Your Guide to Knitted and Crocheted Chemo Hats and Other Items for Cancer Patients

Your Guide to Knitted and Crocheted Chemo Hats and Other Items for Cancer Patients

A cancer diagnosis can be devastating not just for the patient, but also for their loved ones. One way in which we can show that we care is by using our crochet and knitting skills and making them a special, handmade gift. 


Items Generally Made for Chemo or Cancer Patients 

  • Chemo caps/hats/beanies
  • “Knitted knockers” or “crocheted knockers” 
  • Prayer shawls/”I care” shawls
  • Blankets of different sizes 

Free Knitting and Crochet Patterns For Chemo Caps and More 

We’ve gathered together a whole bunch of free patterns for gifts for cancer patients. From chemo caps to knitted breast prosthesis, you’ll find it here! 


Chemo Caps/Hats/Beanies

Chemo treatment can cause hair loss, which means that a cancer patient will probably need a hat of some kind to keep their head warm – even if this is only at night. For this reason, chemo caps or hats are one of the easiest and most practical gifts to give to a loved one who is going through chemo treatment.


Keep reading for hat sizes for your chemo cap. 


Free Patterns for Chemo Caps or Beanies

Your Guide to Knitted and Crocheted Chemo Hats and Other Items for Cancer Patients

Knitted Chemo Cap – Knitted in the round, this simple pattern can be knit up quite quickly. A number of suggested yarns and knitting needles are also given in the article, making it easy to start. (For a longer list of yarns, keep reading!)


Knots of Love has a lot of free patterns for chemo caps and hats on their site. Our favorite patterns from this site, are:

Basketweave Cap – This cap has a beautiful basketweave pattern that makes for an interesting texture. 


Lupe Pattern – This lacy (but not see-through) pattern will look great in any color.


Shirley’s Shell Hat – Another hat with a lace-like stitch pattern, this one is also not see-through. The shell pattern really makes the look. 


Other free patterns for chemo caps include:


Knitted Chemo Cap with Swirl Pattern – We love this knitted chemo cap with it’s swirl pattern. Easy to knit as well! 


Double Dip Ribbed Knit Hat – The interesting braid-like detail on this hat really makes for something special. 


Soft and Cozy Knit Hat – A simple knitted hat, this project is quick and easy to make. 

Hat Sizes for Chemo Caps: Baby to Adult

In the table below we’ve gathered together the size of hat that you can make for people of different ages – from baby or 6 months old to adult sizes for men and women. 


This table is especially handy if you’re making a lot of hats of different sizes for a charity or hospital. 


Size

Age

Head Circumference

Hat Height

X-small

Baby (6–12 months)

16–19”

6.5”

Small

Toddler (12months – 3 years)

18–20”

6.5–7”

Medium

Child – Teen

20–22”

7–8”

Large

Adult

22–24”

8–10”


It’s not just hats or chemo caps that you can make for patients, however. One of the most creative – and also very needed – items are breast forms (“knitted/crocheted knockers”) for women who’ve had mastectomies. 


Knitted Knockers and Crocheted Knockers 

Knitted Knockers and Crocheted Knockers

“Knitted Knockers are special handmade breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. Traditional breast prosthetics are usually expensive, heavy, sweaty and uncomfortable. They typically require special bras or camisoles with pockets and can’t be worn for weeks after surgery. Knitted Knockers on the other hand are soft, comfortable, beautiful and when placed in a regular bra they take the shape and feel of a real breast. Our special volunteer knitters provide these free to those requesting them.” – The Knitted Knockers Website


The knitted and crocheted breast prosthesis patterns and supplies can be found on the Knitted Knockers website.   


Prayer Shawls/“I Care” Shawls/Healing Shawls 

Your Guide to Knitted and Crocheted Chemo Hats and Other Items for Cancer Patients

Prayer shawls – which can also be called healing shawls, care shawls, etc. – is basically a shawl or wrap given to someone as a sign that you’re praying for them, care for them, and are thinking of them. 


While any shawl or wrap can be given as a prayer shawl, we’ve included some free knitting and crochet patterns that have been made specifically to serve as prayer or healing shawls:


Colorful Hugs Prayer Shawl – This colorful shawl is sure to make anyone smile! 


Crochet Prayer Shawl – A simple repeated pattern makes this prayer shawl meditative to work on and the pattern easy to follow. An ideal make for beginners who want to tackle a larger project. 


Prayer Shawl / Healing Shawl – Another easy make, this shawl will work up in no time. 


Lacy Comfort Prayer Shawl – We really like the lacy pattern of this shawl – ideal if you’re looking for a lighter or more feminine shawl. 


Chevron Lace Prayer Shawl – A simple, but beautiful lace pattern to knit into a shawl for a loved one. 


To Zola With Love – This knitted wrap is a great way to try your hand at lace knitting and to keep meditative while knitting. 

 

Blankets 

Your Guide to Knitted and Crocheted Chemo Hats and Other Items for Cancer Patients

Blankets, from lap blankets to afghans, also make a great and practical gift for a chemo or cancer patient. 

Cancer Support One-piece Lap Blanket – This crocheted blanket was designed specifically to support someone during their cancer journey. Gorgeous! 


Free knitted blanket patterns – This page from Love Crafts has a variety of free knitted blanket patterns that you can make as is, or adapt to whatever size you need. 


