For future reference

The ridiculous spoiling of my grandmother continues.

Pattern: simple beret, embellished with a little nubbin.

Details extracted from a variety of sources (Kate Gilbert’s Speckled Beret, Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, Charlene Schurch’s Hats On!, research at local department stores), then chewed up and spit out by yours truly.

I will share the recipe with you, but not in the immediate future – I still have unanswered questions about this whole tam/beret business, and I have books ordered through my library to learn more. Plus, after knitting this beret 4.5 times, can you blame me for wanting to move on? 🙂

Needles: no less than a full menagerie of US 1 and US 2 knitting implements (Boye steel crochet hook, size 2; Susan Bates dpns, US 1 and US 2; Inox aluminum 16″ circs, US 1 and US 2; HiyaHiya 24″ circs, US 2).

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in periwinkle, 1 skein (in its glorious entirety).

Gauge: about 7 stitches and 10 rows per inch.

Finished dimensions: about 11″ in diameter.

Lorna’s Laces continues to meet and surpass my expectations – what other yarn can be entangled in mohair, knit and reknit, and still come out as good as new at the end? Plus, the semi-solid colorways are simply amazing for the kind of knitting I typically do.

I am hoping the beret has just the right volume and drape for my grandma. I definitely can’t envision my grandma liking a stiff fold line, which is why I didn’t block over a plate.

Last, I threaded 2 strands of thin elastic close to the cast-on to keep the beret firmly on the head. I think it makes a huge difference, functionally speaking, without altering the outside at all.

Although obtaining the proper beret shape and size proved to be tricky, I’m so glad I didn’t stop until it was perfect. When it comes to my grandma, “good enough” simply won’t do. I will revisit this entry every time I contemplate ripping and reknitting – sometimes the end product is worth the pain of starting over.


90 thoughts on “For future reference

  1. amy

    What a lucky grandma. And, best of all, she seems to know it. Beautiful work, as always. I’m in awe.

  2. anne

    congrats- the beret looks fabulous! i’m very impressed by your perseverance. i’ve been reading your blog for a few months now (and did the requisite devouring of your archives in under a week) and i’m a hopeless lurker, but all that ripping and reknitting certainly merits a comment! thanks for the great reading!

  3. becky c.

    I hope Grandma reads your blog so she can see how much you love her. 4.5 attempts – sheesh! You’ve got more patience than I do, that’s for darn sure.

  4. Kristin

    Good enough won’t do for my grandmother either. I figure once you are 80 (or so) you have earned certain priviledges. One is obviously have grandchildren knitting until perfect!

    It is gorgeous and I hope she loves it.

  5. Glenna

    Gorgeous! I just love the colour, and it is such a stylish looking beret for the modern gal, whatever her age. I look forward to the pattern!

  6. loribird

    Very nice, definitely worth the effort of getting it right – can I be your grandma too? (There may be a little issue of age, but I’m willing to overlook that detail…)

    Thanks for showing the woven-in elastic; I’d been wondering about the best way to do such a thing, and your method looks very good.

  7. Ruth

    The beret looks lovely! I was trying to imagine you taking pictures of the top of your own head (while smiling) but decided you must have a partner in crime for such things.

  8. carrie

    You got it perfect! Huzzah! It looks wonderful, and your grandma will love it. I think she’s very, very lucky to have such a loving and attentive granddaughter!

  9. Tania A

    Lucky grandma indeed! I wish I had a grandma to spoil rotten, but mine passed away some time ago. She’d have loved hand-knitted things. 🙂

  10. Nikki

    I wish you would take a picture with your grandmother wearing the beret. She is fortunate to have a loving grandchild to knit things for her, but you are lucky to still have your grandmother. I miss mine terribly!

  11. inky

    I love the shot of you with downcast eyes and that serene smile, compared to scrolling down to the one with the sad puppy eyes. One could do a whole photo essay based on those expressive eyes!

    Oh yeah, beret rocks, too.

  12. Kim

    Love it!!! Can’t wait for the pattern. I am presently knitting Le’ Slouch (a beret pattern written by Wendy Bernard). Glad you stuck with it. It really turned out lovely.

  13. Lien

    Not sure if somebody else mentioned this, but there is a book called “Knitted Tams” (I think this is the title) published by Interweave knits that has a whole thing on measuring, etc. Sorry I would have mentioned it earlier but I haven’t checked your blog in a while!! It suggests blocking using a plate!!

  14. Sheila

    Superb! Your Gram will love it! Will await your tam pattern. Years ago my Mother made me an angora tam – she was from England – and I remember being the only girl wearing one -whether I wanted to or not! Memories….

  15. Tracy

    Wonderful! Having just today pulled and re-knit only a single row on my current project 4 times, I can honestly say your perserverance is commendable. Your Gran is a lucky woman. Definitely keep spoiling her, Grandmas deserve it!

