Knitting? I love it. So thankfully I have the opportunity to do some of it for the Am Rev War kit.
The knitted items that I use are basically caps, hose, and hand coverings.
I think 99% of these patterns are online. [If you knit? Ravelry
is the place to go to find a lot of these patterns. Site is free and AWESOME and there is an historic knitting group on the site.]
To not overburden the post, I'll split it up. For the moment -- CAPS!!
One of my very favorites is the Thrum Cap
if for no other reason than you look like the village idiot wearing one. There is a great shot in Master & Commander, right before they engage the French vessel at the end of the movie where you can see one of the crewmembers wearing a thrum cap.
I didn't use a pattern for mine. I just looked up how to add the thrums
and went from there. Using basic numbers for a watch cap I elongated the top so it wasn't as much of a close fit and added in the thrums.The Monmouth Cap
is one I wear a lot. I did mine without the little 'stem' at the top to make it 18th century style.
One of the quintessential knitted caps of the Am Rev War is the Liberty Cap
aka the Voyageur Cap. Knitted with or without lettering.
One thing that all the caps have in common is a lack of a ribbing band. They were knit in stockinette and then hemmed or joined to make a double sided turnback. That feature is exceptionally welcome when the cold weather shows because you get extra layers over your ears.
Also gauge varies. Some surviving examples of knitted accessories are rather coarsely knit while others are finer gauge.
A brimmed knitted hat
that has been particularly associated with 18th century sailors is shown on that page. One in blue and one striped brown. These hats were for some time mistakenly documented as being tarred after they were knitted because the one surviving example had tar on it. However, it has recently come to light that tarring was not done. For one, have you ever tried to add hot tar to a knitted fabric? That ain't happening. The more scholarly reason is that with more circumspect archeology it is now postulated that the tar had leaked onto the hat as the hat was found next to barrels that had contained ...... tar.
The pattern for the brimmed hat is found in "The Packet II, Being Another Collection of Patterns, Articles, and Essays of Particular Interest to the 18th -Century Re-enactor" by Mark Tully. At least that is the only place I know. For what it is worth, the pattern in the Packet is done on straight needles and seamed. I reconfigured it for in the round knitting because that's how the 18th century actually rolled.
Yarn choices: God, I love yarn. Just saying. Moving on ..... wool, obviously. No blends unless you are going to try your hand at a linen and wool blended yarn. Not to belabor what reenactors who deal with blackpowder and firepits already know, but synthetic fabric and knitting yarns will melt if ignited. Not good. Wool will smoulder giving you time to put out any embers that have taken hold.
I personally tend towards DK weight for hats just because I like a finer gauge, but worsted is the most popular choice. Also, a lesser known fact about yarn is that a 'marled' yarn is period appropriate. That is a yarn that has one ply in one color and the other ply in a different color. All sorts of knitted accessories were made from marled yarns and it gives a great look, especially to hose.
And how do we know that? Because of the runaway servant ads in colonial American newspapers of the 18th century. The ads generally begin with "had on and took with him" or "her" and describe in minute detail the clothing of the runaway.