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Old 12-02-2007, 09:05 PM   #1
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Best yarn for chemo hat?
We just found out that my dh's mother has cancer and her only glimmer of hope is chemotherapy. Because of health issues she is not a candidate for radiation and this sort of cancer is inoperable (liver cancer of some sort, I can't remember the name). Anyway, I thought I would make her up a really nice scrumptuous cap to wear. I was thinking MMMmmm since it is so soft, but wondered whether it would be a good yarn. I wondered about such things as washability. Is that an issue with chemo? I mean if it just sits on her bald head in a care facility (she is in a resident facility due to her poor overall health) is she going to have to worry about washing it? She's in Oregon and she gets cold easily. Thoughts? Should I just go get the MMMMmm and make it for her? Any other or better yarns you could suggest? I thought I might make her up a couple.
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:19 PM   #2
Jan in CA
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Everything I've seen usually says not to use wool. It may feel soft to you, but chemo makes the skin very sensitive and scalps would tend to be more so because they are usually covered with hair and not sensitized. Something with a little wool might be okay, but give it a good feel first.

Cotton or cotton blends and very soft acrylics like CSS seem to be best. She'll be indoors so warmth isn't quite the issue with someone outdoors in winter.

I'm sorry to hear about your MIL. I hope she does well on the chemo and doesn't feel too ill.
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Old 12-02-2007, 10:59 PM   #3
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First of all, I'm sorry about the bad news! This must be a very difficult time for you and your husband and your family.

As for yarn-- yes, not only is the scalp more sensitive because of the hair loss, but apparently there is something about losing it all at once which makes it even more so. I, too, have heard the no-wool rule. I think the very, very best yarn for chemo caps is Lion Brand's Microspun. I made a couple for a cousin and she said it was fantastic. It's unbelievably soft knit up-- a little splitty, but once you get used to it you should be fine.
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:04 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear that! Best wishes to your MIL and your family!!
When my aunt had chemo I made her a few hats and Jan is completely right the hats with wool were too itchy for her. I think something like Microspun would be perfect. I made her a hat with it on a whim(it felt so soft and I really loved the color) and it turned out to be her favorite.
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Old 12-02-2007, 11:14 PM   #5
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I knit a chemo cap for a friend of my old roommate. I knit it in an angora-wool blend, Classic Elite Lush. This is a very, very soft yarn.
The response that my roommate said she gave was that she was totally thrilled with this hat. Her comment was that most of the hats she has are acrylic (I don't know how soft acrylic they are) and that they are very itchy and uncomfortable. The angora costs more, but IMO (especially in a cold climate where warm hats are extremely important) totally worth it. It's gloriously warm and soft. After working with Lush for a long time (I made a sweater and a couple of hats with it), even the softest of acrylics just doesn't cut it.
The hat may need to be washed at some point, but I think rarely enough that handwashing would not be a big deal.
Also, if I ever need to make a chemo cap again, I'm going to try baby alpaca/silk. I don't remember what brand I have used for things in the past, but it is also incredibly soft and warm.
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:46 AM   #6
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The three I've used most are Debbie Bliss Cashmerino/RYC Cashsoft (two different yarns but they have the same content), Kint Picks Shine Sport, and GGH Bali. They're all very soft and are machine washable, which is so important IMHO.
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Old 12-03-2007, 12:53 AM   #7
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I'll agree with Jess about the baby alpaca. I'm knitting some up now and it is so ultra soft. And touching the wool hat I'm working on right after the alpaca, I can feel how rough the wool is (even though it feels soft when I'm working with it).

Two others I felt at my LYS yesterday that were super soft were silk and bamboo. I believe bamboo is washable, although I'm not positive.

Some organic cottons are also super soft, since they haven't been so highly processed. Of course, they will shrink, so you'd have to allow for that.
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Old 12-03-2007, 09:38 AM   #8
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Thank you all so much for your suggestions! My MIL do not get along AT ALL. We haven't spoken in five years. Despite that she is the mother of the most kind and gracious man I've ever met, so I do care about her well-being. Unfortunately, she probably won't survive this. She is in very poor health due to history of post-polio and other health issues related to that. It is hard for Dan being so far away. Anyway, I wanted to thank you for your suggestions. Last night it dawned on me that bamboo might be truly the scrumptuous yarn I'm looking for. I have a bunch of CSS from other projects and might whip up several different fun hats. She does have a dramatic flair and would probably enjoy having a variety of fashion to wear. I'm heading to JoAnn as soon as I get off work (less than 2 hours) and will pick up some yummy bamboo.
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