My Very Best Friend!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Introducing the Carolyn Rose cap!

 Carolyn Rose

This week I received the heartbreaking news that a very special woman in my life passed away on December 15, 2011. 

I first met Carolyn Rose in September of 1976, when I was one of the very fortunate students to have her as my second grade teacher.  As I moved through grammar school, Carolyn moved grades as well and she taught me in 5th, 7th and 8th grades as well.  While I remember many things about being in her class, one that strikes me first is how much she encouraged us all to do our absolute best, in everything.  She was such a creative person and so very giving.  She always had time for each and every one of her students. I'll never forget that she gave up her lunch hours to teach students the needlework art of Bargello.  She inspired us all to make beautiful (at least to our own young minds) things on a regular basis.

After I graduated, Carolyn and I remained in touch. While we would only speak (or email most lately) a few times a year, creativity was always a main topic.  When I completed a large embroidered tablecloth as a gift, I sent Carolyn pictures and she frequently sent me patterns and magazines to help inspire my crafting as well.

Last time I saw Carolyn was a bit more than 2 years ago, when she came to Delaware and we met for the afternoon.  I was just struggling to learn to knit and of course, she was encouraging.  She could crochet, which I am hopeless at but someday hope to master.  When I started Delaware Head Huggers and Kozy Kovers for Kids, she was very supportive.  See, Carolyn, after years of teaching went on to work in Community Relations and charitable fundraising and made such a HUGE difference in the world.  She knew that this was a way I could nurture my creative side while giving back to many.

I did not know how sick was recently…..she was a very strong, independent person.  I wish I would have been able to speak to her again and I will miss her terribly.

I found myself crying and thinking about her and all the wonderful memories that I have of her and I decided that to honor her memory, I would design a “Carolyn Rose” hat using the Rose Stitch pattern.  Hopefully using my creativity to honor her is something she is smiling about in heaven. 

The pattern here is free – I will remember Carolyn and her wonderful kindness and giving nature always and I want those of you who didn’t know her to be aware of her and remember her as well.  I do ask if you use this pattern that you please do something for someone less fortunate.  If you are making this hat for Delaware Head Huggers ( or some other organization, that’s wonderful.  If not, and you are making it for yourself or as a gift, that is wonderful too, but please then, do something………put some money in the collection box at church, volunteer some time at a hospital, just give a can of food to a local food bank or a hug to someone who needs one, but please, keep the kindness and love that inspired this hat – Carolyn’s spirit -  alive.

If anyone has trouble printing this pattern, try accessing the PDF here:  Carolyn Rose Cap, highlighting and copying it into a Word document.

For anyone who doesn't know how to knit a stitch in the row below, feel free to check out this video I made to explain it:   How to Knit a Stitch in the Row Below

The Carolyn Rose Cap pattern is now available for knitting in the round as well.  It can be found here.

 Carolyn Rose Cap

You will need:

Size 10.5 knitting needles
Bulky, or 5 weight yarn – about 100 yards – I used Deborah Norville’s Serenity Chunky and one skein was more than enough. This hat is toasty warm, but has a pretty lace-like pattern to it - a perfect chemo cap I think.  A solid color yarn will most likely showcase the lace more clearly.  I will post more pictures as I make different variations of this cap.


Cast on 55 stitches

Work in K3, P2 ribbing for 1 to 1.5 inches.  K3, P2 across for every row.

Knit in Rose Stitch, ending on a Row 4 until the piece measures about 8 inches in length.  This should be about 8 repeats.

Rose Stitch
Row 1:  K2, *P1, K1; repeat from * to next to last stitch.  End with another K1. (this row ends with 2 knit stitches)

Row 2:   K1, *K1 in stitch in row below, K1; repeat from * to end of row.

Row 3:  K1, *P1, K1; Repeat from * to end of row.

Row 4:  K2, *K1 in stitch in row below, K1; Repeat from * to next to last stitch and end with another K1.  (This row ends with 2 knit stitches)

Decrease crown as follows:

                        Row 1: K3, K2tog across row. This row will end with 44 stitches left.

                        Row 2:  Purl

                        Row 3: K2, K2tog across row. This row will end with 33 stitches left.

Row 4:  Purl

Row 5:  K1, K2tog across row.  This row will end with 22 stitches left.

