Knit a Boob for Breast Cancer Survivors

photo credit: bookgrl via photopin cc

photo credit: bookgrl via photopin cc

In June this year, Angelina Jolie revealed to the world that she had undergone surgery to have both of her breasts removed, after learning that she carried the BRCA1 cancer gene, which put her at significant risk (87 per cent) of developing breast cancer.

Since revealing her decision to have a double mastectomy,  the BC Cancer Agency says that the number of people being referred for cancer risk assessments has increased dramatically, suggesting that Angelina’s news could be responsible for the spike.  You can read more about this story at CTV News.

Angelina’s decision to undergo preventative surgery (and to go public about it) must have been a difficult one. As she says in this New York Times article, “Cancer is still a word that strikes fear into people’s hearts, producing a deep sense of powerlessness,” but, hopefully, by sharing her story she has helped to raise awareness about breast cancer risk and genetic screening, and inspired and empowered women into action.

So, with this recent news story in mind, and in honor of  Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which begins in October, I thought it would be appropriate to write a post about boobs. But not just any boobs….No.

You guessed it, this post is about knitted boobs (this is a knitting blog after all)!

Sounds funny, I know, but after reading more about Knitted Knockers & Tit Bits (and the personal stories behind them), I am absolutely inspired!

The original Knitted  Knocker. Photo credit: The Knitting Experience Cafe

A knitted knocker. Photo credit: The Knitting Experience Cafe

More about the boobs…

Beryl Tsang, is the founder and Chief Executive Knitter of Tit Bits: Hand Knitted Breasts. When Beryl lost a breast to cancer, she found it difficult to find a comfortable prosthesis that fit properly. So she knit her own. Soon, her knitted Tit Bits were in high demand, and now she is sharing her instructions on how to make them for free!

Furthermore, in 2007 the Knitting Experience Cafe launched a unique charity knit program, Knitted Knockers, to provide soft, comfortable, and free knitted prosthetic breasts to breast cancer survivors.  Apparently,  when placed in a bra, the knitted prosthetic breasts take the shape and feel of a real breast and are lighter and more comfortable than silicone prosthetic breasts. Also, the knitted fabric breathes and prevents the heat rash experienced by many women wearing the silicone ones.

Knitted Knockers

Beautifully Colorful Knitted Knockers – Photo credit: The Knitting Experience Cafe

Why knit a knocker? 

Well, apart from the fact that it would be fun to knit a boob… it would also mean a lot to a woman who needed one. Apparently, you can’t be fitted for a traditional breast prosthesis until you have been out of surgery for at least three weeks, so a knitted breast would be a welcome gift to a mastectomy patient in those first few weeks post-surgery.

Also, silicone prosthetic breasts are expensive and without health insurance (in the US), many breast cancer survivors can’t afford them. Knitted breasts, on the other hand, are affordable and accessible to everyone!

How to get involved?

1) Knit a boob (or two or three…).

Get the FREE pattern HERE (Note: for personal use only; you may not make Tit-bits to sell under any circumstances.)

2) Tell a friend about the knitted knocker project – maybe they knit, or are breast cancer survivors.

3) Get in touch with your local yarn store and see if they know about knitted knockers, ask if they are receiving donations, or are interested in starting a knitted knocker knitting group.

4) Consider starting a knitted knocker group in your area.

5) Join a Ravelry Group (or create one).

Here’s what they suggest on the Knitting Experience (Knitted Knockers) site:

First, knit a knocker. Then, contact the local hospital, oncology unit, women’s health center, or your local chapter of the American Cancer Society.  Find out who serves as the liaison for breast cancer patients. Describe the knitted breasts and the tremendous impact they have already had. Feel free to refer them to our website and story and bring in the breast you have knit to show them exactly what it looks like.

If you just want to knit some boobs, you can send them to the Knitted Knocker Project, where they will be gratefully received! Tempe Yarn and Fiber, made a call on Ravelry for knitted knocker donations just a few days ago. They have recently mailed over 100 knitted knockers to women all over the US and are looking for donations.

 

photo credit: .curt. via photopin cc

photo credit: .curt. via photopin cc

Check out the following links for more information:

TitBits – a website for women living with breast cancer

The Tit Bits Pattern – FREE

KnittedKnockers.info

Breast Cancer Information:

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

Canadian Cancer Society 

The Breast Cancer Society (Canada)

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (US) 

Pink Ribbon International

I’d love to hear about your knitted knocker projects, or any other breast cancer-related projects you happen to be working on, so please get in touch!

Now, I can’t wait to get started on some boobs!

Happy Knitting!

The Sanctuary Beanie

Sanctuary Beanies

The Sanctuary Beanie

Over the last couple of weeks I have been busy designing and knitting a fair isle hat for Jan’s upcoming birthday.

Unfortunately, the first version was a poor fit, so I had to go back to the drawing board to tweak the pattern, alter the chart, and then knit a second version. I’ve been waiting to finish knitting the second beanie before sharing it with you here.

I’m happy to report that the Sanctuary Beanie was gratefully received by Jan and fits perfectly!!

So, without further ado, here it is…

Sanctuary Beanie

Sanctuary Beanie (version 2)

THE MATERIALS:

Grignasco Knits Yarn

Grignasco Loden

Yarn:

Grignasco Knits Loden (1.76 oz/50g, 120 yd/110 m, 50% Virgin Wool/25% Alpaca/ 25% Rayon)

5 partial balls worsted weight yarn:

# 734, Dark Blue (MC)

# 601, Light Blue (A)

# 585, Cream (B)

# 818, Green (C)

# 590, Light Grey (Used as MC in version 1)

Needles:

US size 4 [3.5 mm], 16” circular needle

US size 7 [4.5 mm] 16″ circular needle

US size 7 [4.5 mm] double-pointed needles

Tools:

Stitch markers

Tapestry needle

THE PATTERN

Size:

To fit average adult

Finished Measurements: 

16” circumference; 8” (height from CO edge)

Gauge:

18.5 sts and 24 rows = 4″ instockinette stitch with 4.5 mm needles.

Begin:

Using smaller needles (3.5mm), cast on 88 st, place marker and join for knitting in the round.

*K2, P2, repeat from * to end of round.

Continue in 2×2 rib for 1.25 inches.

*Knit 22st, M1, repeat from * 2 more times, knit 22, M1 (4 st increased, 92 st total).

Switch to larger needles (4.5mm) and knit in stockinette stitch for 0.5 inches.

Fair Isle Section:

For the next 23 rounds, follow chart below:

Sanctuary Beanie Chart

Sanctuary Beanie Chart

In MC, knit 3 more rounds, or until piece measures 6 inches from CO edge.

Shaping:

Knit 23 st, place marker, repeat 2 more times, knit 23 st (Note: It helps to have the marker at the start of the round in a contrasting color).

You should have divided the round equally into 4 sections, with 23 stitches between each marker.

Decrease Round:

Round 1: Knit2tog, knit to 2 stitches before marker, ssk, slip marker, k2tog. Repeat around until 2 stitches remain on round, ssk (8 st decreased).

Round 2: Knit all stitches.

Repeat these last 2 rounds until 8 st remain between markers, switching to double pointed needles when necessary.

From now on, decrease on every round until 2 st remain between markers,

Finish:

Break yarn, leaving 6 in tail. Thread tail through remaining stitches on needle and pull to close the hole. Weave in loose ends.

Sanctuary Beanie

Sanctuary Beanie (Version 1)

Sanctuary Beanie

Sanctuary Beanie (Version 2)