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.

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. :hug:

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.

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.

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.

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. :slight_smile:

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.

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.

That’s wonderful and forgiving of you to knit her hats even though you haven’t spoken in so long. I don’t know whether it would soften her heart, but you will feel better for having made the effort in her time of need and this time of year. :hug:

I was at Joann a couple weeks ago and felt the Bernat Bamboo and Cashmere and they were incredibly soft!!

My sister at the time was 28 years old when she got stage 3 breast cancer. When she lost all her hair she tried several times crochet hats and such and found most of them to be itchy and wouldn’t use them and prefered sewn hats. However if I were to say a good non itchy yarn would be simply soft or baby type yarns. Because wools can be itchy. However not all are I know. :slight_smile:
Anyway a hint is to also line the inside of a hat with soft type material this may work too :slight_smile: :muah:
Hope this helps!

By the way my sister is Cancer free going on 2 years now!!! :yay:

Thank you Mary Glynn! And thank you for updating us on your sister. I’m glad she is cancer free now! Yay!!

Part of the reason that my MIL and I don’t talk is because she is mentally ill. She refuses to accept it. She is mean, backstabbing and lies. She is very manipulative and I just couldn’t handle her “issues” anymore. She used to call up and say the most hateful things about me and HER SON! I finally just had to distance myself from her and that meant changing our phone number and asking BIL’s not to give her our new number. It was a very hard decision to do, but it was that or deal with her daily doses of hate. I know it isn’t her fault, but it didn’t make it any easier to listen to.

It’s my hope that she finds peace during this time.

Wow Knitncook, I am very impressed by your genorosity! I am not sure I could look at things the same way you do. You have really touch my heart. I have a hard time forgiving some people in my life and seeing you write that you care for her simply because she is your DH’s mother shows what good heart you have.

It sounds like you have well-managed an unmanageable situation, and kudos to you!!! Very difficult to be in that position, and sometimes we have to protect ourselves when from the outside, that looks selfish. But if you don’t (protect yourself) then you won’t be any good to all of the other people in your life, and that’s no good either. Least of all evils. . . So good for you, and even more impressive that you are going to knit for this woman! That’s real generosity, and I hope if I’m in your shoes one day, I can be just as giving.
And one more note about the wool issue-- I looked up on a number of sites about chemo caps and they are mostly all adament about using NO animal fibre whatsoever. Some people will be okay with it, but most won’t. Bamboo is great, and breathable, which is also very important.

Good on you for your ability to do good for her
I gave a wonderful fmily fried a Oddessa out of malabrigo, she LOVES it, and was seen wearing it no stop for weeks, I even bumped into her at the town office and she was wearing it and she LOVES it. She did not comment about the fibers, but she did have a problem with the nubbiness of the purl side.
she has a terrycoth underhat she wears to help with that


You being the bigger person sounds to me like your a wonderful loving person! Thank you that you are not acting like she is and are willing to give even when its not what the person always deserves. You doing the right thing is the right thing! Your touching lives by your generosity! Proud of you :yay:

I knitted two hats for myself a couple of years ago and found the angora to be the softest and lightest–I forgot I was wearing it after awhile, and even under the best circumstances, i.e., with regular hair, I’m sensitive to having stuff on my head. I also used, because it was, um, inexpensive, Simply Soft, which I got at Michael’s. That wasn’t bad, and it held up great in the wash.

What a wonderful thing you’re doing for your MIL; and for your husband too, who is probably overwhelmed as well.