Pattern: Star Crossed Slouchy Beret by Natalie Larson
Yarn: Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky from Gather Here
Needles: US 9 and 11 16″ circs
My sister came up to visit last weekend from NYC and I wanted to show her some of the places that make the Boston area great: the Harpoon Brewery (tour tickets were sold out, dang), Grendel’s Den in Harvard Square, and Gather Here in Cambridge. After finishing my Odessa hat last week, and not being too pleased with the outcome, I decided I need to whip up something – fast – to help me get over my hat failure. So taking a cue from what I learned about that hat, I found some yarn at Gather Here to make the Star Crossed Slouchy Beret. My sis? She bought some yarn for the Blue Sky Alpacas “Sporty Mitts” pattern, her first Fair Isle project.
After about four episodes of catching up on Downton Abbey, my hat was finished! Started it Saturday night and finished it Sunday afternoon. I decided to use US 9 circs for the ribbing since I didn’t have any size 10 dpns or circs like the pattern called for, and then switched to US 11s for the rest of the hat. I’ve made a couple of berets over the years and this one is definitely my favorite by far. I love the shape of the hat – it’s more fitted at the crown than other beret patterns I’ve knitted, and the drape starts at the right point, not too soon after the ribbing ends. It lays nicely and doesn’t need to be constantly tugged at or pulled on to make sure it’s not falling off of my head. I highly recommend knitting this pattern for a no-fail beret/slouchy hat/tam project.
I think I’ve got my hat-knitting groove back.
Pattern: Odessa Hat by Grumperina
Yarn: Rowan RYC Cashsoft DK
Beads: Size 6 seed beads from Webs Beads
Needles: US 4 and 6 16″ circs
I wanted to love this hat, but the truth is, I just can’t. Don’t get me wrong, I loved knitting it and discovered that knitting with beads is addictive and fun (I want everything to have beads in it now!). I had such high hopes for it because it looked so pretty on my needles as I kept knitting the swirling stockinette pattern. But I’m not a beanie girl, have never been a beanie girl, and so I don’t like how it looks on my head. I deliberately posted these three pictures on the blog because they don’t really give a full look as to how the hat looks head-on. But I wanted to show how the hat turned out and say that it’s a great pattern, just not for me.
(This was the only straight-on picture that looked ok)
Every project is a learning experience. You learn what you did wrong so that you can improve on it next time in a new project. Sometimes you also learn what works and doesn’t work for you – case in point this hat. I learned that I like loose fitting hats, pretty much of the tam or beret variety, and that thinking back, I never owned a single beanie that I liked. It’s that whole hair-smooshing thing I think, as silly as that sounds. And light, neutral colors wash me out. I need some bright colors going on for my hats!
Oh well. Knitting, like any other craft, is full of mishaps. I used to get upset when something didn’t turn out right, but now I just use it as a point of reference going forward, and learn not to make that mistake again. No more beanies for me.
Pattern: Sideways Grande Cloche from Boutique Knits
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Baby Alpaca Grande, color 1285
Needles: US 10, 9, 8, 7
Size: One size, altered to fit smaller
It’s sad but true: I own very few hand-knitted “cold weather” items. I guess it’s partially because I tend to gravitate towards bigger challenges like pullovers and cardigans, and I see scarves and hats as kind of boring. Or, maybe it’s because I haven’t had success in that area of knitting. I’m not a big fan of hats, and since my head is on the small side (“pin-head”, as my sister would say), I’m usually let down with the finished product since it’s way too big for me to wear.
One thing is for certain though and that is the love I have for this hat. LOVE IT. It’s deceptively complicated looking but in actuality a beginner could make this hat. The construction is straightforward: knit a long ribbed fabric like you would a scarf, pick up some stitches on one of the long sides and knit the crown, sew up the side seam, and then pick up and knit two straps that twist together and connect at the crown to form a faux cable. Easy!
A word of caution, though – this hat does run large. Many knitters on Ravelry adjusted the pattern and casted on less stitches than what the pattern calls for. I followed their advice and casted on 33 stitches so that the length of the hat (which is essentially the width of the fabric piece when you’re knitting) wouldn’t cover up my eyes. That happens with hats, when you’re a “pin-head.”
I know that “bathroom mirror” photos aren’t my usual photography standard, but I was running late for work and wanted to post my finished hat.
Cabled Beret from Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine Fall/Winter 08
Yarn: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, 1 skein (bought 2 though)
Needles: US 5 and 8 straight