|The description is courtesy of Google Translate. It's not really an ikat, but it gets the point across.|
So first, I took a skein of blue wool yarn that very closely matched the original picture, and I tried to see if I could bleach the blue out of it. Nope. Using a few strands to experiment, I increased the ratio of bleach to water and found it started to dissolve the wool but it didn’t lighten the color. On to Plan C. Next I took a skein of natural merino wool, and wrapped it around and around the back of a dining room chair until I had a giant donut of yarn. Then I loosely tied it in a few places and pre-wet it. Then I folded it in half, and in half again, and put two of the resulting bends into a small crock-pot, with the other two bends sticking up.
|Yes, that's Sweet Daughter's Hello Kitty toaster in the background.|
|This used to hold Cruzan Blackstrap Rum. You recycle your way, I'll recycle mine.|
I removed the yarn from the crock-pot and dumped it in a colander and let it cool a bit before rinsing it so it wouldn’t felt into a giant wad. (Agitation and/or rapid temperature change will felt wool.) I squeezed out as much water as I could by wrapping it in a towel and then hung it to dry.
|The other side.|
I got out some size 8 needles and started knitting a swatch. Got my gauge. Started knitting the actual hat, and one of my big fears came to pass. See that original hat? See how the colors just sort of magically seemed to alternate with a minimum puddling of colors? Well, I got the blocks of color. Sort of like this, but bigger.
I couldn’t have gotten the colors to line up like that if I tried. So I quit while I was ahead, and swore quietly under my breath and then it came to me … change the size of the needles, and that should shift everything one way or the other. I found a size 5 circular needle, knit a swatch, calculated my stitches, and started again.
Then I put it in a lingerie bag and threw it in the wash with some other laundry, not noticing that the cycle was set on “delicate”. It came out of the wash the same size it went in. So back in it went, by itself, set on “regular”. I stood there and pulled it out every few minutes to measure the progress. After the length had shrunk 2”, I spun the water out and blocked (shaped) it over two mixing bowls to get the curve at the top and the slight flare at the bottom. The color also mellowed out a bit but is still well within the realm of possibility for indigo dye.
|Sorry - picture's a little crooked.|
Not a perfect match, but recognizable. And I'm not trying to recreate a couple-of-hundred-years-old cap. I'm trying to make it look like it did when it was new. I’ll call it a win.