26 November 2012

My Birgitta cap, the part that went well

Interlaced herringbone
Originally uploaded by Catrijn.
I'm always looking for low-maintenance ways to keep my hair covered at out of the way at events, plus I like funky hats in general. So I've had a reproduction of the St. Birgitta cap in the back of my mind for a while now. Since I was looking for a small, portable project, it seemed like the thing to do.

References: the article in Medieval Clothing and Textiles 4 is really good - recommended reading even with all the information that's available online. Karen Larsdatter has a collection of links for period illustrations and recreations.

First up: I have a big head, apparently. My pattern piece is substantially larger than the original, at 13 x 10.5 inches on the straight sides. But based on my mock-up, I don't think I'd want it any smaller.

I pulled out a little bit of really nice finely-woven linen I'd been saving, and started by hemming the two curved edges. Then I basted those edges down in parallel lines to a very stiff piece of cotton canvas in order to keep my spacing even. The interlacing herringbone worked up pretty quickly and easily. I ended up with five threads instead of the original six, because I got one of the cross directions wrong on the first thread I laid down, which meant the interlacing only worked right for an odd number. The only point of note was that I tended to pull the later threads tighter, so the opening is pulled smaller than I intended, and the first thread looks a bit loose and wobbly.

I needed a really long thread in order to work from end to end... to long for convenience, really, and some of them weren't actually long enough - the joins look kind of bad, too. If I was doing it again I might try working out in both directions from the middle, so I only had to deal with half the length at one time. Other than that, I really like how it looks at this stage. I was debating leaving it like this, and in retrospect I kind of wish that I had. But more on that next time...

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