A Knitted Beret with Three-Ribs

At an antique show some years ago, my daughter, Nancy Cook, spotted the unique little knitted beret shown below and immediately bought it for my collection of homeless knittings—those handknitted articles once worked with care, loved and worn, but whose original owners are now long gone.

Knitted beret

The original hat. Maker unknown. Origin and date unknown. Collection of Jacqueline Fee. Photos by Joe Coca.

Due to its unusual construction, we named the find “The Three-Rib Beret” as the piece incorporates three ribbing patterns starting with knit 3, purl 3, advancing to knit 5, purl 5, and ending with knit 2, purl 2. It does not look like a beret until it is worn; then the greatly increased stockinette-stitch section expands between the knit 3, purl 3 and the knit 5, purl 5 ribbing sections to provide fullness as in a beret.

Knitted Beret

Jacqueline Fee’s re-created hat worn by two-year old Addyson Faith Lotz.

The original was worked flat, and there is a sewn seam running down the center of the purl stitches in the ribbing sections. It is worked in a fine tomato red wool yarn to a gauge of 6½ stitches to the inch (about 2.5 stitches per cm). Moth damage in some areas has been repaired. Three tiny pom-poms positioned at the ribbing changes adorn the side of the piece; perhaps, there was a fourth.

— Jacqueline Fee

Jacqueline Fee is the author of The Sweater Workshop: Knit Creative, Seam-Free Sweaters on Your Own with Any Yarn (Camden, Maine: Down East Books, 2002). In print for more than twenty-five years, the book has enabled thousands of knitters to enjoy complete freedom to work their own gauge with any yarn, handspun or millspun, to create sweaters of their own design. She splits her time between Hingham, Massachusetts, and Deer Isle, Maine, where sweater weather prevails for a good part of each year.

Download the November/December 2009 issue of PieceWork to knit Jaqueline Fee’s “The Three-Rib Beret.” To learn about a knitted beret for an adult, read our blog post “Ethically Harvested: A Muga Silk Beret and Cowl to Knit.”

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