De Nudu

March 16th

Remember this hat my friend Jerry at the bagel shop wanted?
Well, two skeins of wool and two months later, I finished it last night.

African Nudu cap complete

Without a pattern, but with lots of advice from knitters, I set out to tackle this project. It doesn’t look exactly like Billy Gibbons’, but it isn’t a bad imitation.

nudu cap, pre-felting

First I knit a huge beanie, with lots of yarn overs to create a steady pattern of holes in the hat. It reminded me of honeycomb before it was felted.

nudu cap, showing yarn over holes

After felting, the hat shrunk to a much more appropriate size and I started knitting a three-stitch icord. One skein (and hours upon hours of felting later) I had enough nubs to sew on the nudu cap.

Nudu cap and first icord, felted

One by one I sewed these babies to the hat, over the holes. Voila — an African nudu cap, ala Africankelli.

One by one
Smiling African Jerry

Jerry was tickled with the result. Even though it is a mighty warm 90 degrees here today, he put the wool cap on and walked out into the sun to face the day. Sweaty, but happy!

Dork with her mask

This is one of my favorite masks from Cameroon — home of the original nudu cap. I bought this from a vendor in Foumban — an artist colony. It is made of clay and I just love it. A happy memory of my brief time in that country.


P.S. If your comments aren’t showing up — the spam catcher is a bit crazy. Sorry about that! It is now fixed.

Posted in
Africa, CAOK, Domestic Art, Journal
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54 Responses

  1. that is so cool! you are so clever. and you’re so sweet, too. wow. what a great gift.

  2. very cool! I am so impressed. And he looks so proud to be wearing it 🙂

  3. That’s really great – good job!

  4. Wow, Kelli, the hat came out fabulous–what a fun project!

  5. O. M. G.

    That is friggen awesome! What an interpretation! You are quite the hat master! Cables, dreads, what’s next?

    Seriously, that is a great project and it looked like you made his day.


  6. Loosk great and almost as good as the original!

    Nice job!

  7. Most impressive! You did a great job and I can tell the recipient loves it. Maybe he can wear it during the 70 degree cold snap we’re expecting next week 😉

  8. Great hat! Looks like quite the challenge, especially without the pattern, but it turned out so nicely!

  9. It’s fab – and so are you for figuring out how to tackle it without a pattern!

  10. that hat is perfect for jerry!!

    and look how stinkin’ cute you are 🙂

  11. Of course I don’t know Jerry, but just from that picture the hat looks perfect for him!!
    It’s already 90 degrees there – whoa!

  12. That is a great hat. I must learn to knit! I may have to resort to learning from a book!

  13. That is so cool! I love figuring things like that out…seeing something and reinterpreting/recreating it is the best kind of mystery to solve.

  14. Definitely cool and looks like a lot of work. I couldn’t have done that project. Well, part of that being I don’t know how to knit. haha!

  15. This is VERY cool, Kelli – great job!

  16. Awesome job. And Jerry looks as pleased as punch.

  17. I literally said OH MY GOD out loud when I saw your pal in his new cap. It is just positively AWESOME!!!! I love it, I love it, I love it! Brava.

  18. Great hat! He looks like he loves it 🙂

  19. Girl, that hat is too cool. Your rendition is excellent!

  20. You are truly brilliant!!!

  21. That is so awesome! He looks thrilled with it!

  22. what a nice hat! he seems to love it.

  23. you are amazing!! it’s perfect… the felting + i-cords (that was a labor of love for sure 🙂 )… wow.

  24. OMG! That is SO cool!!!!!

  25. Awesome hat. You should submit it as a pattern somewhere with your knowledge of its origins. The picture of your friend showing off his present would be a perfect model. Super impressive!

  26. YEs it is a very, very inventive idea. But, I have to tell you that when scrolling down, not knowing what the post was, i saw the first photo and thought it was something else ENTIRELY. something, say, that a dog might do on a street. no offense intended, it was a quick glance but it made me laugh to figure out what that was, and turned into. very neat hat!

