Knit & Crochet Design Week, Day 3: Take measurements

(This post is part of my series for Knit and Crochet Design Week 2012.)

Designing a Simple Knit Beanie: Day 3

Today’s Design Week theme is yarn.  Since I already selected my yarn on Day 1, I’m focusing on measurements today.

When I’m making a project for myself, I usually take my own measurements.  But what about if the project is going to be a gift – or worse yet, a surprise gift – or a charity project?

There are many internet resources I use for measurements.  For hat sizing, these are my favorites.

  • Woolly Wormhead developed this table (as well as a more detailed PDF download) based on her survey.
  • Tot Toppers came up with this table after conducting a survey last year.  The Tot Toppers table has more detailed sizing for children and also includes information about other parts of the head, so it is extra helpful if you’d like your hat to include earflaps or other design features that move down further on the face.
  • Bev’s Country Cottage has many sizing charts for charity projects, including hats.  Bev’s sizing is more general and less detailed, so if you tend to get overwhelmed by numbers, it is the best place to start.  (Also, Bev’s chart includes more preemie sizes.)

Since I don’t know exactly who this project is for, I decided to make it large enough to fit me comfortably.  I took measurements of my own head using a tape measure, and the circumference (around the part where I’d like the hat to rest) was 22 inches.

Most crochet and knitting hat designs include negative ease.  (If you are unfamiliar with the concept of ease, TECHKnitting has a thorough explanation in this blog post.)

Yesterday, I decided to use the Sandstorm stitch pattern for my hat.

Sandstorm swatch.

My swatch measured 4.5 inches across.  I’d like the circumference of my hat to measure about 21 inches.  Why?  Well, I’d like a bit of negative ease, but not too much.  This stitch pattern isn’t the stretchiest, and it seems that many people are leaning towards hats that are slouchier, rather than snugger fitting, these days.

By doing a little math, I figured out how many stitches to cast on in order to make my hat circumference about 21 inches.

(Desired size)/(Gauge swatch width) = (Number of repeats) —–> 21/4.5 = 4.67

(Number of repeats) x (# of stitches in swatch) = (Approximate number of stitches to cast on or chain) —–> 4.67 x 30 = 140.1

Don’t forget to check the approximate number of stitches against the number of stitches in the original stitch pattern.  My stitch pattern uses a multiple of 12 stitches, plus 6.  So I could either cast on 138 (12 x 11, + 6) or 150 (12 x 12, +6) stitches.  I decided to go with 138 stitches, which is much closer to my target measurement of 21 inches.  (As one of my students said to me in my crochet class last week, “You like math, don’t you?”)

Tomorrow, I will get started on writing out my pattern.


To read other Day 3 posts from Knit and Crochet Design Week, visit FreshStitches.

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