Monday, June 18, 2012

Knitting Chemo Caps

Chemo cap made from
Naturally Caron Joy
We all wish there was no need for chemo caps. But there is. Given that, chemo caps for cancer patients make great summer knitting. They are lightweight, quick, good travel or beach projects, and can be made in almost any size.

Jeannie has provided information on what to consider when making chemo caps.

Any cap can be a cap for a cancer patient, provided the yarn is soft. The circumference may need to be a touch smaller, because there’s no volume of hair. Avoid overall lace patterns — those eyelets allow bare scalp to show through. A little lace edging is great. Choose patterns and yarns that you would want to wear — something fashionable. Knit the hats in the round to avoid seams.

Yarn selection is the same for all ages and sexes: soft, washable, no wool. Yarn weights #3 (DK, light worsted) and #4 (worsted, Aran)  are recommended. Chemo caps are worn both inside and outside — something to consider when selecting your yarn. Stay away from chunky and bulky yarns. Try to avoid white and pale colors.

Many yarns for chemo caps are readily available (look for sales!):
  • Caron: Simply Soft, Naturally Caron Joy or Spa.
  • Bernat: Satin, Pipsqueak, Baby Cakes, Cotton-Tots. (Bernat Naturals Bamboo sheds too much and gets stretched out.)
  • Lion Brand: Cotton-Ease, Vanna’s Choice or Baby, Baby’s First, Velvetspun, Homespun.
  • Hobby Lobby: I Love This Cotton, I Love This Yarn, and a lot of their baby yarns are great.
  • Berroco Comfort is a great acrylic/nylon blend that is very soft — good substitute for patterns calling for worsted-weight superwash wool.
  • Cascade Ultra Pima.
  • Soft baby yarns.
  • Cotton, cotton blends, soy, bamboo, or bamboo blends,
Lace-edged chemo cap
Avoid wool in the fiber content of the yarn you are considering. Bald heads and those with new hair growth can be especially sensitive to scratchy fibers, even for people who have not had a previous reaction to wool.

The preferred yarns for chemo caps in warmer days are yarns that are 100 percent cottons or cotton-blends. Consider creating your chemo cap to reflect the beauty of the season. Consider the colors of the season and the feel for that beautiful season at hand.

Sizes: You can always knit your basic hat pattern and make it a little longer in length — 7½ inches to 8 inches. The extra length ensures that the chemo cap covers below the ear and at the top of the hairline in front and back. Chemo caps should be comfortable to wear — not too tight or too loose. Allow for 1 inch to 2 inches of negative ease.

A slumber cap is a soft basic chemo cap that the person may wear to sleep at night to provide some warmth on the head and take the chill away. A simple hat made from Cascade Fixation makes a great slumber hat.

Embellish with buttons, or knitted or crocheted flowers.

You can find many patterns on the Internet. Caps for a Cure, Chemo Cap Pattern Library, and Hearts of Love are three Ravelry groups. You also can search through Ravelry patterns for chemo caps. You’ll find find more patterns here and here.

Bring your completed chemo caps to guild meetings. Sue V. will deliver them to the American Cancer Society office in Tacoma, where they will be distributed through the organization’s support programs for cancer patients.

And remember the babies too. Jeannie is still collecting purple hats for newborns to help educate their families about shaken baby syndrome.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June Knitting

Once again, knitters at the June meeting drew ooooohs and aaaaaaahs for their beautiful knitting.

Angela's baby sweater
Barbara's multi-directional scarf
Jeannie's stash-busting scarves for charity
Joan's fabulous Fair Isle vest
Karin's summer sweater
Anne's gift sheep
And in the business meeting:
  • Pattie has graciously invited us to her house again for our annual potluck. The lunch will be on the regular August meeting day, Tuesday, August 14, at 11:30 a.m. Details coming soon.
  • Be sure knitting is represented at the Pierce County and Western Washington fairs. See the Upcoming Events box for details.
  • Members indicated an interest in knitting chemo caps to donate. Jeannie distributed information about desirable chemo cap yarns and fabrics, plus sites where you can find patterns. We will find an organization to distribute the caps to men and women undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Although not enough people signed up for the April 2013 retreat at Dumas Bay, some members still want to do a knitting retreat somewhere, perhaps a hotel or rented house. Put on your (knitted) thinking caps for a possible location.