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January 19, 2007

Levels of pouffy

From Kufi to shower cap:

And this isn't even my second attempt - it's my third! The second was a slightly pouffier Kufi (i.e., still not pouffy enough).

This, however, is so pouffy, it needs its own zip code. I went with this particular level of pouffiness because it seems most store-bought berets are about 11" in diameter. Apparently when an 11" diameter is applied to a handknit, you get a shower cap.

And the ribbed band is ever-so-slightly too loose. And I've run out of yarn - though the beret looks complete in the photo, there's a grapefruit-sized opening at the crown. It irritates me so much to think that certainly there will be enough for a properly sized beret, somewhere between a Kufi and a shower cap.

Insert your expletive of choice here: __________

I will get this right. Not only to please my grandma, though that's reason enough. She's mentioned to me that my Great Aunt may also want a beret, so I really want to figure this out for any future requests!

In summary:

Kufi = 169 stitches (~ 7.7" diameter)
pouffier Kufi = 180 stitches (~ 8.2" diameter)
shower cap = 240 stitches (~ 10.9" diameter)
grandma's beret = 220 stitches (~ 10" diameter)

Cross your fingers that my fourth attempt will be the last one (though I'm still not refreshing the yarn... don't want to seem overconfident :)).

Posted by Kathy on January 19, 2007 11:56 AM


yikes! I'm so impressed at how you soldier on. I need to apply such vigilance to my own UFO's!!! Good luck.

Actually, I think it's kind of cute the way it is!

Did you block it on a dinner/salad plate or some such? I made one for my DD and it looked like @#$% until I blocked it. I used inspiration and partial patterns from Knitted Tams by Mary Rowe, but mine was handspun and not wanting to run out, I did it top down. She wears it almost every day. Good Luck!!!

Okay, I have to admit, I didn't want to swatch either. That's the main reason for doing it top down. That and I felt like I could do the band out of another yarn if necessary.

Love your blog!

I think your beret is lovely it just wants a bit of blocking. The shape is correct for a pre-blocked beret. Soak it for twenty minutes, roll out the excess moisture in a towel and block it over a 10" dinner plate until dry. I have knit some 11+ berets over the years and I remember feeling the same at the sight of my first attempt. My Gram gave me the courage to "just block it" and magic!
Good luck. I think your a very fine knitter.

If you haven't already started ripping, do try to block...it might be ok. Best of luck!

What does it look like when you tip it back on your head to expose about 1.5" of hairline and cover your ears? Still too poufy? Mine looks a bit strange when worn like yours in the picture, but just right when worn beret style. But I do trust that you know what you're talking about -- so soldier on!

Hi, love your blog. Um, I have to back up the assertions that if you block one or more of these hats, they will be right. I've never knit a beret before, but I have a good friend who's knit a million, and she swears that all berets are ugly till blocked on a dinner plate. Good luck!

I, too, was wondering if you tried to block it. I think if you did the tam/dinner plate thing it might be good. Love the color!

you are truly a trooper! can't wait to see the finished product! It's going to be well worth the rips ;-) Yea!

Have you seen the Soho Purl Bee blog by the way? They had a great pattern for a beret as well...

I hope Regina's advice above works for you - it makes a lot of sense. I've never knitted a beret - best of luck!

Oh jeez. You're a champ. And blocking won't solve the gaping-hole-in-the-top problem. However, I have faith in your kick-ass knitterly skills: the next one will be perfect.

ha! it looks like a mushroom cap. the expression in your eyes is priceless.

If blocking doesn't work, it looks like the rate of decreases at the top might be off? You want to aim for the top to be flat (with no puckers) when you lay it flat.

You're persistent, that's for sure. ;-)

How's the yarn holding up? If it still looks good after you finally wash and block this thing, that will be quite a testimonial to its durability.

I get that you ran out of yarn anyway, but I wonder if the current creation wouldn't benefit from arranging it like you would wear the beret? I am at a loss for words to describe what I mean, you know slide the poof over to one side like the stereotypical Frenchmen?

