I figured it was about time I put up one of my favorite historical hood patterns!
This winter hood is seriously one of the lightest and warmest hoods I’ve ever worn. It is hand knit with wool yarn, lined in smooth silk taffeta, and the border is ultra soft, fluffy, and wind blocking turkey down. Now on to the pattern!
Knitted Opera or Traveling Hood
Adapted from: Godey’ Lady’s Book & Magazine, 1862
1 Hank (1.8 oz) of Burgundy & Antique White
2 – Feathered Boa’s (These are special boas… not sold at craft stores)
2.5 yards 2 inch silk or poly ribbon
Size 2 knitting needles
Embroidery and Sewing Needles
Blocking Boards & Pins
Silk Thread and Silk Taffeta Fabric for Lining
Cotton for cord, or thin silk ribbon (tiny drawlstring)
Note: Want to use thicker yarn! That is fine, the pattern is created through measuring instead of counting rows!
Abbreviations and Stitches:
k = knit
kfb = increase, by knitting in the front and back of the loop
k2tog = decrease, by knitting 2 stitches together
Cast on 4 stitches
Row 1: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 2: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 3: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 4: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Change color: Don’t be confused by images, you are NOT doing stockinette!
Row 5: Tie on new color of yarn, knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 6: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 7: Knit both colors of yarn into first stitch, this will help you carry your yarn. Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 8: Knit till last stitch, kfb, swap colors
Row 9: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 10: Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 11: Knit both colors of yarn into first stitch. Knit till last stitch, kfb
Row 12: Knittill last stitch, kfb
Repeat rows 9 – 12: swapping colors every four rows, continue until you measure 21” wide on the side.
You are now half way done knitting your hood! Now instead of increasing at the end of the row, you will do a decrease. Like this
Row 1: Knit till last two stitches, k2tog
Row 2: Kni till last two stitches, K2tog
Row 3: Knit both colors of yarn into first stitch, knit till last two stitches, k2tog
Row 4: Knit till last two stitches, k2tog
Repeat decrease rows 1 – 4: swapping coors every four rows, continue until you have 4 stitches a the bottom. Bind off.
Yay!!! You have finished knitting your hood!
Blocking Your Hood
You will be using the water method to block your hood. Since you are working with wool, you must use cold water. This is because hot water could felt your wool.
You can block your wool in two methods. One is putting it in cold water, and gently wringing out all the water you can. The other method, is pinning your hood to a blocking board, and misting it with cold water from a spray bottle.
You should bock your hood to be 21’ x 21’
Step one: Round the top portion of your hood slightly, so that you don’t have a triangle forehead that flops all over the place. Do this by folding over the fabric and pinning.
Step two: Measure silk taffeta and cut. (Make sure it is 1 inch larger then your knitting, about 22 by 22 inches. This is so you have a half inch to fold under for all seams. You will be rounding the one corner so you don’t have a pointed head!
Why Line Your Hood– Most knit hoods are were not lined, so why do I recommend lining this hood? One, it is not double knit. So, it will be a thin and cold hood without the silk. Two, the silk is an excellent insulator, and great at blocking wind… even better than double knitting. Three, you need to add a drawl string to your hood, or it will fall off your head, and it looks better if you have a lining and casing… vs. weaving a drawlstring in and out of your work.
Don’t want to use silk? A light wool, or perhaps a cotton. Tight weave or a flannel would be great. You don’t want a thin broadcloth.
Step three: Sew on your taffeta!
Step four: Time to sew on that fuzzy boa! By the way, this will take forever! Try not to pin down your fluffies while sewing.
Step five: Sew a casing and add your drawlstring. I did mine about five inches from the bottom. This string will drawl the hood around your head, so that it doesn’t slip!
Step six: Sew on your fashionable 2″ silk or poly ribbons. I sewed mine about 2.5 inches from the bottom.
Step seven: Gather the very center of the hood. For me this was about 14 inches from the center and pointed bottom and rounded top. And about 10 inches from pointed both sides.
Step eight: Make a bow and attach it about 11 inches from the pointed bottom. Never made a ribbon bow before? Try with some ribbon you don’t care about first. It doesn’t have to be 2 inch ribbon, some 1 – 1.5 inch scrap would be fine.
Enjoy your winter hood!
A look into the historical pattern
I’ve had people ask my source for the turkey down: Swamsdown was what was used historically, and it is no longer sold today. Thus, turkey down is a substitute.
The historical pattern calls for two yards… but, you need closer to four yards of down, unless you are making a childs hood. Don’t fuss over your stitch count, just measure your work. However, your stitch count will be closure to 200 than 100.
Cerise is red. You can make you hood whatever color(s) you would like. I recommend staying away from heathers (use solid colors) as that is a more modern yarn type. Also, keep in mind feathered down only came in white.