ScotWars - Scottish Military History and Re-enactment
Bonnet Knitting Pattern

This pattern is an adaptation of one found in the Plimoth Plantation book of 17th Century Knitting Patterns. It took two attempts to convert the Americanisms to British conventions, but this version gives a damned fine bonnet!

Materials: You need two hanks of Rowan Magpie in shade ‘Steam’ – shade 316 (woad blue). For an 18th century version, use shade ‘Admiral’ – shade number 504. This wool gives 100g weight = approx 140m length, so another comparable wool will probably do just as well (but no guarantees, and nae refunds!). You will use between 1½ and 2 hanks You will also require one set of four double ended needles size 4½ mm, one circular needle in size 4½ mm, not less than 80 cm long and a crochet hook about the same size. Note that if you do not use the recommended yarn, beware if your own choice of yarn is not marked machine washable. If it is, it will not felt and it will not shrink! Rowan is available from John Lewis Partnership stores, Needle & Thread, 2-3 Peacock Mews, Leighton Buzzard, Beds, LU7 8JH (tel 01525-376456) or try for on-line wool supplies.

Sizes: A finished, unwashed bonnet of 14½ inch diameter (224 stitch circumference) will shrink in a 40°C wash to about 13 inch. A 216 stitch circumference will shrink to about 12½ inch diameter. 208 - 12"; 200 - 11½ "; 192 - 11". A finished diameter of 12½ to 13" is about standard, and the 12" figures here are given in bold. If you are not using Rowan yarn, I recommend testing a patch of knitting about 4 inches square. Measure it accurately, then wash it in 40°C gentle wash. If it is identical when it comes out and dries, try standard 40°C. If that has no effect, go to 50°C. You want the surface to fluff up and the work to shrink to fit.

To make:

Row 1: Cast on 8 stitches onto one needle, leaving a tail of yarn about 8 inches long.
Row 2: Knit the next row increasing one stitch in each stitch, to give 16 stitches in all. Spread these stitches across three needles and join the work into a circle.
Row 3: *Knit 1, increase in next stitch*. Repeat between *’s around, to give 24 stitches
Row 4: Knit
Row 5: *Knit 1, increase in next stitch, Knit 1*. Repeat between *’s around, to give 32 stitches
Row 6: Knit. Mark every 4th stitch with a thread to give 8 sections, and make the thread marking the start of the first section distinctive (longer, different colour or whatever). You can use proprietary plastic markers, or simply small safety pins.

Continue increasing 8 stitches every other row, spreading each progressive increase evenly between the markers. This prevents the ‘wedge of cheese’ effect of having all the increases at the same points. When the work is big enough, move it onto the circular needle. When necessary, remark your 8 sections. Continue until there are 28 [27][26] [25][24] stitches on each section (224 [216][208] [200][192] stitches in total) depending on size required. Knit one row without increasing. Remark eight evenly sized sections.
Next row: *Within each section, decrease by one stitch by knitting two stitches together, so as to reduce by 8 stitches in total. Knit one row without decreasing.* Repeat between *’s until there are 14 stitches left in each section (112 stitches in total).

Make hat band by rib by knit 1, purl 1 for four rows. Knit one row. Rib by knit 1, purl 1 for a further four rows.
Cast off, leaving sufficient length to hem band (2½ yards).
Turn rib to outside along knit row, and with a crochet hook loosely (to allow headband to stretch) chain stitch hem down.

Finish off centre of bonnet with the tail of yarn, to close any hole left at the beginning of the work.

Wash bonnet at 50°C on a standard machine cycle to felt it slightly and to shrink it. At this temperature the dye in the wool does not bleed. Allow to dry flat. If required, insert a drawstring into the hat band and adjust to fit.

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