Monday, May 04, 2009

Free Civil War Knitted Hood Pattern

OPERA HOOD (Godey's Magazine, December 1856)


Materials--Three ounces of pink or blue eight thread Berlin wool; a pair of large wooden knitting needles; two tassels, and one and a half yards of sarsnet ribbon, the same color.


CAST on 220 stitches, and knit a piece about seven inches deep. Cast off 50 stitches at each end of the knitting, and then do another piece of fourteen rows, knitting two stitches together three times at the end of every needle. After this, knit thirty rows, only decreasing by knitting two together once at the end of every needle. Now cast off ten at the beginning of each of the next two needles; knit eight rows more, decreasing one stitch at the end of each needle, and cast off. With single Berlin of the same color make a crochet lace for the back of the neck. Draw up the back; sew on the lace; add bows and floating ends for the back, and tassels at each end of the front. This front is intended to be rolled round, and tied underneath the chin. It will be found extremely simple, and most comfortable, not only for leaving a theatre or ball-room, but for travelling. It has the further advantage of being by no means unbecoming.



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A few notes on this pattern:


  • This is a good project for the beginning knitter who knows how to cast on, cast off, and decrease.

  • Once you get past the mind-numbing knitting of 7" at 220 stitches per row, you'll be done in no time.

  • For yarn, I used a DK weight yarn and feel like it provided a good gauge and length for the ties without having to alter the pattern.

  • For needles, I cast on with size 11 needles and knitted with size 10. I returned to the 11s to cast off the 50 stitches on each end, switching back to the 10s for the center of the row.
  • Where the pattern says "Cast off 50 stitches at each end of the knitting," you need to cast off 50 stitches at the beginning of each row. Use the size 10 needles.

  • I used a wide, double faced satin ribbon for the back (sarsnet is a type of silk).

  • For the tassels, I used a fingering weight wool to match the ribbon and made two 3" tassels, wrapping the yarn 100 times for each tassel.

  • I didn't bother with splitting the yarn to make a "single berlin." I just made two chains of about 50 stitches with a size E crochet hook.

  • For the brim, I simply tacked the bottom edge of the brim where the tassels attach, putting right sides together and gathering. The rest of the brim simply fold back softly from the face.

13 comments:

Steph Farra said...

Your blog is really awesome. I’ve been trying to knit a Civil War hood and it’s been coming along (very very very slowly.) Thanks so much for posting the additional comments, they helped a lot. For some reason it is really hard to post comments on your blog! The new window is formatted strangely and doesn’t let us resize it.

That's a 7-letter Deborah, never a Deb said...

Thanks! I don't know why the window might show up so large, but thanks again for the compliment.

Stephanie Ann said...

Sorry, I know I've posted before. I was wondering if you sold that dress you are wearing in that picture? I bought one secondhand that looks just like it! Now that my hood is finished, we have matching outfits. :D

Steph Farra

That's a 7-letter Deborah, never a Deb said...

Nope--still have the dress, although I got mine 2nd hand too :)
I'd love to see photos of your hood when you're done.

Elizabeth said...

I am having trouble figuring out how you draw up the back at the base of the neck. The ribbon kind of covers that, and I am having a difficult time figuring out where to make my chains.

That's a 7-letter Deborah, never a Deb said...

Basically, once you've knitted your hood, there should be a shallow U-shaped section between your two cast-off hood ties. I attached a cord to each corner of the U, then wove it through to the center back. I gently gathered the cords and tied in a bow. Hope that helps!

EmmaBlackar said...

I have the Godey's 1859 opera hood pattern.. however this one seems a lot simpler than that. Although I cast on less stitches (176 instead of the 220 this pattern calls for), since I've already got the the 'cast off 50 stitches each side' do you think it would work if I just followed this pattern the rest of the way? Or any thoughts as to how to modify it? Thanks so much! :)

That's a 7-letter Deborah, never a Deb said...

I would think you could just follow this pattern. My only concern would be that your ties might not be long enough to be effective. Basically, the ties (plus the weight of the tassels) serve to keep the hood on your head by draping over your shoulders.

EmmaBlackar said...

I can work around that part.. maybe some added length there after. Thanks! :)

Ms. Jessie said...

Finally finished my own personal hood- white with berry purple moire ribbon and matching tassels... I love it so much I'm wearing it anytime I can!

I've started on a second one and added an additional 20 sts, to cast off 60 sts for slightly longer ties, however. Otherwise this is probably one of the easiest hoods to make out of this era! I did a basic shell stitch along the back edge, also, to give it a finished look.

RibbonsAndPins said...

I did mine with size 15 needles. I liked how it layed with that size in wool. I did like the size 10 in cotton. The original pattern did not specify what size needles, just that they should be large... I did mine in tan with black tassles.

laura said...

How much yarn do you find you use? I started out using a worsted on 10's and went to 11's because I feared 8oz wouldn't be enough.

7-letter Deborah, never a Deb said...

I don't recommend worsted weight--I use sport weight. I use 3 skeins of Brown Sheep Nature Spun and have plenty left of the tassels and some to spare.