A little while ago I blogged about my new challenge, crochet. After spending the day at a crochet workshop I was very keen to get started on making things for myself. However, I didn’t want to start slowly, crocheting things like blankets and shawls because I knew I’d never use them. I know I’d just give up because I wasn’t really getting excited about the things I was making. So, instead I took the attitude of who dares wins and plunged straight in with a 1930s style beret.
The pattern I chose was a very straight forward beret designed by the lovely Theodora from the Theodora Goes Wild blog, which is available as a PDF download on Etsy. After downloading it, I gave it a read over and miraculously understood every word, something I could never do before the workshop. It made complete sense, so I headed off to the local wool shop to buy my yarn.
Cue major panic! I was so overwhelmed with the variety of yarns on offer and not a lot of it made sense to me. However, after calming down and spending nearly an hour looking at everything I purchased a couple of balls of Rowan Summerlite 4ply cotton. I decided to buy it in navy, mainly because it was a dark colour so it wouldn’t show any mistakes quite as much as a bright colour would. Always a bonus!
And here it is! Yes, it doesn’t quite look as smooth and perfect as Theodora’s but there are two reasons for that. Firstly, I wrongly decided to go for the bigger size. The reason I did this is because I’m always being told I have a big head! Yes, true fact. So many hats I try on don’t fit and shop assistants, vintage fair sellers and my mum always come back with ‘oh, you must have a big head!’. In reality my head measurement is 22.5ins, so not enormous. However, the beret pattern comes in two sizes, 21″ – 22″ and 23″ – 24″ and, due to my paranoia about my head, I stupidly chose the bigger one.
The second reason is because the beret is wet blocked over a certain size plate and I didn’t have one big enough. When I read the term ‘wet blocked’ on the pattern I headed straight to Google to find out what the hell that meant as it was completely new to me. After realising it was literally wetting the finished garment and moulding it into shape, I tried every plate in the house but all were too small. Thanks to Google I then found out you could pin the garment to achieve the same thing, however, I didn’t really do it terribly well. It definitely would’ve been better with a plate!
To be honest, I don’t really mind that it has a more floppy fuller look than the original and as the lovely Kate-Em said recently, “Don’t think mistakes, think personalising the pattern!”. Too damn right, this is my take on Theodora’s pattern. Hahaha!
Anyway, the pattern as a whole was really easy to follow and I’d definitely recommend it for a beginner. The whole thing it made by going around in circles building up the size as you go. As I’m finding with all crochet pieces, it was a little fiddly at the start. It’s hard to hold on to it before it starts growing but once it gets to a certain size you start getting faster with every stitch. I know I screwed up the counting a little bit as I was going around and the pinwheel design isn’t as neat as it should be. However, at least I know where I went wrong and I will definitely concentrate better next time.
When I was getting to the end I realised it was going to be too big to wear on my small head so the last two rounds I did by doing a couple of decreasing rows. It worked a treat and something I did entirely on my own judgement which kind of made me a bit smug. 🙂 I don’t think it spoils the look at all, despite being able to see the last two rows are different. It means that I can actually wear the beret, which is the most important thing.
Overall I’m really chuffed with it. I know it’s not perfect but I finished it and it is wearable, which is so much more than I’ve ever achieved before. I will definitely make this again but will of course go for the smaller size. I may also choose the slightly more jaunty, sailor hat version which also comes with the pattern. It’s really cute and would look fabulous with my the outfit from my last post.
I’ve also learned a huge amount, especially about different yarns thanks to Kate-Em, a friend of my mum’s and all the very informative websites I visited. Before I started all of this the world of crocheting was a very daunting place but I’m just beginning to feel more at ease now.
So much so that I decided to jump in at the deep end with my next project, a 1930s short sleeve jumper. If you think modern crocheting is a mind field, trust me 1930s crocheting is insane! I won’t go into it all here, I’ll save that for another post but you won’t believe the amount of research I’ve put into this one jumper. However, since casting on (or whatever the equivalent term is in crocheting) last weekend, I’ve now completed the back waistband and am just about to start the actual design. I’m so excited! It’s going really well and despite a few wobbly moments of self-confidence I’m really enjoying my new found craft. And, of course, I’ll keep you posted on how this one goes.