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March 14, 2008

Hand knit Beret modification for smaller needle sizes!

The easy big old chunky handknit beret pattern is great for a fast knit with big ol' huge needles. I am usually able to get a beret finished in just a few hours using that pattern (my favorite yarn for that pattern is a tie between the JoAnn's Sensations yarn in Licorice and the Lion Brand wool ease chunky in heathered grey, which turned out so nice and I wore it all over Rome.)

But a lot of folks emailed or commented to see if there was a modification of this pattern to use smaller needles (and less chunky yarn) -- apparently not everyone loves using size 13 double-pointed needles! Go figure!

Awesome reader Alicia offered to try out the beret using a very easy-to-find (and super-soft!) yarn, Patons Rumor. I am forever indebted to Alicia, not just for the modification but also for taking such awesome pictures!

Here is Alicia's beret pattern:

Alicia says, "I'm in love with this hat. It turned out great! I cast on 66 stitches on #9 circulars and worked in 1x1 rib for one and a half inches, then increased by k1, kfb, then switched over to #11 circular needles for the rest of the hat."


• Cast on 66 stitches using a size 9 (16") circular needle
• Work in Knit-1-Purl-1 ribbing all the way across each row until the brim measues about 1.5 inches
• Increase stitches for the body of hat by knitting one stitch, then knit into the front and back of the next stitch. Repeat all the way across the row. (You will end up with 99 stitches.)
• Switch to size 11 (16" circular) needles

[Read the original pattern for more explanation.]

Alicia wrote, "I was worried that the giant change in needle size would make the hat turn out all wonky, but it actually made it just the perfect slouchiness! I started the decreases at about 6" into the hat, and began with k13, k2tog (you have one extra stitch on the last set, but I just chalked it up to imperfection and said "SCREW IT!" you just have to knit one more regular stitch on that set every time. but it works out just fine.)"

[Note from Laurie here: You could also knit 9, knit 2 together all the way across the row to decrease.
• Then knit one plain row, no decreasing.
• Then knit 8, knit 2 together all the way across.
• Knit one row with no decreasing.
• Knit 7, knit 2 together... and so on!

I got this by finding the shoe number of 99 stitches... it's 11. Then 11 minus 2 (one pair of shoes!) leaves 9 stitches. But Alicia's pattern proves there are no real mistakes in fun knitting, especially when you say, screw it! It's yarn ya'll!]

Back to Alicia now...

"In between the decrease rows I knitted one regular round, until about the sevens....when I started to think that this hat might very well be the cause of my early demise, so I started to decrease on every row after that."

"I ended up with either 14 or 7 stitches to choose from at the very end and I went with the 7, probably should have chosen 14, it would have been more flat on the top. But I love it anyway! I will wear it in sickness and in health.....the sickness comes in when I am wearing it in our 110 degree weather this summer!"

Here are pictures of Alicia in her Patons Rumor hand knit beret:



And with adorable kiddo Judah:

Thank you so much, Alicia, your beret looks amazing and so do you!

And thank you to every single person who has offered up knitting tips and advice and modifications. I never really think of myself as a particularly great knitter -- I just like knitting -- and it always surprises me and makes me happy that people find these wordy recipes appealing and usable. I post them up because I figure there have to be other folks out there who also want to try the occasional easy and lazy and quick (and free!) pattern. It's gravy on top when they work out, and this one was gravy. Thank you!!

And she even included a cute pic of her puppies:

Perfect way to end the week. Thank you!

Posted by laurie at March 14, 2008 10:39 AM