Back to that red Spanish hat. Several people wrote in with comments that deserve further testing.
First, Nancy and Jean suggested that it might have been done with two-end knitting or Tvndsstickning (also called Twined Knitting). I haven’t played with this technique yet, but from the appearance of the side sporting the standings in this Knitty article, I have my doubts on its application for this purpose. It looks like each individual stitch in this technique bears a wrap. The Spanish Hat clearly shows longer floats that wrap several stitches together. The twined/two-end knitting technique does look very interesting, and could clearly be used not only to make the double thick fabric for which it is justly famed, but might also have additional decorative implications if the twisting was shunted from back to front and vice versa, following a simple geometric pattern. But I don’t think it was employed on this hat.
Tamar (of the infinite needlework library) also wrote with another simpler suggestion. She was able to get a closer look at the bottom edge of the hat in the V&A’s picture. She says:
Especially at the bottom of the picture on the V&A site,
you can see the wrap yarn coming directly from the bottom
of the knit stitch to the right. So the wrap goes
immediately in front of a group of stitches.
I haven’t tested it, but perhaps the wrap is done first
around the previous row’s stitches, and then they are
This makes sense, and would probably be a bit less fiddly than knitting and then the wrapping in the same row method I posited on Friday. I’ll test out both wrapping methods, possibly tonight, to see. If all goes well, I’ll put down my lace shawl and do up a quick hat pattern using my findings. It would be highly cool to reverse engineer a knitting technique of the 1700s, and rescue it from historical obscurity!