Row 6:  Purl

Row 7: K2tog across row.  This row will end with 11 stitches left.

Cut working yarn, leaving a long tail.  Draw the yarn through the remaining live stitches
on your left hand needle and cinch closed.  Seam up the back and you are finished.

This pattern is easily adapted for other sizes or types of yarn.
Be sure to cast on in multiples of 5 and everything will stay the same. 

Use smaller needles and add more stitches.  Use lighter weight yarn and add more stitches.

Use heavier yarn and/or bigger needles and decrease the number of cast on stitches.

Adjust this for a child’s hat by beginning with 40 stitches if using the same yarn and needles.
Otherwise, adjust accordingly. 

Make beautiful hats and share them!

Merry Christmas and Happy Knitting!


  1. Happy Holidays Robin! Thank you so much for posting this pattern on Knitting Paradise. I'm new there and haven't figured out how to post yet. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend, Carolyn. She will always be remembered by those of us who didn't know her, by your wonderful Carolyn Rose Hat. Thank you and best to you in 2012.

  2. Thank you @Ellisen. Best to you in 2012 as well!

  3. Thank you for the lovely cap pattern. I will knit some up and share them with people at the local Chemo center.

  4. Thank you mollie! I am so happy to hear that.

  5. I am always looking for new patterns..I make them for my family, chemo patients (adult & children) for the local shelters and the schools. Thank-you and I am anxious to start.

  6. On the green, blue and yellow hat, which rows were knit in each color. I can't get mine to look like yours! Thanks

    1. I used a variegated yarn - no color changing needed. It was Charisma from Michael's..........

  7. Hi Robin,
    My sister has a friend living in Florida who has cancer and is going through chemo. She would like a hat but I'm sure the bulky would be too warm. Could you redo the numbers for this pattern 8 or 9 needles and perhaps suggest a yarn that would be cooler? Could you email that to me please?
    Thanks for all you do.

    1. If you use a worsted weight yarn (cotton-ease or an acrylic for example) and size 8 needles - I'd say cast on 75 stitches and work the pattern the same. I can't email you since you didn't give an email address.

  8. Hi |Robin, |I just love all your patterns and look forward to each new one you post.Please keep sharing your greatamount of talent as I knit many things for charity and you make it even more enjoyable. I am a knitting nut as my children say. |Thanks so much again.

    1. Thank you! I love to know that patterns are being used to help others! :)

  9. Do you have a photo of this pattern knit in a solid
    color? I thought I followed the directions correctly,
    however, my finished hat appears alot different than
    the photo. Nice neat appearance, but different.
    thanks for a new pattern for the shelter.

    1. No, sorry, I have only knit this with variegated yarn........

  10. when doing the ribbing should the ribbing end on an even or uneven row? When you knit into the stitch below, are you knitting into a purl stitch or a knit stitch?

    1. it doesn't really matter with the ribbing - it's pretty much the same on both sides. when you knit below, you are knitting into the stitch directly below the one you would be working.

  11. Hello Robin: Thank you for sharing this pattern while honoring a dear friend. As I knit this for my friend; just started losing her hair to chemotherapy, I shall think of her and Carolyn Rose. And you. Sharon

  12. I haven't tried this yet, I am new to knitting. My spouse has had cancer and is slowly going thru it. Just a thought to let you know, many cancer patients heads get cold, they wear hats at night, but find inside seams very uncomfortable.
    My knitting group is making chemo hats and blankets. The hats have outside seams. Thanks for all you inspire.

  13. I am asking somebody to make this for a co-worker that has breast cancer and had to have both breasts removed... She is going through a lot right now and this hat seems fitting and it's beautiful...

    1. Valmark - if she is in the USA, please send me an email at and I will send her some caps. Hugs, hope and love to her......

  14. Nobody else has commented on this, so maybe I'm off base, but adding/subtracting in multiples of 5 does not work in every case. When you add/subtract five, you end up with an even number of stitches and that throws off the pattern. Multiples of 10 would work or adding/subtracting either four or six stitches.

    1. The pattern is in multiples of 5, so working with 4 or 6 would not work at all. An even number of stitches is fine..........10 is a multiple of 5......4 or 6 would not be.