Free crocheted blanket patterns – Another page from Love Crafts, this one has free crocheted blanket patterns that you can use. 


Which Yarns to Use for the Chemo Caps and Other Knitted and Crocheted Items

With all the different types of yarn on the market, it can be difficult to choose which one to use for your chemo cap or other items. 


Luckily, Knots of Love gives a long list of yarns – which are all available at specialty yarn stores and craft and hobby stores. The list of acceptable yarns to be used for chemo caps and other items for chemo patients and cancer sufferers include:

  • Bamboo Baby (Patons)
  • Bernat Softee Baby (regular or cotton)
  • Bernat Satin 
  • Bernat Satin Sport
  • Caron Simply Soft
  • Caron Simply Soft Shadows, Paints, Stripes, Tweed or Ombre
  • Cascade Avalon
  • Cascade Pima Tencel
  • Cotton to the Core by KnitPal
  • Cottonista by KnitPal
  • Lion Basic Stitch Anti-Pilling Yarn
  • Lion Feels Like Butta
  • Lion Flikka (cotton blend)
  • Lion Heartland
  • Lion Heartland Tweed
  • Lion Landscapes
  • Paintbox Yarns, cotton aran
  • Red Heart Buttercup
  • Red Heart Soft (Not Super Saver)
  • Red Heart Soft Baby Steps 
  • Red Heart Sweet Baby 
  • Rowan All Seasons Cotton 
  • Sirdar Snuggly 

What You Need to Keep in Mind When Choosing Yarn 

Because the beanie or hat will most likely be rubbing against the scalp of the person wearing it, you need to make sure that the yarn you use won’t be scratchy or uncomfortable to wear. For example, using wool – unless the recipient chose it specifically – shouldn’t be used as it can be too rough or scratchy. People can also be allergic to wool.


You should also keep in mind that many recipients will sleep in the chemo cap and, therefore, the yarn shouldn’t be “lumpy” speciality yarns. Some of the fake fur yarns can also be scratchy, so just watch out! 


Cotton, bamboo, and tencel work very well for chemo caps, specifically those used to make baby yarns. Some acrylics are also very soft (as can be seen in the list above) and some synthetic blends – for example acrylic and alpaca – may also be a good choice for a chemo cap, depending on the brand.  


No chenille yarn should be used. 


Before Gifting the Chemo Cap or Other Item, Take These Steps

Before gifting the chemo cap or other item, make sure that the item is:

  • Fragrance-free
  • Smoke-free
  • Pet hair free
  • Odor-free.

Wash the item with a fragrance-free detergent if necessary, and make sure that the item is completely dry before gifting it. 


Colors Associated with Different Cancers 

Type of Cancer

Color Associated with Type of Cancer 

Month Dedicated to the Type of Cancer

All cancer

Lavender 

Appendix cancer 

Amber

Bladder cancer 

Yellow, purple, and navy 

May

Bone cancer 

Yellow 

July 

Brain cancer 

Gray 

May

Breast Cancer 

Pink

October

Inflammatory breast cancer 

Hot pink 

October

Hereditary breast cancer 

Teal and pink 

October

Breast cancer in men

Pink and blue 

October

Cancer survivors

Lavender

June

Carcinoid syndrome

Black and white stripes

November

Caregiver of cancer patient

Purple 

November

Cervical cancer 

Teal and white 

January

Childhood cancers

Gold

September

Colon cancer 

Dark blue 

March

Colorectal cancer 

Dark blue 

March 

Endometrial cancer 

Peach 

Esophageal cancer 

Light purple/periwinkle 

April

Ewing’s sarcoma 

Yellow

July

Gallbladder/bile duct cancer 

Green

February

Stomach cancer

Periwinkle

November

Glioblastoma

Gray

Gynecological cancer

Purple

September

Head and neck cancer

Red and white

April 

Hodgkin lymphoma 

Violet

September

Kidney cancer

Green or orange

March

Laryngeal cancer

Burgundy and white 

Leiomyosarcoma 

Purple 

July 

Leukemia

Orange 

September

Liver cancer 

Emerald green 

October

Lung cancer 

White

November

Lymphedema

Light blue

Melanoma

Black 

May

Mesothelioma

Pearl 

Myeloma

Burgundy

March

Myeloproliferative diseases 

Orange and red

Neuroendocrine cancers

Black and white zebra stripes

November

Oral cancer 

Burgundy and white

April

Osteosarcoma

Yellow

July

Ovarian cancer 

Teal 

September

Pancreatic cancer 

Purple

November

Pharyngeal cancer 

Burgundy and white

April

Prostate cancer 

Light blue 

September

Rare cancers (and rare diseases) 

Black and white zebra stripes

Rectal cancer 

Blue

March

Retinoblastoma 

White

Sarcoma 

Yellow 

July

Skin cancer

Black 

May

Small intestine cancer 

Periwinkle 

Testicular cancer 

Purple 

April

Throat cancer 

Burgundy and white 

Thyroid cancer 

Blue, pink, and teal 

September

Uterine cancer 

Peach 

September 

Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia

Pearl 


Source: VeryWellHealth


Whatever gift you decide to make for your loved one or for charity is sure to be very special for all the time and care that you took to make it. Share your makes – or favorite patterns – in the comments or on our KnitPal Facebook Group!

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