I have been working on a lot of caps lately and finishing up some that have been languishing on the needles for some time. The rust-coloured one was the first one I made from the pattern, Knitted 17th Century Cap with a Brim from Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts – www.plimoth.org
The commentary in the pattern booklet states that there was “a variety of brim styles” on the caps from the early 17th century, and that caps were sometimes”napped (brushed)” to create “a layer of fuzz” which was then “sheared or trimmed off,” rendering the stitches almost invisible and the cap looking more like one made of fabric rather than knitted.*
My caps are not brushed and the raised (purled) stitches make a nice decorative border along the rim of the cap.
The original pattern called for an Aran weight wool on 3.25mm/3 US needles at a gauge/tension of 5 stitches to the inch. I wanted to make a boy’s sized cap so I worked with a finer wool on 2.75/2 US needles but the cap came out too small even for a boy. I love the wool, though, an unnamed, hand-dyed handspun in that glorious shade, given to me so long ago, I have forgotten when and by whom, so I kept the cap as is as it is a very pretty little one and beautifully shows off the ripple effect along the brim.
I started the second cap in an Aran weight, circa 1970s from my stash, on the suggested sized needles with the required gauge/tension. I had, however, to switch wools again as the knitting was too tight, creating pains in my hands and arms up to my elbows, trying to work it. I changed to three strands of Morehouse Merino Lace in a pale mint green on 4.75mm/7 US to get the required 5 stitches to the inch. I also made this cap a bit taller.
This is a quick and easy cap to knit and I have no doubt that I will probably do another one on coarser wool when I get all of the other different caps currently on needles, off of their needles.
*Knitted 17th Century Cap with Brim, Plimoth Plantation 2004