Ahoy! Papa Nui is a surfer, a vintage military maniac, and a knowledgable source; located in Gold Coast, Australia. In other words, he’s one of my favorite guys around. He writes a wonderful blog that really gives a proper depth to each of his products and interests. The Papa recently sent me one of his new Convoy Caps. The above letter is a perfect example of how he sets the mood to tell a story, and introduce a product.
I asked the Papa to introduce himself and the convoy cap to readers:
“Papa Nui is not your regular 782*, it celebrates the uniqueness of the individual , it’s a brand, a persona, a state of mind.
In approaching the design of a watch cap the Papa wanted something very different from what was commercially available, something that still paid omage to sailors and seaman but something that had more soul and originality. He chose to focus on the heroic merchant crews that sailed in vast convoys of Liberty ships and thus the Convoy Cap concept was born.
The Papa was drawn to the hand knitted caps that were made by the Mothers, Wives and Sisters of the Home Front under the Knit for Victory program which was sponsored and driven by the American Red Cross.
Researching archival files and discovering the original Red Cross patterns, the Papa then connected with Fay O’Keefe. Fay is an elderly grandmother who as a young teenager in 1942 knit her bit for the war effort, defeating the Axis with two needles and ball of wool. In her 80’s today she is still Knitting for Victory supplying Papa Nui with handmade Australian Merino Wool Convoy Caps designed for the long watch.
Each cap is recreated using original WWII patterns and a circular needle technique that provides a no seam construction. This project is about as authentic as you can get as Papa Nui’s Convoy Caps are made with the same amount of love and hope that went into each Red Cross parcel sent to boys overseas more that 70 years ago.
The caps are then finished with original WWII Red Cross label tags and a special bonus period ‘pocket tinny’ folded over the brim and a handmade swing tag.
(* 782 was the US Marine Corp supply form designation number for receipt of standard issue equipment. Gear was generically referred to as 782.) Papa Nui is never your average 782!”
For something as simple as a knit cap, the details are pretty amazing. The propeller knit pattern on the top adds strength while allowing the cap to fit comfortably. The soft Australian Merino wool is light and warm. Since he makes things in limited quantities, it is best to grab one quick before they’re all gone. I am sure there will be more on Papa Nui in the future here so please keep an eye out for more of his dispatches.
-Over and out.