When good experiments go not so much bad, as slightly awry.

Here's the thing: I bought the most perfect piece of headwear in Montreal a couple of years ago. A simple cotton beret. Not huge, floppy or fussy, but just the right scale with a devil-may-care roll up hem. The ultimate all-purpose, bad-hair-day-rescue, roll-it-up-and-stuff-it-in-your-pocket, stylish (I like to think anyway but then I have major powers of self delusion) chapeau.

Now I'm obsessed with being able to knit myself a hat that is equally up to the task.
This is about my second or third attempt, but I'm afraid the jury is still out on this particular one. It's certainly not the fault of the design, which is clever, fully charted, and easy to memorise. In fact the gently undulating cables remind me of Minoan wall painting motifs.

No, I think where it went awry was in my yarn choice. I was attracted to the idea of the silk/cotton mix of Summer Tweed in which to work up this hat so it would be cool, soft and breathable in hot weather.
So much for the theory.
Here I am apprehending the large grey lump on my head.
Moi? Je suis une Stunned Mullet, or La Mullet Stunne.
Regardez! Les dark circles !
(No, it's not snowing here, I have a very dirty mirror it seems).

In practice what I ended up with was a slightly harsh, rope-like yarn that doesn't have the necessary elasticity or body
required for the pattern. And don't get me started on stitch definition! What I will say though is that it smells rather nice - that lovely raw silk aroma (so I'm a weirdo, what are you going to do about it? ) I've also found that I love the look of the fabric it makes in reverse stocking stitch and in fact it may be reincarnated that way, in a more 'pure' form.

And I think ol' PBB is definitely worth another round but she may have to wait 'til the weather starts to cool again and I can start reaching for the merino instead.

Pattern: Parisian Beanie Beret by Tina Whitmore available here.
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed. Hurricane. About a skein and a half.

Both PBB and Summer Tweed are destined for other, better things.... just not together.

Contemplating the Broadhurst, or just falling asleep?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to risk the chance you were pondering the Broadhurst :)

It looks great, but I understand the yarn/wool/silk/stuff conundrum.

12 November 2007 at 8:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

carson that pattern on your piece is gorgeous! i'm curious to know what your beloved original beret was made from.

13 November 2007 at 12:41 am  
Blogger AmberCake said...

I, too, have a Canadian cotton beret which is perfect beyond compare. Is yours by Cotton Country?

I also have been collecting beret patterns from around the web - all the links are listed here:

13 November 2007 at 1:53 am  
Blogger kgirlknits said...

I think you're being a little harsh on the beret, it looks great - some body is needed so as to not resemble a flying pancake mishap!

but perhaps just as a suggestion, have you thought about using Rowan Calmer instead? It may relax a bit more than the tweed and give the desired le flop?

13 November 2007 at 2:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can relate to the shock, when the medium rebels against the vision; fiber is so good for that, isn't it?

Don't despair––get some lacquer and turn that beret into a vessel. The next one will be perfection.

14 November 2007 at 3:50 am  
Blogger Madge said...

Pauvre mullet stunne!

I call this state of affairs When Good Knits Go Bad. And, uh, yeah, I must agree with you on this one. But Calmer is a great suggestion! The smooth, squishy yarn would be light and give great definition to the design.

Me being me, I have to run over and check out the beret sitch on Ravelry. I'll ping you there.

14 November 2007 at 7:32 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i did have a laugh at sahara's lacquer comment! too often the imagined result in one's mind's eyes far exceeds the reality of the result! i hate that. and now you know why i never post pictures of myself - chronic bags under eyes images... perhaps it ties in to the "imagined result exceeding the reality"!! i fear so.

15 November 2007 at 8:23 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love that raw silk smell too.

your beret as photoed actually looks good. but it was only through experience that i discovered that silk is not cool, it actually holds a lot of heat. and it stretches. really stretches, way more than cotton.

you might want to consider either a bamboo yarn or a hemp one for your next perfect beret.

19 November 2007 at 1:08 pm  
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