# hat to head – part 3

you can read the first 2 parts of the hat to head series here and here.

so. i promised tam talk this time, but instead i’m going to show you the mistake that i made and tell you how i might fix it. witness – i have finished the hat.

but – the height of my hat is actually a bit too long. why? well… my row gauge was actually 8 sts/in (2.5 cm), not 7.5. doh!

this hat, since i started knitting it, has become ben’s and he would like the hat a bit shorter. mind you, it does cover his ears here, but it seems a bit long, no?

so, it is due for some surgery.  you can see the original decreases in hat to head – part 2 – here.

first, i ripped it back to row 16, 48 sts (8 sts per section) and start picking up the pace of the decrease there. i need to make the total hat .25 in. (.6 cm) less.

8 rows = 1 in. (2.5 cm),  2 rows = .25 in. (.6 cm)
so the new one should be 20 rows high rather than 22.  this is not super precise, if i had made it 19 rows it would probably have still been okay, but we’ll be exact and go for 20.

row 17: k2, k2tog – 36 sts
row 18: k1, k2tog – 24 sts
row 19: k2tog – 12 sts
row 20: k2tog – 6 sts

much better!

the main difference between the first set of decreases and the revised set is that the revised set brings the top in faster and makes it a bit more bubbly on the top.  if you want it to still be smoother, you’ll need to rip out more and keep more knit rows between the decrease rows.  for instance, you could go back to row 12 – 60 sts (10 sts per section) and re-work as such:

Row 13: k3, k2tog – 48
Row 15: k2, k2tog – 36
Row 17: k1, k2tog – 24
Row 19: k2tog – 12
Row 20: k2tog – 6

it’s easy to fix if the hat is too long, now the question might be what if the hat is too short? this is a more difficult issue, especially if so much of your hat is decrease like mine is. personally, i would rip back the decreases and add more length, add earflaps, or find someone the hat does fit or someone who likes their hats short. that said, it can also be helpful to know that you can have more than one knit row between decrease rows.  that will be something you’ll have to experiment with though, since i’ve already told you what i would do :)

p.s. here’s the pattern link on ravelry for this tutorial.

# hat to head – part 2

you can find hat to head part 1 here.

the first part of the basic hat is essentially a tube composed of some sort of brim treatment and then the body of the hat. the question that most people have at this point is how far to knit before starting to decrease. the first thing you need to know to figure this out is the overall height goal for your hat.

approximate hat heights

0-6 mo. – 5 in. (12.7 cm)
6-18 mo. – 6.25 in. (15.9 cm)
18 mo.-4 yr. – 7.25 in. (18.4 cm)
4 yr.-adult s – 8.25 in. (21 cm)
adult m-l – 9 in. (22.9 cm)

the maths

truthfully, i never do the maths. most decreases i do take between 2-3 in. (5.1-7.6 cm) to complete. and if i need it to come in faster, i can change it like i did below on row 21. but here’s how you figure it out.

total number of sts / the number of sections i want to decrease over = number of sts in each section
in this instance, i will use 96 / 6 = 16
but there’s also 96 / 16 = 6
or 96 / 8 = 12
or 96 / 12 = 8 – so many possibilities!!

but i digress – the math for my hat means my set up row or first round of decreases will be
row 1: k14, k2tog – 90 sts (repeat around)

because k14 plus the 2 in the k2tog is 16 and 16 sts is the size of one of my decrease sections. during the first round, you can also place a marker on the needle after each k2tog and then decrease the 2 stitches before each marker every other row.

row 2: and all even rows – knit plain
row 3: k13, k2tog – 84
row 5: k12, k2tog – 78
row 7: k11, k2tog – 72
row 9: k10, k2tog – 66
row 11: k9, k2tog – 60
row 13: k8, k2tog – 54
row 15: k7, k2tog – 48
row 17: k6, k2tog – 42
row 19: k5, k2tog – 36
now i start picking up the pace because i’d like the hat round rather than slightly pointy.
row 21: *k1, k2tog* – 12
note the even number – row 22: k2tog – 6

most basic hats have one knit row between each decrease row.  hats can vary greatly in the decrease section, from slowly coming in for a smooth top to dramatically coming in for a more lumpy or flat top. i’m doing a gradual decrease on this one, as seen above. so let us see how tall my tube will be when i need to start decreasing.

