I have long been of the opinion that I don't suit a hat and I think you can probably see my point...
So for the last however many years a hat has not been an essential item of my core wardrobe...until this winter that is. I just about survived last winter hatless and not wanting to look ridiculous, but this year I couldn't care less. I have suddenly reached that point in life when I'll wear purple if it's warm especially as my head seems to have reverted to its neonatal state and started to lose vast amounts of heat.
I think the error of my hat ways has obviously been about style, with a misguided adherence to the form of the cloche, combined with wishing I had at some time in my life had the thick long blond hair like Mary Hopkin or the bone structure that would make me look like Twiggy. That's clearly not going to happen now either but suddenly I wondered about a beret.
However having grown up with this picture I had been understandably reluctant to return to the genre, if you look carefully you will see those ears are folding under the weight of that beret and I do remember it being the size of a dinner plate.
So a new knitting book arrived which seemed to offer some hope. It's written by a new convert to the ancient art and is aimed at the novice knitter and Purls of Wisdom The Book of Knitting by Jenny Lord is replete with some fashionable language and attitudes.
'... it's fun, relaxing, gives you the excuse to watch crap telly...'
'...knitting is no longer relegated to the happily retired.'
Apparently it's all about connecting us with our ancestors, though I'd have to disagree with the suggestion that women's lib made us all put our knitting away. Some of us kept the faith and were libbed and egged on by that Twiggy pattern and Fiona wool at 2s/6d a ball...
...so we never actually stopped, and we weren't knitting two piece suits to wear with our pearls either.
No we were knitting those His & Hers Patons Husky jackets weren't we.
Nor do I think that knitting in the 1980s was the 'byword for skint and failed to make the grade', at least not here chez dovegrey. Yes admittedly the knitting world was waiting for Kaffe to come along, and yes we were skint because the interest rate on the mortgage was 15%, but skint wasn't ever going to stop me knitting. Anyway that all probably says far more about me as a knitter of a certain vintage rather than being any criticism of Jenny Lord's encouraging clarion call to the modern-day knitter, so I was delighted, having set off on the beret trail, to find a Classic Beret pattern in the book.
Having acquired some lovely yarn, Katia Azteca, half way between Aran & Chunky weight I was all systems go. It knits up nicely on 5mm needles and gorgeous colours which, though 50/50 wool and acrylic blend and thus normally against my religion, looks and feels soft and warm and affordable at £6.75 per 100gms for an experiment that might end up on Etsy.com. So I set up the KnitPro circular needles, cast on with glee and immediately replaced the ordinary rib with a springier offset one to cope with any largeness of head. I was on the increases in no time...*K9 Inc1; repeat from * to end of round and the number steadily increased with each row as I knitted the brim.
Now I don't know about you but if I increase I always do it with a nice tidy M1 stitch, picking up the loop inbetween the stitches and knitting into the back of it, so off I went gaily on a beret frolic of my own until several rounds later it was patently obvious I wasn't supposed to have these spare 7 stitches at the end of each row. I had been telling myself that this beret perhaps had some clever and increase-less chunk at the back or something.
Isn't it amazing how long you'll carry on knitting knowing full well it's wrong but hoping for a miracle?
Thinking you know best when in fact you don't and expecting any minute it will all come right?
Finally I look at the instructions regarding abbreviations or 'Skills' as Jenny calls them...
Increase one (Inc1): p 70
I turn to p 70 with a heavy heart...
Knit into the front and back of the same stitch... big difference, my M1 has thrown the numbers out entirley, cue frogging.
So still no beret to show for it and in the meantime I've bought one, on the basis that if this works I'll need several, and which I'm experimenting with in the privacy of mine own home and all before I hit the streets wearing it. So far things are looking hopeful...no wild guffawing as yet but no pictures either.