Monmouth Cap Planning

Your majesty says very true: if your
majesties is remembered of it, the Welshmen
did good service in a garden where leeks did
grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps;
~ William Shakespeare, Henry V, Scene VII

One (believed) extant example of a Monmouth cap was described in detail by Kirstie Buckland in Costume.  It is described as being knit with a 2-ply wool with approx. 2 stitches per inch, dyed a dark brown after or during felting.  Knit in the round, all in stocking stitch, it has a double brim knit together at the edge, a loop, and a small ‘button’ at the top.  It is helmet-shaped, and knit using ‘multiples of ten and twenty’.

Image from of a Monmouth Cap - I'm not sure if this is the one Buckland is talking about but it is certainly similar to what she describes. It doesn't look all that felted, though.

I tried to find a modern yarn that best matched the description above, and settled on Cascade Lana Grande – a two-ply, 100% wool yarn, with a gauge of 2 stitches per inch.  I chose a natural/off-white colour.  I will use black walnut dye to get it a dark brown (I hope).  I’m knitting it large and hoping it will felt up.

Categories: Knitting | Tags: , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Monmouth Cap Planning

  1. Poke Giovanni and maybe we will remember to bring ink or black walnut juice Sunday.

  2. We’ve been having a discussion about Tudor(ish)-era knit cap production in the Historic Knitters’ group on Ravelry. One of the contributors was granted some time to examine the extant cap housed at the Nelson Museum in Monmouthshire, and says that it could have been knit from the top down. She’s also examined other knit caps from around the same time period, and the yarn weights vary from the chunky stuff used for the Nelson cap down to something similar to modern sport-weight yarn.

    I’d love to see pictures and compare notes!

    • I will have to check out that group.

      I have re-cast on the cap on smaller needles, and I am getting a much nicer size with the same 59 stitch circumference. The knit is tighter, and the hat will be just a bit too large (perfect to allow for a little fulling in the dyebath).

      I’d been thinking about re-starting from the top down, and then picking up stitches to do the inner brim. It would look the same as the picture, and better explain how the loop was done (with the tail yarn rather than halfway through the brim).

      I’ll post pictures as soon as I have anything to show.

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