My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Live Each Day Like It’s Your Last

I’ve always thought that was good advice.

I was reminded of it again earlier this week when someone I know received some extremely bad news about her health. Suddenly, out of the blue, totally unexpected.

In situations like this, one feels very helpless. So last night I bought yarn and I am starting a chemo cap for her.

I am making this hat from Rowan’s The Calmer Collection — Aura.


But with a few mods.

The pattern directs you to knit the hat back and forth, then sew a seam up the back. I modified it to knit in the round — no need here for a seam to irritate sensitive skin. I am making it on a needle one size smaller than the pattern directs, as the hat is sized for a medium head with hair. The person I am making this for is petite, so I took out one repeat of the stitch pattern as well.

I think this pattern will work well for a chemo cap. Although it’s an openwork stitch pattern, it’s not extremely “holey.” It should work well for wear in warmer weather. And it’s such a pretty pattern. And if you are in the position to need a chemo cap, you sure as heck want one that is as pretty as possible, right?

(By the way, if you are looking for another pretty chemo cap pattern, be sure to check out Shedir from Knitty — also knit in Rowan Calmer.)

I was a bit up in the air about what color to make, but L-B wisely told me that she thinks that when you are unsure, choose a color to match the recipient’s eyes. Excellent advice, I thought!

So I selected a pretty blue shade of Calmer: Slosh.


The sad truth is, I’m not even sure that the recipient will have time to use the hat, but if not (and I sincerely hope that won’t be the case), I will donate it to one of the many worthy organizations that collect chemo caps. I’m thinking I ought make a second hat to donate, along with this one. It is the very least I can do.

At the same time, I’m still Inky Dinky Spidering. I’m getting ready to embark on the 160 rows of spiderwebs on the second side. Eeeeek!

By the way, Lucy approves of the choice of the color blue.


Have a great weekend. And live each day like it’s your last, eh?


  1. Wendy, I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. Lots of prayers for her and her loved ones. The cap is beautiful – I’m sure she’ll love it!

  2. Hi Wendy,
    As someone who just started my radiation therapy after 6 months of chemotherapy, Thank You. My good friend knitted me a chemo cap when I was diagonosed with Non Hodgkins lymphoma. I wore it, all of the time. And I was so touched by her concern and caring. What a truly wonderful friend you are.

  3. Wendy,
    You are doing a wonderful thing! I know it will be so appreciated. I made several chemo caps for my DIL’s sister, who has been going through chemo and radiation off and on for two years. She hasn’t had much in the way of hair during that time, and wears them everyday. I’m in the process of making more. I also sent her calming tea and a cute little teapot along with the caps. I’ll be praying for your friend.

  4. Jennifer says:

    How sweet to make that for your friend! When my brother’s wife was going through chemo, I was too wraped up in my pregnancy to make her a chemo hat, and now that she is ****- sorry, thats a 4 letter word we won’t think about- I regreat taht I did not do more to reach out to her in her time of need. That is a lovely shade of blue. You are a true friend. If it is not being too nosey, can I ask what type of cancer she has?

  5. Jennifer says:

    that, even… sorry, didn’t proof read because of tears in my eyes.

  6. Hi Wendy,
    I’m commenting for the first time, nice blog!

    Sorry to hear about your friend. The cap pattern
    is very pretty and stylish, good choice. That’s
    very thoughtful of you.

  7. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. My step-father was just diagnosed one month ago so I’m knitting a chemo-cap as well. It’s hard to find patterns for men, so just a basic 2×2 ribbing I think. I love the color you choose and the advice about choosing it. That’s such a good idea!

  8. So sorry to hear about your friend. Sadly, it seems that cancer is everywhere we turn these days. I just learned yesterday about a co-worker’s diagnosis. I should do some cheemo caps as well, I wonder if a man would wear one?

  9. So sorry to hear about your friend. You are definitely doing a lovely thing for them though. I’m sure it will be very much appreciated.

  10. Oh lands! The color is beautiful and a great suggestion from LB to match her eyes. Sending good thoughts and prayers to your friend. Big hugs!

