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© Knitty 2002-2006. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. This means you.


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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, month, year!

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."

photos: Beryl Tsang

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 Sirdar's Gigi.

1 set US #6/4mm double-point needles
1 set US #5/3.75 mm double-point needles
Small split ring marker or safety pin
Sharp tapestry needle
Decorative shank button for "nipple" (I find vintage buttons work best)
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 you.

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 the hill.

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.

A 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.
Next Row: 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.

New! Thanks to the kind women at The Knitting Experience in Brunswick, ME, here's a tip for making your Tit Bits in one piece:

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.


Outer Piece
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 bra.

*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 stitch.
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 each needle).
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!

Inner Piece
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 for stuffing.

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.

Tack 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 out!

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 the law.


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.