we know from the rows written out above that i’m decreasing over 22 rows
my row gauge is 7.5 rows/in. (2.5 cm)
total number of rows decreased over / rows/in. (2.5 cm) = number of inches (cm) it will take to decrease
22 / 7.5 = 2.93 in. (7.4 cm)

i will need about 3 in. (7.6 cm) to finish.

gratuitous try the hat on your head while still on the needles picture

do this! now that you know your goals for circumference and height, measure across the hat and make sure it is the size you want after you get a few inches in. try it on your head.  double check your gauge.  in the same way that you might compare a sweater you’re making to one you own to make sure you’re on the right track, check out your hat while knitting.  you have control over sizing and fit.  you do!

i’m off to start decreasing.

next up, the finished hat!  and the tam/beret and the search for the perfect brim.

# hat to head – part 1

one part that got cut out of my book was explaining how to measure your head and then make a hat that fits it in the way you would like it to, so i thought i might cover how i do that here.  plus we’ve been all pictures and little content lately, so it’s time to get back to me sharing something useful for you :)

1) measure

measure the head you want to knit for around the largest part above the ears.

my head is 22 in. (55.9 cm).

here are what i understand to be somewhat average head sizes
0-6 mo. – 16 in. (40.6 cm)
6-18 mo.  – 18.5 in. (47 cm)
18 mo.-4 yr. – 20 in. (50.8 cm)
4 yr.-adult s – 21 in. (53.3 cm)
adult m – 22 in. (55.9 cm)
adult l – 23 in. (58.4 cm)

2) gauge swatch

if you knit hats over and over on the same needles, you may already know your gauge for this yarn. i really never swatch for hats. but here’s how i swatch in the round when i need to.

1) using a circular needle, cast on enough stitches for a bit more than 4 in. (cm) across (your side stitches will be useless for measuring) and knit across the first row
2) keeping the right side facing you, slide  stitches around the circular to the other end
3) prepare to knit and bring the yarn around, like when doing i-cord, but do not pull it tight – in fact, leave an exaggerated amount of yarn in the back of your swatch measuring at least 5 in. (cm) or an inch larger than however wide you think your swatch will be
4) repeat rows 2 and 3 until your swatch is as big as you like – you should not be purling at all, but instead simulating circular knitting by knitting across each row

3) the maths

loose hat – fits around the head at exact circumference
middle fitting hat – fits at 1 in. (2.5 cm) less than circumference
fitted hat – fits at 2 in. (5 cm) less than circumference

for my 22 in. (55.9 cm) head, i nearly always find the loose size too big feeling.  unless i’m going for a bucketish hat like this, this, or this, my preference is for 20 or 21 in. (50.8-53.3 cm) on my head.  if my fabric’s pretty stretchy, i’d be okay anywhere in there.  but if your fabric is more stiff, you may need to be more precise to get the fit you want.

after you have figured out how many stitches/in. your swatch is, you have all of the information you need to figure out your cast on.

circumference of hat x gauge/in. (2.5 cm) = cast on number
my gauge is 9.5 sts/2 in. – so 4.75 sts/in.

loose hat: 22 x 4.75 = 104.5
middle fit hat: 21 x 4.75 = 99.75
fitted hat: 20 x 4.75 = 95

my preference is to lean towards fitted and have the numbers be divisible by 6. so my options are: 96 and 102. i don’t like either of those, so i’m going to use 98 and decrease 2 on my last round before i start my decrease repeats.

hats are different than nearly everything else you knit, because you generally want negative ease as opposed to positive. it is not unusual to have a sweater that has 4 in. of positive ease. with hats, 2 in. of negative ease is not unusual.  the fact that a hat anywhere from 20 in. to 22 in. (50.8-55.9 cm) would fit my head makes hat knitting pretty forgiving.  plus if it doesn’t fit my head, i’m sure i can find a head that it will fit.

time to cast on!