Knitty: little purls of wisdom
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For almost as long as I've been a knitter, I've been fascinated by the history of knitting. I've especially enjoyed the mind-twisting process of working with the often obtuse and obfuscatory language of antique patterns. There's a thrill, I find, in watching a project emerge row by row and knowing that other knitters, long gone, followed the same path.

The process of decoding, testing and correcting isn't for everyone, though; and so in this column I hope to share the excitement of the journey by removing as many of the roadblocks as possible. You don't need to be a historian to come along -- just a knitter with a curious mind.

beauty shot

by Franklin Habit, translated from Columbia Yarns Knitting and Crochet Book (1903)











spacer model: G. Van Hyfte spacer photos: Franklin Habit




Cap (laid flat): 7 inches deep (excluding ribbing) x 8 inches high
Collar (laid flat): 5 inches high x 6 inches deep (unstretched)


spacer Universal Yarns Deluxe Worsted [100% wool; 220 yd/200m per 100g skein]; color: 41795 Nectarine; 2 skeins

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 US #5/3.75mm circular needle

spacer stitch marker
spacer scissors
spacer yarn needle


20 sts/20 ridges = 4 inches in garter stitch before blocking


[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]

To pick up stitches: insert tip of right needle into the bump of the purl ridge at the very edge of the work; do NOT knit this loop. This method avoids creating a ridge along the edge, making the hat more comfortable.

To pick up and knit stitches: insert tip of right needle into the edge of the work, wrap the yarn around the needle as if to knit, and pull up a stitch.

See this column from Teresa on picking up vs. picking up and knitting stitches for more information.


CO 20 sts.

Work in garter st (k all sts) for 28 ridges (56 rows). Turn work.

Back and Sides
With free end of ndl (that is, the end without the working yarn), beginning at CO end, pick up (see Pattern Notes) 25 sts along right selvedge. 45 sts.

Turn work and k across all sts.

As before, without turning work, use free (yarn-less) end of ndl to pick up 25 sts along left selvedge. 70 sts.

K across all sts.

Work in garter st on all sts for 35 more ridges (70 rows).

Using Knitted CO, CO 26 sts at the start of the next row. 94 sts.

Join to work in the round.
Ribbing round: [K2, p2] around.
Work as set for 34 more rounds.

BO loosely in pattern.

Front Band
At this point, the hat is reversible. Decide which side you prefer - this will be the RS.

With RS facing, beginning at any point that suits you, pick up and knit 116 sts evenly distributed around front opening. Join for working in the round, and place marker to mark beginning of round.

Ribbing round: [K2, p2] around.
Work as set for 15 more rounds, or until ribbing is 2 inches deep.
BO loosely in pattern.

Weave in ends. Soak and gently block, taking care not to stretch ribbing. Allow to dry completely.

Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press) and proprietor of the popular knitting blog The Panopticon.

He was drawn to the Uhlan Cap in part because he grew up on a military installation near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and ever since has had an unshakeable fondness for seamen.