to be sent to me to distribute. If they are sent to me, I request that each are individually packed in a Ziploc bag, as people with CF each harbor bacteria that can be harmful to other CF patients, and I do not want to be responsible for getting another person sick :)

You can also send them to a local CF center. Address them in care of the Cystic Fibrosis Nurse, and find the address at the following links:

Listing of US based Care Centers
Listing of Canada based centres
Listing of United Kingdom based centres
Listing of Australia based centres
(If I did not hit your area, usually Google will point you the right direction if you search: (Country) Cystic Fibrosis Centers

Also please send an email to
with how many you sent and where you sent them, so I can track if some centers are getting fewer than they need and can fix that with projects that come to me. I also invite pictures of projects.

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