Hat Tricks

Fine and Fanciful Hats to Knit45 Fine and Fanciful Hats to Knit: Berets, Toques, Cones, Stars, Pentagons, and More

Submitter: These hats are genius. But the kind of genius that comes all rolled up in crazy. I work at a public library and put this book on hold for myself because I was attracted to the colorful (tiny) thumbnail image in our catalog. When I got the book I was blown away. The 90’s fashion, the Papyrus font, THE HATS! I especially love the guy holding the beret and surrounded by berets while wearing a beret. It’s like he’s saying “Listen, Laura. We need to talk about your beret problem.” And then she’s like “I think you mean my beret solution!” This book checks out like once a year.

Holly: Once a year isn’t actually a bad benchmark for a book this old! At least, in my library. We’ve talked many times about how what works for my library is a big loser somewhere else. I’d probably keep it based on that kind of use, if it was still in reasonably good shape and I had the space. That said, these hats make some bold fashion statements for sure. Circus clowns everywhere are looking for new hat patterns! If you know your local knitters can be better served with something else, move this book to the great remnant box in the sky.

Fine and Fanciful Hats introduction



Onion domes

accordion hat


  1. Oh puh-leeze, not the Papyrus font, it’s so overused and I dislike the versions where the tall lower-case letters tower over the upper-case letters

  2. Anna Zilboorg is something of a knitting classic, and she’s still publishing. I would keep this, if it’s circulating at all. Knowing your subject is important too.

  3. One winter a few years back I decided to get a cute solid-colored felt beret to wear, even though I was a little worried I’d either look like a French stereotype or Monica Lewinsky. 🙂

  4. I actually love those berets – not even ironically. Maybe because I was young and impressionable during the era this book came out in?

  5. I think the ones in the picture where Laura is being confronted about her beret problem are gorgeous. If somebody made one for me I’d treasure it. Now the ones with the wackier shapes, those are a bit more…interesting…

  6. I’m a knitter and I’d snap this up at a book sale! Since we have a copy on the shelf at my library I’m putting it on hold now!

  7. Patterns themselves don’t seem too dreadful, but the colorways definitely date this poor book! I’m forced to admit I’d probably also check it out at least out of curiosity…but the I’m weird like that

  8. Those berets would be very popular today. They look like mandalas from adult coloring books for your head!

  9. I own this book and have knit a lot of the hats, and people adore them. Sadly no one updates knitting pattern books much, so outdated fashion is par for the course–you’re just lucky if the patterns themselves aren’t awful!

  10. I own this book, have knitted several of the patterns with great success. That said, there are approximately a bazillion knitting/crochet books published every year, and I don’t hesitate to weed, as we add new ones all the time. Also, a skilled knitter I know found this book very difficult to use–it’s not the most accessible. To the book sale table!

  11. This is actually a really important knitwear designer. I know the book is old and the patterns are dated but she’s a major name. Big mind in the design field.

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