Thick curly hair with Particles

I am trying to create thick curly hair with the hair particle system. The look I am after is very much one like polygonal hair so big bulky spiral curls. What settings do I use to really thicken the diameter of the roots and then slim down at the ends? Also I don’t get lovely tight curls when using the Children option - just a frizzy mess.

I was playing around with this last night. This is what I came up with. Not perfect but close. Did it in 2.49.
In the strands tab I set the start to 8.5 and end to 1. 700 basic amount for hair particles 0.25 on the normal and random velocity. Children 10, clump.33, shape -0.33. Kink/branch set to braid: frequeny 1.02, shape .55, amplitude .1

Now if that doesn’t do it for you I’m not sure what will but if you find out please let me know