Hats & Designs

Where’d the name beanie hat come from?

No one is sure where the name “beanie hat” came from, but there are several theories.

Some think it’s from the slang term “bean” referring to the head. Others point out that the button that was commonly found on top of beanie hats a long time ago was about the size of a bean.

Academics like to think the name beanie hat might have come from the term bejaunus, which means

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Hats & Designs

The beanie hat’s surprisingly intriguing origins

mamouthThe basic beanie hat forms the heart of many of our most loved baby hat designs. So I started wondering the other day where the beanie hat itself came from. Here’s what I learned.

It all started in Wales almost a thousand years ago

First of all, the term beanie hat can refer to two main types of hats: the rounded, seamed cap often with a button on top, or a soft, stretchy knit cap. Beanie Designs makes the soft stretchy kind.

The first hats of the style of beanies we’re talking about seem to date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. They were called Monmouth caps after the name of the town where they originated. The earliest versions were worn by women and made of velvet, taffeta, or satin adorned with embroidery.

Even the first beanie hat makers were obsessed with quality!

Between the 15th and 18th centuries, Monmouth caps evolved to look pretty close to a knitted beanie cap you could find today. These beanie hats were knit of wool by hand knitters in the town of Monmouth in south east Wales, because the sheep there, called Ryeland sheep, produced particularly high-quality wool.

Wikipedia tells us, “The industry of cap manufacture by hand knitters in and around Monmouth was well established by the 15th century, when court records show Capper as a common surname in the town.”

The hats were worn by soldiers and sailors and widely exported. The wool was felted to make the hat waterproof.

Everyone must wear a beanie hat on Sunday…?

These early beanie hats were used so commonly that nearly everyone in England and Wales wore them. In fact, the Cappers Act of 1488 forbade the wearing of caps made outside the country, upon penalty of fine! Nearly 100 years later, there was even an Act of Parliament that required those older than age six to wear this type of hat on Sundays and holidays (excluding some people such as maids and ladies, and when travelling).

Gradually, the precursor to the beanie hat was manufactured in places other than Monmouth, leading to new names cropping up, including watch cap.

In the 1620’s, the early settlers of Massachusetts brought their Monmouth caps with them to the New World.

I wonder what the early Monmouth knitters would think of our Beanie Designs hats today?

Hats & Designs

It’s February. How is your little one’s winter hat holding up?

Babies and toddlers grow fast. Bigger kids are tough on their clothing. But we bet you the wearers of Beanie Designs hats are still keepin’ cozy and lookin’ good this winter season.

How can I be so sure that a Beanie Designs hat will last and last? For two reasons:

  1. Because of how our hats are constructed

Designed for flexibility

Many of our unique hat designs include small ways of adjusting for the perfect fit. Take for instance the earflap hat: the flaps can be tied up in the back and the front can be rolled up if needed. (See how I did this recently.)

Several kids’ hat designs can be worn comfortably floppy at the younger age and with a more fitted look toward the older age (see Leela’s look at just under 3 years in a 3-10 years hat).

Of course our beanies can be rolled up or down depending on the head size. My preemie with his teeny tiny head even wore this infant hat here very comfortably, though he was very small for it.

Generous sizing

While the first 6 months are sized in 3-month increments to fit tiny infant heads ever so perfectly, after that, the size range provides much longer wearing through growing stages. The 6-18 months size can see many kids through two winters, as can the 18-36 months size.

In fact, given the stretchiness of many styles, some hats can be worn well beyond the age stated (my four year old puts on his brother’s 3-6 months football hat and my husband can wear my preschooler’s apple hat!) Still, we recommend you measure your child’s head and check the measurements for the style you’re considering for the best fit.

High-quality materials and construction

Beanie Designs’ high-quality organic cotton yarns are pretty sturdy, keeping their shape and vibrant colors even through regular machine washing. Proprietary knitting and crocheting techniques provide great reinforcement for seams and other areas that might start to come loose or show wear much sooner on inferior hats. (Read more on the thought and workmanship we put into our hats.)

  1. And I also know that Beanie Designs hats last well because you’ve said so in the product reviews.

Here’s just a sampling of comments that show from the discerning parents and grandparents who buy our hats:

…Bought the pink one for my 2 year old last spring and she wore it all winter. Still looks like new…

…She has been able to wear it for over a year now, and it will last through this next winter as well…

…We have gotten 2 years out of it…

…Awesome quality and held up great for the winter…

…well-crafted hat that is worthy of keeping to pass on to the next generation… you are getting a high quality keepsake!

…my daughter wore it all last fall and winter…

…They held up very well in the washer…

…is both soft and durable…

So, if the hat your little one is wearing is starting to show the wear, why not invest in a Beanie Designs hat that he or she can wear now – and next winter, too? (Or for many more winters after that!) There’s plenty of cold left in February, right?

Hats & Designs

What causes static electricity when you take your hat off?

two poms striped girls hatIt’s winter – which means it’s prime time for hair that stands on end when hats come off.

Of course the static doesn’t last long and hair gets right back to normal. But did you ever wonder exactly what’s happening to cause hair to do that?

Your beanie hat, your hair, and the science of matter

ScienceMadeSimple.com gives a great explanation for static, especially helpful if you want to teach your little boy or girl why hair stands up all funny after taking a hat off. Here’s the gist boiled down for you.

You probably remember from science class that everything around us is made up of atoms. Inside atoms are protons, electrons and neutrons.  Protons have a positive charge and electrons are negative (neutrons have no charge).

Your hat or hair has no charge when the number of positive and negative charges in its atoms are equal. In this case, there’s no static happening.

But when two things rub together, some electrons move from one item to the other. This changes the balance, and one item can end up with more or less electrons.

Now, remember that opposites attract, and like charges repel.

When your hat rubs on your hair, your hair gives up electrons to your hat, so each of your hairs has the same positive charge. Each hair is repelling the others, trying to move as far apart from each other as possible. Thus, they stand up and separate, leaving your son or daughter looking like a little prickly porcupine.

Why do you notice static more in the winter?

Yes, you probably wear a hat more in the winter, so that’s one reason. But it also has to do with the air. In the winter, the air is typically drier, and the charge from the electrons can stick around more. When the air is humid, the electrons will dissipate more quickly, so you don’t notice the static as much.

Other times you get static electricity:

  • When you scuff your feet across the carpet and then touch the doorknob
  • As you come down the slide at the playground (this is my favorite – I love seeing the kids reach the bottom with a fluffy porcupine hairstyle, completely different from how it looked on the way up!)
  • Try rubbing a balloon on your hair and then sticking it on the wall
  • And of course laundry all stuck together when you take it out of the dryer

Try explaining static electricity to your preschooler and let us know how it goes!