Celebrating Cancer Free: How to Make Chemo Caps

When I first became a mom, I thought that the longest wait would be the 9 months of anticipation before my child arrived.

I could not have foreseen the waiting rooms, doctor visits, or the long uncertain nights. If I had, I don’t know that I would have volunteered so quickly for this job. Yet, the me now is thankful for those waiting rooms, the many doctors and nurses, and even the long sleepless nights.

10 years ago this week my 6-month-old was diagnosed with cancer. We began a whirlwind of waiting, running from one doctor appointment to the next to try to save our daughter. If you are unfamiliar with our story you can start here: Our St Jude story, how it began.

Every April we mark our daughter’s anniversary of being cancer free, whether with a party or a small family dinner. I thought once we got to our  10-year mark we’d throw the party of our lives. When I sat down with my daughter and asked her what she wanted to do she chose to learn how to make cancer caps to donate and to take cupcakes to school.

Knitting became our spring break project. I’ve tried my hand at knitting before and succeeded in making uneven scarves that my children were proud to add to their play clothes piles. Let’s just say I needed as much tutorial as my daughter to make this attempt worthwhile. I was excited to see that Craftsy recently partnered with American Cancer Society to create a free tutorial on how to make scarves and cancer caps. (You can download it here: CHEMO CAPS WITH THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY

Once we had the tutorial the next step was finding the right yarn. I’ve had my eye on a company called Darn Good Yarn for some time now. I love the look of their products that constantly pop up on my facebook feed as well as the overall mission attached to the company, so I decided to give them a try. The idea that I am holding someone’s story in my hand from a world away and that I am continuing the story in creating something new is encouraging and uplifting.

Darn Good Yarn sent me 4 hanks of silk yarn for this project. Our first step was to wind them into a ball, when I say we are new at this I really do mean it. Luckily for us, Craftsy came through for us again with a blog post: The Easiest Way to Wind a Hank of Yarn Into a Ball.

Having been self-taught I discovered there were a number of bad techniques I had developed (which accounted for my uneven stitches and wobbly sides). So I went back to the beginning and relearned how to make a scarf. Katie grew bored rather quickly and I was left to finish on my own. While I loved the opportunity and excuse to sit still for a time, she was eager to get outside and play with her friends. She would run in, cast on, decide she was unhappy with it and take it apart, watch the first part of the video again, and try a second time before giving up and running back outside to play. She has become rather proficient at casting on but hasn’t made it much further as of yet.

Once I felt like I had a handle on the scarf I began the cap. The instructions were easy to follow. I did have difficulty finding all of the supplies mentioned in the video at Hobby Lobby and Wal-mart but discovered, of course, they are on Amazon. Darn Good Yarn also has an aluminum interchangeable knitting needle kit that is now on my wish list, but for the purpose of the video, the instructor highly recommended wood needles for beginners.

RELIAN Bamboo Double Pointed Knitting Needles Set 5 sets of 15 Sizes 8RELIAN Bamboo Double Pointed Knitting Needles Set 5 sets of 15 Sizes 8Cutebox 36pcs Bamboo Knitting Needles, Single Pointed Set, 18 Sizes, 2.0mm ~ 10.0mmCutebox 36pcs Bamboo Knitting Needles, Single Pointed Set, 18 Sizes, 2.0mm ~ 10.0mm18 Sizes 16'' (40cm) Circular Bamboo Knitting Needles Set Kit18 Sizes 16” (40cm) Circular Bamboo Knitting Needles Set Kit


I loved working with this yarn. For the last ten years, sitting in waiting rooms, I’ve watched other moms knit to pass the time and wondered what felt so appealing about it. I was usually lost in a book, or pretending to be, my own thoughts getting in the way. There is something soothing about knitting, the repetition, the ease of a stitch once you’ve figured it out, the ability to create while being lost in your thoughts or zoning out into that magical relaxing nothing zone. My finished project isn’t perfected enough to pass on to American Cancer Society, but my own cancer survivor is wearing it with pride. With a little more practice I’ll have a few to take with us to our next St. Jude visit. We’ve received so many of these caps over the years, it feels good to be making them ourselves.

