Sometimes I get so bored that I can’t think of a single thing to do. This doesn’t happen often but it happened recently. In such a slump I can’t even get interested in different yarns (Aaarrghh call the ambulance). It occurred recently. In desperation I enlisted the help of my daughter and the local cheap shop – Shiploads. Crystal, a Girl Guide Leader, chose some self striping yarn and suggested I make beanies for her young Guides.
I have always made beanies loose fitting with a folding brim, a kind of classic design. I no longer like this design, it reminds me of 1980’s padded shoulders, over-sized loose fitting tops and skinny leggings (I confess, I thought I was the ants-pants in this style). I wanted a more modern style for these twenty-first century girls so I decided to experiment.
My idea of experimenting involves beginning with a familiar pattern then trying it out with more or less stitches and rows and joining the seams with in crochet (for easy unpicking) followed by trying it on. Next I repeat the exercise adjusting more or less stitches and rows, and faster or slower decreasing. I always keep notes about how and what I did because it’s amazing how quickly I confuse one design with another and forget how many stitches I cast on or rows I knitted before decreasing. I don’t usually unpick them as I go so that I can then place them side by side for comparison (this one was the right width, that one was too pointy, this method didn’t work at all). I think it took about five beanies until I was happy with the size and shape.
Of course, the idea of all this was to bust my boredom and endlessly knitting the same design is not my idea of interesting, even when it is experimental. I interspersed these beanies with some beret designs. A few years ago I made a sideways knitted circular coaster (Coaster 10 in this post) so I experimented with the design for the top of the beret. I slipped the last stitch on the outside of the circle giving me an easy way to pick them up for the inside of the beret. One thing I discovered was that this method does not look as good with slow self-striping yarn and so there was only one of the various yarns I had that actually worked well with this pattern.
Finally, I tried a traditional beret design, mainly in frustration whilst trying out the sideways method. I discovered that I had no memory of how to knit a flat circle as I so seldom ever do so. I returned to my baby books where I knitted a beret for my then newborn granddaughter (which I have discovered to my horror is missing from my blog – not so surprising because I have moved my blog backwards and forwards over the years and my granddaughter is now 10). The pattern is in Patons “A complete wardrobe of Hand Knits for Baby” Book 5000, pattern 25 on page 67. It is almost the same but knitted in the round with 8 ply and 4 mm needles, I then needed only to adjust the size of the beret the same way as for the beanies.
I was kept busy for about four weeks and it resulted in eight beanies and four berets. Here are the four designs I finally settled on: