Maureen here blogging - thanks to Rob for letting me do this.
Some background: as everyone knows, President-elect Obama's grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, nicknamed Toot, died of cancer just before the election. She was his "rock" during his teenage years and a major influence on his life.
I am a member of Ravelry, a social networking website for knitters and crocheters and within that site, one of the groups called Knitters for Obama. During the campaign, we knit and crocheted items for homeless veterans. It was a great success and now we have a new project, inspired by Toot. And anyone can help.
We are knitting and crocheting chemo caps. The Obama family specifically asked the Ravelry group make caps for the University of Chicago’s cancer center in Toot’s memory. If we get enough caps, we will also consider donating to a hospital/hospice in Hawaii, where Toot lived. We are hoping for delivery to roughly coincide with Inauguration Day.
If you would like to participate - even one hat - please send me email to maureenmo3 at gmail.com (you know what to do with the at, right? just trying to fool the spam robots). I can gather the hats from non-Ravelry people and mail them to Chicago myself.
What to use? Yarn should be machine-washable and SOFT. Like, baby’s bottom soft. We are getting mixed opinions about wool, although certainly a high quality SOFT merino or merino blend would probaby work so long as it’s machine washable and SOFT. Cottons that aren’t too stiff but rather are SOFT are good; so are cotton blends, bamboo and bamboo blends, silk blends, acrylic and acrylic blends, so long as they are SOFT and machine washable.
I was at Coveted Yarn the Store tonight and really liked the Sirdar Snuggly DK. It's soft, comes in over 50 colorssuitable for men, women and children, and is machine washable. Rob has it on sale for 25% off in honor of this project.
As far as patterns and sizes go, the Ravelry group has been told that it is better to avoid patterns with eyelets/holes because the skin underneath shows and may make the wearer feel self-conscious.
Since people of all ages get cancer, assume that we will need caps for people of both genders and all ages. I've been told that the hospitals usually come up short on caps for men.
If your political leanings are such that you don't care to participate in this particular project, then think about doing even one charity project this Christmas season. Remember the Coveted Yarn Baby Hats For Beverly Hospital. The Snuggly DK would be wonderful for those hats as well.
Thanks for reading this far.
PS thanks to Blackbunny on Ravelry who wrote up the project information I got most of this post from.