Chemo cap; a fair isle tam turned hat


I’m so behind on sharing projects, I doubt I’ll ever catch up.  By my last count, I’ve completed 31 knitting and crochet projects between Thanksgiving and yesterday.  That’s 4 cowls, 15 hats, 1 pair of mittens, 7 scarves, 1 shawl, and 3 crochet toys.  Before I share all my Christmas knitting, I figured I’d start with the furthest back and work my way forward.

A family member has a friend going through chemo right now and asked me to make a hat.  She wanted something bright and colorful to match her friend’s vibrant personality.  I’d hoped to take some final photos, but the hat has long since gone to its new owner, so this will have to suffice.  The pattern was this Fair Isle Tam converted to a standard hat, and further converted to use this specific yarn.  The recipient lives in Florida, so I wanted something that wasn’t too warm and picked Knit Picks Comfy Sport in peapod, carrot, fairy tale, marlin, and parchment.

Knit picks comfy

I was emotionally committed to making something really great because the cause was important.  I had the hat halfway done in another color combo before deciding it was just too crazy.   As I often do, I kept going, thinking things would improve and they… didn’t.  I ripped the entire thing out, took a day off, and started over.  Here.  I’ll show you.


Lesson learned, this was the mistake of just selecting replacement colors for those in the chart.  By that I mean, I decided “everywhere they have _____ I’ll use _____.”  Clearly, it was a disaster.



Instead, I eventually decided to use parchment as my “background color” and to swap in accent colors depending on the fair isle motif.  My Aunt wanted colorful, but the other version was just crazy.

By changing the hat from a tam to a beanie, picking yarn with a different gauge than the original, and changing the color scheme, I eventually ended up pretty much rewriting the pattern.  If you’re interested in making one for yourself, I cast on 104 stitches and k2, p2 for 8 rows.  I then increased to 120 stitches (I believe I knit 15, then kfb, repeat) and followed the chart as written.  Since my crown was much smaller than the original pattern, I decided I needed more height before decreasing, so I added another section of crosses.  In the decreases, I separated and placed markers in sections of 20, to make 6 petals instead of 7.   Otherwise, I followed the decrease chart essentially as written.  On that note, the decreases in this pattern had me ripping out the entire section multiple times.  It is literally impossible to complete the hat as written in my PDF version (perhaps there are multiple versions out there?).  I thought I was crazy/dumb, but I found feedback from others indicating that they had the same issue – it seems that the solution is to knit to the marker, then back up one stitch before doing the double decrease.  Since completing the hat, I’ve gotten messages on Ravelry multiple times asking for help so if you try the hat and struggle, you aren’t alone.


Despite minor annoyance during the process, I’m pleased with the hat in the end.  It’s soft, pretty, and hopefully brings comfort in a time of need.  I heard through the grapevine that she loves it so I can’t ask for much more.  My notes are here, if you want to try one for yourself.

One thought on “Chemo cap; a fair isle tam turned hat

  1. The finished hat is awesome! I have a bad habit of basically rewriting all the patterns I try to knit as well. But then again, that means that the things we’re making are totally unique. =)

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