I also had problems with tam borders--and tams themselves. I solved the band/border problem by adding applied I-cord to the edge to achieve the proper size. You could also start with I-cord, made the the desired length, then pick up sitches from the I-cord to start the beret. I find the I-cord provides a better tight fit than ribbing. Plus, being from Wisconsin, I need the beret to cover my ears and keep the cold wind out!

Heh - "pooffy kufi"! It doesn't take much to amuse me in the mornings :)

As someone who recently reknit a sock five times, I salute you.

Your eyes say it all! You will not be happy until it's right. But you will do it.

I'm thinking the blocking will work wonders for the shape and your spirits.

Oy, I would've torn all my hair out by this point. Greater love hath no granddaughter, I'd say. Good luck with the next iteration.


Gah! What a pain :) If only those for whom we knit knew all the difficulties we endure for their benefit...

LOVE the look in your eyes in that pic. Made me laugh out loud! I know that feeling all too well.

Fingers crossed. Best of luck!

wow... I would have handed my gran some money and told her to buy herself a beret by now LOL. I did some googling and found a site that helps you doing the math for making a beret... I know that you're very good with math yourself, but I thought it might help :)

Cheers Eva

(Daily reader de-lurking here...)
Well, blocking might fix the pouf-factor, but there's still the hole in the top.... Since I'm guessing that Grandma doesn't wear a pony tail on top of her head (Oh, I MEANT to do it that way for you, Gram!), it looks like the 4th time might have to be the charm.

Have you tried online pattern generators, like the beret at http://www.thedietdiary.com/knittingfiend/Hats/HKBeret.html ?

If at first you don't succeed ... rip, rip again!

good for you for pushing on through. Don't they always say the fourth time is the charm:) By the way, your expression is priceless in that photo!

Assuming you could solve the "out of yarn" problem, the kufi might look less pouffy if the hole in the center were filled in.

I bow to you, oh Perfectionista of Knitting.
It is amazing... Many souls less brave would have chucked it by now. If it makes you feel better, I am working on a set of Jaywalkers right now, and this is my first pair of toe up socks... I am not happy only learning one thing at a time, so I am using a figure 8 cast on and a short row heel. Needless to say, I have frogged this sock many more than four times...

if all the above excellent advice does not solve the problem - and (eek) you have to start again - would it be possible to start from the top and work down? at least you'd be able to tweak the ribbing without total demolition...

I've been knitting a pair of socks, thanks to you, you know. My first sock, and it's way too big, and I was resisting ripping the whole thing out and starting over again. Too much emotionally invested, I guess! But, you are inspirationally tenacious. If you can do a beret over three times, I can frog the bloody sock and do it *right*. Loved the pic; the look in your eyes speaks absolute volumes!

Oh no! If you're in need of a new perspective, I've knit both of the patterns at the link below... very cute, perfect amount of pouf, at least for me! Good luck.


I can feel for you. Reading your post may well prevent me from tossing the yarn for my grandfather's socks out the window today. I will try again...and again.

Woman, you're eyes say it all.

Oh you poor dear. You are so patient and diligent. I would never have lasted in such a daunting state.

Oh. My. Well, the shift from ribbing to body looks very good, even if the ribbing is too loose. Remind me not to knit a beret. (Are you going to put the classic little nubbin on the top? Oh - maybe that's only on felted berets.)

Chiming in to echo all the block urgings--berets are my favorite things to knit and I promise you, they all look like hell until blocked on a plate. I use a salad plate for a delicate crease, dinner for an extreme one.

Oh, your expression says it all! Can't wait to see the grand finale.

Good luck! I admire your persistence.

I agree with the others who mention the powers of blocking berets. Mine looked quite silly until blocked over a salad plate, and voila!

someone really doesnt look happy up there... but I have to admit I giggled, and am grateful that I will get to learn the beret pitfalls from you and your knitting brilliance :)

Oh my, your eyes. Good luck with the next attempt! We are all here for you!

