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Tea and Scones, and BRCA2

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One particularly normal September morning, I sat with my little ones, knitting while we ate breakfast. My mind wandered away from the Cheerios and baby smiles, wondering when I would receive a call that I both anticipated and dreaded.

I had decided to follow through on genetic testing to find out whether I carried the gene for the breast cancer that stole my beautiful aunt and my great-grandmother too soon, and nearly took my grandmother. While many people believe you’re more likely to inherit the gene from a mother than a father, the reality is that the gene doesn’t discriminate based on sex. It just manifests differently.

Libby asked me what I was making. So, back to my knitting, and thank goodness: my obsession with fibre art is therapeutic, especially as a tool for coping with stress. I had spun a gorgeous batt made by Erin at Lily & Pine into my typical thick and thin single ply yarn, and I was making a hat just for myself. It felt fitting to make something to keep just for me, made from a batt called “Tea & Scones,” two of my favourite repasts.

In drifted a thought: what if I could use my yarn as a way to break the tension in my heart about my own unsure future, and also spread a little light in tbe world? Because Lord knows we need light and kindness in the world today.

The idea went through a few iterations as I bounced it off some friends, until I settled on this: there are 31 days in October, and I can realistically spin two 4 oz. skeins of yarn each day. So, that is what I’ll do. And each skein will have a variation on a theme: pink, grey, and soft brown. Some will be ombré (some of you may be familiar with my love of spinning ombré yarns) and some will be variegated. All will be full of all the love I can pour into them.

And here’s the kicker: I’ll send a skein to any knitter or crocheter who wants to help me spread the light. All I ask is that you give the hat to someone you know who is fighting cancer, or donate the hat to a cancer organization—and that you cover shipping. No other charges. And you can even use the pattern I’ll post below, for a slouchy, comfy hat.

There’s no pressure for you to join me. I’ve got a few friends waiting for my first few skeins, and I’m also working to be able to donate the yarn and pattern to my local cancer hospital for chemo patients to use for passing the time during their treatments. But everyone I’ve run this idea by has been excited, so I thought I’d open it up to you, my friends here at ilex.every.day. If you like tea and scones, make a date with yourself for tea, scones, and a little knitting.  Because we knitters know that love can truly be expressed in stitches, and felt in the gentle warmth of a hand knit hat.

Shoot me an email if you’re keen to spread some light and love, and I’ll send yarn!

Final thoughts: do your breast exams, ladies. Attend your physical appointments, and do the diagnostics your doctor recommends. Don’t rely on just hoping you’re invincible because you eat your kale; genes can be your Achilles heel. But they don’t have to be, with the right screening.

Here’s to hope.


Tea & Scones Hat

You will need:

– 10 mm circular needles or DPN’s

– 4 oz. skein of merino thick & thin yarn

– pompom

– tapestry needle for weaving in ends, cinching up crown,and sewing on pompom

– scissors



Cast on 44 (I have a huge head, so I did 48. As long as you have multiples of 4, you’re golden.)

Join to work in the round.

Rows 1-22 (P3, K1) x 11

Row 23:(P1, P2tog, K1) x 11

Rows 24-26: (P2, K1) x 11

Row 27: (P2tog, K1) x 11

Row 28: (P1, K1) x 11

Cut yarn, leaving enough yarn to thread tapestry needle and cinch up the crown.

Cast all 22 stitches onto the tapestry needle, cinch up and knot to close the crown of the hat.

Sew on pompom.

All done!