Pam, friend and millinery model

Completed on 21 March 2007

My friend, Pam, is modeling the green felted beret and mittens. This was a fun knit, which began with my favorite green merino, which is especially good for felting.

I knit my basic, generic beret (a trial-and-error pattern that I've been using for my Fair Isle tams) but larger than normal, a full 12 inches in diameter before felting. (A normal adult tam or beret should be about 10 inches in diameter, after finishing.)

I distributed the sts on six DPNs then dec with a k2tog before each needle, to form the spiral star.

The mittens were a lot of fun. Make sure to make the mittens quite a bit wider and longer than usual, because they really shrink when you toss them in the washing machine! And, remember that they shrink greater in length than width.

After knitting what is essentially a sock without a heel, snip one st and unravel for thumb opening.

Here is one mitten with the thumb, and one without. This is before I tossed them in the washing machine.

My friend, Pam, was also a great model at my millinery catwalk show in June 2006. Here she is modeling a headpiece that I designed and made, consisting of 240 turkey feathers, all individually cut, hand dyed, re-cut, then hand painted, and mounted, one by one, onto a wire frame. My millinery collection for that catwalk show had a 1939 theme, and Pam is wearing her mother's vintage dress from the era, in black velvet with organza bodice.

And here's Pam at Royal Ascot, wearing a headpiece I designed and made to specifically match her black silk dress with white floral print.

The headpiece consists of two black straw shapes hand-blocked over vintage wooden millinery blocks, then wired and bound with white petersham (ribbon). I wanted the headpiece to be interesting from any angle (most hats aren't designed that way), and so I created a coque feather flower on one side and a split white turkey feather on the other side.

Knitting specs:

Directions for the green felted mittens:

Patons brand Classic Wool Merino in leaf green (vert feuille!) color number 240.

You will need a good two skeins for the mittens. (For the beret and mitten ensemble, I used three and a half skeins.)

With 4.25mm Brittany birth DPNs, cast on 36 sts.

Knit a 1x1 ribbing for 4 inches.

Increase to 44 sts.

Knit in the round for 9 inches.

From the cast on edge to the top should measure a total 13 Inches.

Now, decrease for the top of the mitten, in your preferred method, as you would with a sock toe. Graft final stitches so now you have, basically, a sock without a heel.

Where you believe your thumb should be, get your nerve up and, with scissors, cut just one stitch. Unravel horizontally until there are 7 live stitches on both sides. Place those sts on 2 parallel DPNs.

Attach a new yarn by just looping it around or knotting.

Knit across the first 7 sts. Pick up an additional 3 stitches at the corner. Knit across the final 7 sts. Pick up an additional 3 sts at the corner.

Transfer thumb to three DPNs.

There are a total 20 sts as you knit the thumb. Knit in the round then decrease in your favorite sock toe way.

Remember to knit the thumb rather long since during the felting process, the knitting always shrinks more lengthwise than widthwise.

To felt, throw the mittens in the washing machine with a towel for friction and good wool laundry soap.

Say a prayer.

Wash but do not tumble dry. The felt will be denser if you allow the mittens to dry flat, naturally.

Once the mittens are completely dry, if necessary, you can felt in the washing machine again. I felted these green mittens twice, and I was surprised by how significantly (additionally) they felted the second time around.

Enjoy your felted mittens.

Make a snowman.

Throw a snowball.

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