Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Brighton Beret

It's not quite woolly hat weather yet, but winter is beating on my door by way of a relentless Autumnal rainstorm and it seems like a good time to refresh my winter wardrobe. In between showers one miserable day last week, my husband was kind enough to snap a few shots of my Brighton Beret. Here is yet another knitting project that I made a few years ago yet never got around to adding to Ravelry. There are so many!

I call this hat the Brighton Beret because my friend (and husband's cousin) Ruth gave me the wool for Christmas in 2008. She was living in Brighton at the time. I was stranded in England, unable to travel home to Texas due to a student visa constraint. Ruth graciously invited me to stay with her family in Brighton and spend the Christmas holiday with them - no small offer during what is usually a stressful time for most people! 

I was so grateful for the prospect of a family Christmas (I had spent the holidays alone before, and it's beyond not so fun) that the last thing I expected was a gift! But knowing I was a keen knitter, Santa filled my stocking with cable needles, a row counter, stitch holders, some Rowan 4-ply, and other bits and bobs. I made the Brighton Beret out of that Rowan wool, which I supplemented with some acrylic stuff in my stash.

This was my very first attempt at Fair Isle, and I was pleased with how easy it was. I followed a pattern featured in the book you see pictured above, The Traditional Sweater Book by Madeline Weston. Originally published in 1986, some of the sweaters are pretty retro in their shape. But Weston's histories of the Fair Isle and Guernsey and Aran patterns are a delight to read, and the colourways would be no less popular to knit up today than 26 years ago.

The beret pattern calls for a few inches of black single ribbing before the Fair Isle pattern starts. This is meant to be rolled or folded up, but after a few years of the extra material just making the hat look downright dowdy, I sewed it up into the hat all together. It makes the opening of the beret tighter, which is good because I have a small head. The beret has now had a hand wash and re-block (a few days drying wrapped around a dinner plate), and I think it's ready for several more years of wear. And to be uploaded on Ravelry at last!