What a lotta knockers!


Funny when a current obsession with something makes you think everyone in the entire world knows exactly what you are talking about  when you mention it.  Two things recently have gone that way.  First, the whole Knocker thing.  My sister had a double mastectomy recently.  She is doing well but thru one of her online forums for breast cancer issues, she saw a link to something called Knitted Knockers.  They are a fabulous organization that supplies, free of charge, knitted breasts. As they say on the site:

Knitted Knockers are special handmade breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. Traditional breast prosthetics are usually expensive, heavy, sweaty and uncomfortable. They typically require special bras or camisoles with pockets and can’t be worn for weeks after surgery. Knitted Knockers on the other hand are soft, comfortable, beautiful and when placed in a regular bra they take the shape and feel of a real breast. Our special volunteer knitters provide these free to those requesting them. Knitted knockers can be adjusted to fill the gap for breasts that are uneven and easily adapted for those going through reconstruction by simply removing some of the stuffing.

She doesn’t knit but sent the link to me.  As soon as I got the link, I downloaded the pattern and got knitting.  Within a day I had a pair made. But I started finding different patterns all over the place. I can’t even count the number of variations I have downloaded!  The one I like best is the one here.   This pattern is the fastest to knit, uses the least yarn, and according to discussions with my sister, the easiest to close and open, due to the drawstring effect.  She doesn’t like the look of the side-closure one that seems to be the other most-common pattern, or the extra fabric bulk at the back.  She prefers the look and feel of the flat back.  Lucky, that.  You can get the instruction for that here at Knitty, and it is on Ravelry as well but you have to be a Ravelry member to download.  There is a variation that is done in one piece on the Knitted Knockers Charity site as well (100% cotton only) that is on Ravelry as well.  I have done two sets now using the Magic Loop variation on the page (written for ONE knocker but I just applied the principles of two socks at a time and  used a really long cable, 120 cm)


As you can see, doing two at a time has the same advantage as socks two at a time – they exactly match (unlike most women, to be fair, but still….) My point is that because *I* now knew about these, I just talked about them (in my WOYWW post) as if everyone would have seen the previous post where I mentioned them or knew about them already.  Clearly not, from the confused comments I got.

I have never tried the various knitted flat versions (the only one I didn’t even try) and there are crochet versions as well. I did knit a couple of them but I don’t find the crochet version to feel as soft as the knitted one.  And the back-loop only work makes the back look ribbed and messy to my eye.  Just MHO, and I’m not wearing it so that could be totally not worth considering  One is at the KKUK site, where they also have a side close version. There is a 100% cotton requirement, you have to apply to join, you may only knit for donation after an approval process and they accept only their patterns with, I was told, NO DEVIATIONS. Don’t look at any other patterns if you fancy joining them.

I won’t even get into the whole nipple/no nipple issue, other than to say that every US person or group I communicated with said most requests are for no nipple and the UK input has been we get very few requests f0r no-nipple knockers. Cultural differences?  Maybe.

Working my way thru this sometimes conflicting information to settle on the best basic set of rules for ME has been tricky.  I was happy to hear back from the founder of that there is NO REQUIREMENT for 100% cotton yarn to be used.  They are happy for it to be a blend but the cardinal rule is NO WOOL – interestingly I totally get that one as my sister is allergic to wool (actually I think it’s lanolin that she’s allergic to, technically) but for at least two sites, as I mentioned, 100% cotton was specified.  That confused me.  What she said is:

We understand variations though and as long as they are soft, pretty, functional and non wool we will take them and get them to the women that need them. The demand is so huge that we need all we can get.

This is sort of how I feel about it – if the demand is that huge, and there is no medical reason for banning blended yarns (bamboo, linen, even a bit of acrylic) then surely that is going to get more knockers knitted, right? Likewise the perfection of your knitting/crochet.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think a hot misshapen mess of mistake-riddled knitting is going to be well received, but so long as it is competently done, is a missed increase a problem or is a slight laddering along the increases a problem?  Mine look perfectly tight and neat but if I over-stuff them (and the recommendation is better to over-stuff than under-stuff so the recipient can take a bit out and still use the right out of the box rather than have to pop to the craft store or raid their kid’s teddy bear for some extra stuffing!) these stitches spread a little. Enough that someone anxiously awaiting a knitted knocker would care?  I doubt it.

I’ve not yet gotten to the point where I have a plan, but I know this is something I will do in 2015.  Somehow I am going to incorporate this into my crafty time.

