Mike's great friend John has been dating a woman for quite some time (for him!) now. I've met her a few times and Mike has visited with her several more and REALLY likes her - in that he thinks she's a great addition to John's life. John can be a handful, but even I see that he's settled down and seems the most content I've ever known him, because of having her in his life.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer not too long ago, and has undergone surgery to get rid of the lump(s). Now she's in the chemotherapy stage of her treatment. When we visited them a few days before Christmas, she told us that she had just shaved her head because the hair-loss was getting too noticeable.
She was sporting a Santa cap, in the holiday spirit, and I didn't give her statement much thought, because hair - mine or other people's - really doesn't factor in my thoughts.
That evening, as I was taking a shower and lamenting the absolute ridiculousness of the length of my own locks, it hit me.
She doesn't get to shampoo her hair right now. Not brush it out or contemplate blow-drying it. She doesn't have the option of wearing it up or down. Nothing. All choice is gone for her at the moment.
Even though *I* think the hang-ups about a woman's hair are pretty dang dumb, it hit me that other people may still give part of their worth over to their hair, and the loss of it might affect them.
So I knit her a hat. I wanted her head to be warm, sporting anything more stylish and fit than a dumb Santa cap, and to minimize the discomfort she may have while living a hair-free live.
Lemme tell ya though, it was very hard deciding on a pattern. Not only do I have my own hat/head/hair hang-ups and ideas, there was much second-guessing of what another person would want to sport - even just in the privacy of their own home!
Plain beanie? Hello. PLAIN. Very Un-girlygirl.
Lacy Beret? Do they want peeks of their bald skull showing through? Am I projecting my own concerns?
Newsboy Cap/Baseball Cap replica? Some are very chic, but does the average banking professional want that?
Itchy Scratchy Wool/Alpaca blend - on a sensitive noggin? Not too sure on that one either.
Are you starting to see the self-doubt and gifting concern I was up against!?!?
It was very hard to pick something that I thought would not only keep her head warm (my original objective) but also wouldn't turn her off to hand-knits for all eternity.
Yet again, ravelry to the rescue. I won't bore you with the details of all the ways I cross-referenced my yarns to suitable patterns, but trust that I did that and more.
I eventually kept circling (and finally landed on) the Ring of Cables hat from Knit Picks. It's pretty similar to Knitty's Coronet and once I researched the yarns used, there was no doubt that my stashed burgundy Pastaza was a good fit. A little birdy named John let it be known that burgundy and black were the colors of choice for the recipient, so there ya go!
(it's less purple in real life, I promise)
M got her hat today and called to thank me profusely. She's nice like that :grin:
We got to talking, and I took the opportunity to ask her about particulars that I wasn't sure she'd be okay talking about . . . like . . .
Lacy pattern showing a bald head? Ayup. She loves the lacy.
Wearing in private only or for public outings? Both.
Another color she'd love to wear? M started out saying "red" which I got her to narrow down to "tomato red" versus "brick red" but then she changed it up and said what she'd really like is "Breast Cancer Survivor" pink. Her only concern in telling me her particular tastes was that she didn't want me to go out and buy a yarn "just because" I was knitting her something.
Oh, I would SO totally go buy it, but as luck would have it, I SO totally already own it!
Now, it's back to the pattern drawing-board.
The knitting options are:
Not too much forehead covering
Not too much "extra" at the crown
A brim, although not a large one