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Rosie Beret

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I’m not even sure where to start here. This is my first “real” knitting project and I could not be more proud of it. There were a few different occasions last year where I almost gave up knitting for good, never to pick up the needles again. I was a beginner and it just wasn’t clicking as fast as I had hoped. I didn’t “get” knitting. It was frustrating, I didn’t find it very relaxing, and I was rather sad that I physically couldn’t make any of the awesome things I dreamed of making. I felt destined to knit plain scarves on straight needles for all eternity.

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But I never gave up! My dreams of hand knit hats and sweaters kept me interested enough to just keep trying and keep trying. Finally I came to the point where I told myself I’m going to make some serious progress or I’m going to accept the fact that I’m just not a knitter. So I bought a Knit Lab Class on Craftsy and some quality yarn and decided it was do or die. After one mistake that ended in a frogging (that ended in me crying and skulking around for hours), and after one instance of messing up the cables and flying to DC just to have Tasha help me fix them (just kidding, that’s not the only reason I wanted to see her lol), I KNIT THIS HAT.

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And you guys, I knit it pretty damn well. This was my first time ever using circular needles, my first time ever increasing or decreasing stitches, my first time ever using double pointed needles, and my first time ever attempting cables. It was mildly insane of me to attempt this beret while being such a complete and utter newbie, but working through an online class with videos and visual hand holding every step of the way made it possible for me to work through it. I highly recommend Circular Knit Lab – Hats Four Ways with Stefanie Japel if you’re someone like me who knows deep down in your soul you want to be a knitter, you just don’t know how yet. This class will teach you.

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When I started the class I knew how to knit and purl, but I wasn’t even 100% sure which stitch was which. Sad, I know. I didn’t know how to “read” my knitting to tell whether or not you need to knit or purl next when doing ribbing. I was almost as clueless as you can possibly be, even though I had been “knitting” for a year. So you can see why something drastic needed to be done or I was bound to just throw in the towel. As you might guess, knitting is infinitely more fun when you can actually make things!

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Speaking of making things, I whipped up a quick shirt to match my new beret and favorite pants. This is my version of the Portrait Blouse from Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing. The original pattern includes a side zipper and quite a bit of shaping, it’s a really beautiful silhouette actually, but I just don’t do blouses with zippers. I made a few changes to the pattern by taking away all the dart tucks and leaving just the bust darts. I also made the side contours just a tad less defined, made the neckline a tad less scoop-y, and stopped the side seam an inch short at the armpit because it was feeling much too tight originally. Oh, and I added two inches to the length so I had a little extra to tuck in. I made the size that was recommended and I can pull it over my head just fine!

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Outfit Details
Beret – Rosie by Stefanie Japel
Sweater – thredUP (Gap Brand)
Shirt – Portrait Blouse by Gertie
Pants – Modified Simplicity 3688
Shoes – Old Navy
Ghostly complexion c/o SPF 1,000 and wonky camera settings

Photos by William Waldon

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While my heart will always be in the 1940s, I’m really loving the casual sportswear of the 30s lately. Berets, gigantic pants, sweater coats, skinny eyebrows …I want it all! Half the fun of exploring vintage clothing is finding out what works for you. As much as my heart goes all aflutter whenever I see a WWII era novelty print dress, I don’t really enjoy wearing dresses that much. I definitely plan to make a shirt and pants for Sew For Victory (more about that on Monday) because that’s what I feel most like “me” in on a daily basis, so that’s what I’m going to continue making. Oh, and berets. I’m going to knit soooo mannnnyyyyy berets.

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So the moral of this story is: Never give up on your dreams (knitting or otherwise), wear whatever vintage styles feel most authentic to you (I actually wrote a few Craftsy posts on the subject), and don’t try to make Lucille wear hats because whole towns will drop dead from cuteness overload.

xo
Rochelle

p.s. the yarn I used is Shepherd’s Wool by Stone Hedge Fiber Mill in the Lakeshore colorway, and I’ve worn the beret SO MUCH since I finished it that it’s already starting to pill and felt. I practically sleep in the thing.

 

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43
  • misscrayolacreepy

    Why I havent commented on this yet ?!?!?! I LOVE this beret and am so impressed with the finished piece. It’s truly flawless! And I am so proud of you for not giving up! xoxo

  • Fruit of Phalanges

    awesome job on the beret, love it! and the top! looks great :)

  • Juliette MIJEON

    Congrats ont this first knitting project! My (almost) first knitting project was a beret too, and much as I love mine, your patternis really awesome, I’ll have to try it someday!I also took S. Japel’s Knit Lab class, I’m not done watching but I think it’s great!

