Knitting a chemo cap that will make a world of difference to a cancer fighter, plus free patterns
Learning how to knit the perfect chemo cap can mean the world to a cancer patient. These patients have special needs, and making just the right cap that feels good to them is a big plus.
In this article, we’ll talk the basics for knitting chemo caps. You’ll find tips, yarn suggestions, knitting patterns, and more.
How to knit the right chemo caps
Pamela Haschke (no relation!) of the former Halos of Hope wrote a powerful testament on her website about what it feels like to undergo chemotherapy. This will give you an idea of what chemo patients go through.
Your hair falls out in clumps and your scalp hurts feeling like pinpricks where the hair follicles used to be. It’s not possible to perform a simple an act like running your fingers through your hair without strands becoming entwined. As the chemotherapy eradicates the cancer cells within your body, you’re recovering internally while the pain on your scalp makes you want to cry.”
I can’t think of a better way to describe the necessity of making chemo caps be as comfortable as possible! They need to be very soft, with little to no texture, and without seams (so they must be knitted in the round).
When choosing yarn for these caps remember the sensitivity of the patient’s head. If it’s delightfully soft to knit with, it will be soft enough for a chemo cap.
This is a list of yarns that are considered the very best for knitting chemo caps. (This list contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you click on an affiliate link and then make a purchase, I may receive a commission. Thank you for supporting Knitting for Charity!)
- Bernat Baby Coordinates
- Bernat Boa
- Bernat Cotton-ish
- Bernat Satin Yarn
- Berroco Comfort Yarn
- Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece
- Caron Simply Soft
- Cascade Fixation
- Debbie Bliss Cashmerino
- Hikoo Caribou
- Hikoo CoBaSi DK
- Hikoo CoBaSi Plus
- Knit Picks Shine Sport
- Knit Picks Shine Worsted
- Lion Brand Fun Fur
- Lion Brand Homespun
- Patons Silk Bamboo
- Plymouth Encore
- Red Heart Soft Baby Steps
- Red Heart Soft
Please note that some of these yarns are wool blends. If you choose to use one, be sure to tag your cap to alert patients who might have wool allergies.
Consider color when you’re knitting caps. A wide variety of color is a good idea. Some patients prefer neutral colors that can be worn with any outfit and be inconspicuous. Others want to have fun with their hats and enjoy bright colors that match their personalities.
Little or No Texture
When you’re choosing a pattern for your cap, avoid texture. Strive to make the stitches as smooth as possible to prevent uncomfortable “bumps” against the patient’s head.
Also, remember that some cancer patients wear caps so their baldness doesn’t show. With this in mind, avoid stitches that create “holes.” Some examples include shell stitch, V-stitch or granny squares.
It is best to knit caps in the round, as they are seamless. Chemotherapy patients tend to find seams quite uncomfortable against their sensitive heads.
One Last Note from a Reader
I am indebted to reader Isobel, who brought the following to my attention:
Being in Memphis, I had decided to knit some hats for the children undergoing chemo at St. Jude’s Research Hospital. I had already made a chemo cap out of Lion brand fun fur which was incredibly soft and looked like a short-hair pink wig. Just perfect for a young lady, I thought.
“But when they asked me about pets in my home, I I had to tell them that I had a cat and two dogs. They told me that they could not accept the hat. Most (if not all) of their patients have compromised immune systems from the chemo and cannot tolerate any pet hair. So if I wanted to make the hats, I would have to limit my chemo hat knitting activities to my office.
“I think it might be worth mentioning to your readers that it would be a good idea to check with the medical center where they intend to donate the caps, to find out what their policy is regarding pet hair contamination of the caps.”
Thank you, again, Isobel, for this very important reminder!
With these qualifications in mind, here are links to some terrific patterns for chemo caps and headcoverings.
Free Knitting Patterns for Chemo Caps
Finally, are you wondering where to find knitting charities that take chemo caps? You’ll find many right here, in the the Knitting for Charity Cancer Patients category.
This is such a wonderful way to make a difference to people fighting cancer! Are you ready to knit some chemo caps?
Once you’ve knitted that cap, check this article for how to care for it before you send it!