• This pattern is currently only available as part of A Stitch in Time Volume 3, the colourwork edition which can be ordered by following the link above

    This matching Fair Isle hood and mitten set was first published in the UK in the 1940s and somewhat unusually for this period, includes charts for both the hood and the mittens. The Fair Isle motif featured on both is simple and bold and is used to great effect in this design using two strongly contrasting colours.

    The original version of the hood is knitted flat in a long strip with wrong side rows purled. The ribbed front band is then picked up and knitted along one long side edge before the hood is folded in half and the back seam sewn up. The collar or neck band is then picked up along the cast-on edge of the hood and knitted downwards with eyelets worked to enable a plaited tie to be thread through.

    In the updated version of Copley, I have included both a flat version of the pattern and also separate instructions on how to knit the hood in the round, so that every round is worked by knitting on the right side only. A steek has been added to create a tube for knitting in this manner. Once the steek is cut open the hood is then constructed in the same manner as the flat version, ensuring a seam is created at the centre back of the hood which in turn, produces the neat point of the pixie hood.

    I have added two additional sizes to the hood pattern to guarantee a good fitting hood.

    Pixie hoods began to become popular in the 1930s but it was the 1940s when they truly reached the peak of their popularity – easy to knit, exceptionally warm and unlikely to fall or get lost unlike a traditional hat, they were the ultimate in practical headwear for both adults and children alike. The shape and fit of the pixie hood also ideally suited the hair styles of the period; with waves or rolls worn high on the hair line with the pixie hood sitting neatly behind. As hair styles and fashions changed in the 1950s, the popularity of the pixie hood began to wane but it remains forever desirable for vintage fans.

    The matching mittens are worked in the round in both the original and updated versions of the pattern. The same bold, graphic pattern is worked on the back of the mittens with a complementary peerie motif on the palm of the mittens. A solid line of dark stitches are worked around the outer edges of the mittens and thumbs for a bold contrast. To achieve this, pairs of decrease stitches are worked within these border stitches thus maintaining the continuity of the stripes. Deep 2 × 2 ribbed cuffs are worked and in the original pattern photo are shown placed over the sleeves of the model's coat ensuring draft free arms. This practical approach is something we probably wouldn't think of today but made a great deal of sense particularly during wartime.

    I have used Byre for the Copley hood and mitten set. This is a fingering weight yarn so slightly thicker than the original 3 ply yarn recommended in the pattern, but still fine enough to achieve a firm 30 sts to 10cm (4in) needed for the hood and mittens. Byre is a rustic yarn which I feel creates a similar look to that shown in the photos of the original pieces and is both warm and robust enough for these cosy outdoor pieces. I have used Thistle Head as the background shade, a warm lilac shade, and Berry Picking for the patterning – a deep, warm purple but any two strongly contrasting shades would work equally well. Excelana North fingering weight would also make an excellent alternative for those wanting a slightly softer fabric and I have given yarn requirements for both in the pattern information.

  • Yarn
    Susan crawford Byre, fingering weight, 100% British wool,
    a unique blend of Jacobs, white Shetland and black Shetland fleeces (400m / 436yds per 100g skein)

    1 skein, shade Thistle Head - yarn A
    1 skein, shade Berry Picking - yarn B


    30 sts and 34 rounds = 10cm (4in) over stranded colourwork pattern worked in the round, after blocking. We obtained gauge using 3mm needles
    If necessary use an alternative needle size to obtain the correct gauge.


    Suggested needles


    Small needles:

    2.5mm (US 1 / 2) circular needle (60-80cm in length) or pair of 2.5mm (US 1 / 2)

    Large needles:

    3mm (US 2 / 3) circular needle (40cm or 80cm in length) or pair or 3mm (US 2 / 3) straight needles
    3mm (US 2 / 3) DPNs (optional)

    Choose needle type depending on whether you choose to work the hood colourwork in the round or flat; see additional note at start of relevant directions.


    1st Size

    Small needles:

    2.5mm (US 1 / 2) circular needle (30cm in length) or set of 2.5mm (US 1 / 2) DPNs

    Large needles:

    3mm (US 2 / 3) circular needle (30cm in length) or set of 3mm (US 2 / 3) DPNs

    2nd Size

    Small needles:

    2.5mm (US 1 / 2) circular needle (30cm in length) or set of 2.5mm (US 1 / 2) DPNs

    Large needles:

    3.25mm (US 3) circular needle (30cm in length) or set of 3.25mm (US 3) DPNs

    3rd Size

    Small needles:

    2.75mm (US 2) circular needle (30cm in length) or set of 2.75mm (US 2) DPNs

    Large needles:

    3.5mm (US 4) circular needle (30cm in length) or set of 3.5mm (US 4) DPNs


    Waste yarn
    Stitch markers
    One removable stitch marker
    Matching thread
    Sewing needle

  • Following a chart
    Stranded colourwork
    Picking up stitches
    Working in the round [Optional]
    Cutting a steek [Optional]

A yarn kit is available to order containing all the yarn required to knit this Copley
Copley yarn kit

Downloading Your Pattern

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