Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Crochet Ladies' Lacy Chemo Cap

A few days ago, a former high school classmate contacted me.  She explained the situation of a friend and co-worker of hers, who has fought breast cancer and had a radical mastectomy.  She also described her as a fellow nurse with a big heart, who is not only determined to kick breast cancer's butt but to also take care of her family and patients simultaneously.  Since chemotherapy has caused the loss of her long, beautiful hair, she is concerned about the affect her appearance may have on her patients.  Now THAT is a true definition of nursing compassion!

My schoolmate asked if I would create a chemo cap for her friend and donate my time and materials. Needless to say, of course I said yes!  Then I set out to make it as special as possible.  Since her friend is a nurse in her 30s with a young, fun, loving personality. I wanted to make her something really special. Because this is the first time I've made a chemo cap, I asked fellow crocheters and knitters for advice. She needed something functional yet fun... soft enough that it wouldn't irritate her scalp... lightweight yet not too light that it would fall off during care giving... light enough to cover her head but not too warm... etc.  Taking all of those elements into consideration, I envisioned a lacy-patterned cap that would be feminine, soft, breathable, cool and functional.

Here is what I created!

Front View

Top View

Close-Up View of the Lacy Pattern and Scalloped Edging

What I created for her was...
  • A free-form crocheted lacy-patterned cap that is feminine and pretty; 
  • It's made with super-soft, silky baby fingerling yarn; 
  • It's breathable due to the open lacy pattern, allowing for plenty of air circulation to keep the wearer cool;
  • Its open lacy pattern is fine enough to conceal uneven hair growth without worrying about it poking out through wide holes;
  • It's functional because it fits snug around the face with a pretty scalloped border. Fitting snugly is important as to prevent slipping off while bending over (or in a medical field of work--caring for patients); and
  • Because it is free-form crocheted, it's unique.  Like snowflakes, no two hats made in this style will be identical. The style and basic design will be the same, but each time a hat is made, the stitches in the lacy patterns will be unique. I call THAT an added plus!
The day after I created the pink lacy hat, I couldn't resist making another but this time in a neutral color.  This one is my favorite of the two because it can be worn FIVE different ways. It has three decorative buttons on the front and can be worn as-is, OR the wearer can choose to simply slip one of the four flowers over the largest button for a fun, funky look.

The Hat with Simply the Buttons

Close-Up of the Buttons

It warms my soul to do this for her.  She is a complete stranger, but that doesn't matter.  My sincere hope is that by wearing this lovingly-crafted hat, she will feel beautiful and confident.  I also plan to make her another cap in a different color and style, so she can change up her look and have an alternative to wear when one is in the wash.

I realize how important it is for women in similar circumstances, who may feel a bit like they've lost a fraction of their femininity, to feel pretty and a little less self-conscious during their time of transition.  That is why I'm offering this cap at a reduced price in my Etsy shop.  I want to help serve people like her, who are fighting their own battles against the beast called cancer.  Family as well as friends of cancer warriors (like my schoolmate) can make special requests to make something truly unique for their loved one.  All I need to know is a little about the recipient's personality, color preferences and certain details about their lifestyle (such as hobby, profession, activity level, etc.) to ensure their custom-made cap fits as well as meets their individual functional requirements.

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my latest adventure.  A few weeks ago, my friend informed me that my mystery client LOVES her hats, and that makes me the happiest crocheter on earth.  Since then, I have made numerous hats for others purchasing for friends or family.  Most has responded that their loved one is very happy with their hats.  I am so pleased to hear this.  <3

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Crochet Baby Mermaid Cocoon Outfit

Since designing my Mermaid Tail Afghans / Blankets, I have been experimenting with other ways to utilize my version of the "scale stitch" and the mermaid tail concept.  It's been fun exercising my creative spirit!

This Baby Mermaid Tail Cocoon Outfit for newborns to 3-month-olds is my latest creation.  When I designed it, my goal was to create something unique.  Many of the mermaid baby cocoon outfits I've seen use the crocodile stitch, which I like but think is too bulky for a tiny baby to wear; whereas, my scale stitch is much more delicate and smooth-laying.  There also are very few pink mermaid outfits available or those paired with a starfish bikini.  Furthermore, I've never seen another crochet spiral shell applique on a headband either.

I am accepting custom-orders for the finished version of the Crochet Baby Mermaid Cocoon Outfit as well as making the crochet pattern available for sale in my Etsy shop.

I think this cute little number would be so adorable for a baby's first photo shoot, as a show-stopper baby shower gift or better yet--both!  Although my pattern and the original design includes the graduating striped appearance, it could be also be custom-made by me or a pattern purchaser in a solid color.

The scale stitch included in the pattern is my own version of the stitch, which gives the mermaid tail a fine, scaly textured appearance. The stitch may resemble a smaller-scale version of the crocodile stitch.  However, I assure you it is not created in the same manner.  It's actually created much more easily!

The ensemble includes a coordinating starfish string bikini top and headband.

Aside from the mermaid tail cocoon itself, my favorite part of this ensemble is the headband adorned with a starfish, seashell, pearls and iridescent beads.  The crochet seashell is of my own design as well!  I also need to give my daughter credit where it's due because it was she who allowed me to use a few beads from her stash to complete the headband.   

Creating this baby version of the mermaid tail was a blast!  I love what happens when I simply let my creativity run free!

I also have to share this little snippet!  One of my friends liked the headband from this outfit so much that she requested an adult-size version.  Here she is wearing it after running the Yuengling Shamrock Half-Marathon in Virginia Beach on the weekend after St. Patrick's Day.  :)