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ccarter756
New Pal

42 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  1:54:55 PM  Show Profile Send ccarter756 a Private Message
I need to knit a few chemo caps for my mother, who is in her mid 70's. She has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and will undergo chemotherapy shortly.

I've found a number of patterns on the Web, but I am puzzled by what to use for yarn. Everything I have been reading says that any yarn with wool content will be too scratchy for a chemo patient's sensitive scalp. My mom has always disliked wearing wool next to her neck or face anyway, and so anything with wool content is definitely out. However, I've haven't seen too many suggestions about what works well.

I have an elegant pattern from knitty.com called Shedir which is knitted with Rowan Calmer. This is an Aran weight yarn. It looks beautiful, but it's quite expensive, and the reviews here say that it stretches but doesn't bounce back. I may try this yarn, but I'm looking for other alternatives as well, as I will probably knit a few caps while I'm at it.

Has anyone used Tahki Cotton Classic for hats? If so, how did you like it? I have a few skeins in my stash.

Mom is not likely to wear anything too bright or funky - it's not really her style.

Thanks in advance for all of your help!



Cindy Carter

Kelly B
Permanent Resident

USA
2206 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  2:26:17 PM  Show Profile Send Kelly B a Private Message
May I suggest starting with a shawl instead? My Grandma never wore the knitted chemo caps (she preferred a cloth driving cap, or a kerchief, or just showing off her perfectly beautiful scalp) but she brought her shawl to every appointment, wrapped up in it during treatments and afterward when she always felt colder than anyone else, and proudly talked about it to anyone who would listen.

Best wishes for easy treatments and for her recovery.

[Grandma is in remission, doing just great, and she never had any trouble with nausea in treatment, just fatigue.]
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Kelly B
Permanent Resident

USA
2206 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  2:26:17 PM  Show Profile Send Kelly B a Private Message
May I suggest starting with a shawl instead? My Grandma never wore the knitted chemo caps (she preferred a cloth driving cap, or a kerchief, or just showing off her perfectly beautiful scalp) but she brought her shawl to every appointment, wrapped up in it during treatments and afterward when she always felt colder than anyone else, and proudly talked about it to anyone who would listen.

Best wishes for easy treatments and for her recovery.

[Grandma is in remission, doing just great, and she never had any trouble with nausea in treatment, just fatigue.]
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maribelaprn
Permanent Resident

USA
2033 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  3:31:44 PM  Show Profile Send maribelaprn a Private Message
Has your Mom asked for knitted caps?? I can only tell you from my own experience as a breast cancer survivor, I never wanted one, I never saw anyone wear one, and I never knew of anyone who did want one. None of the cancer centers with whom I'm well acquainted accept donations of knitted/crocheted "chemo caps"; instead they all ask for shawls and lap throws. I knit shawls and throws for our local regional cancer center and if someone does ask about knitted caps, the social worker who hands out the shawls and throws will contact one of the volunteer knitters and have them custom made for the person requesting them. I honestly don't get the concept of "chemo caps". During the 9 years I've been a cancer patient, I think I can remember maybe a handful of people wearing knitted/crocheted head covers...and those were youngsters with rather wild funky headgear.

I can also tell you from my own personal experience that knitted hats slide right off a bald head. In order to get headgear to stay on, it has to be pretty snug, which means the cap has to be adjustable or made-to-fit. I personally used baseball caps, floppy hats and cotton scarves (silk scarves slide right off).

If you do want to knit something, Tahki Cotton Classic is a good choice.

Also sending my best wishes for her recovery...

Mari


WIP: Estonian Lullaby blanket in Plymouth Encore

My blog: http://maribelaprn.blogspot.com/
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maribelaprn
Permanent Resident

USA
2033 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  3:31:44 PM  Show Profile Send maribelaprn a Private Message
Has your Mom asked for knitted caps?? I can only tell you from my own experience as a breast cancer survivor, I never wanted one, I never saw anyone wear one, and I never knew of anyone who did want one. None of the cancer centers with whom I'm well acquainted accept donations of knitted/crocheted "chemo caps"; instead they all ask for shawls and lap throws. I knit shawls and throws for our local regional cancer center and if someone does ask about knitted caps, the social worker who hands out the shawls and throws will contact one of the volunteer knitters and have them custom made for the person requesting them. I honestly don't get the concept of "chemo caps". During the 9 years I've been a cancer patient, I think I can remember maybe a handful of people wearing knitted/crocheted head covers...and those were youngsters with rather wild funky headgear.