  11. How awful, Wendy! The blue calmer is the perfect soft yarn. Perfect in name, as well.

  12. Wendy—your friend will be so touched.
    Katherine the calming tea and teapot was a great idea also.
    Our Guild knits chemo caps for the local hospital and I just finished two for my SIL and my backyard neighbor.
    Brenda—-yes men do appreciate them and wear them. We knit them for men, woman and children.
    Lots of prayers go out to your friend, Wendy.You are such a careing person.

  13. Virtual hugs, Wendy. Big ones, and enough to share with your friend. And some to save for the rainy day when I can’t give you another one right when you need it.

  14. I’m so sorry. I’ll pray for your friend.

  15. I’m very sorry to hear about your friend, Wendy. I’m sending positive get well thoughts her way.

  16. You are a very good friend Wendy.. I’m so sorry that she is going through this battle that too many of us have suffered. The cap will give her comfort and joy. By the way – I just ordered some of the Rowan Yorkshire Tweed 4Ply in Brilliant to attempt the Newton shawl you awhile ago. Knowing me – I’ll still be working on it next summer! LOL!


  17. Wendy, I have made several chemo hats for my mother-in-law using the Aura pattern knitting in the round. She totally loves them. They are super soft and comfortable to wear. Even after she got her new wig, she prefers the Aura hat. She has received lots of comments about how great she looks wearing them. I made a ‘festive’ one for last Christmas adding beads to the garter stitch edge. She is still using them now 8 months later.
    Wishing your friend all the best and a speedy recovery.

  18. Another fellow chemo-cap knitter here… On a different note from the greatness of knitting chemo-caps theme: why the **** can’t Rowan write a pattern for something so obviously meant to be knit in the round, and actually have it knit in the round? They seem to have a great fear of anything knit without a seam over there. So bravo to you for adapting the pattern to be sensible, too!

  19. I’ve made a few chemo hats over the past 2 years too. Since I’m so bad at knowing what to say, I just start knitting. My favorite patterns are the Heather Spoll No Hair Day collection to be found at Good hats, but going to the page kills me every time. You’re not supposed to have your 25 year old daughter die of cancer.

  20. I’m sorry to hear about your friend. We’ll be praying for her during prayer group today. Your color choice is perfect. Lucy says so!:)

  21. Sharon Trussell says:

    Dear Wendy,
    I am so sorry about your friend. I will certainly keep her in my thoughts and prayers. I knitted several chemo hats for my daughter this year (34 next Monday)and she especially like to sleep in them because her head got cold at night. I mainly used the Chinchilla Chemo Hat by Dawn Adcock pattern. I modified the band to circular instead of straight. The chinchilla was beautiful, but needs to be dry cleaned. My daughter insisted on wearing it only once, so I tried handwashing. BIG NO. After that I found some soft cotton microfibre blend (not expensive) and it worked very well – very soft and washable. I also made one from eyelash yarn in bright multi blue and white. She thought that was a hoot. Your friend will love your hat.

    I love your blog. It is a must every day for me – it was my daily contact with “normal” while I was in LA most of this year doing the surgeon and chemo rounds with my daughter. She is cancer free now, thank goodness. Thanks for the daily Lucy shot, too.

  22. I too read your blog each day and will pray for your friend. How true, to make every day are a good person and your efforts I know will be so appreciated.

  23. Your cap will be greatly appreciated by your friend. I made a couple for a dear friend of mine a couple of years ago and have since made several more when I have heard of someone needing one, using a wonderful free pattern from this web address:

    I used Cascade Cotton Sierra, but I am sure any soft cotton would be wonderful. The cap turns out looking even more attractive then it does in the picture on the link.


  24. Patty Bolgiano says:

    My suggestion, make sure it can be just thrown into the washer and dryer. I knitted a shaw for a member of the family and I posted to the knitlist (when I was on it) for recommendations etc. One smart person wrote me and said make sure it is washable, between treatments, various medical procedures, sometime things get wet and need to be washed. That was right on. I gave the receipant the shaw (it was simply to put around her shoulders) and it warm washable wood, hand-dyed in blues that reminded me and her of water. I know your friend will be going through difficult times, as will you. There are no easy words or answers just knowing that someone loves you and cares about you and listen does help.

