on a wig & a prayer – making that funny white curly thingy on your head



For those of us who enjoy the handmade, the knitting & crocheting, I came across this lovely post from a site called ‘love crochet‘.  Included are these words from the lady, Alison (Ali), in UK who crocheted the barrister’s wig.

She talks about the historic building in her local town of Maldon, a building once used as the local courthouse in the era when convicts, including children, the abandoned class, were transported to Australia.

And note how she crochets using 100% British wool from the National Trust.

I recently moved to Maldon and immediately looked for a knit and natter type group to join. I found the Kitsch knit and stitch group that meets in the lovely Oak House coffee shop in Maldon once a fortnight. It was quite daunting moving to a new town and joining new groups on my own. The group was very friendly and by the end of the first evening I had somehow “volunteered” to crochet a barrister’s wig for a historic building in Maldon where visitors can go on guided tours and try on judges’ gowns. The hall was used as a court room at one time and many locals were deported to Australia for quite minor offences. This included children. The original wig is kept in a special case and a crocheted version had been used for visitors to try, but it had recently been lost. I found a pattern on Ravelry which I adapted, choosing to use 100% British wool from the National Trust.





Yes, convicts & other less valued, or questionable, members of society were sent out here to beautiful Australia, the end product of England’s infamous convict transportation system, it’s great big jail, the fatal shore.

For more on Australia’s origins, ‘the suffering & brutality of England’s infamous convict transportation system, a must read is Robert Hughes’s enthralling book, ‘The Fatal Shore – the epic of Australia’s founding‘.




But I digress.






If you think you might want a hand-made barrister’s ‘powdered’ wig for a play, a theatre production, a school dress-up, for a party, Halloween or an historical re-enactment, Ali, who crocheted the wig, includes the link to the pattern at Ravelry. The following 2 images are from Ravelry.







She tells you what you need to crochet it such as pure wool, needles/hooks, a tapestry needle & so forth.  For more, check out her gorgeous Facebook page, Essex Country Crochet.

And here’s the pattern from Jazmo Crochet.






Here’s another knitted powdered wig pattern (by Lauren Hammer) on Etsy

Here it is via Ravelry.

Of course, in addition to a barrister’s wig, the pattern could be used to create a judge’s wig, a wig for Captain Cook, Mozart or George Washington to name a few.

Frankly, I’m not sure history supports what we all assume: that George Washington wore a powdered wig.  It seems that even though wigs were fashionable at the time, GW kept his own hair. As a young man he was actually a redhead. He kept his hair long & tied back into a ponytail. He did powder his hair though which made it white in colour & as we see in images of him. Remember, powdering ones hair was a custom of the time.






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