Soft knit hats are a great way to take care of someone who is in the hospital or undergoing chemotherapy. But the yarn you normally use for hats is not ideal for cancer patients.

Shedir HatThe best yarns to choose in this case are synthetic yarns.

Wool yarns are actually too warm, and ever superwash wools require gentle care – not a responsibility you want to add to someone already dealing with a lot.

In additional, even soft wool can irritate sensitive skin.

We recommend Berroco Comfort which is 50% nylon and 50% acrylic, and very soft.

Berroco Comfort ChunkyFor women, pretty, bright colors are a great choice.

Many men often prefer navy or gray.

You can knit our basic Magic Loop hat pattern, or something fancier like the Shedir Cap above.

Just make sure the hat has no lacy designs (i.e. no holes) so that it is uniformely warm. As one KnitFreedom student who went through breast cancer and chemotherapy said, “Amazing how warm our hair keeps us – you don’t know until it’s gone!”

I hope these tips will help you keep a loved one warm and cozy if they need it.

P.S. A small pillow can also be a great comfort to someone in the hospital. To knit one, use Judy’s Magic Cast-On to cast on as many stitches as you would like the pillow to be wide. Then, work in the round on Magic Loop for as long as you would like the pillow to be tall. Then, fill it with stuffing and bind off using Kitchener stitch.

10 thoughts on “Knit Hats for Breast Cancer Patients”

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  1. I knit hats using Cascade Fusion, Elan has their own version. It is 99 pecent cotton and 2 percent elastic. The patients love them and they work well for both male and female. I just use a basic rolled brim pattern, sometimes doing a yarn over at about four inches up in multiples of eight to thread a ribbon for the ladies. knit eight, yo, knit eight yo etc. Just be sure it is a multiple of what you cast on…six four stitches, multiple would be eight total as per example. My DH wore a navy one in the hospital as he was so cold.

  2. It may just be my older eyes, but I cannot read most of the red or blue text on the pink background. :-( Maybe if the background was a lighter pink or the text was white it would help. Just don’t want to miss out on all the fun on this page.

    1. Hi Nancy, I’m so sorry that the site was looking a little bit different than usual and hard to read! We have fixed the issue and it should be much easier on everyone’s eyes.

  3. I am fighting breast cancer and thyroid cancer. I decided a few months ago that this is the perfect time to learn to knit. I want to make soft hats for other cancer patients – we live in Texas, so wool isn’t the best choice. Also, as a patient I found that a small pillow is a great comfort when recovering from surgery. I’m thinking that it shouldn’t be too difficult to knit a small rectangular pillow out of some of the baby yarns. Would love to have a pattern for this if you could do that. Love your website – I’m learning so much!

    Maggie hubbard

    1. Hi Maggie,

      Wow, I can’t even imagine how tough this must be for you. I love the idea of knitting a little pillow out of baby yarns. Here’s what I would do:
      Use Judy’s Magic Cast-On to cast on as many stitches as you would like the pillow to be wide. Then, work in the round on Magic Loop for as long as you would like the pillow to be tall. Then, fill it with stuffing and bind off using Kitchener stitch!

  4. I agree – wool is not a good idea for these caps. I had chemo for bc a few years ago. I discovered that a cap that is really soft – with no holes is best, just something light – but enough to keep the cool air out. I even slept in one at night. Amazing how warm our hair keeps us – you don’t know until it’s gone! I also agree that the pretty, bright colors are good.

  5. Just FYI: when researching the best material for chemo caps, it was recommended to me to use a synthetic such as Berroco Comfort (acrylic/nylon blend). The reasons stated for this:

    1. Some people are very sensitive to wool and even merino will irritate their bare scalp skin.

    2. Synthetic fiber tends to hold up better to machine washing/drying than even SW wool – a gift that has to be handwashed is adding another task to the recipient’s day.

    3. Some people report that wool holds the smell of chemo drugs more than synthetic fibers.

    4. Some people find wool TOO warm.

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