Simplicity 8468: a knitted beret and a trade of skills


the pattern: 
Simplicity 8468, HAT, MINI-BAG, SHOULDER BAG, BERET, SCARF, KNITTED BERET & KNITTED SCARF (Knitting Instructions Included), copyright 1969 Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc.


the yarn:
AE bought me two skeins of yarn (Skeins? Hanks? Sausages?) from Union Square farmers market in Manhattan. This beautiful, fat, soft yarn, made by Catskill Merino Farms. So beautiful and hand dyed.
I don’t knit, and AE knows that, but he knew I’d love this yarn and find something to do with it, and I do and did: I arranged a trade of skills with my friend HRM. She knits, I sew, we made it mutually beneficial. (Here’s what she got)


All the green got used up so, onward and upward to purple.


HRM had some thoughts on this beret and pattern, and here they are!


“Here are my thoughts on knitting this beret:
I am not a terribly experienced knitter, partially because I knit like I cook: I never make the same thing twice (unless it’s really amazing). I never say, “I feel like knitting the same ol’ scarf again!” Usually I find myself inspired by something new, which usually ends up forcing me to learn a new stitch or technique. The knit beret pattern gave me that, plus I was using yarn that had a higher weight than what was called for in the pattern, so I got to mess with the numbers a bit to make it work, too. Fun!
Since I am self-taught, I’m never quite sure I’m right with my problem-solving. That said, this pattern had a bizarre stitch that I still don’t understand. After setting up the brim with a typical seed stitch-in-the-round for a heavy ribbing, the rest of the beret called for knitting two stitches, followed by knitting two stitches directly below your live stitches.
It was one of those things that didn’t make any sense, but you just have to dive in and follow the instructions. Because of the inconsistent weave of the yarn, it was a little bumpy and bubbly, which Sew It Or Throw It and I both liked, but I honestly could not tell what the heck the purpose was of that funky stitch, except that I couldn’t watch TV while I knit, because I had to Always Be Thinking about whether I had just knit two stitches above or below. (sidebar for future me: I have now googled enough to learn that it is supposed to create a thicker, more squishy fabric, which was unnecessary in my case, since the yarn I was using was already thicker and squishier than the intended yarn. So next time, maybe I should find these things out before I try to rewrite patterns.)
The other major problem I had was with the tools: the pattern called for splitting the stitches between three double-pointed needles. Even when I moved the stitches to five needles, I was losing stitches on both ends all over the place, resulting in a lot of grumbling and loud cursing, to which my husband commented, “For what’s supposed to be a relaxing hobby, you sure are swearing a lot.” This from a sailor!
In any case, the finished product was appreciated, not by me, as I would have made it a little deeper to cover the ears more fully, and perhaps, knowing what I know now, used even fewer stitches than I did. The pattern also provided the lamest way of making a sad pom-pon I’ve ever encountered, so I returned to the good ol’ double cardboard donut method. Because pom-pons are fun!
Of course, I will defer to the owner of this blog. But if it were up to me, I’d throw this thing. And toss a lit match in after.”


Ha! Liza Mae here again. Hahahaha!
Obviously, this process was great for me, because I got a new hat, but bonus: I found it extra funny that I brought HRM a totally inappropriate choice in yarn weight. Usually it is other people who bring me inappropriate fabrics and say “Hi, please weave this straw into gold k thanks,” but this time it was me who did it to someone else! Hahaha whoops!

Regarding the pompom situation: the one shown above is the size the pattern recommend, we decided this was WAY undersized for this hat, so then HRM made the one below. Which I love, and will use somewhere else, but after wearing it for a while decided it was taking all the attention away from the hat itself so I took it off.
Another great thing about this skills swap, I got to watch HRM make that giant pompom. I have never made one, but have investigated a few times and didn’t believe the instructions. Like, it can’t be that easy. But it is. And now I know it.


Oh hey, I just noticed, I made the pants and shirt I’m wearing here, and AE made the earrings.

So, on to the question,

Sew It or Throw It:
Sew It! Not the knitting part obviously, that all sounds terrifying, but I am up for giving the fabric version of the beret a chance. And the floppy hat looks cute, especially after watching The Walk, the story of Philippe Petit who totally terrifyingly and amazingly wire-walked between the Twin Towers in 1974. Great movie. Great floppy hat on his cute girlfriend too. 



6 thoughts on “Simplicity 8468: a knitted beret and a trade of skills

  1. Most beautiful shade of green ever. Your sweetie got that for you? Hold on to him!

    So I knit….a lot. HRM made a very nice beret. Love everything about it. Nice swap! Kudos for completing a project successfully with the wrong materials. HRM…look into the “magic loop” on YouTube. After struggling with all the DP needles, magic loop will be a dream come true! You can do it.


    1. Yay, a frequent knitter loves the beret! Thank you, I’ll make sure HRM sees your compliment and the suggestion of magic loop.
      Until she was telling me about this process, I didn’t know about double pointed needles. I thought all needles had a cap on one end, like the ones in cartoons, or the ones my grandma taught me to use a long time ago. I’d seen a picture or two of what I now know to be double pointed needles, but I’m pretty sure I willfully ignored them, as in, “Nope. Not seeing that. Can’t deal with that.”
      I super appreciate the amount of effort that went into this beret: her work, the gift from my husband. Plus it looks awesome. I’m glad you like it too!


    1. I think that giant pompom will be attached to a hair ribbon, to be worn behind the ear like a giant flower. That way it’ll still fit under my hat. So I can look nuts but still have sun protection.


  2. Keep the knitted hat and have it with the giant pom pom, just in case you ever visit Scotland, you’ll need it!?
    I’m loving the flared shape on that hat, perfectly floppy!


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