My Berets all go through a very important process before they are deemed ready to sell to the public. The knitting process is only the first step and really is just a floppy hat with very little shape to it. Once it is off the needles it gets a bath in warm water with baby shampoo added to it, I use Johnson's Baby Shampoo because if it is good enough for babies it is good enough for my hats. I let the hat soak for about 20 minutes so that the fibres are nice and relaxed, hey it is a bath after all, I rinse in more warm water and gently squeeze the excess water out. It is wrapped in a dry towel and left for about half an hour and then it is ready to block on my very special hat blocking board made for me by my a friends father. I used to use my mothers pavlova plate as it was the perfect measurement, 31cms (12 inches) in diameter, but as the plate has very special memories for me it was too much of a family heirloom to risk breaking.
The beret is then stretched over the blocking board and you will see how the lace pattern opens up beautifully as the wet fibres are stretched into shape, this then all sits for about 12 - 24 hours in a warm place to dry completely. The beret is carefully removed and any ends sewn in, I never sew them in first as they need to mould and settle into their righful place and any that are sewn in too tightly may cause pulling.
There you have it, a nicely shaped beret ready to wear, definately worth the extra effort of blocking.