Monday, June 16, 2008

Guage Shmage

A baby was born this weekend (I'm sure there were hundreds, but just one known to me personally). To me, when this happens, all other knitting stops and a hat must be cast on. Afterall, shouldn't all babies be greeted with their own personal knitted hat?

I decided to try a new design of my own. In the interest of time, I decided to just jump in based on the guidelines of the yarn - if it's a little big, the baby will grow, right? The problem is, it was coming out huge - like it wouldn't fit until well into next winter when a light cotton hat just wouldn't cut it. Reluctantly, I frogged. It was especially painful since the hat starts with a ruffle, which means casting on twice as many stitches as ultimately needed.

I swatched. I checked the guage - it was right on - exactly to the stitch what it should have been. So why was the item in question so much larger than it should have been? I thunk and thunk. I did the math again. And again. And again. I had my dh, a math whiz, check my figuring. Finally, it dawned on me - I was using the measure of the baby's head. Hats should generally be a bit smaller than the head so they will fit snuggly. This is why I usually use a pattern.

Here is my "formula" : figure out how many stitches you will need to go around the baby's head- it's about 56 f-64 or worsted. I needed 72, since I was using thin yarn and getting 7 stitches per inch. Cast on twice as many stitches as you need. Join to knit in the round (careful not to twist the knitting) and knit one round. On the next round, k2tog all the way around. Knit for two inches (I knit for one inch before this step, but that wasn't enough). On the next round - k2tog, yo* repeat around, creating a row of eyelets. Knit until hat measures 5 inches from starting point. Now you will begin the decreases. You will need just a little math. Figure out a number that goes evenly into the number of stitches you have. It should be 7,8 or 9. Subtract two from that number. Knit that number of stitches and then k2tog. Repeat all the way around. For me, my dividing number was 8. I subtracted 2 and got 6, so I knit 6 stitches and then k2tog.

Knit one round even (whew, that was easy)

On the decrease round, knit one less stitch than you knit on the first decrease round before k2tog. For me, it was 5.

Knit one round even.

Repeat the formula - decreasing one stitch in between k2tog.

Repeat until you have four stitches left, use these to make a short Icord, bind off.

Thread ribbon through the eyelets and tie in a bow. this can be used to make a larger hat fit more snuggly.

Having tried to explain this, I have a new sense of admiration for all designers and pattern writers!

And now, to distract you from the fact that I have no other knitting to show off, I'll share my pretty flowers.

The red ones are roses, the purple ones are snapdragons. I don't know what the yellow ones are, but they have certainly made themselves at home. There are three clumps of them and it looks like some more are shooting up. Some might describe them as invasive, but I don't mind because they are pretty and my garden is rather bare.


Holly Jo said...

The hat is so sweet!

Your snapdragons are blooming? *sigh* Mine don't even have the starts of blooms yet! Thanks for sharing the photos - there is hope for flowers. :)

SP12 Pal said...

Very cute! Pattern writing is very difficult, isn't it?

Lisa L said...

Lovely pattern! I may just pull out some stash yarn this weekend and give it a try - a friend is having a baby in August! Love the water pictures!

ninou77 said...

Thanks for the pattern!! My cousine will have a baby in august... so it doesn't matter if the hat is too big!^^
Your flowers are beautiful! I'd like to have a great garden with lots of flowers!