28 May 2008

Would you classify this as a failure?

The (Sad) Story of a Berry Beret for Chuckles:

My next-in-line younger sister (Chuckles) graduated from college this weekend. She has another year of evening classes to get her Master's in Education, but she's already got a full-time job lined up and will start teaching second grade this fall! We're all so proud :)
I'm slow at presents, but I'm working on putting together a grad school survival package that I can mail off in a couple of weeks. I figured this package ought to include at least one handknit item, so I started working on a top-down beret. The pattern was just a basic recipe, the directions were very straightforward, and things seemed like they were going well all through the increase section.

The striping turned into wonky pooling at one point, but I persevered and all returned to normal.

All of a sudden, I had reached the "knit straight" section. I knit straight for the recommended 4 inches, and it was at this point I started to notice that the "beret" was not flattening out into a typical beret shape. In fact, it looked more like a dome or boulder than a slouchy hat.

There are times when perseverence is not the best option, but I am not necessarily the best judge about these things.

Case in point - I once cast on for a sweater called Simply Marilyn. I don't know if you have seen the thing, but it is an oversized, off-the-shoulder, fold-over deep-ribbing collared number with a giant cable up the center front and back. I have pretty broad shoulders for a girl. As you can imagine, this sweater would not have been flattering on me. By the time I realized that, I had knit the entire back, one sleeve, and 3/4 of the front, so I kept going until I had all the pieces finished. Basically this was a waste of yarn. It was some crudy acrylic, but still! Moral #1: If it dawns on you that the FO will be horrifyingly bad, maybe you should stop. No, really. Stop. NOW.

Anyway, I was telling you about this more recent knitting incident. I forged on ahead through the decrease section and on to the ribbed brim. Cast off! I tried to flatten the thing out on my desktop, hoping it would magically transform from lumpy watchcap to beautifully drapey tam.

No such luck. Moral #2: Even if you really really want it to, your knitting will not redesign itself after you've bound off all the stitches. Dang it.

On the downside, I have knitted a bulgy beanie. Had I used the recommended bulky yarn instead of a worsted weight, I might have avoided this problem. I imagine that the 4" of straight stockinette in bulky yarn would have spread out quite nicely instead of making the hat look like a rock.

On the plus side, my sister has long hair, and she likes to wear it up every day. She can shove an entire ponytail inside this hat without messing up her hairstyle or the "garment aesthetic".

Moral #3: Wishful thinking on the part of the gift-giver just might turn a disaster into a joke.

Reclassify this item in the survival package: Reminder that your sister is a (lovable?) doofus.


Terby said...

I think it's sort of cute! Has she gotten it yet?

=Tamar said...

From what I read, the final shaping of most berets is done in the blocking - often done on a dinner plate.

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