Monday, September 12, 2016

Museum Monday!

19th c Knit Beaded Baby Bonnet 63.1999.15
 This weeks Museum Monday lucky number is 63~ a wonderful early 19th c beaded baby cap or bonnet. I love these early caps~ they incorporate three of my favorite things~ knitting, babies....and beads!  It is hard to differentiate actual baby bonnets from those made for dolls~ tho the latter I have found thru research to come from later in the 19th c, the knitting more simple and done with a heavier thread, and beads much larger.  They usually contain much less beaded areas as well,  like a garland framing the face and neck edge only, and no beading at all on the crown.  Keep your eyes peeled for little beaded jackets as well, I have seen a couple!
 This colorful example is banded with a garland of pink rosebuds and leaves in several colors of greens. The beads are tiny glass seed beads, (what we call micro seed beads today and run apx 30 per inch) and were referred to in the era of the late 18th c to 1840's as "knitting beads".  One could knit a bonnet using the same method as knitting a purse~ the design was carefully thought out, and beads strung on the thread in the color order that they would be knit in~ keeping in mind that knitting rows are horizontal, traveling the width of the bonnet from neck edge over the head to neck was a monumental task in itself to get the beads on the thread in the right order they would be knit in, to not only make a design, but so that the colors would be in the right place once knit!

 Knitting a one color design was easier~ hundreds of green beads threaded on, and as the knitter needed, she would bring up a bead for that particular stitch. The knitting stitches are the same, one just brings up and uses a threaded bead as they go along

 The pinwheel pattern is a common favorite used for the crown of knit bonnets, as well as the bottom of beaded bags.
Showing the inside we can easily see the beads are knit within the bonnet, and not stitched on after. I have tried beaded knitting and let me say, it is quite challenging even with larger beads! To have a back this clean and nice, with no beads on the underside, is absolutely fantabulous!  I left this picture large so you can click on it to see the details~


Diane Guidice said...

Truly , truly amazing. What a lucky baby.

Patricia said...

Thank you for posting! I have a few and find that they are overlooked by people.