  25. Wendy,
    I made that EXACT cap for a friend going through chemo….it turned out great, and she LOVES it. it is stretchy and comfy, and cotton so it is soft. I didn’t make it smaller, though, because of the stretchiness, and it seems to fit her fine. I think your friend will feel your love each time she wears the hat.

  26. Outstanding advice, that. And that is a beautiful thing you’re doing with the beautiful Calmer. I hope it is worn well and does its magic.

  27. Thank you for sharing with us. I will keep your Friend in my thoughts and prayers. And, to quote a song:

    In this time
    of ordinary people
    of extraordinary people
    I’m glad there is You

    In this time
    when many people play at love
    and hardly ever stay in love
    I’m glad there is You

    Have a good weekend. Love to Lucy.

  28. The hat is lovely — good fortune to your friend! Even during hot, humid summers a cap is welcome because they keep the treatment rooms so frickin’ cold. But don’t forget to give her a set of temporary tattoos for those times when a hat is too much and a bald head needs a little dressing up. I kept chinese characters for “good fortune” and “health” on my shiny head during my cancer — they made me smile.

  29. {{{hug}}} to you and your friend. It is very kind of you to make her such a beautiful hat in her time of need. Hopefully she will live a long time to enjoy it. I knit chemo caps for “Hats off To Chemo”, so far I have 14 hats made. I’m planning to ship this batch off soon and then start a new bunch.

  30. I’m sorry about your friend.
    My friend, Jenna Adorno, just introduced a sweater pattern for sale yesterday to raise money for breast cancer research. She will donate $6 for every $5 pattern sold.

  31. Indeed.

    The Shedir pattern also makes a good chemo cap, or so my aunt informed me.

  32. Great idea Wendy! I have 2 friends who were diagnosed with different cancers this year and my first reaction each time was “I have to knit something.” I think a shawl is also a nice idea because some chemo protocols make the patient feel cold while they’re getting the drugs. Nice to have something cozy to wrap around you I’d think. I love your blog, and read it every day, thanks for all the inspiration,

  33. Good luck to your friend and may peace be with her as she strives to live. Indeed…live each day.

  34. Ingrid Clark Zavadoski says:

    I’m sorry to welcome you to the ranks of chemo-cap knitters — I have been knitting them this summer for my mother, and often the knitting itself is an act of hope, as I am never sure if she will get to use them either. My mom lives in the South, and I have really liked knitting with DB’s Cathay so she ends up with a hat that is not too hot.

    Your friend may also really appreciate one of your gorgeous lace shawls. . the rooms where they do the chemo can be drafty, and in general chemo patients can have a hard time regulating their temperature, so having a cuddly shawl to take on and off as needed would also be a thoughtful gift.

    Good thoughts to both you and your friend,

  35. It’s like a constant hug from someone who cares. I do quite a bit of “community” knitting … just because. This Summer of Lace has expanded my repetoire for Caps of Kids, a local effort, in both lacy hats and some lace in scarves. I’ve knit dozens of stocking caps for the troops and have been thinking of knitting chemo caps. I think I’ll join you and finally finish adapting a lovely lace cap to circulars for the effort.
    Hugs to your friend and to you, too. Seeing friends through trying times can be difficult and heartbreaking.

  36. I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s bad news. That’s a very cool hat though. I’m sure she’ll appreciate it. What is it with so many of those Rowan hats being seamed, by the way. Same thing in the “Big Wool” collection.

  37. Oh Wendy… I understand the helpless feeling very well. I just found out a very dear friend has lung cancer today. I don’t know what to do, other than be there for him. I plan on starting his chemo cap ASAP, as I don’t know what else to do. I hope he gets it in time as well… it’s quite advanced. My thoughts are with you.

  38. I can’t describe how special it is to have something made by a friend to wear during treatments and the long hours of waiting between. I’ve been lucky only to have radiation so far, but my friends who have gone through chemo (men, too) love soft, warm caps and shawls. A little beauty and comfort go a long way during hard times.

    Wendy, you are such a good person…

  39. Hi Wendy, I am sorry to hear about your friend. It seems silly to ask now, but I’m curious if the kitty beds for Petfinder will have another go-round this year?

  40. I’m sorry to hear about your friend. But that cap is a lovely choice. And the color is beautiful!

    Of course Lucy likes it. It matches HER eyes!