Frequently Asked Questions

What are you going to do with 23,000 baby booties? 

We are creating an art installation to draw attention to the problem of infant mortality in America and advocate for policy changes that can save babies’ lives.  Booties are going to be sewn on panels like quilt blocks in groups of 100 according to the diagram below.  Each panel  is a critical piece of the puzzle that is infant mortality in this country.  The complete installation will be 38′ x 38′.  To get your panel pattern, email  When the exhibitions are complete, booties will be donated to charities and agencies that serve infants.

Each one of the 23,000 pairs of booties is one pixel of the 38′ by 38′ overall design. Each square of the grid represents 100 pairs of booties. Request your panel pattern today by emailing

I want to make a panel. Where do I start? 

You are awesome!  Thank you!  The first thing you should do is email to get your panel’s pattern and instructions.  Start making your booties according to the color scheme on the panel pattern.  Attach your booties to cargo netting and label it.  Send your panel to Mary Vaneecke at 2000 S. Hermosa, Tucson, Arizona, 85713.   Complete instructions for making a panel are here.

This is the pattern page for Panel 1-K of the installation plan. It shows the placement of the panel within the installation (pink square), a detail of the panel, and the number of booties by color that the panel requires.

Do I have to limit the colors of the baby booties to black/white/gray?

Please do.  This is called  Each panel calls for a specific number of black/white/gray booties.  Email to get your piece of the installation image.  The Project is about uniting to mourn and right a tragic wrong.  That said, if you have some beautiful black yarn or fabric with a tiny red thread or dot (for instance), and it ‘reads’ black, feel free to include that in the Project if your panel calls for black booties.  Embellish to your heart’s content.   You may choose to put a very dark gray in the black areas of your panel.  The gray parts of the panels will contain a range of gray values.  Just be sure to mail all panels to Mary Vaneecke, 2000 South Hermosa, Tucson, AZ 85713.   

This gorgeous hand-dyed yarn, called Chalk in the Rain by Kitty Pride Fibers, is not entirely gray, but made some stunning booties for

Do I have to make a whole panel of booties?

If you do not wish to make a whole panel of booties, get a group of makers together to put a panel together.  The process is fun and easy.  We will need 225 panels to complete the image.  Before you start, email mary@maryvaneecke to get the pattern for your panel.  One hundred booties seems like a lot, but you can sew 63 pairs of felt booties in about 6 hours.  Click here for that video.

If you can’t find anyone to help put together a panel, make your booties white, and email for an address of a panel maker near you.  The pattern calls for 15,000 pairs of white booties.  This will save postage and can help someone who is in need a few more booties for their panel.

Can I make a panel of booties in memory or honor of someone?

Yes!  Make a note on the form and write it in permanent fabric marker on the label on the back of the panel.  To make booties in memory or honor of someone, write it on a white ribbon, strip of fabric, interfacing, Tyvek, or other durable paper or fabric.  Stitch the ribbon or strip together with your pair of baby booties.  This donation checklist has a diagram.  Please mail panels to Mary Vaneecke, 2000 South Hermosa, Tucson, AZ 85713 by April 1 to be a part of the exhibition at the March of Dimes March for Babies in Phoenix.  

Little Chickadees, in memory of baby Sarah, by Nanci Elf.

I don’t know how to sew, knit, or crochet.  Do I have to hand-make the baby booties?

My vision for is that each of the 23,000 babies lost annually will be remembered by a unique, handmade, heartfelt little ‘elegy.’  If you do not sew, knit, felt, or crochet, consider asking a crafty friend to help.  Sewing a simple pair of booties can be done in about a half hour (links to some free patterns here).  Your gift does NOT have to be technically perfect or lavish, though you are welcome to make it as fancy as you like.  What matters is you care enough to make this little elegy.  As an alternative, you could purchase a white pair of infant booties and embellish them yourself with contrasting marker, paint, sequins, lace, etc.  And of course, advocacy is a critical part of this project.  You don’t have to be creative or crafty to write a letter or contact an elected official, arrange an exhibition, or make another donation to the project.

Can I make a panel or pair of baby booties anonymously?

Yes.  Just note that on the donation form. Link here to the form.

Do you know where I can get a nice free pattern?

There are loads of free patterns online.  Click here for links to some of my favorites.