In honor of our 10-year cancer survivor consider making a cap or two for a cancer patient in your life, or make a donation to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Without their love, care, and knowledge we would not have made it to today. I owe them the world though, because of donations like yours, they never charged us a dime.

Celebrating 10 yrs cancer free w/ @DarnGoodYarn @beCraftsy @StJude @AmericanCancer & cupcakes Click To Tweet

Now to figure out what type of cupcakes to send to school. If that’s all she’s going to let me do, I have to go big, right?

Before You Go – Raise Awareness and Learn Jeff Healey’s Story

Retinoblastoma Cancer Met Its Worst Enemy in Me Toddler T-shirtRetinoblastoma Cancer Met Its Worst Enemy in Me T-ShirtRetinoblastoma Fight for the Cure! Tank Top(12-pack) White Awareness Ribbon Silicone Wristbands - Fits Any Awareness Cause - Wholesale Bulk Pack of 12 Silicone Bracelets in Unisex Adult SizeOut of Darkness: The Jeff Healey Story


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15 thoughts on “Celebrating Cancer Free: How to Make Chemo Caps

  1. First, hooray for celebrating 10 yrs of your daughter being cancer free! I’ve always wanted to learn to knit, but have never made the time. Your hat turned out great. Maybe when your daughter is older she’ll join you for longer than casting on. lol So thankful St. Jude was able to help with your daughter! What a blessing.

    • Thanks 🙂 She “feels” right now that crochet is more her thing. She took a crochet class once and made a doll scarf. I’m thinking the more she sees me doing it the more interested she’ll become. It’s deffinetly something I want to keep working on now.

  2. What a celebration! 10 years cancer free! The caps are such a great idea to show support. I wish I could knit! Glad I stopped by from the ‘Testimony Tuesday’ link-up. Will say a prayer for you all. : )

  3. I love and appreciate how you were able to turn an experience like this into a positive one. I work in an ICU and see so many patients and families there… for months. While I can’t personally know what that’s like, I still feel their hardships on a personal level. Thank you for giving something back and making their days a little brighter!

    • Thank you for what you do. The nurses, doctors, and volunteers who have helped us at the hospital have always amazed me in how they have so much love and care for so many difficult stories and yet stay so positive. You have a big job.

  4. I have followed your journey for the last 8 years of being cancer free. I remember those earlier years how you would pray nothing new would come up. <3 I am so thankful for St Jude and healing for your little one.

  5. Hope! You have no idea how much I relate to your story. I had retinoblastoma when I was two and my youngest son was born with it. Both of us lost our right eye, and he had to have chemo, radiation, and laser surgeries to save his left eye. I’ve lived with this for so long, I never even thought to celebrate that we are both cancer free. Thank you so much for sharing your story, and your joy with us.

    • It is SO good to connect with you! Absolutely celebrate. If this journey has taught me anything you grab every moment you can to celebrate joy. I’d love to talk more sometime about your journey. Or if you’d ever like to share your story on this blog you are welcome to. Just email me at hope[at]hopengriffin[dot]com

  6. What a wonderful milestone! My mamas heart just can’t even handle the thought of little children suffering with cancer. Lots of tears stinging my eyes right now. Love the idea of your celebrations each year! So beautiful and hopeful.

  7. Oh, I spent years waiting to be a mom. I thought that was a hard wait! Waiting for your child to be cancer free! I can only imagine!!!! I am so grateful that God brought you to St. Jude’s and through that storm. I’ve watched a friend go through leukemia with her son, and I know how hard a battle that was. In fact, that is why my hair is stupid long right now. My daughter wanted to donate hair to the little girls who have cancer and lose their hair. So we started growing our hair. We’re almost ready to donate 24 inches of hair between the two of us! And we support St. Judes often. I don’t know that I’ll take up knitting, but like mindless things that I can do while listening to sermons or my Bible.

  8. I’m so glad your daughter is cancer free! I love that you have a party every year. I am pinning this. I would love to learn to make these caps and I’m sure my daugther would too. She is only 6, so I don’t know if she could do it quite, yet, but soon!

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