Mending Moments: The Lost Beret

A tidy-up ahead of visitors arriving (as you do) turned up a long-lost knitted beret. It had fallen down behind some things and was covered in dust.

I’d forgotten I’d ever knitted it, as it was some years ago. The wool was superb; super soft, non-itchy baby merino.

Unfortunately the moths had gotten to it before we did, and there were two big holes – one in the top and the other in the ribbing. I gave the beret a careful handwash which of course made the holes a bit bigger.

After the wash I found there were many spots where the moths had chewed through one of the yarn’s plys but not through the whole thickness.

The beret was too nice not to repair.

To mend the two big holes, I looked to see if there was any of the original wool left. There wasn’t but I found an almost perfectly matching navy, in a thin wool.

This secured the two big holes, but what of the half-nibbled spots?

By serendipity, on the same day, an Instagram post by @loomandstars popped up in my feed.

It was a grey knitted cardigan, mended with coin-sized circles of blue and green. The circles were stitched around and around in chainstitch. So brilliant!

Another look in the knitting wool box yielded some assorted yarns from the opshop. I ended up using the ones on the far left of the photo – I think they’re tapestry yarns.

Then came some trial and error…and unpicking:

The chainstitched circles didn’t look good on the beret, so I decided to Swiss darn instead.

Two strands of yarn worked better than one.

The darker colours concealed more of the navy background than lighter ones.

It looked best to stick to a restrained colour palette, and only use the blues and greens.

Needed strong light and glasses – the navy is very dark.

This was an exercise not unlike finding typos in a manuscript. Every time I thought I’d gotten them all, another one showed its face. I’m still finding spots that need fixing.

The Verdict: totally worth it and much more interesting than the original.


  1. juliana on June 10, 2024 at 6:35 pm

    Adorbs! Better than ever! I have a RTW beret that the moths love – I sewed some storebought applique butterflies and I like the look too! Now I know more about visible mending, I‘d like to sew some „moths“ over the moth holes! ❤️❤️❤️

    • lizhaywood on June 10, 2024 at 8:57 pm

      Moths over the moth holes! I love that!

    • Laurinda on June 12, 2024 at 5:23 pm

      That sounds delightful!

  2. Pen on June 10, 2024 at 6:53 pm

    totally lovely! and yes much more interesting with splashes of colour.

    • lizhaywood on June 10, 2024 at 8:58 pm

      Thanks Pen – I liked it before but I like it much more now.

  3. Michelle Cahill on June 11, 2024 at 12:22 am

    I feel completely justified hoarding left over bits of yarn! You never know and I do need to darn my older socks from time to time. I also have a vintage wool/alpaca cardigan I rescued from the thrift store in need of repair. Really hope to get to it this summer so it will be ready to go this winter. I really like the greens and lighter blues you used.

    • lizhaywood on June 11, 2024 at 11:21 am

      One never knows when one needs left over bits of yarn. It’s completely justified!

  4. Terri Gardner on June 11, 2024 at 2:30 am

    Brilliant! Moths are worldwide-been there and I have repaired a few things myself, but not half so creatively. This is an inspiration.

    • lizhaywood on June 11, 2024 at 10:04 am

      Many thanks Terri. I’d thought to mend it invisibly at the start, but this was way more fun 🙂

  5. Gwen Simpson on June 11, 2024 at 2:37 am

    truly inspiring I applaud your patience in mending all the ‘nibbles’ and yes so worth it, well done xx

    • lizhaywood on June 11, 2024 at 10:02 am

      I did it while lying on my bed resting – it’s ideal for bed sewing since there are no pins to fall out onto the covers.

  6. Liseli on June 11, 2024 at 5:44 am

    M., 4 years old, on my lap because of covid: “c’est vraiment joli”, i.e. it’s really nice. He loves the new look 🙂 We spent part of the aftrennon sewing your ZW sunhat, me trying not to swear at seems moving around 😉

    • lizhaywood on June 11, 2024 at 11:25 am

      Well, that is a big tick of approval coming from M! Thanks for trying out my sunhat pattern – those curved seams aren’t the easiest to sew.

      • Liseli on June 11, 2024 at 4:11 pm

        It’s all my fault for the sunhat, my interfacing is too thick… my son really made me laugh, his comment came straight from the heart 🙂

  7. Noreen Crone-Findlay on June 11, 2024 at 6:01 am

    It’s an absolute delight! Congratulations!

    • lizhaywood on June 11, 2024 at 11:25 am

      Thanks Noreen, very happy with it now.

  8. Anthea Martin on June 11, 2024 at 8:08 am

    Love the beret. Clever you.
    Well done.

    • lizhaywood on June 11, 2024 at 11:25 am

      Thanks Anthea!!!

  9. Ingrid on June 11, 2024 at 8:59 am

    I’ve got a lovely grey wool coat that has sadly got some moth holes and one of my winter projects is to embroider over the top of them. I’ve borrowed some books from the library and found some inspiring designers and got some colourful wool in my stash to use. I think it will look way better and more interesting once done!

    • lizhaywood on June 11, 2024 at 11:27 am

      That sounds great – embroidering on wool is a very enjoyable experience and you could do something fabulous with a grey coat and colourful wool.

  10. Sue Stoney on June 12, 2024 at 10:27 am

    Finally I’ve worked out to comment (Jetpack doesn’t allow it). I totally love this mending and the beret is so much more beautiful and interesting because of it – and isn’t that usually the way?! Absolutely terrific

    • lizhaywood on June 12, 2024 at 1:46 pm

      Thank you Sue. You are so right about mended things being more interesting and beautiful.

Leave a Comment