I can also tell you from my own personal experience that knitted hats slide right off a bald head. In order to get headgear to stay on, it has to be pretty snug, which means the cap has to be adjustable or made-to-fit. I personally used baseball caps, floppy hats and cotton scarves (silk scarves slide right off).

If you do want to knit something, Tahki Cotton Classic is a good choice.

Also sending my best wishes for her recovery...

Mari


WIP: Estonian Lullaby blanket in Plymouth Encore

My blog: http://maribelaprn.blogspot.com/
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ccarter756
New Pal

42 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  4:16:02 PM  Show Profile Send ccarter756 a Private Message
The shawl is a good suggestion. I have already sent one to her. I made a shawl earlier this year for my older brother, who died in April of liver failure. Mom used to take George to his doctor's appointments, and he would not leave the house without his shawl, so she has good memories of it. His shawl came back to me after his death, and Mom asked this week if she could have it, so I sent it on to her.

She is very self-conscious about losing her hair, and will probably get a wig, but she thought she might like a cap for just wearing around the house to keep warm. Since she is my mom, I want to make her something beautiful and comfortable that she would enjoy wearing.



Cindy Carter
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ccarter756
New Pal

42 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  4:16:02 PM  Show Profile Send ccarter756 a Private Message
The shawl is a good suggestion. I have already sent one to her. I made a shawl earlier this year for my older brother, who died in April of liver failure. Mom used to take George to his doctor's appointments, and he would not leave the house without his shawl, so she has good memories of it. His shawl came back to me after his death, and Mom asked this week if she could have it, so I sent it on to her.

She is very self-conscious about losing her hair, and will probably get a wig, but she thought she might like a cap for just wearing around the house to keep warm. Since she is my mom, I want to make her something beautiful and comfortable that she would enjoy wearing.



Cindy Carter
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ccarter756
New Pal

42 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  4:29:49 PM  Show Profile Send ccarter756 a Private Message
maribelaprn, I am awed and so grateful to hear from you about your experiences. Since I have not been through this experience myself, I don't know what she will be going through, but I do know I want to support her every way I can.

I love your suggestions about fit, and about appropriate style, and thank you so much for that good advice.

Thanks to both of you for your good wishes. Mom's doctors say she is in a very early stage of the disease, and has an excellent prospect for complete recovery.

Cindy Carter
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ccarter756
New Pal

42 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  4:29:49 PM  Show Profile Send ccarter756 a Private Message
maribelaprn, I am awed and so grateful to hear from you about your experiences. Since I have not been through this experience myself, I don't know what she will be going through, but I do know I want to support her every way I can.

I love your suggestions about fit, and about appropriate style, and thank you so much for that good advice.

Thanks to both of you for your good wishes. Mom's doctors say she is in a very early stage of the disease, and has an excellent prospect for complete recovery.

Cindy Carter
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maribelaprn
Permanent Resident

USA
2033 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  5:12:56 PM  Show Profile Send maribelaprn a Private Message
Cindy, that's GREAT news! I had a very nasty variety of BC that we're still managing as a "chronic illness", which is doc-talk for "we really don't know how to treat you"!

Have you seen the Berrocco Chinchilla yarn?? It's 100% rayon and soft as a bunny! Their website features a chemo cap that is just a simple, close fitting pull-on cap. I've made a couple of these for patients at the cancer center where I am treated and they liked them very much. The only drawback is that the yarn is dry clean only, but then, these caps tend not to get dirty. The yarn is very soft and very snuggly. As for the pattern, it's quite simple. I started on DPNs, then moved up to a circular needle as the hat grew as that was easier for me to manage. The ribbing helps keep the cap snug on the head but doesn't bind (make sure you bind of loosely!). The little scarflet is also very nice. Chinchilla comes in lovely colours, but my favourite is English Rose. It's hard to see any kind of stitch definition in this chenille yarn, but it sure is soft!

Anyway, best wishes and prayers to Mom!!

Mari


WIP: Estonian Lullaby blanket in Plymouth Encore

My blog: http://maribelaprn.blogspot.com/
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maribelaprn
Permanent Resident

USA
2033 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  5:12:56 PM  Show Profile Send maribelaprn a Private Message
Cindy, that's GREAT news! I had a very nasty variety of BC that we're still managing as a "chronic illness", which is doc-talk for "we really don't know how to treat you"!