  • Dee

    Your dog is the cutest thing I have ever seen.

  • Carolyn

    Congrats Rochelle! It’s indeed amazing that you knit such a complicated hat as your first “real” knitting project, but it just goes to show your determination. Enjoy your new-found knitting freedom! :)

  • Mim McDonald (@crinolinerobot)

    Well done on completing your hat! I love knitting – I can’t sew, so knitting is how I make some of my own clothes. Also, it’s *always* worth buying the good yarn, as knitting takes time, and then you’ll have your woollies for years. That’s too much time for unsatisfactory fibres.

  • josiemary

    Fab!!!

  • Michelle

    I love this entire outfit! It’s so very chic and completely gorgeous. The beret came together beautifully in the end. I’m glad you stuck with it. Knitting is one of those things where you have to learn how to walk before you run. It’s not hard, it just takes practice! You’ll be churning out sweaters ASAP!

  • Tasha @ By Gum, By Golly

    Well you know I could shout it from the rooftops that I’m SO proud of you!! The hat looks great, and I love that the blouse matches. It really looks like the perfect pullover-and-go easy breezy type of blouse that a dozen of in your closet would be perfect. Such a great combo, and I’m loving the dark lipstick on you too, brilliant with your hair! And hey, like Lauren would say you plaid matched like a boss. ;)

  • Miss Beta

    Congratulations on your lovely beret! You’re a good example of persistence and believe and the result is what we see, a beautiful job and a new skill! :-)

    When I started to knit in 2011, I could only knit and purl scarfs. I tried to understand patterns and was so frustrating, my brain didn’t get it, so I stopped trying. In 2013 I came back to knitting and then was when I found out VINTAGE knitting patterns, and like magic, I could understand vintage directions and I began to knit everything! Rather strange, I could understand vintage but I couldn’t understand modern, haha! Of course now that I gained more experience since last year, now I can understand moderns too – but my love is on Vintage! ;-)

    Persistence and giving your brain an opportunity to figure it out is very important!

    Oh my Gosh… sweet Lucille is so cute!!!!!! I would be one of that persons that would drop dead with cuteness overload :o)

    Miss Beta xx

  • Perlchen Noir

    Omg… the beret is so lovely.

    xoxo Perlchen Noir

  • Stacia

    I’m at this frustrating point with knitting right now, so what you said is really encouraging. Your beret turned out great! I can’t wait to see what you decide to knit next!

  • Victoria

    Great job! I have been thinking of taking that class, it looks good and I enjoyed the other knit lab, I am still just learning though. I love your top too, the colors in your outfit are great!

  • Jane

    Congrats. You are a knitter!

  • andrea

    it’s beautiful! great color too : )

  • Tasha

    ADORABLE! I’m really glad you didn’t give up on knitting. So often I hear people say “I tried that & I just can’t do it” and it makes me so sad. It’s a new skill and it takes time to get the hang of it. That’s how I feel about sewing but I refuse to give up on it. I’m going to make something more wearable than my too big pj pants any time now. In the meantime I just keep reading sewing blogs and being dazzled by other people’s projects.

  • Alena

    Amazing job!
    You look gorgeous!

  • Michelle

    Congrats on the beret. I love craftsy for conquering the unknown skill. That step by step with visuals and conext really helps! And I totally get tops without zippers! Good choice. Ive made the portrait blouse and wished I would have had te courage to go zipperless.

  • Kelly

    Congratulations!! It’s a beautiful hat and I’m sure you will become an expert in no time :)

  • Jessica Cangiano

    What a beautiful (literally and physically) example of power of perseverance. I’m immensely proud of you for sticking it out with knitting and for creating this lovely, timelessly charming beret. You did good, my dear, very good!

    ♥ Jessica

  • stgilbert

    HOORAY!!! YIPPEE!!! I knew you were a knitter all along!! Yay! I LOVE this look on you! You are rocking the Vagabond pants and 1930’s casual sportswear suits you beautifully! Hooray!

  • Johanna Imhoff

    I made hats for my brothers for Christmas in that same yarn (different colorways), and I fell in love the with Autumn Gold so much that I just bought enough to *try* to knit my first cardigan for myself. Nervous! Well, not really, but we’ll see how it goes! Your beret looks great and the color is beautiful.

