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Knitting for Chemotherapy Patients

Knitting for Chemotherapy Patients

When a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer, and almost immediately began a course of chemotherapy, my thoughts of course turned to knitted hats, as one of the few ways I felt that I could actually be useful to her. I found that there was a lot of advice on the internet about chemo hats -- some of it conflicting -- and dozens of patterns, but not many suggestions about specific yarns, which was where I felt that advice would be most helpful -- hence this list.

Knitting hats and caps for chemo patients does come with a few restrictions, but often this is up to the wearer. The one thing that most people seem to agree on is that the hat should be seamless, to be comfortable on a head not only sensitive from the chemo but unused to being without hair. Chemo hats also tend to be on the long side -- down to the nape of the neck -- and not lace, which can be drafty on bare skin, but again, this is up to the wearer, and the season. (A bit of lace at the edge might be nice, though.) The snugger-fitting hats tend to stay on better, as looser ones tend to slip without the hair to help hold it in place. People who are sensitive to wool even at the best of times would doubtless prefer hats made of cotton or acrylic, of course, but in many cases the softer wools work very well. Washability should also be a consideration, although in this case, comfort and looks may win out. Here are a few patterns and suggestions for yarns that I've collected -- thank you to everyone who has helped!

If you have suggestions for this list, please leave a comment on A Bluestocking Knits at http://mathomhouse.typepad.com/bluestocking/2006/07/chemo_caps.html -- thank you!


SOME GOOD CHEMO CAP YARNS

Berroco Chinchilla
Blue Sky Cotton
Brown Sheep Cotton Fine
Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece
Caron Simply Soft
Cascade Fixation
Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Merino
Dale Baby Ull
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
Elann Esprit and Esprit Print
Gedifra Marokko
Katia Jamaica
KnitPicks Shine Sport
Noro Tidiori
Plymouth Encore
Rowan Calmer
RYC Cashcotton
RYC Cashsoft
Tahki New Tweed
Trekking XXL
Wendy Velvet Touch


SOME FREE PATTERNS

The Carlsbad Hat, by Marnie MacLean http://marniemaclean.com/patterns/carlsbad/index.html

Chemo Hat and Keyhole Scarf, from Berroco http://www.berroco.com/exclusives/chemo_cap-scarf.html

Chemo Toque, by Janet Szabo http://www.knitlist.com/98gift/chemotoque.htm

Cloche du Bois, by Hilari Ford http://makeme.typepad.com/photos/finis_2006/michelles_cloche.html

Elann Chemo Turban, by Ann Cannon-Brown for elann
http://secure.elann.com/ShowFreePattern.asp?Id=150024

Julia Roberts Hat, by Gale H. Coffey http://www.knittingonthenet.com/patterns/hatjuliahat.htm

The Last-Minute Purled Beret, by Wendy Bernard http://www.thegarterbelt.com/wb_lastminutepurl.html

Mandalay One-Skein Hat, by Ardeana Hamlin
http://www.bangornews.com/news/templates/?a=136131 (work this in the round; photo at http://annaea.wordpress.com/2006/08/19/a-one-skein-chemo-cap/)

Odessa, by Grumperina http://www.magknits.com/feb06/patterns/odessa.htm

The Pismo Hat, by Marnie MacLean http://marniemaclean.com/patterns/Pismo/index.html

Shedir, by Jenna Wilson http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall04/knittyF04surp.pdf (read the story behind Shedir at http://www.girlfromauntie.com/journal/index.php?p=24)

Shine Chemo Hat, by Kelley Petkun http://www.knitpicks.com/Projects/Projects_Display_Yarn.aspx?itemid=50411220&yarnid=5420122

Short-Row Hat, by Veronik Avery http://interweave.com/knit/interweave_knits/web_projects/win_05/Short-Row-Hat.pdf

Zeebee, by schmeebot
http://schmeebot.com/nid/283.htm


SOME LINKS

ChemoCaps http://chemocaps.com/

Knitting Pattern Central: Hats http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/directory/hats.php

Head Huggers http://www.headhuggers.org/


Updated 21 June 2007

Photo from BBC.co.uk