  27. Wow, Kelli! You are always busy with the best projects! This hat is even better than the original inspiration. Pretty soon you’ll be teaching classes at Art Unraveled (maybe you already do and I’m the last to know!!)…

  28. 90 friggin degrees! It’s snowing and sleeting and sorts of awful stuff here again..oh well at least I’m off to the hot pool (96 degrees) for my arthritis therapy. Oh to live somewhere warm would be a treat, I could sure use that hat today…ciao

  29. That’s the most unusual hat I’ve ever seen! But it looks great!

  30. You are amazing (and persistant!!!) I can’t believe you made that!

  31. YES! This is it. An amazing cap–
    Just saw an old ep of Bones with the cap and remembered this…

    Make sure to post it on CRAFT and WhipUp!

  32. Well Kelley the hat is just great and everyone loves it that sees it. I’ll proudly wear it on our coldest days say 40-50 degrees. A million thanks for making it for me. See Ya at coffee.

  33. Wow, what an amazing cap! Great job!

  34. What a terrific hat! I know I’m late to this dance, but have you tried to work out knitting the dreads as you knit the cap, before felting, rather than having to sew each and every one on? Trimming them to create those nifty edges must be easier than all that sewing!

  35. Could you help me please, I need very very much this hat of Billy Gibbons I play his music as tribute to ZZ Top and I should look like Billy

  36. Ron Spivey November 4, 2008

    I am very interested in your NUDU hat. Please send me info on how to order – colors, sizing, etc. Thanks

  37. What’s that you say? You want your very own NUDU cap?
    They are $250, with a $100 down payment. They take two months to create and are custom designed. If you are still interested, please email me.

    • Tom Forthome August 29, 2009

      Hi kelli,could you send some infor on the nudi hats,if u still make them.Im a billy g fan, your hats are dyOmite. thanks kelli Tom

    • Tom Forthome August 31, 2009

      Hi Kelli,could u send the pattern for your Nudi cap.Let me know your payment method. Thanks Hon, Tom

    • hi kelli, i1m from germany and very interessted about your nuducap. where can i get this cap? my english is not so good, you have to excuse.

      see you

  38. Wow nice hats! please send me all i need to know in order to purchase one from you.many thanks gordie

  39. Hi There,
    I am also a great fan of Billy Gibbons (Reverend Willie G.)! I am also interested in one of your African Nudu Tribal Chief’s Hats. Could you please send me the particulars in how to order? I think you have done a terrific job in making your “hats”!
    Hope to hear back from you!

  40. patrick August 7, 2009

    Hi There,
    it would appear that you may have enough orders to keep you busy for a couple of months. Nice Job.
    I was curious about one thing though. If you look closely it either appears that Billy is wearing a dew rag or skull cap under his Nudu Cap, am I wrong or is there some sort of liner that may have been used?

    What colors are you offering your product in? I have seen or heard that the hemp fiber yarn holds up better than some and you probably have found some really good yarn after doing a few of these caps.

    Please respond to my inquiry about the color options for your cap.
    I am definitely interested.
    I look forward to your reply.

  41. As a member of Fandango… Canada’s top touring tribute to ZZ Top.. I am proud to be wearing the hat made with your instructions in our show.

  42. hey do you make these for people cuz id rele like one

  43. hey if u make these for people please send me details…im a very interested buyer hope to hear back from u

  44. Awesome Job!!! I would like one of these De Nudu caps…. My Ol’ Man would love it!!!!

  45. Guy T. Forthome May 16, 2010

    Hello, Kelli! Your hats are really cool, and I would like to buy a few. My Dad told me about your site; he is very excited about your stuff as well. Excellent work! Cheers! g.

  46. darrell chumley November 1, 2010

    Amazing job!!! So…can I talk you into making another Billy Gibbons cap for me? For a fee of course.

  47. Jamie Tanner November 10, 2010

    i am currently trying to make my husband a cap with your instructions, I have only one question, did you make 1 long I cord and cut them or did you make each one individually, and if you cut them how do you keep them from unravaling, any help would be gratly appreciated, thanks