  16. Amanda

    Hey- it looks great! In case you are interested, I just got a book on tams from knitpicks, and it exhaustively goes through the process of making a tam and how to alter sizing, etc.

  17. Angelika

    That’s what I call determination. I think I would have put that project in the box by now, but your grandmother sure seems worth all the effort. What’s next?

  18. Megan

    Delurking to say that that is an awesome beret. Your grandma is a lucky lady. I do so hope you share the pattern with us.

  19. amy

    beautimous, gorgiferous, absolutely wonderful. and that color? i’m knitting a simple stockinette stocking hat with LL shepherd sock in charcoal right now…there’s just no such thing as “plain” solid with LL. =]

  20. Jennifer

    Beautiful. And I agree with Martha, Grandmas should definitely be spoiled as much as we can. This project is definitely a testament to the value of patience and persistence.

  21. Martha

    Beautiful, I’m looking forward to your sharing the pattern that you’ve worked and worried so hard to create. From here, the end result looks well worth the effort. I’m sure your Grandma will appreciate the love that has gone into this project.

    (Greetings to the other Martha!)

  22. Allison

    Lovely beret, lucky grandma! Lorna’s Laces is fantastic, although the variegated colourways are evil pooling temptresses!

  23. nona

    Great beret and an excellent example of the knitter’s motto, “if first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, try, t, again” 🙂

  24. tracey in mi

    It’s truly adorable… however- I will NEVER knit a beret… cute or not—-THAT was a heck of a project… although- now that you’ve perected the pattern… I may be tempted;)

  25. Jomy

    Your persistance payed off!

    I can really appreciate how persistant you are, now that I know what size needles you used!

    WOW! A whole hat 4.5 times on wee little sock needles!

    That’s dedication.

    I’d have whipped out the credit card so fast…

  26. Kate

    Perfect!! I’m beginning to feel guilty for not knitting for my grandma…then again, I have 3 daughters to knit for! Your work is always so beautiful!

  27. Alyson

    You have a pattern in Spring Interweave!!! How WONDERFUL! Congrats on that!

    (Grandma is going to love her beret! Beautiful – and diligent – work!)

  28. linken

    Has anyone taken a peek at Interweave knits upcoming issue….. 🙂 congratulations are in order – not just for persisting through the knitted beret project. Way to go! Awesome!

  29. Helene

    Congrats on the roza’s socks!

    Now I’ve finally posted a pic of my black sea hat on my blog. Thanks for the great pattern 🙂

  30. Sheila

    Congratulations on your sock pattern in the Spring Interweave!! Looking forward to a new super pattern. Are these socks you made for your Grandma? I do hope you share with her your pattern being published – she will burst with pride!

  31. Carol

    I just saw the IK preview too! I’m buying a copy just for the sock pattern! I already have some Shepherd Sock in stash for it. Congratulations!

  32. Pat

    WOW – just saw you in Spring Interweave Knits!! Can’t wait to see those socks up close and personal….The beret is beautiful!

  33. Ashley

    No wonder you’ve been all about the periwinkle lately, you sneak 🙂 CONGRATS on the Interweave socks!! (I was wearing my Grumperina socks today and thinking about how happy they made me. I crown you queen of socks!)

  34. linda

    Absolutely perfect, and thank you so much for sharing all of this with us mortals. We are inspired to continue to excel even when we would like to throw some horid work at a wall. You are the queen of doing it right.

  35. Lotta

    Kathy, I like to put together Excel spreadsheets for the calculations for my knit patterns. Cracking the code on the increases or decreases for a circle are pretty easy that way. No standard equation will do, because it depends on the ratio of your row and stitch gauge. If you’re doing decreases, enter your # of stitches in one cell, row gauge in one, and stitch gauge in one. Then calculate the number of rows from that point to the center of the circle by r=#stitches/(2*pi)*(rowgauge/stitchgauge). Then you’ll have to figure out how many stitches to decrease per row, so do s/r=#stitches/#rows (the one you just calculated). Once you’ve got that set up, all circles are a piece of cake. 😉 Or PI 🙂

  36. Sam

    Very nice! It’s a really cute hat. I like the socks too! What a great idea to name them after one’s grandmother.


  37. TracyKM

    I wish I had a grandma to spoil! I love the periwinkle colour. My older daughter looks fabulous in it.

    I’ve never added elastic to anything knitted. How do you join it? I’m always afraid that it’ll go sproing and the knot come undone. I think I must be missing a simple detail because everyone always recommends doing it (and I have a hat that needs it, LOL)

  38. H

    I am thinking a lot about tams now too. There are so many construction techniques, including flat! Yours is a work of art.


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