Making the Gentleman's Cap was not completely pain free. In some cases my experience helped and in some cases the wording that they used made it harder to understand. As I said last week, there are no pictures or even drawings in this book to compare my work to.
Let's start out with the stitch.
This pattern is done entirely in what they call double crochet. Since this book was described on the cover as "From the Latest London Edition" I am assuming that they're using what we generally refer to now as UK terms and we would refer to that stitch as a single crochet. It wasn't too difficult to confirm this because they tell you (sort of) how to make these two stitches. The first one is how they make a muffatee (a wrist warmer). The second one seems to be just a stitch description.
The fiber they suggest using is German lambs' wool or 3 ply fleece in dark brown, scarlet and light green. I used Vanna's Choice 100% acrylic yarn in Espresso, Scarlet and Martha Stewart yarn in Eucalyptus. All are worsted weight yarns leaning towards the heavier side of worsted. The hook they suggest is a coarse ivory hook.
I'm including their directions and I'll tell you how I interpreted it.
"Make a chain rather longer than the circumference of the cap required". What does "rather longer" mean? This one took a couple of attempts. To start, I read the whole pattern and realized that the color pattern is a 5 stitch pattern so I used a multiple of 5 +1. The first attempt was 76 chains since that seemed longer than the circumference of my head. After getting about 6 rounds in I realized this was going to be pretty big so I started over with 71 chains. For me, rather longer = about 5 more chains than the circumference of my head. I joined the ends together, chained 1 and did three rows of brown single crochets. It doesn't say whether you should join the rounds or work them in a spiral so I went with joining to the first single crochet in the round, making a chain 1, and starting the next round.
"Prepare for working with the scarlet wool by fastening it on a few stitches before you want to use it in the following manner" This is from the second paragraph above. Then they use a lot of words to tell you to crochet over the unused yarn every other stitch. I probably would gone over the unused yarn in every stitch but this is fine.
"Crotchet 3 brown and 2 scarlet stitches alternately for 3 rounds." I wasn't sure that meant they wanted me to do 3 brown and 2 scarlet in one row and then alternate to 3 scarlet and 2 brown or just do 3 brown and 2 scarlet in each row. I tried the first way and then realized they were looking for spots in the next sentence (good thing I read it so carefully the first time) so I ripped that out and did three rows of 3 stitches in brown and 2 in scarlet so they lined up and would look like spots. Then I did the next three rounds in brown. Now you can see the pattern!
"Fasten on the scarlet again for another strip and make the spots green". I fastened on the scarlet and immediately started doing the color changes which was, of course, wrong. To make it look like spots I need the three rows of red first just like the section below. When they said, "strip" they meant the entire 9 row pattern. I ripped that first row of scarlet and green out and did 3 rows of scarlet, then 3 rows of color change and then 3 more rows of scarlet. This is where I suddenly noticed that they didn't tell you how to change colors and when to add that new color to the stitch. They assume you don't know how to carry yarn but do know how to change colors.
"Continue thus to vary the colors until the cap is about 6 inches long". I decided the next row would be green with brown spots and got close to 6 inches after the first three rows of green.
"Then begin to decrease...by passing the needle through 2 stitches at once after every 6 stitches". I know multiple ways to decrease but I don't think you can pass the needle through 2 stitches at once except maybe in a post stitch? The only way I could think of that this made sense was what we now call an invisible decrease where you're picking up the front loop in each of the next two stitches. You aren't really doing them "at once" but it's closer than a more typical decrease so I did invisible decreases.
It ends with "and so on until you have very few stitches left. Fasten off with a cross stitch needle and sew on a tassel". Since I was so close to the top, I just did two additional rows in the green to finish it off and add a pom pom.
While this wasn't pain-free it wasn't terrible and the hat turned out looking like a hat.
Next week, I'll post their pattern rewritten in more modern terms along with a few adjustments that should make it a little easier. As we go through the year of Victorian patterns I may attempt to do this if I think the pattern would benefit from it and it's something people might want to make. If I don't do it for a pattern and it's something you would like to see, let me know and I might add it to the list.
Here's the rating:
Is the pattern easy to understand? I'm giving them credit for a least describing the stitch. It didn't start well with "rather longer" as a description for the starting chain. Overall it wasn't too difficult so I'll give it a 0.5
Does it look like the photo or drawing? There wasn't a drawing or a photo. I don't necessarily want to drop the rating for not having a photo so I'll give it a 0.5 if there isn't a photo.
Would someone wear this? Yes! 1.0
Did I enjoy making it? Yes. 1.0
This gets a 3 out of 4.
I'm from Minnesota and have been crocheting since 2003. I inherited a box full of Workbasket Magazines from my mother-in-law and became obsessed with the vintage patterns.