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 :)).


70 thoughts on “Levels of pouffy

  1. Lisak

    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!!!

  2. Lisak

    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!

  3. regina

    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.


  4. Ruth

    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!

  5. Shelly Kang

    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!

  6. Lynn

    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!

  7. margaux

    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…

  8. Ashley

    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.

  9. Emily

    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.

  10. Beth S.

    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.

  11. Angie

    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?

  12. gail

    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!

  13. Jean

    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.

  14. Lizbon

    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.

  15. Risa

    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.

  16. T

    (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 ?

  17. Kelly

    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!

  18. alice

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

  19. Shamiran

    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…

  20. OMW

    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…

  21. Pam

    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!

  22. Shanti

    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.

  23. Mary K. in Rockport

    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.)

  24. Cirilia

    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.

  25. val

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

  26. stinkerbell

    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 🙂

  27. gray la gran

    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.

  28. Christina

    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.

  29. Kim

    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.

  30. erin

    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 🙂

  31. Tonia

    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.

  32. Cath

    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!

  33. maureen

    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.

  34. carrie

    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!

  35. mary lou

    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’

  36. Silvia

    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.

  37. Nancy Nelson

    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

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