Have you seen the Berrocco Chinchilla yarn?? It's 100% rayon and soft as a bunny! Their website features a chemo cap that is just a simple, close fitting pull-on cap. I've made a couple of these for patients at the cancer center where I am treated and they liked them very much. The only drawback is that the yarn is dry clean only, but then, these caps tend not to get dirty. The yarn is very soft and very snuggly. As for the pattern, it's quite simple. I started on DPNs, then moved up to a circular needle as the hat grew as that was easier for me to manage. The ribbing helps keep the cap snug on the head but doesn't bind (make sure you bind of loosely!). The little scarflet is also very nice. Chinchilla comes in lovely colours, but my favourite is English Rose. It's hard to see any kind of stitch definition in this chenille yarn, but it sure is soft!

Anyway, best wishes and prayers to Mom!!

Mari


WIP: Estonian Lullaby blanket in Plymouth Encore

My blog: http://maribelaprn.blogspot.com/
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anderknit
Permanent Resident

USA
2604 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  5:56:25 PM  Show Profile Send anderknit a Private Message
I second the thought that although one may not want to wear a chemo cap "out", it can be very useful at home. My dear friend who had ovarian cancer said that she looked forward to coming home at the end of the work day and taking her wig off. (She worked through much of her treatment.) At night her head would get cold, though, and then she would pull on the cap I made her from Wendy's Velvet Touch. (Very soft and hand washable.) Another friend used her chemo cap for early morning walks in the cold New England winter. (That was a Shedir from Rowan Calmer. Although Calmer is not cheap, Shedir uses only one skein, and it is a great yarn.)

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
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anderknit
Permanent Resident

USA
2604 Posts

Posted - 01/25/2006 :  5:56:25 PM  Show Profile Send anderknit a Private Message
I second the thought that although one may not want to wear a chemo cap "out", it can be very useful at home. My dear friend who had ovarian cancer said that she looked forward to coming home at the end of the work day and taking her wig off. (She worked through much of her treatment.) At night her head would get cold, though, and then she would pull on the cap I made her from Wendy's Velvet Touch. (Very soft and hand washable.) Another friend used her chemo cap for early morning walks in the cold New England winter. (That was a Shedir from Rowan Calmer. Although Calmer is not cheap, Shedir uses only one skein, and it is a great yarn.)

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.' "
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HoJo
Permanent Resident

USA
1474 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2006 :  09:54:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit HoJo's Homepage Send HoJo a Private Message
Another great option is to use Cascade Fixation - its a cotton and 2% elastic blend, soft and snug fitting in fun colors. They are also machine washable.

I have gotten alot of requests for these from those undergoing cancer treatment as a throw on when a wig is too warm or just too much trouble.

HoJo

Our estore: www.fullthreadahead.com
Yarn for the mind, body, and soul

My blog: www.fullthreadahead.com/blog
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HoJo
Permanent Resident

USA
1474 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2006 :  09:54:23 AM  Show Profile  Visit HoJo's Homepage Send HoJo a Private Message
Another great option is to use Cascade Fixation - its a cotton and 2% elastic blend, soft and snug fitting in fun colors. They are also machine washable.

I have gotten alot of requests for these from those undergoing cancer treatment as a throw on when a wig is too warm or just too much trouble.

HoJo

Our estore: www.fullthreadahead.com
Yarn for the mind, body, and soul

My blog: www.fullthreadahead.com/blog
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ccarter756
New Pal

42 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2006 :  10:37:04 AM  Show Profile Send ccarter756 a Private Message
OK, so my LYS had the Berroco Chinchilla yarn - Mari, you're right, the English Rose color is yummy and just exactly what my Mom will like. The pattern at the Berroco website looks very quick, and very pretty.

Mom is going to the doctor today to find out what her treatment regimen will be - I'm going to try to get the cap done tonight and send it right out to her to give her something to enjoy right away.

I'm looking for a local source for the Cascade Fixation, as our parish nurse has hinted that she wouldn't mind having a few caps like this in her stash, along with a few prayer shawls for distribution.

