How to knit a beret

Updated April 17, 2017

From the very first head covering used to conserve body heat, people have sought ways to be warm and also stylish. Nothing says style more than a beret. Making this lovely little hat is easy and can be accomplished in an evening if you use larger knitting needles and chunky yarn to make a standard-size beret.

Take the gauge of the yarn by casting on 20 stitches on size 10 needles, and knitting 26 rows. Pull the stitches off the needle, steam lightly, and measure how many stitches per inch and how many rows per inch. Plan a standard 20 inches for the hat circumference. For example, if you get 4 stitches to the inch times 20 inches, you cast on 80 stitches. You need a snug band, so even though you gauged your stitches on the size 10 needles, you will use the size 8 needles to make a stretchy ribbed band.

Make a ribbed band that is called a double rib. It is knit 2, purl 2 across the row and it works in a multiple of 4 stitches, which fits the number already cast on. After the first row, continue working several more rows according to gauge until you have reached 2 inches.

Change to the larger size 10 needles and work in stockinet stitching, knit one row, purl 1 row to make the pattern. At the beginning of the next knit row, knit 1, increase a stitch and continue this pattern across the row. Increase by knitting the stitch, leaving it on the left needle and then picking up the back loop of that stitch and knitting it. Slip both to the right needle. Instead of 1 stitch you have two. Knit 1, and increase 1; knit 1 and increase 1 across the row. The increases make the characteristic squashed fold in the beret.

Purl the row after the increases and continue knitting and purling alternate rows until the hat is 7 inches from the ribbing. Begin to decrease by knitting 2 stitches together at the begging of the row, knit 9 stitches, decrease by knitting two stitches together and continue doing this across the row. Purl as usual with no decreases. Decrease at the beginning of the next knit row; knit 8 stitches, decrease and knit 8 stitches across the row. Purl the next row. Follow this formula as you do a decrease and 7 stitches, decrease and 7 stitches, on this row. Purl. The pattern drops to one fewer knit stitches between decreases each row until only half a dozen or so stitches remain.

Do not remove the stitches from the needle yet. Cut an 18-inch length of yarn from the existing hank and thread a double- eyed needle. Push the double-eyed needle through the stitches on the knitting needle and pull them off. Draw the stitches tight and then begin to stitch the sides of the hat together. Hide the end of the yarn in the stitches of the needle. Lightly steam the hat and your beret is ready to wear.

Things You'll Need

  • Knitting needles size 8 and 10
  • Measuring tape
  • 4 ply yarn
  • Double-eyed needle
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About the Author

Pat Olsen has over 35 years of experience as a professional journalist in California. She attended San Francisco State and Pacific College. Olsen has several published books, is a staff writer for Mill Creek Living Magazine, and currently writes for Demand Studio. She is a retired educator who still teaches twice a week.