Stymied By The Smallest Details
I have a dream.
Unfortunately I’m not a big dreamer like Martin Luther King. My contribution to the improvement of society is rather more modest.
I have had a dream nonetheless about a headband which until this week has taken about three years to become a reality.
And now it’s here.
But first, I have a story for you.
A family history in wool
I come from an old Californian family. Some of the first settlers, sheriffs and “notable citizens” of Southern California are counted as my ancestors.
We’ve got photographs of these hardy folk, proud men and women standing in front of their log house newly built after the long journey from Oklahoma to start the first ranch.
But in the pictures of the women you see two themes: food and knitting.
My memories of childhood are full of images of my mother sitting with my aunts and great cousins drinking beer, laughing and always knitting together.
They knit everything. Jumpers, of course, but back in the day when they wore such things they even knit bikinis for themselves.
In the family tradition, my mother taught me to knit at a young age. I’m not very good at it because I’ve got no patience, but I have great respect for accomplished knitters.
The First Idea For A Headband
When I started Stone Bridge, I had the idea of a wool headband, but the execution was problematic.
If you just knit a bandeau style (which you can find patterns for on the internet – or buy in bulk from China at $1 per piece … no thanks), the stitches will stretch out. This means your design will either lose its hold or lose its shape.
Given that Stone Bridge demands long-term performance out of our designs, these were unacceptable trade-offs.
You could stabilise a bandeau style by backing the design with fabric, but this introduces additional problems.
A fused backing (where the wool is sort of “glued” to the fabric) risks coming away under the stress of holding the hair, because the woolen fibre is very unstable.
If you stitched your piece of knitting to a backing, the wool is still under stress and you can get unattractive dimpling where it has been tacked.
The ideal solution really was to try and get a knitted piece attached to a rigid headband, where the knit was fully supported so that it wouldn’t lose its shape over time and was not required to do any of the actual work of holding back hair.
We produced a few versions: knit tubes with a headband inserted through, knit and fabric sleeves, and knitting which was labouriously glued to fabric covered headbands.
None of our ideas worked very well.
Then last year, a milliner we love and work with a lot produced a cable knit headband in silk angora.
We ordered a few in, of course, very excited.
However, when they arrived, while they were beautiful they suffered from the problem we had been struggling with for years: how do you ensure the knitted design stays reliably secured to the headband so that the customer knows she will get several years of use out of it?
Knitting. The Knowledge.
I set them aside. My mother was due to come visit and as she is very smart as well as having deep knitting genes, I was confident she would either solve the dilemma or pronounce the knitted headband an impossible dream.
She came. She saw. She drank a few beers.
It wasn’t easy.
We’re talking several days hard labour on these headbands. And the results are beautiful.
My mother isn’t available all the time to make luxury quality hair accessories, so we only have a small number of these Silk Angora Cable Knit headbands for you.