I just took a moment to reflect a bit on this - it does seem odd that one of my first concrete reactions to news of Mom's diagnosis was to start thinking of knitting, and I just realized that it was one of the ways I coped with my brother's illness as well. First I made his prayer shawl, then while I sat beside him at the hospital I knitted a cotton baby blanket for his first grandchild, who was born a few months before he died. It was such a blessing he got to see her, and he so enjoyed watching me make that blanket for her. It was also very soothing for me, and right now I could use a little soothing. Maybe getting that urge to knit isn't so odd, after all.



Cindy Carter
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ccarter756
New Pal

42 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2006 :  10:37:04 AM  Show Profile Send ccarter756 a Private Message
OK, so my LYS had the Berroco Chinchilla yarn - Mari, you're right, the English Rose color is yummy and just exactly what my Mom will like. The pattern at the Berroco website looks very quick, and very pretty.

Mom is going to the doctor today to find out what her treatment regimen will be - I'm going to try to get the cap done tonight and send it right out to her to give her something to enjoy right away.

I'm looking for a local source for the Cascade Fixation, as our parish nurse has hinted that she wouldn't mind having a few caps like this in her stash, along with a few prayer shawls for distribution.

I just took a moment to reflect a bit on this - it does seem odd that one of my first concrete reactions to news of Mom's diagnosis was to start thinking of knitting, and I just realized that it was one of the ways I coped with my brother's illness as well. First I made his prayer shawl, then while I sat beside him at the hospital I knitted a cotton baby blanket for his first grandchild, who was born a few months before he died. It was such a blessing he got to see her, and he so enjoyed watching me make that blanket for her. It was also very soothing for me, and right now I could use a little soothing. Maybe getting that urge to knit isn't so odd, after all.



Cindy Carter
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lucienh
Honorary Angel

919 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2006 :  08:25:55 AM  Show Profile Send lucienh a Private Message
I would have loved a knitted cap. The cap stash at the cancer center where I went was filled with fleece caps in rather depressing colors. I appreciated the thought, but the caps were nothing I'd have been seen in in public. I wore scarves. If anyone makes chemo caps, make them bright and classy! (Okay, maybe some people don't like bright, but classy definitely helps lift the mood.)
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lucienh
Honorary Angel

919 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2006 :  08:25:55 AM  Show Profile Send lucienh a Private Message
I would have loved a knitted cap. The cap stash at the cancer center where I went was filled with fleece caps in rather depressing colors. I appreciated the thought, but the caps were nothing I'd have been seen in in public. I wore scarves. If anyone makes chemo caps, make them bright and classy! (Okay, maybe some people don't like bright, but classy definitely helps lift the mood.)
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maribelaprn
Permanent Resident

USA
2033 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2006 :  12:45:20 PM  Show Profile Send maribelaprn a Private Message
Lucien, that's exactly why our cancer centre has caps made to order...knitted and crocheted caps can be just as awful as the ones you saw! Sure they can be lovely, too, but that's why it's such a personal thing. The last thing you want to do is stand out in public. Losing your hair is bad enough, but to top it off with some horrid cap is even worse. We do knit hats and caps to order because otherwise they sit in the cap stash with all the fleece caps!

HoJo, the problem with Fixation is the elastic. When your head is covered with peach fuzz, it grabs on and hurts. It's like when you try to wear stockings when you haven't shaved your legs in a few weeks.

Mari (who would rather have had a paper bag over her head than some of those "chemo caps"!)

WIP: Estonian Lullaby blanket in Plymouth Encore

My blog: http://maribelaprn.blogspot.com/
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maribelaprn
Permanent Resident

USA
2033 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2006 :  12:45:20 PM  Show Profile Send maribelaprn a Private Message
Lucien, that's exactly why our cancer centre has caps made to order...knitted and crocheted caps can be just as awful as the ones you saw! Sure they can be lovely, too, but that's why it's such a personal thing. The last thing you want to do is stand out in public. Losing your hair is bad enough, but to top it off with some horrid cap is even worse. We do knit hats and caps to order because otherwise they sit in the cap stash with all the fleece caps!

HoJo, the problem with Fixation is the elastic. When your head is covered with peach fuzz, it grabs on and hurts. It's like when you try to wear stockings when you haven't shaved your legs in a few weeks.

Mari (who would rather have had a paper bag over her head than some of those "chemo caps"!)

WIP: Estonian Lullaby blanket in Plymouth Encore

My blog: http://maribelaprn.blogspot.com/
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