How to Knit a Beret


While much of the last two months was spent moving the seventeen-thousand-foot warehouse/studio where I work, I did manage to do some knitting.

I knit a series of hats for friends in cold climates. I chose patterns that were interesting to make, and hopefully not too corny or pathetic or home-made looking. (I'm mindful of the quilting book Erica bought me a bunch of years ago, entitled That Dorky Homemade Look.)

I spent a bit of time knitting the type of hat that can either be called a beret or a Tam O'Shanter.

Really. That blobby looking thing in the photo at the beginning of the blog post is a Larval Tam.

And this strange thing is the inside of one of these same hats. These hats are knitted using two strands of different colored yarn. I knit one color at a time, letting the unused colored yarn hang slack on the back side of the work. What you're seeing in this photograph are the "floats" of unused color. I love how this shows the ghost of the pattern.

Turning a deformed gumdrop of a would-be hat into a beautifully finished beret is a bit of a magic trick, depending entirely on the wonderful qualities of 100% wool fiber. What one does is wet the hat, and then stretch it over a dinner plate to dry. Once "blocked" the hat will retain its distinctive crisp shape. Magic, I tell you. Wool. Water. Dinner plate. Beret. Magic.

The dinner plate also functions at a Powerful Cat Magnet.

"Where is Cream?" Smog seems to be wondering.

(Those crazy ear-tufts just get better and better, don't they?)

This is a finished hat. I adapted my pattern from a very clever free pattern that I found online. (Of course I had to mess around with the stitch patterns. I just can't help myself.) I used a subtle color-shifting yarn, and just embraced whatever color presented itself. I enjoy combining pattern and chaos. It seems right to me.

Hard to believe that red hat was the same hat shown at the start of this blog posting.

I hope that the recipients of these hats (and the others I made) are warm and toasty, and didn't spend too many hours shoveling snow yesterday and today.


Anonymous said…
Just stunning!!!! Wendy
Chris Gough said…
Beautiful post, Lisa!
Anonymous said…
Love those hats. Very beautiful! -Julie
Anonymous said…
they are very pretty:)
Anonymous said…
Very nice :-) I'll have to look up your pattern
~~Sits N Knits
Unknown said…
Lovely! And I agree, it's like magic. Also agree re: Smog's ear tufts being impressive and delightful. Our youngest cat only had them for his first year, and it's what we comment on most when we run across old photos.
- spencer
Stefaneener said…
Now those are gorgeous tams.
Martha Lazar said…
My hat is the second one shown!! And it has been wonderful in the crazy snow we've had here. The transformation from gumdrop to awesome hat truly is amazing!
Fascinating. Delightful. Magic. Lisa.

MommaWriter said…
Gosh, I *love* those. You have some lucky friends...except for all that snow and freezing cold anyway! : ) And yes, the ear tufts have become something magnificent!

Anonymous said…
I do so love smog's ear hairs.
Plus I also love his milk 'saucer'
I knit socks, but am seriously looking at head gear to with them!
Noreen said…
These all worked out great! I come to your blog for color inspiration and these hats confirm you are a master at color.
Gina said…
I love love love my hat!
TaylorM said…
You're right. It is hard to believe those are the same hats. And I also like the term "Larval Tam."
DariceMoore said…
That is like MAGIC. Blocking (of most anything) never ceases to amaze me.

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