Six months after losing
my right breast to cancer, I was invited to
a party at the latest hot boite. Now,
I usually avoid such places, preferring to spend
my evenings at home, knitting hemp climbing
gyms for my son's pet snake or felted fishbowl
warmers for my daughter's Siamese fighting fish,
but I needed a change of scene.
Finding the right outfit
was a no-brainer. I have closet full of leather dresses
and high heeled boots from my days as a Yarn Dom;
"Get that sock finished NOW, you badly carded
piece of roving or else!" Finding the right breast
prosthesis, however, was a nightmare.
I went to every mastectomy
boutique and medical supply store in the city. There
were titties of every shape, size and skin color (from
beige to dark brown) but none were what I wanted --
perky, cute and comfortable. They were too heavy,
squishy or ugly.
With a day to go before the
party I was still without a titty. I considered going
without one but my husband nixed the idea. I was already
unbalanced, (but in a good way), he reasoned, but
that didn't mean I should look unbalanced.
Finally, in a state that
can only be described as panicked desperation, I bought
a "proper" mastectomy bra and a silicone
titty that was touted as the "lightest and most
natural looking" on the market. The fitter, a
sensible no-nonsense lady, who had been fitting breast
prostheses since before disco was hot, discouraged
me from wearing any of my existing bras, "They'll
squash your prosthesis, dear and there is nothing
worse than a squashed prosthesis!"
When I got home, I put on
my new titty and bra and promptly broke into tears.
The titty reminded me of raw liver, while the bra
resembled the suspension system of my 1995 Volvo.
To cheer myself up, I rummaged
through my stash looking for something luxurious to
knit up. Then it hit me that I could knit myself a
new titty; in fact, I had so much yarn I could knit
myself a different titty for every day of the week,
I finished my first knitted
titty an hour before the party and wore it with one
of my favorite lacy underwires. When a friend, who
had been following the whole titty saga, saw me she
remarked, "You really did a great job! Your left
breast looks almost as good as the right one -- a
bit lumpy but very realistic."
"You know," I replied,
"It was my right breast that was removed."
|A[B, C, D, DD] Cup
Butterfly Super 10 Cotton (100% mercerized
cotton; 250yds/230m per 100g skein); 1 skein
Note: 111yds/100m will make
2 Tits. Any soft DK weight yarn may be used. Samples
are knit in Berroco Cotton Twist with Sirdar Gigi;
Butterfly Super 10; Crystal Place Chenille; Crystal
Palace Labrador; Needful Yarns Feeling held together
1 set US #6/4mm double-point needles
1 set US #5/3.75 mm
Small split ring marker
or safety pin
Sharp tapestry needle
Decorative shank button
for "nipple" (I find vintage buttons work
Stuffing (cotton fleece
or polyester fiberfill)
Small weight, like
a smooth stone
|22 sts/24 rows = 4 in
stockinette st in stockinette stitch, before felting
[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations
can be found here]
Breasts aren't exact sizes,
despite what the lingerie industry would have us believe.
Don't hesitate to adjust the number of stitches in
the pattern to make a Tit that is the right size for
The pattern can be personalized
and embellished to match your bras, clothes or occasion.
Last winter, I knit myself an après tobbagan
titty in striped bright purple and lime green Iceland
(no, it didn't itch) to wear while sipping hot chocolate
at the café with my kids after a hard day on
You can use less expensive
yarns like mercerized cotton with lycra for making
everyday titties, and splurge on more expensive yarns
for special occasions, like handpainted cashmere to
go with the handpainted cashmere wrap you are made
to wear to the yarn frolic.
note about the weight
This weight will keep the tit bit from bouncing
about in your bra. I use small smooth stones that
I have collected as weights. When I make Tit Bits
for other breast cancer survivors, I write the Chinese
character for opportunity to remind them that breast
cancer has given them a unique opportunity to learn
and grow. When I make them for women who are just
starting their breast cancer journey I will write
"hope" and "courage" I also include
a lucky penny, so that their journey will be an auspicious
and not an arduous one.
Warning: Do not wear
a Tit Bit with a weight onto an airplane, as it may
be confiscated as a dangerous projectile. Make
yourself a non-weighted travel titty instead.)
CO required number of
sts onto a dpn. K all sts.
Instead of turning the work around to work back on
the WS, slide all sts to the other end of the needle,
switch the needle back to your left hand, bring the
yarn around the back of the work, and start knitting
the sts again. After the first 2 sts, give the yarn
a sharp tug.
Repeat this row to form I-cord.
to the kind women at The
Knitting Experience in Brunswick, ME,
here's a tip for making your Tit Bits in one
For the one piece version,
you just purl two rows at the end of the front
piece, then start decreasing (k2tog) one stitch
before the end of each needle, essentially
reversing the front shaping. Stop when you
have 12 sts left. Cut the yarn, leaving a LONG
tail. Thread the tail through the remaining
sts. You can then stuff it through the hole
and draw the stitches closed.
For our donated boobs, we
leave the hole open so that the women can do
a fitting and then seam it shut themselves.
Using larger needles, CO 3 sts. Work 2 rows of I-Cord.
Variation: If you don't want to use
a bead or button nipple, knit 1.5 - 2 inches of
I-Cord. This cord can be knotted when the boob is
finished. It will look like a nipple through your
*Work one more row of I-Cord, increasing as follows:
kfb in each st. 6 sts.
Divide sts between 3 double-point needles, in preparation
to begin working in the round. Place marker in first
Next Round: [K to last st on needle, m1,
k1] around. 3 sts increased.
Repeat this round 19[21, 25, 27, 29] times more.
66[72, 84, 90, 96] sts (22[24, 28, 30, 32] sts on
P 2 rounds. BO all sts.*
You will now have what looks like a small, sweet
triangular hat (or in the words of my breast surgeon
who is Jewish, "A very badly made kippah").
Don't worry; it will make a perky breast!
Using smaller needles, CO 3 sts. Work 1 row of I-Cord.
Work from * to * as for Outer Piece.
With wrong sides together,
sew edges of pieces together, leaving a space open
Turn right side out and stuff,
using as much or as little stuffing as you like. One
side (the Inner Piece) of the Tit Bit should be flat,
the other side perky but pliable. If it "stands
at attention", or looks like a mutated balloon,
you have overfilled it.
Embed weight carefully in
stuffing. Sew edge of Tit closed.
the Outer and Inner pieces together through the center,
so that the back is concave and does not sit against
the scar and chafe or irritate it.
Attach a small decorative
bead or button for the "nipple", or knot
the I-cord and sew in place. (If you have made the
I-cord nipple, and always wanted a pierced nipple,
you could put a small ring or stud in your Tit's nipple.)
Block by soaking your Tit in warm water and soap flakes,
rinse thoroughly, and gently squeeze and shape. Allow
to dry completely. Pop it into your bra and wear it
A Cautionary Note:
If you have made a truly original tit bit, and want
to show it to others, please do so in the privacy
of your own home. I have a friend who used to take
her out in public all the time. "See my tittie?
See? See?" Then she met a cop at her LYS who
informed her that what she was doing was technically
considered "flashing" and therefore against
Beryl Tsang lives in
Toronto with her family (a husband, two children,
a snake and a fish). She is the founder and
Chief Executive Knitter of Tit
Bits: Hand Knitted Breasts.