Wool for woven and knitted garments in Tender Autumn/Winter 2018 was shorn from a small flock of 30 Ryeland sheep raised in the Scottish Borders but this helmet has been knitted using soft british-spun lambswool offering a softer version.
Tender helmets are produced on hand-powered knitting machines in Scotland in a series of outbuildings surrounding the knitter’s home. All the pieces are fully fashioned, which means that each panel is knitted into its correct shape before linking it on to the next panel (rather than knitting a standard sheet of fabric then cutting and sewing it like a T shirt).To do this, the knitter has to manually hook and unhook the yarn after each line of stitching. For example, one stitch is taken off the panel at every line to produce a curved shoulder seam.
Finished panels are hand linked: the two pieces to be joined are lined up stitch by stitch onto a circular drum of knitting hooks, and then knitted together using the same yarn as the panels. Finally the seams are hand-tacked at each end to keep them safe.
The Double Thickness Helmet is knitted to fit close to the head, shaped over the ears and around the back of the neck.The shape is informed by vintage leather driving helmets, worn in open top cars. The whole piece is knitted twice and linked together, one inside another, forming a substantial windproof shell.