View Full Version : Chemo caps?

10-04-2006, 02:40 PM
Does anybody know why all the pattern for chemo caps use synthetic yarn? I didn't know if it had something to do with irritation or allergens if a person used an animal fiber; I don't know, something like a soft alpaca or lofty merino seem like they would be a nice choice...is there a reason that synthetic fibers are always listed in the patterns? :shrug:

10-04-2006, 03:05 PM
Not sure...'cause that's what people donate for charity knitting? :shrug: Persoanlly I like to use Cashmerino or Rowan Cashsoft -- very yummy and soft, but breatheable, and machine washable. :thumbsup:

10-04-2006, 04:25 PM
I think there are several reasons. First is probably skin sensitivity - actual allergies for some, but simply being uncomfortable in anything the least bit scratchy for many. It is a lot easier to just ask for synthetics than only "really soft and non-scratchy" yarns since everyone has a different tolerance. Second would be the washability factor. These are going to be worn directly on the skin for frequent, extended periods of time, so the recipients will probably need to launder then fairly regularly. Because chemo can be energy draining, the last thing patients will want to worry about is hand washing a cap. Third is the price of materials. Most nice soft natural yarns cost more than synthetics, especially if they are machine washable. I would guess that charity operations like to serve as many people as possible, and would therefore prefer to have a knitter with limited funds donate 4 synthetic fiber caps than one natural fiber cap.

So for general donation items I would stick to machine washable synthetics. But if you are making something for a friend/family member, use whatever yarn you think they would enjoy wearing and be able to take care of.

10-04-2006, 07:11 PM
I have often seen cotton recommended for chemo caps. It's a natural fiber and most cotton yarns are machine washable. So you might consider that if you are going to make one.

From what I understand the skin of patients undergoing chemo can be more sensitive so that most animal fibers are out. However, there are individual differences and I have seen people who said that they made chemo caps out of merino wool or alpaca and that the recipients really liked them.

10-04-2006, 08:30 PM
I knit some for my dad using some super soft merino and he loves them. I made sure they were machine washable and "manly." He thought he was allergic to wool, but it was just that all the wool he'd ever been in contact with was scratchy and evil. I don't deny that there is such a thing as a wool allergy (I'm not Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, after all) but I do wonder if some aren't the same as my dad's case: just haven't met the right wool.

I think the synthetics aspect just has to do with it being most readily available and more budget-friendly. More hats for your buck, y'know?

10-04-2006, 10:36 PM
Thanks everybody for your help! :hug: This hat wouldn't be for charity, but for a family member, so I didn't know if I could use a nice soft cushiony merino or a warm and soft alpaca for some reason (I also considered cotton but wondered if it might not be warm enough). When knitting for charity--since we don't know the recipients--I suppose it's always good to stick with something that's tolerable for just about everyone to use.

10-05-2006, 03:46 AM
Hi Cookworm

There's a wonderful site, simply called Chemocaps.com - they have six or seven free patterns just on the home page alone.

To answer your question about types of wool, please email:
ronni@chemocaps.com - she actually invites questions on the home page.

All the Best

Limey :thumbsup:

10-05-2006, 06:20 AM
Another fantastic site is headhuggers.org (http://www.headhuggers.org/patterns/patterns.htm). That's a link to the pattern page, but you can find the main info page here (http://www.headhuggers.org).

10-05-2006, 01:47 PM
These are all great! You guys ROCK!!!! :hug: Thanks so much!!!

10-05-2006, 01:50 PM
I especially like the Shedir cap for a woman. It's gorgeous.