  • Melody

    Your hair matches your pants and your beret matches your top and THIS PLEASES ME SO MUCH.

  • Juliana @ Urban Simplicity

    (Oh, and the beret is wonderful–cables give me a pain sometimes! The color is wonderful)

  • Juliana @ Urban Simplicity

    I love that blouse! What fabric did you use?

  • Mads (lifeinamadshouse)

    Your beret turned out so beautifully–well done for being persistent in learning to knit!

  • tillybuttons

    Wow, it looks great! Very inspiring xx

  • Caroline

    Your beret is beautiful! Well done! I must also say that I love your portait blouse very cute! I have recently fallen in love with Gertie’s patterns myself. I love that I can make the straight size 10 and as of yet I have had no major alterations to the pattern. Very excited for your knittery.

  • Siri

    Congrats on mastering knitting! It is all uphill from here :) The hat is lovely, and the blouse, too!

  • B & the Moon

    That is some top notch work…and considering its so early in your knitting career, it’s extra stupendous! I will warn you now though…yarn, like fabric, can be quite addictive…if you’re anything like me, you’ll soon have enough wool to knit Lucille a billion hats (although given how well they suit her I wouldn’t consider it such a bad thing)!

  • Sarah

    This is really inspiring, and brilliant work on your first beret. I adore the colour it’s really up lifting.
    I’m feeling an urge to download the knitting class now ;)

  • Philippa

    What a lovely and uplifting post! That is a lot of ‘firsts’ for your new beret and it turned out soooo beautifully. Well done on sticking it out as you have got the results. I am also loving the outfit you put together – if you hadn’t written about the top, I was going to comment, as I like it so much (both colour, plaid and shape!). I love 1930’s slouchy shapes too (in fact, there’s probably something I like in every era). You look great!

  • Tanith

    In my life I my knitting has been limited to one square, and it wasn’t even close to square. This hat is amazing and you should indeed be proud of it! And berets are just such a wonderfully comfortable and flattering and goes-with-everything style, so it’s a great project to choose to perservere with..

  • Princess Pin Curls

    Your hat is quite an achievement, and I love the colour! Personally, I’m in awe of anyone who can knit anything more demanding than a scarf. I’m a bit of a sewer and that is taxing enough for me. I have tried to knit repeatedly. You’re right about persevering, trying your hardest and then assessing whether or not to give up or not. xx Shauna

  • Design Rewind Fashions on Etsy

    I love your slouchy hat and it is such an inspiration for me to learn to knit. You’ve got me to sign up for a beginner’s Craftsy class! My two daughters and I are going to try our hands at knitting over spring break :) Thank you for your encouragement!

  • MarrieB

    I love your beret! Glad you didn’t give up on knitting, you’ve done a great job! When it comes to knitting, I think diving in head first is one of the best ways to learn.

  • Carla

    It turned out beautifully, Rochelle! The color looks great on you, and I’m just happily wiggling over how adorable Lucille looks in the hat.

  • Claire

    I love the color palette of your outfit – even your hair matches! I’ve done the same things to the portrait blouse, plus adding a little more to the sleeve length, and now it’s one of my favorite, most used patterns.

  • Jennifer

    I’m really impressed. I’ve just started learning to knit and it’s hard! I’m much better at crochet. People tell me it’s often the other way around but not for me so far. Your hat is lovely and it looks great with your outfit. You look great in all of it.

  • threeoutside

    Well done! You did beautiful work! And the Lucille shots are adorable. What a sweetie! I love your whole outfit.

  • Sarah

    So inspiring! I crochet a little, but have been terrified to try knitting. I think because even your beret looks so complex to me. I will definitely be calling my mom up this summer and take her up on an offer she made to teach me how to knit.
    Oh, and I would be totally rocking that beret everywhere, every day. It looks gorgeous on you!

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A Blog By Rochelle New

I'm a fabric wizard and wielder of needles with a passion for quilt industry cottons, bygone eras, and natural things.

i.e. I mostly do nerd things like pretend I'm a wizard, collect moldy books, and spend too much time picking up acorns in the woods, all with my spirit animal (a dog named Lucille), my personal photographer (a man named William), and a few literal fat cats in tow.

Making magic and messes in the backwoods of New York.

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