Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Peterson's Hood from 1861

Peterson’s Magazine, September 1861, Vol. XL, No. 3, pages 223-224

I have sudden need of a warm, mid-19th century head covering. Since this hood with its long “strings” does double duty as keeping one’s neck wrapped up, too, I settled on this pattern especially after reading it through and finding out that it is all mindless knit rows (garter stitch) one after another. Quick and easy project, I thought.

I have a new procedure before I start any new pattern, namely, check on Ravelry to see if anyone has already knit it. This I did and compared various yarns, needle sizes and experiences of several people who have made this hood. A run through the posts on this hood in the two CW Needleworkers Yahoo groups yielded more useful information.

The original pattern calls for “Shetland” (lace weight) wool in blue and white. I happen to have loads of that in my stash but I didn’t want to use it as a) I need this hood very soon and the Shetland was not immediately accessible at 10 pm on the night I was starting this project, b) I worried that it might come out too small (as one person had complained) and there was/is no time to rip and knit the hood again and c) I recently purchased some Lion Brand’s Fishermen’s Wool which is actually more of a DK weight rather than a heavy one, and could start knitting immediately as I had it at hand and, perhaps, more reliably in terms of tension/gauge. The colours are Oatmeal and Brown Heather, two natural wool shades.

"No. 4 wooden pins of the bell gauge size are used for this knitting” states the pattern. The modern equivalent would be 5.5mm/9 US. I tried that size and worked my way up to 6mm/10 US with a tension/gauge of 4 stitches to the inch which, gave me the needed measurements to go round my face and strings long enough to tie comfortably. To do the latter, however, I had to add 20 more stitches to each side of the strings, increasing from 40 to 60. Longer strings match the illustration, too.

Still thinking that I could whip the hood up in a few days, I started knitting and four episodes into Brideshead Revisited, plus the mini-documentary, and quite a few Radio 4 programmes later, I am almost finished with the first piece of mind-numbing knitting, which is why my choice of electronic companionship and encouragement had to be stimulating and gorgeous to look at (language, clothing, architecture, furniture, landscape and the young Anthony Andrews.) Once completed, I get to knit the whole bally thing again but at least this time with the added excitement of changing colours in the middle of the piece.

With five days to go.....................................


Alwen said...

Those old patterns are always an adventure, aren't they? It'll be fun to see it when it's finished.

Eileen said...

Reminds me of the 20s sweater I wanted to knit last year. From a pattern in the old magazine itself...I even bought the magazine with making the sweater in mind.

Four gauge swatches, two days of rolling yarn and 4 needle sizes later I gave up and knit a 30s sweater from a book I'd already owned!

(When the designer has been dust for a few decades, I guess you can't write her to complain of errata!)

...but it looks like you're on the right track. I hope you'll show us the finished piece. I'd love to see it!

andrea.at.the.blue.door said...

I don't feel so alone now with my endless hug-me-tight garter stitch project. Just finishing off the first wrap-over front now, which was materially aided by Juliet Stevenson reading Jane Eyre to me. You'll have your hood done long before my hug-me-tight is ready to wear.

One More Stitch said...

Thanks for the encouragement and shared stories. I'm still knitting and knitting.

Did I mention all of the sewing involved in this project, too? More of that in the final blog entry!!!!

Secesh1860 said...

The only thing I'd comment about changing from lace weight to DK weight is that you are going to find this very heavy and bulky, I'm afraid...the pattern makes this four layers thick, and with lace it is incredibly warm, "cushy", and yet lightweight...four layers of a DK weight are going to be very different.

One More Stitch said...

I agree. It is a tad bulky but I need something very warm and something that would knit up quickly.

I will be making this again, in a laceweight wool, when I have more time. I am thinking that this would be a good summer project as it is totally mindless and can be knit in the dark or a low light which is how I do my summer evening knitting since I cannot stand the heat of a lamp near me then.

Hugh Yeman said...

"I worried that it might come out too small (as one person had complained)"

Well that just goes to show you how much smaller people used to be, yes? (sorry, I couldn't resist)

"...stimulating and gorgeous to look at (language, clothing, architecture, furniture, landscape and the young Anthony Andrews.)"


Anonymous said...

Where could I find the pattern for this hood?

Anonymous said...

I have made this hood mostly with sport weight , one layer doubled. I like it on the smaller side to hug face keeping out cold winter wind. If i don't have sufficient yarn I have "lined" the hood with wool for warmth.