Chainmail Coif c. 1100 –1350

miniature dollFront view

Notes: The coif was still worn into the 14th Century, but was being replaced slowly by plate armour on the neck of large helmets.
A leather helmet would often be worn under the coif to prevent chafing, but this is not practical in 1:12th scale. Originally of course chainmail would have been made of metal links, but knitted chainmail is quite effective in this scale.

Materials required
One pair of size 16 (1.5 mm, US size 3/0) knitting needles, 28 yards/25 metres 1-ply cotton yarn (wool or acrylic will not give the same effect).

st – stitch; k – knit; ( ) – repeat instructions between brackets as detailed in text; k2tog – knit next 2 stitches together to form one stitch.

The coif is worked in garter stitch (every row knit) throughout.

Cast on 45 sts.
Rows 1-8: k
Row 9: (k 2tog, k 7) to end. (40 sts)
Row 10: k
Row 11: (k 2tog, k 6) to end. (35 sts)
Row 12: k
Row 13: (k 2tog, k 5) to end. (30 sts)
Row 14: k
Row 15: cast off 3 sts, k to end. (22 sts)
Rows 16-30: k
Row 31: cast on 5 sts, k to end. (27 sts)
Row 32: k
Row 33: (k 2tog, k 7) to end. (24 sts)
Row 34: k
Row 35: (k 2tog, k 4) to end. (20 sts)
Row 36: k
Row 37: (k 2tog, k 3) to end. (16 sts)
Row 38: k
Row 39: (k 2tog, k 2) to end. (12 sts)
Row 40: (k2tog) to end. (6 sts)
Break yarn leaving approx 6-inches/15 cm to thread through remaining stitches. Thread the tail end through the remaining stitches as shown. With right sides together draw thread up tight and sew in position as shown on diagram (point X).

miniature knitting
Stitching diagram

Place point A (cast on sts) to point A on other side of coif. Over sew seam from point X to point A as shown in photo. Fasten off and sew in this loose end.
Place the two point B’s and two point C’s together and over sew seam. Fasten off and sew in all loose ends.
Turn right side out.

To display on a doll
To ‘drape’ the chainmail effectively, cover the doll in cling film or plastic wrap. Wet the coif thoroughly, but do not wring out. Place the coif over the head of the doll and pull into shape. The coif can be stretched quite a lot once wet. Let the coif dry completely before removing it, then remove the cling film and replace the coif on the doll. The knitting will keep its shape until washed again.
miniature dollSide view

© Copyright Frances H. Powell 2011
All rights reserved. This pattern is for private use only and may not be reproduced in any form, or reproduced for commercial gain including selling any item knitted up from these patterns without written permission from Buttercup Miniatures. Reproducing or transmitting this pattern by any means for any purpose other than for personal use constitutes a violation of copyright law.

For scale information: the UK Penny coin used on the photos is just slightly larger than a US Cent coin. The actual diameter is ¾-inch or 2 cm. The UK penny coin sits just inside a European (Euro) 5c coin.