Here is a cap one of the Downton Ladies might have worn. It is based on a design published in the 1890’s in Weldon’s Practical Crochet and advertised there as a “Venetian Cap,” being of a style purportedly popular in Venice.
It features the intriguing Victorian “Beehive Stitch” in the border (very different from the modern-day “Beehive Stitch”), consisting of loops around the posts of 7 stitches in the previous row, drawn together and topped with a chain stitch.
Now I am not a lover of Post stitches, finding them slow to make and resulting in a lumpy kind of fabric. However, in this case, they create an incredible 3-dimensional texture, pushing the tops of the stitches out toward you, with a lovely rolling curve, reminiscent of the rolling hills around the Abbey. Yes they were slower to make than “normal” shells, but for a few gorgeous rows, oh-so-worth-it!
Modifications to the original include expanding the depth, shaping the crown, changing the color sequencing, providing variable sizing options, and directions for a decorative button and ribbon fob. Also, thanks to Fern Honore for coming up with a “better way to Beehive” than the original!
My model is made in Mmmm-malabrigo, soft as a sigh wafting across the front lawn, as Violet and Cora share afternoon tea and gossip together, allies, if not friends…