Monday, January 22, 2007

The beret bandwagon

Yes, I admit it: I jumped on to the beret bandwagon:

But, in all honesty, I had already been thinking about a beret early last fall. I had thought that a beret might work well for GPG's sister's Christmas present, since GSister has quite a lot of hair and a hat that sat on top of her head, with some room for all the hair, would probably work better than a hat that fit closely to her head. When I started thinking about it, I realized that a beret might work for me, too, on days when it's cold enough for me to want something covering my head, but not so cold that I need my main go-to hat, a ribbed affair worked in double strands of Koigu. That hat is very thick and warm, but I often get overheated when I wear it while walking to school unless it's the Great Austin Ice-Over of '07. I wanted a warmer weather hat.

So, a beret. My experience with GSister's beret and now this one has taught me that berets are tricky little buggers. For GSister, I had originally tried making a beret out of the RYC Cashsoft DK that I ultimately used for Shedir. I used the Tam pattern in Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns. But my first attempt came out too small, and the second attempt came out too big, so I frogged and set the yarn aside until Shedir sang her siren call. I also had to try two or three different times with the Karabella Aurora 8 that I ultimately used.

For my own beret, I originally started with this pattern from the Purl Bee. On my first attempt, though, I was quite brainless and didn't check gauge (I carelessly thought, it's a hat! Doesn't really have to fit perfectly! And there's so much yarn!), and I ran out of yarn before I finished the decreases. I frogged and started again with a US4 needle. I knit up most of the hat on the second attempt before I realized that the hat was too big around and not slouchy enough for my taste.

On to the third attempt. I decided to cast on only 110 sts (the Purl Bee pattern calls for a cast-on of 128 sts) with a size 4 needle, and I knit 5" instead of 4" from the cast-on edge. I was able to follow the rest of the decrease instructions from the Purl Bee's pattern.

And voila, a beret that actually fits and has the right amount of slouch. Of course, when I tried the finished product on, I wasn't so enthused about the way the colors looked on my head. I also wasn't sure if I liked the way the hat looked. But both have grown on me, so I'm keeping it. But I'm not going to wash it until I get my hands on some more elastic thread, because I'm afraid the ribbing will stretch out like it did for GSister's.

My main complaint is that my smaller sized beret caused much pooling of the colors:

The colors knitted up very nicely in the bigger size, but pooled in this smaller size. Oh, well. I guess I can't have it all.

I'm pleased that I managed to get a good amount of slouch in this third attempt:


Pattern: The Purl Bee Beret, with mods as described above
Yarn: Koigu something. This is very old stash yarn. I think it's been in my stash for three or four years.
Needles: US4 Addi Turbos, 16" circular, and US 4 Brittany Birch DPNs
Recipient: Me!

Thanks to GPG for taking the pictures. I know it was a chore.


Blogger caitlyn said...

It's a lovely hat, Esther!

1/22/2007 11:25 AM  
Blogger Ashley said...

Don't call it "pooling"--call it "painterly!" It's like a Monet watercolor--and Monet was French--and French people wear berets: see how it all hangs together? ;)

1/22/2007 12:52 PM  

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