Saturday, 21 May 2016

Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret

~ Sunday Pictorial Beret ~

Designer: Susan Crawford
Yarn: 2 balls of 4ply Rowan Cashsoft in Loganberry & Deep
Needles: 3.25mm / US 3 / UK 10

I started this beret as a quick project to use up some stash yarn way back in 2012 (January 22nd, 2012, if Ravelry is to be believed), but it has taken me four and a bit more years to actually call it finished and put it on my head!

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2


The pattern comes from Susan Crawford's fabulous knitting bible A Stitch In Time Vol.2 and has been adapted from an original 1930s pattern published in the Sunday Pictorial. When I first saw it I instantly wanted to make it, but as usual, I couldn't decide what colour to choose. After a bit of stash raiding I initially picked a soft browny-beige shade, which looked almost identical to the original in the book, but as I was knitting, I was gradually falling out of love with it, as it wasn't a colour which felt very 'me' and I knew I if I didn't love it now then I certainly wouldn't wear it when it was done.

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2

So I frogged it and went back to my stash to find this wonderfully squishy Cash Soft yarn by Rowan, in a gorgeous dusky blue shade and cast back on. I realised pretty quickly that I wasn't going to have enough yarn to finish, so I ripped it back again and this time added in some stripes, in another Cash Soft shade, a lovely purple hue called Loganberry.

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2

The beret is made up in a garter stitch pattern (knit every row, no purl rows) which means it is very simple to knit and would be great as a starter project for those getting into knitting. Also, unusually for berets, it is knitted flat; on two needles rather than four, so it is wonderful for a bit of quick, mindless knitting with just a bit of row shaping every now and then, to create the wonderful spiralling centre crown!

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2

If it's so easy and quick to knit, I hear you ask, then why has it taken you so long to finish?
Well, it spent most of those years lurking in my UFO pile, simply because I could not decide on what to do about the embellishment that should be sewn over the seam. If you look at the original pattern here, you will see that there are two delicate bows, which I believe are stitched over the back seam to disguise it and to add a fabulous bit of 30s flamboyant flare to the beret.

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2

Well, I knitted the bows up: one in blue and one in purple, attached them to the beret but they looked a bit ridiculous. They were so floppy that they just hung limply at the back and didn't really look flamboyant at all! I learnt later from a conversation with Mim, that the reason they didn't work was that the yarn was too soft and didn't have enough structure to be able to hold its shape, she suggested getting some fine florists wire and work that in as I knit them, which I thought was a great idea, but I just never got around to actually doing it. So this weekend I called it quits on these bows and decided to move on. After dragging the beret back out of my UFO pile, I redid the back seam as the stripes were not matching up to my liking (my standards have obviously improved since 2012) and tidied away the loose ends before I giving it a quick wash and block over a dining plate which I left in the sunshine to dry.

The Butterfly Balcony: Knit It - Sunday Pictorial Beret from A Stitch In Time Vol.2




So now my beret is complete and I can actually wear it, I really like it! It's a floppy beret with a loose style which means you can position it on your head depending on your mood or era you are trying to recreate. I actually really like how the stripes make it a little more interesting and are totally in keeping with its original 30s style which means it should look great with my dark blue original 40s fit and flare coat! I did buy a little more of this yarn in both colours before it became discontinued so I am toying with the idea of making up some matching stripy gloves, though I'm not convinced I'll have enough yarn to do the job so I might have to play a bit of knitting roulette and see if I win!

Wendy x

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