Saturday, February 15

Knitting a hat the right way

Before jumping right into knitting a hat, there are certain steps that need to be taken if you want to knit the right sized hat.

If you're a beginner knitter and you feel the temptation to jump right in without applying a few basic steps, in truth, you're setting yourself up for a major disappointment.  It goes without saying that you will have a very large or a very small hat.  Why risk going through all that trouble when it can be done the right way?

I am guilty of risking it many times and that's why I have knit very few hats.  Consequently, my inexperience is evident and I'm far from happy with those few that I have knit.

I want to turn this around by applying what I learned in a kniting class I took and will jot this down for reference.  It might help someone else, too.

Firstly, it pays to knit a swatch to get an idea of how the garment will feel.  If I swatch a chunky yarn with smaller needles, chances are the garment will be too stiff and I will not have the result I want.  So, choosing the right needle size is essential.  I feel going up one or two sizes from the recommended yarn label size is ideal for me.

Next, if you're happy with the swatch, count how many stitches there are in 4 inches.  Let's use an example of a swatch I made.

I swatched with a chunky yarn and 8mm needles.   I counted 9 stitches in 4 inches.

Next, I divided the 9 stitches by 4 to see the precise number of stitches per 1 inch.  The result was 2.25 stitches.

So now, I measured the circumference of my head.  I got around 22 inches.

I multiplied 22 by 2.25 in order to see how many stitches I should cast on.  The result was 49.5

From here, I need to round this amount off.  I can round it off to 49 or 50.  Let's say I choose to round it off to 50.  I will later decrease the hat every 10 stitches, having a total of 5 decrease points.  However you choose to round it off, make sure it's divisible by even numbers.

Following this method will gurantee the perfect sized hat and an enjoyable hat knitting experience.