I do research on and recreate garments and objects from the past. My sources range from original items to photographs in books, periodicals, art works, literary references and period patterns. My research also involves the history of knitting needles and related implements.
The portrait in the corner is by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842) of Elisabeth Alexeyevna (?), location and ownership unknown.
Although I define most of my passions dating from the long 18th century, I am also interested in Celtic and Viking history and culture. The first garments I made, after leaving off knitting for my toys, as well as simple caps, scarves and mittens in my teens, was a series of Arans. Thus it is an easy leap to Elsebeth Lavold’s book, Viking Patterns for Knitting (1998) which contains many, many beautiful things to knit as well as lots of fascinating reading. Like the pattern for the Sideways Spencer (http://historyknits.blogspot.com/2008/02/sideways-spencer.html), Lavold’s patterns blend history with knitting. I knit the Hervor cap in Tahki Yarns Kerry (sage green/2 skeins), 5.0mm/8US needles. I am not all that keen on lots of purl side fabric on the outer side so I reversed the pattern and did a plain/stockinette stitch for the outside of the cap, made the top a tad puffier (in an attempt to avoid *hat hair*) and widened the outside band by two extra rows, also not in purl. I would, however, like to do the hat again, this time in a tweed wool, following the original pattern more closely as I think the purl stitch outer fabric would look better with a tweedy wool. As I was working, however, with a blend of alpaca and wool with a bit of a halo, I preferred a flatter stitch. In finishing, instead of the purled and tacked hem around the face, I knit four rows and folded the edge over, and knit that into a existing row giving the cap a rolled brim.
I love this hat, the wool, the pattern. I first wore it, in fact, before I had sewn in all of the ends, tucking them inside, during a snow emergency. It is very, very warm and snow resistant. I couldn’t just wear the hat, though, so I made a pair of matching mittens using the same cable pattern, “Lattice repeat” on the same size needles Instead or a ribbed cuff, I gave the mittens the same rolled brim as I did with the Hervor cap. The thumb has a draw-string top closure and the palm of the mitten is plain , the whole ending in a point which rounds out around my fingers when I am wearing the mitten.