Gansie booties by Kathie Popadin. All her patterns are free for use on this project. Just message her on Ravelry at shakeyourbooties

Does this project have anything to do with abortion?

No.  Infant mortality concerns wanted children who are born alive and die before their first birthday.  Whatever side of the abortion issue you are on, you are welcome to support  My hope is that whatever our respective political leanings are, we can all be United Against Infant Mortality.

Does it cost anything to be a part of

There is no application fee.  The Project will be expensive to ship and record.  The Mourning Project is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of The Mourning Project must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” only and are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Cash donations are not deductible. To make a secure online donation, go to

Can I participate even if I live outside the U.S.?

Of course.  The project focuses on the US infant mortality rate, but all are welcome to contribute panels to the project.

What are you doing with the money you collect?

I will donate all the time I spend on the Project.  There are significant costs related to the ultimate art installation, storage, postage, appropriate shipping containers, insurance, travel and other costs related to  I am seeking grant funding, and possible sponsorships to cover these costs.    This will allow me to take advantage of exhibition opportunities as soon as they present themselves, and plan ahead as much as possible.  Any monies left over at the end of the project will be donated to the March of Dimes. To make a secure online donation, go to Donation made through the website are tax deductible as allowed by law.  

First two submissions-by-mail to!

When do you need these panels?

Don’t wait until the last minute to send your panel(s).  Your piece of the pattern is critical! Please mail panels to Mary Vaneecke, 2000 South Hermosa, Tucson, AZ 85713.  

Where will this art installation appear?

Bootie panels will be exhibited at events throughout the year.  Click here for the most current list.    Click here for info on that.  Do you have a suggestion for an exhibition venue?  Contact me at   Follow this website, my blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, etc. to find out where the exhibition will appear.

Booties can be knit, sewn, or crocheted.

What will you do with all those baby booties when the Project is over? 

After the installations, the booties will be donated to charities serving infants and children.  These agencies might include the March of Dimes, local health departments, birth centers and hospitals, crisis pregnancy centers, family-nurse partnerships, etc.  It’s possible some small portion of the Project may become part of a museum collection.   Do you know of a charity that would be interested in receiving these items?   Contact me at

Have another question not answered here?  Email me at


Mary Vaneecke



8 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I sew the booties with sewing machine? I haven’t tried it but think it might be faster for me.
    How to mark the 3″ square grid. I tried a sample using a sharpie and it really stands out. What would you suggest or how would you mark the 3″ squares.
    Do all the pairs of booties need to be sewn in the same direction – toes facing up or down.

    1. You can stitch the booties with a sewing machine. It will be harder to stitch them onto the panel with a machine, however. I use a sharpie to mark my grids on the webbing. It is ok if the grid shows through. Perhaps you can try a ball point pen for a lighter line.

  2. I recently heard of this project and want to know if it will continue past Mother’s Day 2019.

    1. We are just a few days from Mother’s Day, and have about 5,000 booties. Yes! We will continue to collect booties until we have 23,000. Watch our Baby Bootie Progress Report for the most current count. Thanks for asking, Ruth! Hope you will participate!

  3. My felting study group will make booties on Thursday, Oct. 18. so I am studying your website so I can answer any questions that might come up. I see you are asking that they are sent to you by May 19, 2019, but your first installation is scheduled for April 2019. Could you clarify?


    1. Thanks for this, Kathryn! Be sure the booties are in the colors of mourning–black, white, and gray. I am asking for people to send their booties as they are made. This way I know (and the exhibition venues know) that there will be booties to display. It also avoids the possibility that I get 40,000 baby booties all at once. If I get the goal of 23,000 ahead of time, that is great, I will let the fiber art community know. The first exhibition will be in Tucson, AZ, and I am planning for April to give people an incentive to send their booties early. It also leaves open the possibility for a Mothers Day 2019 exhibition in Washington D.C. (unconfirmed at this point). Thank you for asking!

  4. Hello, Mary,
    Our mutual friend Deborah Weir infomred me about this project, which I whole-heartedly support. At her suggestion, I posted it on, which has over 6 million members of knitters and crocheters! In the thread that I started, some folks were asking if you would join so that they can ask you questions directly. It is free to do so, at and then the thread is at
    Thanks for considering this!

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