Oh...I so feel your pain. I have to do these things over and over until just right. Can drive you batty!

Oh...I so feel your pain. I have to do these things over and over until just right. Can drive you batty!

i haven't even finished reading the post yet ... i just couldn't stop laughing from the photo ... a picture is worth a thousand words ;)

ps. okay, i'm done laughing ... i think. when i last made a beret, i used the ann budd directions in her _handy book of patterns_. and on the decreases, i decreased every round (i think) ... because if you follow her directions, you get a very nice dairy queen cone. i made it for my grandma. it was very traditional beret ... slouched severely to the side.

That doesn't look at all like I thought it would. Good luck on the next try!

Maybe knit for 2-2 1/2" straight before increasing- that is what Ann Budd's "Grand Plan Tam" advised. Also, I also must reiterate the "blocking does wonders" chorus.

I think go with the 10" and block it on a dinner plate a la Elizabeth Zimmerman. Good luck:)

The shower cap looks cool, by the way.


Ha!!! It's own zip code. Tooooo funny. Well, you are a very tenacious girl, Grumperina!!!! Good luck on round four of Grumperina vs. Grandma's Beret.

The look in your eyes says it all! :)

I just made a shower cap of my own last week. But the photo on my blog shows it to be a beret on my daughter's head. I think it's partly how it's worn. I had to study the magazine photo and try pull and shape it to wear it like the model to get it to look like a beret :)

Wow sorry that it has been such a thorn in your side. I thought it looked more like a mushroom cap :). I have all apendages crossed that the 4th try will work.

i see it coming to life - your persistence will pay off....

If it were me, I'd say "oh how about I try throwing it in an extra-hot washload and then into the dryer?"

It would look fine as it is if you added an I-cord tie threaded in and pulled into a bow at he side, to tighten the ribbing. Especially if the I-cord was in a different colour.
But...got to get it so you're happy with it; I entirely understand that!

Oh God that was funny!! Love it! Especially your dear expression! Oh thank you!!

You are a dedicated grand-daughter. Gram will be proud.

try blocking #4 on a plate. it'll help.
Keep persevering!

Yes, I know it is a pattern for the horrendous Lion Brand Homespun but this pattern makes a nice beret. Gauge adjustments would probably need to be made.

I was going to suggest blocking... but that won't eliminate the hole. The fourth one HAS to be like baby bear's bed.... just right.

Wow, you must really love that grandmother of yours! I would have thrown in the towel after the first version! Good luck!

This doesn't look poofy enough. Have you tried wet blocking it on a dinner plate? I teach a tams class and ours start lots bigger than this. We are using Shetland, which blocks and holds a shape firmly, but blocking changes tams so much. A beret is just another tam, right? Have you seen the Rowe book?


Well, that tells what I know. I saw the picture before I started reading, and I liked it! I think it's a very pretty beret, although the slightly too loose ribbing would bug me. You are determined to get it perfect, though, and I really respect you for that!

Dear Grumperina,
There is a great pattern for a beret in the Winter 2006 issue of Interweave Knits designed by Kristen Tendyke. If you wanted a ribbed band instead of the rolled stockinette in the pattern, it wouldn't be too tricky to tweak. It is not too big, not too small, uses one skein of yarn, clever shaping...it's fun too knit...maybe you should investigate. Four times is a lot of frogging, just sayin'

I just finished my very own version of a knit shower cap. It looked so cute in the picture, yet on me, not so cute. If you can do this one four times, I guess I can rip mine out as well. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

Wow, I can see the frustration in your eyes! You can do this! The fourth time's the charm!

Hi - I love your blog and seeing all of your projects. There are pictures of a really beautiful Tam, with pattern available for purchase at the website/blog called theraineysisters. It has a lacey pattern in it, but the shape looks very tam like; you might want to take a look. Regards and can't wait to see the finished version! Nancy

That picture is freaking priceless. hehehehe

Sorry, don't mean to laugh at your pain. ;)

Block away!

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