Sunday, January 4, 2009

The mysteries of kippa-making

Since before we were married, I had intended to make a kippa for my husband. It won't be a problem, I recklessly assured him. Some of my crocheting projects had been quite complicated, so how difficult could it be to make something like this?
Illustration photo: kippa. Not made by me...

To make a kippa, basically all you need to do is crochet single columns round and round, changing colors if you wish, until you reach the desired size. For me, the problem was the curve - the kippa needs to lay nicely over the shape of the head, not being too flat or too curved. The first few I tried to make were bubble-shaped. Another looked like a flat rug. I had no choice but to undo, and try again and again.

It turned out that I'm fine as long as it's all about following a diagram-like crochet pattern, or making something following exact instructions, which state just how many rows and stitches must be made. But when it came to estimating the curve as I went along, and adding columns accordingly, I hopelessly failed!

Needless to say, my husband was starting to be disappointed. To keep my spirits up, at the same time I worked on other projects, which seemed much more difficult to him (like the little blanket you see in the picture above) - and yet they were coming along fine, while this, one little kippa, I couldn't finish. Failing again and again discouraged me, and I worked slowly.

Today, I'm gradually progressing to make something which my husband perhaps will be actually able to put on his head in public... and which will be recognized as a kippa. I hope that once I master the technique, I will be able to make a variety of cute kippot for my husband (and if we have boys someday, for them too); I certainly learned one important lesson: just because something looks plain, it doesn't mean it's easy to make!


Molly said...

I think you are very brave to even attempt creating something like this without a pattern. I'm still completely dependent on patterns for anything I create with either knitting or crocheting. I'm sure yours will be lovely, and even more precious to your husband because you worked so hard on it. I know you are crocheting, but do you knit also? Here is a knit kippah that I have been working on for a friend, and it seems to be fairly simple. Just leave the lace edge off for a man's style:

Sasha said...

Your husband is lucky you are at least trying to make things for him. In our family it's my husband who knows how to make clothes. The blanket is charming as well.

Heather said...


Don't worry, you'll have it figured out in no time at all! I've made a few just to see if I could do it. This isn't the one I did (I can't find that pattern) but it seems simple and easy enough to adapt different patterns to. Good luck!


Heather said...

Oops, I forgot to post it in my comment!

lady jane said...

I'm simply humbled by the fact you can crochet! I failed 'crochet class' and was told to continue knitting..of which I'm still a novice after a gazillion years.

The baby blanket is already beautiful and the kippa you'll make for your dear husband will be handsome and much loved.

Practice makes progress..not perfection. :o)

Anonymous said...

Keep trying, it will happen. I used to crochet a long time ago, starting with simple projects, then progressing to clothing. Never made a kippah, though. I'd like to get back into crocheting and that would be a simple (maybe) project to start back with. Where do you get your patterns? Just to let you know...I enjoy your posts. You are so encouraging to me, and I am old enough to be your mother.
Shalom, Mrs. G

Aelwyn said...

I know how it is to have to constantly rip out something and try again. It can be frustrating, but it seems as though you are good at learning from your experience. I, on the other hand, seem to make the same mistakes over again. Since I live in Alaska, my goal is to eventually learn how to knit well enough to have nice toasty sweaters for all of us.

Michelle said...

Making Kippa's are pretty simple. My mom and I used to when I was still at home and attending a Messianic Jewish congregation.
We'd just start with a single stitch then single crochet through it several times round and round and round adding double stitches here and there so that it expanded out from the center but still curved with the head. Does that make sense?

Scrapqueen said...

Funny story about knitting my best friend told me. She use to knit while she was in labor. It helped to keep her focused. Later after having the baby she would look at the blanket and could tell when she had a contraction as the stitches got really tight then loosened up again.

Blue Castle said...

I was glad to see your post today. I've been thinking about you with all the trouble in your corner of the world.

It's great that you can do things like this without a pattern. I can only knit - learning how to crochet is beyond me. As long as I do simple things - scarves, washclothes, even hats - I'm okay, but beyond that my brain just can't process it. :)

All your practicing will soon payoff.

(The kippa you used for illustration is beautiful.)

Rose said...

Anna, even though I've knitted since I was a little girl, the shaping in any head garment is something I always find tricky.

Add to that crochet and no pattern and you have my complete admiration!


Neuropoet said...

Anna, I'm impressed you're trying to make anything (other than a "blanket") without a pattern. I'm afraid - even though I've been crocheting since I was six, and knitting for a few years - that I'm hopeless without at least a basic pattern I can manipulate if I want to. I hope you'll post a picture when you're done so we can see it too.

Peace be with you,
(PS We're still praying for your safety!)

MarkyMark said...


I'm not trying to add to your misery, but I just HAD to laugh out loud at your last sentence! There's a part of Murphy's Law which states that NOTHING is as easy as it looks. Is there a Jewish periodical which would have a pattern for the kippa?

Your situation only reminded me of that all too well when I had to do what I thought was a minor chain adjustment on my motorcycle. What I thought would take 20-30 minutes took a couple of hours. When I finished, I was so hungry I was going crazy. That, and I was hot, sweaty, and dirty. I didn't eat till 21-2130 that night. Your episode reminded me of mine... :)


Bethany Hudson said...

I can barely knit or crochet withOUT a pattern! I hate to think what anything I make would look like freestyle. It would probably only be suitable as a toy for my cat :-P

Bethany Hudson said...

*sorry--I meant WITH a pattern. (pregnancy brain)

Mrs. Anna T said...

There are plenty of free crochet patterns all over the internet - all you have to do is Google!

And Michelle, yes, it does make sense and that's how I tried to do it, only somehow I can never get how many stitches to add.

I wonder if I should bring one of my projects with me when I go into labor. :o)

Ways of Zion said...

you are incredible....I simply couldn't do this!

Anonymous said...

How about this pattern?

Looks straightforward to me, though I don't crochet, only knit.

Good luck!

Mrs Marcos said...

Just curious, does your husband wear a kippa all the time? Or does he remove it at home?

No tips or tricks regarding knitting or crocheting...wish I could do both but never learned either skill. :/

Mrs. Anna T said...

Mrs. Marcos,

My husband wears a kippa all the time except when he sleeps or showers. Once he forgot to take it off in the shower. :o)

Sarah said...

ive never seen a knit/crocheted one before! what a special gift for your husband.

my father always wore a dark red or dark blue velvet one, with silver stitching if i recall correctly. though he seems to have switched to plain black recently. is there any significance to the different colours/sizes/crocheted-v-fabric, or is it simply a matter of personal taste?

Mrs. Anna T said...


Yes, it does seem that wearing a kippa of a certain color/size/fabric immediately attaches you to a certain "club" :o) For example wearing a teeny tiny, microscopic kippa usually labels its owner as "ultra-modern". We don't like it too much, actually. I think that in the future, I might try to make kippas that aren't very strongly associated with a certain "branch".

Danit said...

The Kippah is as hard to crochet as it is agree on the spelling of its name. Regardless, I am also in search of a pattern - and still there is not one that works well.

For those of you out there that think it is that simple - its not. I just frogged my last attempt as the edges curves to dramatically to lay flat. Ugh!

Well, I have to make 3 for my brother's wedding and I hope to perfect a pattern. When I do I will let you know, if I have any sanity left in me.

My plan is to use #10 thread with a 1.65 crochet hook.