Wednesday 18 February 2015

1806 - Cantab Hat

I am making my way into millinery (yes, another thing on the "what to do if you can't fit clothes"-list)...

Without any special reason I made the Cantab Hat (1806) by Lynn McMasters ( It is apparently inspired by Napoleonic Polish Lancers and Cambridge Graduates' hats. (although I have to say I didn't find convincing pictures of either of them...). The pattern in this form is no longer available, they are split into 2 patterns - the Cantab Hat and the Regency bonnets.

So how did it turn out?

I started, as recommended, with a cardboard mock-up. And thank goodness I did, because it was HUGE!!  I could pull the whole hat with greatest ease over my ears and looked less than graceful. As I was still determined to make the hat I just had to adjust it, right. With all those curved lines, squares, circles.... right. It worked out ok in the end.

What doesn't help is, that I am not a particular fan of her instructions. I really love her work, but when it comes to explanations, my brain seems to work differently and it takes me ages to understand what she actually wants. And like with the Victorian hats, I ended up assembling the pieces in a different way anyway.

Basically, all I need from the pattern are the pieces themselves and the rest is learning by doing.  Although it is a bit sad if you have a package like that and you just feel like chucking out the instructions.

Anyway, here is the hat,
I have made it in black cotton velvet and added a bit of  white feather decoration. (this time excellent explanation with pictures on her homepage .) I caused a giant mess with cutting the feathers though. I still feel a bit like a chicken. Or Ostrich. :)
The hatband and lining is black cotton voile (also attached in a slightly different way...). It should have been silk charmeuse, but I didn't have any. I've also added a few black ribbons so the feathers don't feel to alone.

the white pompom is not so easy to spot in front of the grey door... sry... I am also NOT sporting a 1806 hairdo... and I couldn't find any hat needles... so... imagination required! :)

I am really sorry I don't seem to be able to take good photographs... but I think it is clearly a hat. :)

edit 21.2.15:
I just HAD to do some more research on hats of this shape, as the pattern doesn't really give any sources or examples. This is what I found, it's not much, but then again it is SOMETHING and there might be more out there... It just sort of proves, that this sort of shape is possible. Although I would put the date rather later towards 1814 or so... but well...

1816: (not much of a brim and higher)
1816:  (no big brim and higher)
1813:  (a lot higher BUT made from Velours/velvet)
1814: (this one has the best ressemblance, but made from straw) 
1806 (wider brim)

Monday 16 February 2015

getting into knitting... and crocheting.. but WHY?...

So, my 2015 project "learning how to knit (and crochet) properly" has begun.

Some of you might ask "why on earth is she doing this? Why can't she just stick to sewing?"

And there are even several answers to this question!

1. Because sewing and made to measure garments just don't make sense when you are 9 months pregnant or still have the "post-baby-belly" (for those of you not so familiar with physical changes in pregnancy remember the old saying "9 month the belly comes, 9 months the belly goes" - which adds up to 18 months of weird sizes - ideally -) - and i don't want/need that much of maternity clothes...
2. Because the children don't need that many clothes...
3. Because I couldn't resist learning something new...
4. Just LOOK at the woodland knits book, HOW can you not?!? (and theres another one just begging me to have  a look into it: botanical knits by Alana Dakos. And then you could indulge in estonian lace knits and faire island knits and norwegian patterns and and and...
5. Because for my vintage-inspired wardrobe I could do with a few of those knitted or crocheted tops/blouses ... and you can still get original instructions - what could be better? I've even seen a pattern for a 1930s crochet swim suit... Irresistable!! :) (yes, that's the real reason, really, but I am not yet couragous enough to start on those...)
My first project after the warming up phase (woolly hats) are mitts. They are knitted in a basic lace-pattern (Ajourmuster) in blue merino wool.  Never done mitts or Ajour before...

I am using the book "stricken basisc" by Stephanie van der Linden (a German publication, knitting proper stuff in English will be the next step). It's a basic techniques book for beginners with a few nice projects and lots of explanations. Her instructions are clear and easy to follow and the pictures that go with the intructions are really helpful. Very recommendable. They also have instructions for left-handed knitting.

My next projects are from the book "woodland knits" by Stephanie Dosen and are a lot more challenging. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of techniques involved, that the basic knitting book doesn't include, but I am going to consult youtube and and generally the internet for that. If I don't challenge myself, I will only knit garter stitch, so... I am going to learn how to knit cables, how to wrap and turn and how to knit 4 below... I might end up knitting upside down altogether. :)

Also, I think it will take me so long to master these techniques, that until then the baby bump should be ... well... considerably reduced I hope. I don't dare to hope it will go back to "before".

So, we can all look forward to weird knitted and crocheted accessoires and in the end, hopefully, vintage pattern inspired blouses/tops or even a swimsuit. ;) 

Now, if that's not a bunch of really good reasons, I don't know what to say!

Monday 9 February 2015

monmouth cap and another one... knitting...

I've started knitting again... to get into it, I chose 2 quick and easy projects (even matching the cold snowy winterweather finally...)

4 years ago I have knitted the monmouth cap ... and then it got lost... so after contemplating (for about another year) I have decided to knit another one. :) Same instructions, even the same yarn. You can find the link to the instructions on the internet
They are quite clear and straight forward, so nice to follow. There is also a bit of info on the history of the Monmouth Cap (dating back to the 15th century).
I really like hemmed brim, if you fold it up (like on the picture) it gives the ears triple protection against cold and wind. Really does the trick and looks good.

The perfect model for winter hats.
Easy but nice project. :) 

I also made a hat for Miss L., as usual she hates new things, but I really really like it. The colours remind me of blackforest gateau (yummy). It's just a rectangular piece knitted in garter stitch. Then sewn together at sides and top and 2 pompoms attached. Ready. I am a bit jealous (again... as usual...)..

I just can't get him to look more enthusastic, sry...