Vintage Throwbacks: The Alice Beret

 With my usual aplomb, I selected the perfect three colors for a striped beret. Vintage, cute colors, all making a comeback lately. I cast the hat on. I knitted several inches of the hat. Here it is.


I lucked out on the yarn for this hat. I traveled to PA, and along the way somehow found myself in a yarn store. The Wool Gathering is a small store that is easy to spot because of the three enormous hanks of red, green and yellow yarn swinging from a lamp post (?) in the front. I loved that little extra touch, and stepped into the store, immeaditely overwhelmed by the incredible yarn fumes.

 I, however, zoomed in on one paticular shelf, stocked with Lousia Harding Nautical Cotton, the exact yarn for the Alice Beret. The price tag was $6 per skein, which believe me was cheaper than most of the yarn there. I paused. A little note next to it said 60%. Hmm, I thought, what does that mean?

 “Go and ask,” my mom said, poking me in the side. She, having no fondness for yarn or knitting, was doubly shocked at some of the prices, although she did fondle some Artyarns.

 It was only $2.40 per skein. The beret uses many more than just three colors, but I wanted to use those three colors, and anyway, I don’t think that the shop had all of the colors specified in the pattern anyway. And for all three skeins, I paid about $7.20. Considering the soft, smooth quality of this cotton and the lovely colors, that was an absolute bargain.

  The pattern uses a picot cast on, which I have never used before, but was easy to pick up. Cable cast-on five stitches, bind off two, and slip the stitch from the right needle back to the left. Repeat until there are 99 stitches. OK, maybe the last part was a little burdensome. I cast on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on.

 I have made some pattern mods, apart from the color changes.

 1. The garter stitch band is knit on size 3 needles. When you switch to stockinette, they want you to switch to the larger size 5 needles and increase at the exact same time with lots of M1s. Combine unbouncy cotton, plus very small stitches and much larger needles, and you will be in tears. This seems to be an oversight by the designer. I avoided all this by simply working one row in stockinette with the size 5s before I did the increase row.

 2. The picot cast-on is in the chocolate brown, the headband is sand-colored, and I wanted there to be a ‘boundary’ or edge also in chocolate brown after that. It looks more complete to me. The actual stripe sequence doesn’t start until the first pink stripe. It goes pink, chocolate, sand, pink, chocolate, sand, repeat until end.

 But what has happened to this hat?

Sadly, it is now three skeins of partly wrinkled cotton.

 I had to rip it out.

 The stripes didn’t match up when I made the join in the round. I tried to carry up the yarn inside the hat, and it didn’t work. The garter stitch band had some rumples. I can tolerate mistakes, because I detest ripping, but there was just one too many.

 The beret: no progress

 My knitting skills: somewhat improved.

If I can gain the courage to cast on again.

And on and on and on and on and on and on….


March 31, 2008. Tags: , , , . Tuesday Project Updates, works-in-progress.


  1. jinniver replied:

    Aargh…that sucks! I’m not sure I could have handled ripping that kind of work with that sort of aplomb–it would have been weeks before I’d been able to look at the bright side of improved knitting skills.

    And if you’re taking a poll on the various blog themes, I think I preferred the other one, although this one isn’t bad. 🙂

  2. Michelle replied:

    I usually try to avoid ripping things out at all costs, but sometimes it’s the only thing to do. Well, the colors are lovely anyway! If you do decide to start over, it’ll be a great hat!

  3. sarahkatie replied:

    The hat was so beautiful. You really should just try again, although I have noticed that on all the hats I do with stripes the stripes never match up exactly, so maybe that is just the way it is.

  4. PrincessPea replied:

    Very cute hat, very cute vintage-y colours, definitely worth continuing with IMHO.

    I’m sure you’ve already read about knitting jogless stripes, but just in case, Techknitter has a great tutorial on them.

  5. Susan replied:

    Love the yarn & the colors. Even better on sale! We all rip things out. Sometimes you just can’t live with the mistake.s.

  6. thenewgirltoo replied:

    Your hat looked like neopolitan icecream! yum yum!

  7. cc sullivan replied:

    great colors — do we love our bargain yarn more??? Yes, pathetically, we do.
    google “jogless jog”– in addition to techknitter, youtube has a tutorial and meg swansen (schoolhouse press — ez fame) unvented and wrote about it in VK mag a while ago (5 years? 10?) So steam that fusilli and knit on!

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