On a completely other note, my second obsession might be one that people actually DO know about.  I am so glad to hear that the next installment of SERIAL is the final one!  I had started listening to it on BBC Radio 4 but after the first episode I didn’t even want to wait a day for the next one to be available on the iPlayer.  The linked site has all the episodes and lots more stuff to see.  As I am originally from Northern Virginia, not that far away from where it all took place in the US, some of the place names really resonate with me.  That just adds to the grip it has on me.  I simply cannot WAIT for the final episode.  Even if it isn’t all tied up neatly, with some sort of resolution, the process of looking at the crime, the investigation, the trial, the whole thing, so completely, has been fascinating.  Will it be like Jack the Ripper, with no clear idea of who actually did it, even after all the time and effort put in?  I just don’t know! I still have a couple more to listen to so I’m caught up but then, roll on next week!

DDs Ice show weekend and still so much to do.  HOW many (FEW) days till Christmas?   Oh my….all those months of covered ears and pretending I had all the time in the world looks a bit daft now. {wink}

12 thoughts on “What a lotta knockers!

  1. Is there a knitted pattern for knitted knockers on circular needle or two straight needles without nipples? Thanks so much.

    • I’ve not seen one, but what I did was made the initial few I-cord stitches with 3 dpns then did a few rounds to establish the circle and shifted to a circular. My sister hated the nipples too 🙂 There might be another post where I talk about it. I’ll have a look and link it if so.


  2. Hi
    I am knitting knockers for breast cancer survivors and would appreciate if you could share/illustrate how you knit 2 knockers at a time. I find it really difficult to knit 2 knockers of the same size and hard to get started on the second knocker. Is it easier to do knit 2 knockers at a time with a long needle or with 2 needles?

    • You have to do magic loop, just the same as if you were knitting socks. There are loads of YouTube videos on how to do that, and the knockers I did were all knit on circular needles, even when knitting one! I never got the hang of two circulars, so one long one worked best for me. I found it easier to do the I cord start then the first increases on dons, then shift that to a spare needle and do the second. Once that tricky bit was done, it was easy to load both on a long circular and carry on magic loop!


      Mary Anne

  3. Hi can you please send me the pattern for the boobs please are do you know we’re I could get one

  4. Fantastic job in helping getting the word out. I am a journalist and wrote an article about this a few months ago. When I first heard about it, I thought, “Seriously? Knitted breasts????” Then I talked to women about it and they loved them. Great cause. The pattern seemed a bit tricky, but I may try the one you suggested. Thanks again.

    • I have tried all but the knitted flat patterns and the one is by far my favourite. It avoids the whole cast off, cast back on bit for the side stuffing. I would watch the videos there to see it knit – it really helps with the Icord start and seeing the way it should look.

      A link to your article would be fab, if it’s online someplace…



  5. Like many crafters I follow many crafting blogs in fact lost count of those I follow. Yours is one I always read and when I saw this I thought this sounds like a wonderful idea and so practical. As many crafters are female breast cancer is an issue that could affect us all and many of us have friends and family who have suffered with this dreadful disease.

    I hope you do not mind but as an avid crafter (though knitting is beyond me) I am going to post the link on facebook/twitter/pinterest to all of my crafty friends. Going to do this in the hope that can persuade people to take part in 2015 and beyond. There have been other successful charity campaigns on social media and ok from me may only reach a few people but they in turn know a few other people etc. If it only persuades a handful (when typed no pun intended but a handful of knockers headline sort of thing catch peoples attention) to take part thats a handful more than before.

    I hope that like my friend your sister makes a full recovery.

    • Thanks for your kind comments about my blog and your well wishes for my sister. I think it is great you want to spread the word. Do so. There are groups on Ravelry that do annual collections (one is, I think, the Karma Yarn Swap group) and certainly in the USA MANY local knitting groups do knocker knitting to supply groups and clinics in their area. In fact, it is a big part of the charter, as they say :

      The purpose of this website is to help connect volunteer knitters with breast cancer survivors to offer free Knitted Knockers to any woman who wants them. There is a huge demand for Knitted Knockers that can’t be met by any one group but together we can do it! If someone in each area will set a goal of meeting the need in just their county it can happen!

      So spread the word, by all means. Check out the KK Facebook group and maybe link to them. They have a page on the .org website that lists organizations in other countries and on the US providers page they list regional “distribution centres” if I recall correctly. That could be a local yarn shop or local knitting group and pairs the knitter and the woman in need more locally.

      As you say many hands can make many knockers LOL!


  6. I have to say you are amazing. So many talents. I never heard of these but how wonderful to do. I get bad results when knitting but may give these a try if I find the need. Thank you for sharing and being so fun to follow. I hope your sister is doing very well.

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