Part of David's Renaisssance Faire garb for this year -- for I wasn't the only one this year who wanted to dress for it, so I am at the moment sewing like a madwoman -- is to include what is generally known as a Tudor or Elizabethan flat cap. Of course I had seen the July/August 2012 issue of Piecework with the "Good Dame Eve's Cap" pattern written up by Joanne Watson, "inspired by a Tudor cap from Wollaton Hall in Nottingham, England". I promptly sent off for two skeins of the Manos del Uruguay Clasica, and began to knit. Unfortunately, as I've said elsewhere, I got to the end of the wool before I got to the end of the hat: I then shook my fist and ordered another skein from Jimmy Beans, wh. arrived within a few days, and the hat was done the next afternoon.
I suspect now that this is why I ran short --
I weighed the new skein just out of curiosity -- glad I did now. So as it turned out, the finished hat weighed before felting 193g -- which not coincidentally would be 2 skeins' worth if the skeins had actually weighed 100g, so it's not the pattern -- I used 26g of the third skein, which by my calculations makes the first two skeins more or less 83.5g each. I used every bit of wool in the first two skeins, as well -- spliced the joins and wove in the ends -- so it's all there.
When the new skein arrived and had been balled up and ready to go, I realized that I didn't much like the narrow-on-one-side, wide-on-the-other brim in the magazine photograph,
which doesn't really show up if you only look at it and think "Tudor hat, great!" like I did, and don't examine it carefully -- so I worked the alternate version of the pattern, the folded-brim one.
The only modification I made was to use a three-needle bind-off, instead of binding off and sewing down the turned edge. Since I already had put in a "life line" at the beginning of the brim, picking up a row of stitches at that point was fairly simple. I don't know much about the period accuracy of a three-needle bind-off in this manner, but there it is. It makes a lovely sharp crease there, just where one is wanted. I might have put a purl row at the point where the hat part goes from increasing to decreasing, if I'd felt more devil-may-care about authenticity, actually.
(Notice the color difference between the skeins of the Clasica. Pity the lighter one wasn't the third skein. Oh well.)
The shape of the finished hat is a little irregular, due to the straight section at the start (just above the brim). This gives it a sort of mushroom-y shape, not with the sharp increase-section/decrease-section look that you see in some paintings -- more like the third hat in the paintings below than the second one.
I pressed and steamed it like anything to try and get it to lie flatter on the top than the spiral decreases really wanted to do, as I'd had in mind something rather flatter, more I guess like this one from the Museum of London --
but the Good Dame Eve's Cap is a quick knit (with enough wool ...) and makes a good choice for impulsive Ren-Faire garb.
Notice in the Museum of London hat that the brim is split, which to my eye makes a very fetching hat. I can't help looking at this one and thinking, "hmm, finer wool of course, irregularly-spaced decreases at the crown," and wondering what I've got in my stash that I could tinker with. There are probably dozens of flat hats like this in the Museum of London alone, many photographed like this one, and of course the flat hat appears again and again in paintings. One of the reasons for its popularity was, I suspect, the ease with which the style lends itself to variations. Here are a few I've found --
Ludger tom Ring, "Portrait of a Man" (1566). Interesting that part of the cap seems to have been painted out. It looks like the brim is fur and the top is not -- velvet, perhaps? and thus eminently scrunchable, as this man seems to have done. (I am fascinated by the detail in this portrait: the button loops, the lines of silver embroidery on the doublet, the visible stitching on the white lining of the jacket.)
Oh, here is the artist, in fact --
Ludger tom Ring (German, not Dutch as I'd suspected) in a 1547 self-portrait. Isn't it interesting how you find faces that seem to cross the centuries. This is partly his looking straight at the viewer, I think -- it gives the portrait a modern directness.
John Bettes, "Portrait of a Man" (1545). This man wears his cap much lower on his head than the first two men.
Hans Holbein the Younger, "Portrait of Thomas Cromwell" (1532-33). Difficult to see, with the black against a dark background, but I suspect it is the same type of flat hat, worn pulled down low over his forehead.