Help! I need somebody!

It's a crazy, crazy life I'm leading these days, most of which I don't share on the blog, just because I view it as a bit of an escape to write about knitting and yarn and nothing too serious or mentally taxing. (Although, yarn is serious business. But you know what I mean.)

But I'm making an exception today because I want to ask for your help.

My family recently received both good and bad news. The bad news was that my mom's throat cancer has returned. The good news is that it hasn't spread to her lungs (some spots found there were leftover from her bout with pneumonia earlier this year), so we're still just dealing with cancer in the throat now.

As she has already undergone a round of radiation and chemotherapy, her best hope for treatment now is surgery, specifically a laryngectomy, removal of the larynx. Most of us would refer to our larynx as the voicebox, so as you can imagine, once they take that out, no more voice--after healing, laryngectomees have to re-learn how to talk through other means. This procedure also means rerouting the trachea, so my mom will no longer breath through her mouth and nose, but instead, out of a hole in her throat.

(Yes, a hole in her throat. If this isn't an excellent PSA for not smoking, I don't know what is. Seriously, quit it right now.)

This gaping hole in the throat can be, well, a little horrific to look at. It also poses a risk because debris can get in there much more easily than it can you nose or mouth--unless you're one of those people who never shuts their mouth, which kinda describes my mom, but is really a different issue.

So mom needs stoma covers. This is where you guys come in.

I'm asking you to make stoma covers and send them to me. Knit, crochet or sewn. Cowls. Scarves. Bibs. Ascots. Basically anything that can be worn around the lower part of the neck to cover the stoma. (You'll find a few pattern ideas at the bottom of the page here, but hey, this is a great time to be creative!) Cotton is recommended because it breathes, but a soft wool knit at a looser gauge should work too. And I'm sure mom would appreciate a little flair--nothing too industrial looking.

I know we're all busy with our many (many, many) projects--I hate to ask you to take a break from your regularly-scheduled crafting to make odd neckwear items for a stranger you've never met. But your efforts will certainly be most appreciated (especially by me, as I'll go insane if I try to make my mom 20 stoma covers all by my lonesome). And to express my thanks, I'm going to offer you a little treat. Everyone who sends me a stoma cover will be entered into a drawing to win this:


That's a skein of Wollmeise Sockenwolle 80/20 Twin in Neptun. That's how much this means to me, I'm going to voluntarily give away Wollmeise. And I'll include a sock pattern of your choosing (from those available for purchase online) to go along with it.

ETA: Exciting news--two awesome bloggy friends of mine have offered additional prizes for this giveaway! Deirdre, over at Confessions of a Clumsy Knitter, has a kit from A Verb for Keeping Warm for a lucky winner, and Leann, who dyes up gorgeous yarn for her Etsy shop, Forbidden Woolery, is offering up a skein of yarn for a prize winner as well. So, boom, your odds of winning just increased!

I'll leave it open until, hmmm, August 17, that's my mom's birthday (of course, anyone who wants to send covers after that date certainly can, but I can't let the giveaway go on indefinitely, because that would defeat the purpose). If you want to send a cover, email me at kristen dot jancuk at and I'll send my mailing address. (Get well cards and notes for mom are also encouraged, but not mandatory.)

Thanks in advance for your support, and please, share this with all the crafters you know!