One of my final knits for 2013 was a Christmas present for my four month old niece. I am really enjoying knitting for her, as is my mum, and she already has a fine knitted wardrobe, many of which come from vintage patterns.
I knew that I wanted to make her some kind of bonnet or helmet for when she goes out in her pram. After sifting through my patterns I came across this one. Excuse the quality of the photo, the pattern has obviously been well used and it is creased and battered and won't lie flat.
I had a firm idea of what I wanted to knit for her and it was down to a photo that I could half remember of my dad as a baby. I knew that he had on some kind of helmet and I was quite sure that it had a peak of some kind at the front.
So I decided to knit this helmet for my niece.
This is the photograph that my parents dug out of my dad in his bonnet, sat in his pram, at about one year old, in the early 1950's.
I think this is such a superb photo. I can't decide if Dad is quizzical or grumpy! He definitely looks interested in what is going on. I don't know for certain but I think he is wearing a knitted matinee jacket too, maybe it is an entire pram suit. I would like to know more about it.
I know the two helmets are not an exact match but this is really all about my inspiration, not a perfect replica.
This is the finished helmet, knitted in a teal double knit that I found in my stash. Whilst I love shopping for new yarn I do try to find small projects that will help to reduce my stash, especially as I can then build it up again!
I really enjoyed knitting it as it is an interesting pattern which is full of shaping and for a long time it is hard to see how it is going to turn into anything which remotely resembles a helmet. This added a certain frisson of panic to the knitting process!
Here is a close up of the shaping showing the all important peak. The piece going across the bottom is the chin strap which fastens with a press stud.
This is the back view. It fits closely all around the baby's head so it is nice and warm and cosy. No draughts are getting in there!
The original helmet is finished with a covered button. I decided to make a change here and finish it with a naked (for want of a better description) button and I knew just the place to look. I went through my grandma's button tin, which I feel very privileged to have), and found a vintage one which matched perfectly. I also found a press stud in there for the chin strap.
So, although I knitted my niece's helmet I feel like it is quite a family affair. Knitted by her auntie, inspired by her grandad in a photograph taken by her great granny, the photo found by her grandma and the helmet completed with items from her great grandma's button tin. It feels like the joining of a circle and that makes me very happy.