Thursday, December 17, 2009

The 1600th post. This is ridiculous.

One of the seriously depressing aspects of this time of your, at our age, is the certainty, as one sits down to write the Christmas cards – “Dear Frank and Jane”, “Dear Evan and Brenda” – that the incoming tide will bring bad news of someone, from somewhere. Gone the days when one's friends' Christmas cards reported their children’s successes and marriages and childbirths of their own.

We had some bad news yesterday, from old friends in Birmingham. They came to see us in April, in Holy Week. He seemed, then, to be fading, she as strong and energetic as ever. But she told us that day of the cancer she had survived. It was a big ‘un.

Yesterday’s card said that his kidneys have failed, and she is back on chemotherapy.

I thought I’d knock out a chemo cap, over the hols. Ravelry is bursting with patterns, all free downloads. But I sort of incline towards the simplest of cloches, cast on and knit upwards in st st and let it roll itself upwards to make a brim.

I had a wee rustle around the stash this morning. I’ve got some Cherry Tree Hill cashmere and silk, not as luxurious to the touch as that composition suggests. Almost string-like. But it would be non-irritating. I’ve knit a chemo cap with it before. There’s some Jade Sapphire Mongolian cashmere, utterly wonderful to the touch. It would be like having a light-weight cat on your head, And some Brown Sheep Handpaint Original, mohair and wool. I’m not sure that that wouldn’t be ever so slightly prickly.

Or Koigu? Or sock yarn? Advice welcome.

A day of some progress yesterday. I think my cold has passed its apogee. My sister-in-law sounded grateful on the phone that I wasn’t proposing to inflict it on her, and happy with the idea that we should just postpone the present-exchange until after Christmas. So now I’ve got today, during which I mean to get those shoes and drop in at East.

I had a good run at the ASJ yesterday – only 3 ½ inches to go on the second sleeve. It was a good idea to finish off that endless edging first. Yesterday’s activities involved the old one-two of prescription-picking-up and post-office-queueing – Boots and the PO are opposite each other in the horrible local mall – so I went on into John Lewis nearby and bought buttons. There are still six evenings here, unless I get into a terrible twist over present-wrapping. That should finish ASJ and cashmere watchcap both – and perhaps even leave a moment to swatch the chemo cap, so I know what size needles to take along when we head west on Wednesday.

El Dorado

Jenny, it’s wonderful to meet another El Dorado fan. I actually went on a demonstration, when it went down. We rode on a bus, perhaps open-topped, from Euston Station to Broadcasting House and presented a petition, I think to Anne Robinson. I still have my demonstrator's tee-shirt, "I Am One in 8 Million" (referring to the audience-size), and I wear it for gardening when Strathardle weather allows.

Tamar, that’s a very good question – what should the programme have been called? I like your idea very much, “Paved With Gold”. I’m trying to think of something with sunshine in it – so far no success.


  1. Dawn in NL10:03 AM

    Re El Dorado, how about Retire to a safe distance (as in: light touch paper and ...).

    I like to send Christmas cards since I live quite far from family and friends and it is the only contact I have with some old friends, but it is certainly a mixed pleasure with bad news amongst the new babies (grandchildren at this stage) and so on.

    Take care of your cold, Jean and enjoy your jaunt to town.

    All the best,

  2. My vote is for the sock yarn for the chemo cap.

  3. I like sock yarn for a chemo cap also.
    Soft, machine washable, and
    you can have great fun with self striping yarn.

  4. GrannyPurple12:02 PM

    I'll vote for the cashmere--even the cashmere/silk blend, which would probably soften greatly with washing. The softness is important, so I favour those 2 fibres.

  5. My experience with the Brown Sheep mohair and wool is that it is a little scratchy. I wouldn't use it for this purpose. I'm younger than you and already get the bad news Christmas cards. But it's nice to keep up with the far flung friends isn't it.

  6. Gerri2:31 PM

    My chemo cap knitting choice is Rowan's Calmer but I've never worn one as a chemotherapy patient. The only way I justify the price of it is for a chemo cap. I think any bit of scratchy is a bit too much for a chemo cap, so I'd skip the mohair. Hope your shopping at East is fun!

  7. Chemo head here. No to the Brown Sheep. Yes to Cashmere. Sock yarn depends, can soften with washing but can be itchy. My chemo caps are mostly made of Wildflower DK (now discontinued) and the replacement Jeannee in both DK and Worsted (I think, I'm not home to check the label).

    Roll brims can be problematic because there is no hair to hold them down and they roll off the top of the head. My prefered pattern is either Shedir (which has ribbing) or the lace edged cap at

    Even a plain rib edged stocking cap in a soft yarn is a blessing as a sleeping cap. When one has no hair, one's head gets very cold in the middle of the night.

  8. Anonymous7:59 PM

    Another chemo head here, (a regular reader of your blog but a very infrequent poster).

    Like Gerri I'd go and Rowan Calmer. I made two 'Aura's' from the Rowan Calmer Collection. They were soft and comfortable, the airy pattern was warm but allowed some air to circulate around my bald head, and the yarn washed well. Also they stayed on during the night, like Holly says you get cold during the night. Not sure about sock yarn but I would have been thrilled to receive a cashmere or cashmere/silk hat as a gift.

    Trust your cold continues to resolve itself and that you had a successful shopping trip.

  9. I've made chemo caps from eyelash yarns like Fun Fur or Bernat Boa. They were well received. One factor in their favor is that they add an illusion of "hair" to a bald head. I just did them in plain stockinette stitch and I suppose it was the type of yarn which allowed them to sit on the head and not roll.

  10. Judith8:19 PM

    Another chemo head here, (a regular reader but very infrequent poster).

    Like Gerri I would recommend Rowan Calmer. I made two Aura's from the Rowan Calmer Collection. They were soft, comfortable and the airy pattern allowed the air to circulate around my bald head whilst keeping it warm. Also they stayed on during the night, as Holly says your head gets cold in bed.

    Trust the cold continues to resolve itself and that you had a successful shopping trip.

  11. Judith8:22 PM

    Whoops, sorry seemed to have posted twice, once as anonymous!

    Also wanted to add, had I been given a cashmere or cashmere/silk hat as a gift I would have been thrilled.

  12. Wow the 1600th post!
    That's a great accomplishment.
    Lisa in Toronto

  13. i've been told that the following yarns are good for chemo caps: calmer, cotton chenille or cashmerino.