Yarn suggestions for cancer hats?

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SueBraids wrote
on Sep 18, 2010 7:19 PM

I wasn't sure where to ask so this forum looked the best: what are some good yarns for cancer hats?  Is there anything else to consider?

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dnrmom wrote
on Sep 18, 2010 8:27 PM

hi sue

as a cancer survivor (4 years now!!) i had a few hats (like skullies or beanies) made out of simply soft by caron.  i always had a fresh one to wear to bed-important to keep from losing body heat.   wool can be very itchy, if not blended with something to make it soft.  also, simply soft is easy on your budget and easy to care for by the survivor.  (last thing i wanted to do was to wash  something fussy when i felt like crap.)  loose drapy stiches are best--the scalp is sensitive and the hat shouldn't be very snug.    thank you for making these hats--those who get then will be lucky indeed!!! karen

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Shellie2355 wrote
on Sep 20, 2010 12:56 PM


I second Karen's suggestion. I've been making cancer hats for a year now (50+ and counting) and I find that Caron's Simply Soft is the best. It's easy to work with, very soft and supple, and there is a great range of colors to choose from. I've also used Vanna's Choice Baby yarn and Bernat's Baby Coordinates (which has a pretty sheen to it). I find that baby yarns are also very soft, though they tend to be more pastels. I used these pastels more in Spring.

I would like to thank Karen for her stitch suggestion as well. I've made hats with cables, basket weave, herringbone, shell stitch -- in the hopes that the unique hats would be more than just functional but pretty and designer-like. My hats tend to be a little small (not child size, just a little smaller than adult size -- I never thought about it because the hats are so stretchy), so I'll try to make them larger this season.

Shellie Dunn
Somonauk, IL

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SueBraids wrote
on Sep 23, 2010 8:33 PM

Thanks to both of you for such complete answers.  I did some more research and found that Simply Soft is frequently recommended for the hats.  I also found that many patients didn't want hats with holes in them because bare scalp showed.  I bought two skeins of the yarn and will start experimenting.  I found many patterns that were so bulky and didn't look very comfortable.  Shellie, size concerns me; good to know that a hat should be probably close to regular hat size.

My neighbor had chemo twice.  I asked her whether she preferred real hair wigs or synthetics.  She had worn both but preferred the synthetic: "you just swish it in some Woolite, dry it, and you're good to go!"  Real hair has to be treated like real hair: shampoo and blow dry and curl, etc.  (I didn't ask if her scalp got very irritated or not.  I always thought the real hair wigs were more comfortable.)

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Zoe wrote
on Sep 24, 2010 9:53 AM

She had worn both but preferred the synthetic:


Hi SueBraids,

I can empathize with being ill and itchy too!  I have wool allergies.  Speaking as a hairstylest, a lot of people have allergies to wool.  Since the allergy response is created from a person's contact with "foreign protein" it is not surprising because wool is a protein and so is any hair.  I just downloaded the Chemo Cap (to crochet) from Mary Maxim.  The recomended yarn is the Bernat Handicrafter Cotton Stripes yarn.  I haven't knit much with cotton.  I find the Bernats acrylic yarns are soft and not itchy.  I think I will make this out of Bernats Satin yarn.  I have a nice pretty mauve color in it.

Cheers, Zoe

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DeLaCroche wrote
on Oct 11, 2010 5:36 AM


A friend asked me to crochet some chemo caps for her sister (who lost her long blond hair during the process).  I did two in Lionbrand Homespun.  (We were already into Fall.)  She loved these, she said, for several reasons.  They were not in an open weave pattern so they fully covered her head, they were soft and comfortable, they were warm.  And since they were crocheted in Homespun, they were completely machine wash and dry.  

I believe that my pattern was based on a bucket hat design that was in Interweave Crochet several years ago.  I adapted the pattern for the size of her head without hair.   Oh, and I also had her pick out the colors.  There are so many options in Homespun that I thought she should make the choice based on colors she likes to wear.

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