Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Madame Defarge's chunky knitted beret

"He [the countryman] looked at no one present, and no one now looked at him; not even Madame Defarge, who had taken up her knitting, and was at work." A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Madame Defarge has really given knitting a bad name - those who don't understand it look at it askance, some linking it in their minds with revolution and bloodshed, thanks to Charles Dickens and his notorious, bloodthirsty femme fatale. But really, knitting is fun, absorbing and often theraputic.

Especially when you mix it with French Berets. I've made several knitted berets in the past year, and they are incredibly simple to make, and lots of fun to wear.

Here are a couple of my results (note: I do sell on Ebay. The green one has been sold, but I still have the black set. Will be listing some more pieces for sale in the fall. My Ebay ID: aeknittingly)

black knitted beret with matching scarf

Sea foam green beret

The pattern I used comes from this blog

In the search field, type "super easy & fast hand-knit chunky beret" and click on the link that comes up that matches those words.

Follow the directions.

Once you've made the beret and cast your stitches off, the beret doesn't quite lay flat, like traditional berets should. To fix this problem, you must "block" the beret.

You will need:
  • cool water
  • a round, standard-sized dinner plate (about 10" or so in diameter)
*note: If you are using 100% wool, or a mostly-wool mix yarn, you do NOT want to put it in hot water, as shrinking can occur.

Take the beret and get it completely saturated with cool water. Gently squeeze (do NOT wring) most of the water out until there is practically no dripping.
Take the dinner plate, and carefully slide it inside the beret, so that the top of the hat lies flat against the serving side of the plate, and the rim of the beret lies against the bottom of the plate. Make sure there are no large wrinkles, and that the beret is lying completely flat on both sides.
Sit the beret/plate on a hard, water-resistant surface that will encourage drying, in a place where it is unlikely to be disturbed, at normal room temperature. Check on it every few hours or so to turn it over to give both sides a chance to dry evenly (this may take a few days). Once it is almost completely dry, take it off of the plate and let it finish air drying on its own. 

Vive le Beret! (just don't start any blood-thirsty revolutions when you wear it :-))

No comments:

Post a Comment