Archives for posts with tag: beret

Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here…
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(check out my fabulous peacock tights!)
Here comes the sun
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Here comes the sun
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And I say
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It’s alright
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Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo (is that the right number of “doo”s?)

To celebrate the arrival of spring and the melting of the icebound lakes in Madison, here is my newest pattern, Here Comes the Sun (link: buy now or go to the hat or scarf Ravelry pages.)

Like Latitude and Longitude, it’s an accessory set, so although I’ve listed the pieces separately in Ravelry, the pattern includes instructions for both the hat and the scarf. The slouchy ribbed beret is knit with one skein of Malabrigo Twist, the reversible wavy scarf with two (both shown in the gorgeous sunny golden semi-solid Sunset). Just the thing to cheer you up on a gray day, or add a pop of color to a drab outfit.

I picked up a skein of Twist a while back from The Knitting Tree after admiring my friend Liz’s slouchy green beret, and resolved to make one of my own. A bit of experimentation and I came up with the hat; after wearing it for a bit and knitting a second one in blue to work out the pattern, I made the matching scarf with yarn I picked up at Stitches West.

With the help of speedy tech editor Dawn Catanzaro, I released the pattern for the Malabrigo March design contest being held on the Malabrigo Junkies forum on Ravelry. The contest is closed for judging now and we should all hear back in a couple of weeks–there were some great contenders, so I doubt I’ll win, but it was a great kick in the ass to have the deadline to work towards for finalizing the pattern, and nice to participate in the community event–I tend to mostly lurk on the boards and seldom participate in actual knitalongs (I’d kind of wanted to do the Bodhi Mittens KAL for MM, but couldn’t commit the time and psychic energy… anyway, it’s in my queue, and looks like a pretty quick knit, so I’m sure I’ll get to it eventually.)

Go check out the other MM design contest patterns if you have a Rav account–my favorites are the Wild Growth mitts and the versatile whatchamacallit accessory called Verse.


OK, the burn mark on our linoleum is still there (now covered by a throw rug), and my leg still hurts, but my mental state today is much better than it was yesterday. The sun is out (this is how deep the flooding downtown was yesterday after the thunderstorm), knitting night is tonight, Rahul and I might go see a play at the fresh-baked cookie store after that. And, as I mentioned, I have some good knitterly things to think about.

Here’s one of the nice things. When I finished the Hemlock Ring, I cast on for a new hat as a reward for myself. It’s no kind of weather for wool berets right now, but who cares? It’s pretty! And it was fun and quick to make.

Pattern:Rose Red, by Ysolda Teague. chemgrrl, who was done with hers, traded the pattern to me for a skein of Rowan Calmer.
Size made: Small, but using a larger gauge. I can’t tell you what the gauge was, because I was lazy and fudged it.
Finished dimensions: I was lucky–it fits! I blocked it over a dinner plate, and it came out to 11 inches in diameter with the hat lying flat, with a band size of about 20 inches.
Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted from a Whitknits sale, in Violetas, about 90 grams (i.e. just under 1 skein, or about 195 yards).
Needles used: US size 8/5.0 mm bamboo DPNs to start the hat (it’s knit from the top down), and US size 7/4.5 mm 16-inch Boye Needlemasters for the rest
Date started: June 2, 2008
Date finished: June 3, 2008
Mods: Aside from the gauge modifications, none that I can think of.
Notes: My Ravelry page for this project is here. I loved this pattern. It’s gorgeous and intricate, fast and pretty easy to knit, and very well-written and easy to follow (I used the written directions, which I think to many knitters is akin to saying you like white wine better than red at a gathering of oenophiles–sort of crass, indicating a not-very-advanced palate.)

I finished the hat in just two days, after some marathon TV knitting (season openers of Bones and House; Barack Obama’s speech accepting the presumptive nomination; two nights of Daily Show and Colbert Report).

I usually cable without a cable needle, but this time, because of the way the 7-stitch cable is worked, I had to use a cable needle. It was fiddly and annoying, but I think it improved the look of my cables–they’re usually sloppy around the edges, but looked pretty tight this time. I used a size 6 DPN instead of one of the special cable needles you can buy.

I actually have some red DK-weight angora blend in the stash, and after making Rusted Root I was thinking I should add more red to my wardrobe this winter, so I think I might make another one of these hats in fluffy red DK weight, exactly like Ysolda’s original. Or maybe not. I’m not crazy about the way the cabled band looks, although I really appreciate the tidy, knitterly design aesthetics of continuing those cables all the way down the band. It’s just that somehow I feel like the hat looks a bit too… chef-like? and I suspect I might prefer the look of a ribbed band instead.

I think the recommended lighter weight yarn would also be a good idea. Malabrigo on 7s, even well-blocked, came out slightly too sturdy and the hat doesn’t drape well. For best effect, I think it should be really floppy. Also, I can’t quite decide how I feel about this semi-solid colorway–is it a distraction, or does it add to the charm and intricate look of the pattern? (This is not to say I don’t totally love the hat–I really do. This is all nitpicking.)

Anyway–on to the pictures. It’s really hard to take a picture of the back of your own head.

The hat lying flat.

The back of my head.

Plated up for blocking. The underside and band:

The flowery top, with cute li’l i-cord nubbin:

Me looking vaguely chef-like, or possibly medieval, from the front.

So–some other good things.

  • The Rainey Sisters alerted me to the fact that Niebling’s legendary Lyra doily is now available for $7 plus $4.50 shipping/handling through Lacis. It used to be rare and go for a LOT more on eBay–there are two copies up right now, the highest one, with 19 bids, currently priced at $81 plus $5.90 shipping. And I mean copy–it says you get photocopies of the pattern, not even originals. It must be a cash cow for the seller, since they can make infinite copies for 10 cents and sell them for $81+. That’s really kind of messed up.
  • You can now purchase a couple of my patterns through Sandra Singh. She posted them today and has sold a copy of The Water is Wide already!
  • Robynn sent me some freakin’ amazing yarn. Just look at how gorgeous this is.Handmaiden Camelspin, in Nova Scotia, glowing green and blue–this stuff has the sheen of Sea Silk but is much softer, probably the softest yarn I’ve ever felt, softer than the skein of cashmere I have in my purse:

    Artyarns Beaded Rhapsody in color 159, gleaming gold and silver:

Are those not just insanely beautiful? The timing was good; it made my day if not my week, and on balance more than made up for my Very Bad Day yesterday–thank you so much, Robynn.

A stealth project crept in last night; nothing I “should” have been working on (i.e. neither a gift, an existing WIP, nor an original design), but I had gotten this Malabrigo from the WhitKnits sale, and really wanted to try it out because it’s one of those yarns everyone seems to be madly passionate about. So I cast on for a hat, knit for about 5 hours between watching a movie last night and waiting for files to process today, and suddenly, miraculously, I had a beret with a beautiful spirally flower design on top.

Even though I didn’t really accomplish anything with it, at least it’s red(dish), so it makes a good Project Spectrum entry.

Pattern: The Sunflower Tam, by Norah Gaughan, from Knitting Nature
Size: Child’s, with mods (see below). Finished size is about 20″ around the ribbing. The tam is about 12″ in diameter at its widest.
Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted from WhitKnits, about 3/4 of a skein, color #610, “Red Mahogany”
Needle size: US size 6/4.0 mm 16″ circular for the ribbing, US size 9/5.5 mm 16″ circular for most of the top, size 8 DPNs once the stitches wouldn’t stretch to fit on the 16″ circ anymore
Date started: 2/18/08
Date finished: 2/19/08
Mods: I started out the ribbing by using the Italian tubular cast-on, working k1 sl1 for 4 rows, then joining into the round for the 1×1 ribbing. Isn’t the edge pretty?

The pattern in the book makes a sort of weird, fez-like hat, with a purled turning row making the top into a crisp, flat, round flowerpot shape. I wanted a slouchy beret/classic Benjamin Bunny tam shape instead. To achieve this, I worked the ribbing on smaller needles–I knew my gauge would be slightly looser than specified, and indeed I ended up with a hat that is 20″ around the ribbing instead of 18″–then switched to larger needles right after the ribbing to help create the poofy shape. I rearranged the order of the increase rounds: I stacked up all the increase rounds immediately after the ribbing to create a sudden flare, and then knit 17 rounds even. Since I didn’t want the fez shape, I omitted the purled turning rounds. I worked the top pattern exactly as specified in the pattern, but instead of working the i-cord tie at the top, I just ran the yarn through the last 4 sts a couple of times and pulled tight to close. I’m quite happy with the resulting shape at the moment, but I suspect the Malabrigo may grow (especially if I let it touch water!) and then I may need to run some elastic through it or something to keep it fitting.

Notes: I’m not quite sure what all the fuss is about with this yarn. The Malabrigo is definitely soft and cuddly, but knitting with it was not, in my opinion, the kind of experience that defines a generation and changes lives. You’d think this yarn was the second coming, from the way everyone talks about it.

The Red Mahogany color didn’t really photograph right. It came out too washed out and looks far too pale and purple in most of these photos. I tweaked the colors a bit on one of the pictures, and came up with this version, which is closer, but still not great–too warm and bright.

The true color is a sort of semi-solid wine color, a noncommittal brownish-purplish-red, with deep almost-black spots where the yarn sucked up the dye. It looks, if I may be so pretentious, the way a soft Merlot tastes.

The pattern is gorgeous and very well written: the twisted stitch pattern on top is inspired by the phyllotaxis spirals of sunflower seeds, and I think it’s just beautiful and brilliantly done. In my opinion, the phyllotaxis section of the book contains the most beautiful and wearable designs–this opinion evidenced by the fact that I’ve made two designs out of the book so far, both of them from the phyllotaxis section.

The other one, if you’re wondering, was the Phyllo Yoked Pullover. I was thrilled to have my version chosen by Norah Gaughan herself as the “face” of the design in Ravelry–the first picture below, the yoke close-up, is the little icon you see in search results or when you queue the pattern.