Tag Archives: hats

Book Review: The Making of a Milliner – Hats off to a Great Book

The Making of a Milliner

Hat-Making Projects

By: Jenny Pfanenstiel

The Making of a Milliner is a book that gives detailed instructions to make beautiful hats, but it is so much more. It begins with explaining exactly what a Milliner is and the history behind the art of creating hats. Originating in the sixteenth century and hailing from Milan, Italy the English called the hat merchants Milaner – which evolved to “milliner” as it still is today.

Not so many years ago, women of all ages and socioeconomic levels would have never left the house without a hat. Then hats slipped to holidays and special occasions. Now, unless you are attending a formal even, are a member of the British Royalty or going to the Kentucky Derby, you most likely don’t even think about wearing a hat. But a quote from a woman on the very first page resonated with me, because my very active eighty-something aunt always says people no longer see her anymore. Ms. Pfanenstiel shares Julie’s quote, “ …That hat was like magic.” and “…at least 20 men and women tell me they loved my hat.” Maybe it is time for women of all ages to embrace hats again.

A Milliner’s world is full of skill, color and beauty. Full color photos beautifully pull the reader into the past then on to the present. The art and skills involve wool, hat blocks, feathers, beads and almost any other kind of adornment you can imagine. I am fascinated with the different types of hat blocks that are shown and the uses for each are detailed. I love the Puzzle Block. It would look so cool on a bookshelf and would surely become a conversation starter with or without a hat on it.

The materials a Milliner uses are pictured with paragraphs next to them detailing the use, availability and pros and cons of each. For example, horse hair, also known as crinoline, cannot be blocked, but can be used to create effects, can be frayed, or used on a brim or as a veil. I love learning new and unexpected facts. I would have never guessed the old crinoline slip of my mother’s was made of horse hair!

The instructions to make your own hats are accompanied by a list of materials and where to purchase them, as well as detailed instructions of the techniques. As in the previous sections, the color photographs help show exactly what the instructions outline.

Another thing that pulls me into the story of hat making is the fun facts that are listed along with each hat. Did you know Coco Chanel created the first cloche hat? Or that the term “mad as a hatter” relates to the effects of the exposure to mercury vapors milliners experienced while working with the wet wool?

I loved reading the history and art of Millinery. While I don’t think I am up to making a hat of my own, I am going to pay more attention to hats in the future, and cannot wait to pick one out for a special occasion. If you are wondering why someone would even consider wearing a hat, muh less making a hat in these casual times we live in, read this book. Hats are elegant, charming and reflect the wearer’s taste and personality. Even though I am more likely to smack a baseball cap on my head, I love trying on posh hats and have been known to purchase a few to keep the hot summer sun off of my face. Think of Julie’s quote – she felt beautiful wearing her hat and you should too.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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WIP Wednesday – Chuggin’ Along

Here is it Wednesday again. I don’t know about all of you, but daylight savings time is kicking my butt. I was ok the first day, but by Monday I was ready for a nap when I got home from work. I decided that was not a good plan but I sure hope I adjust quick.

The pumpkin hats were delivered safe and sound. Hopefully they will all be useful and enjoyed. I need to start planning for Christmas hats for the NICU. The bear hats are always popular, so I might do a mix of them and Santa or elf hats. I also saw a cute pattern for a snowman, which may be in the lineup also. I probably won’t start them until after Thanksgiving, so I have tons of time to decide.

I started on the dinosaur hat for my son’s godson, but the gauge on the pattern is off. The toddler size fit my head. So I frogged the whole hat and searched Ravelry for a new pattern. I found one that is not a dinosaur, but can easily be made into one. I’ve used part of the 2 patterns had have and am almost ready to get the spikes done.

dino hat 1

I’m working on ear warmers, and loving the pattern. Jessika Cates is spot on with her pattern. It works up  beautifully. The only thing I changed on this second one is I am doing a provisional cast on (you can see how it is done here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T7OwOpC6CY ) so that I can do a three needle bind off instead of seaming the ends. Here is the pic of my WIP and the link to the pattern. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/braided-cabled-ear-warmer

Ear warmer_2

My projects are calling – until next week, happy knitting 🙂

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WIP Wednesday

Not much going on this week. Had a cold that settled into my lungs with the added fun of a sinus infection. Now that I’ve whined, I can happily say I’ve completed the 20 bunny hats for the NICU unit. Sorry these pics aren’t the greatest, my hubby left his camera at my dad’s house, so you get my cell phone attempts. Ignore my crazy shadows 🙂

bunnies 4

Springtime and Bunnies seem to go together

bunnies 5Next week I hope to have Xavier’s blanket done. Then I’m starting a pair of socks to take with me when we travel to see friends. Nothing better than a road trip with my hubby, best friends and some socks otn to keep me busy 🙂

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Filed under baby hats, Crocheting, Knitting, NICU