Being diagnosed with cancer is devastating. As crocheters, we often ask ourselves, what can we make to help? Crocheted blankets and crocheted hats can provide a little piece of comfort at a time of need, but choosing the right yarn can make all the difference. For those who wish to crochet for cancer charity, but don’t know anyone personally affected, there are lots of free crochet projects that can be donated to cancer patients or crocheted for fundraising. However you choose to crochet for cancer, we believe if we can share even the smallest amount of joy, comfort or love, at a time of need, then each stitch is worth a million.
Making for cancer patients
Different cancers produce different symptoms, but often those undergoing treatment feel the cold more than usual, because their immune systems are under fire. Crocheting something warm can provide a little piece of comfort, but remembering the practicalities are important. We've gathered some of our cosiest, gentlest crochet for cancer patterns for you to explore.
Blankets are wonderful gifts, but they’re big projects so if you decide to make one, consider essential factors, such as:
- Allergies - some people are allergic to animal fibres, or have sensitive skin due to treatment, so stick to plant based yarns or acrylics if necessary.
- Temperature - if it’s the middle of summer or your intended recipient is living in a hot climate, the last thing they will want is a heavy woollen blanket weighing them down, so consider cooler throws in cotton or cotton blends.
- Itchiness - make sure the yarn you use is gentle against the skin, treatment can cause skin sensitivities.
- Colour - choose a colour scheme that the recipient will love, a favourite colour or a tonal selection to match a bedroom or a sofa.
Crochet hats for cancer patients are thoughtful gifts for many reasons. People going through chemo and radiotherapy sometimes lose their hair and feel both cold and/or self conscious. A super soft, gentle hat is perfect. Be careful to:
- Make the right size. It is difficult to actively measure someone’s head if you’re making a gift, but make a mental note of the size you think will fit best.
- Choose the right colour/embellishments. If the recipient of your hat loves making a statement then by all means make a hat in bright colours, with embellishments and a fluffy pompom, but if they are more conservative, stick to something they would wear, perhaps a sweet, plain beanie with some gentle striping or a cable or two.
- Avoid seams - if you can, crochet the hat in the round to avoid seams that rub, or if you do need to sew up, keep your seam as soft as possible.
What is a chemo cap?
What makes chemo caps different from regular hats is that they're lovingly made to meet the needs of those who are getting treatment, which means they are often made from more gentle fibres and are less bulky than a regular outdoor hat.
What yarn is best for chemo caps?
Choose a yarn that is very soft and non-irritating. Some charities and hospitals recommend not using wool, but you may find that a super soft merino wool is exactly what you need as long as the recipient has no sensitivities or allergies. To be safe we recommend acrylic or plant-based yarn which is more gentle on sensitive skin.
How do you crochet a chemo cap?
There are lots of ways to crochet a chemo cap. Whether you're an experienced crocheter or just starting out, we've rounded up some of our favourite free patterns to try.
3 FREE chemo hat patterns
Where can I donate a crochet hat for cancer?
We advise reaching out to your local hospital or doctors to find the nearest charities and support groups receiving donations. In the UK, Macmillan and Breast Cancer Haven, who we love partnering with for our annual The Big Tea Cosy, may have a support centre in your local area.
Cushions and pillows are good ideas for anyone who is either bed bound or having to rest for long periods of time. You can make them really personal too, think about a cushion design that will match their personality, interior design or perhaps their passion. Whether it’s a coastal cushion, a heart patterned cushion, or an owl cushion, there really is something for everyone.
Socks, slippers, mittens and scarves
Having cancer treatment can cause extremities to get chillier than usual, so snuggly socks, slippers and mitts to wear indoors can provide some extra warmth. Socks can be cheery, stripy and bright.
Socks to show someone you care
What kind of scarves are best for cancer patients?
Like hats, soft, gentle plant-based or synthetic yarns are usually best for scarves and shawls. Or if the patient is feeling especially cold, a delicate merino wool is great for wrapping up warm, like this beautifully soft beginner cowl and infinity scarf design by Sue Rawlinson for Breast Cancer Haven.
Make these mittens
Boobs for breast cancer
After a mastectomy, it can be just too sore to wear a plastic prosthesis, which is where ‘crocheted knockers’ can be a source of great comfort. Before you embark on a crocheted knocker, read the guidelines that exist from Knittedknockers.org (there is a crochet pattern here), or from your local hospital. Choose a breathable, super soft fabric like cotton or a blend - these are so much more comfortable to wear than heavy plastic.
Suggested yarns for boobs
Take care of friends and family
Often, the people who are caring for someone with cancer are forgotten in the day to day hustle and bustle of appointments, nursing, coping and caring. A gesture as simple as making someone a hot drink can be much appreciated - but if you have time, a thoughtful gift crocheted is a loving way to let a carer know how much you are thinking of them.
Making for cancer charities
Cancer charities often welcome hand made items but the best way to find out is to get in touch and find out what is needed.