Sunday, November 09, 2008

#1 Question

Hi Knitters,
I should have done this a long time ago. Last week I received several emails from knitters asking how to make the patterns from Itty-Bitty Hats fit larger size heads. That is pretty typical. Sizing up these hat patterns has been a pretty constant request since Itty-Bitty Hats came out in 2006. 

On ravelry you can look here to see 2,150 hats posted as of today from Itty-Bitty Hats. It is fun to see the hats on babies and toddlers and it is even more fun to see the creativity of all of the great knitters out there. 

Today I am going to write out the steps to make the patterns in Itty-Bitty Hats larger and I will link this post on my sidebar under "tutorials" for future reference.
First, I want to share average head sizes. I reviewed and compared various sources and combined that along with my many years of hat making and fitting to come up with my own chart. I think the following suggestions are pretty accurate. With this being said, head sizes vary a lot in every age category so just be aware.

Please check out this link for a head sizing chart in inches and centimeters from the Standards and Guidelines for Crochet and Knitting. In my opinion these measurements may be slightly on the small side. YarnStandards has any body measurement you could ever hope to find so check it out as a good resource.

Susan Anderson's suggested head circumference measurements in inches:
Preemie:  12 inches
Newborn (at the hospital to 8 weeks): 14 inches
0-6 months: 15 inches
6-12 months: 16 inches
12-24 months: 18 inches
2-5 years: 20 inches
5 years to teen years: 21 inches

General Adult Sizes for men and women:
Adult extra-small: 20 inches
Adult small: 21 inches
Adult medium: 22 inches
Adult large: 23 inches
Adult extra-large: 24 inches

The Itty-Bitty Hats patterns all make stretchy hats. I prefer a snug-fitting hat so I always subtract about 2 inches, give or take, from the head measurement to figure out the number of stitches to cast on. If you don't prefer a snug-fitting hat you may not want to subtract any inches or maybe only 1 inch from the head measurement to get the cast on number of stitches.
My 9-year-old daughter comfortably wears the largest size (cast on 72 sts) of the Stripey Stocking Hat in Itty-Bitty Hats made in Manos Del Uruguay wool.

Steps to make a hat from Itty-Bitty Hats larger:

1. If possible take the actual head measurement in inches of the person you are knitting for. If not, use the chart above to estimate the head circumference. Place the tape measure just above the eyebrows and right above the ear to measure.

2. Mutliply the number of inches from the head measurement by the number of stitches per inch (gauge). For example, let’s say my head is 22 inches and the gauge is 5 stitches per inch. Multiply those two numbers together to get the number of stitches to cast on. 
5 x 22 = 110. 

3. Now, I usually subtract at least one inch and sometimes two inches worth of stitches off of the number from step 2, depending how snug you would like your hat to fit. Remember that the example gauge is 5 stitches per inch. I like a snug hat so I would minus 2 inches worth of stitches or 10 stitches leaving 100 stitches. I would begin by casting on 100 stitches to make an adult medium size hat.

Another route is to minus the inches before you multiply the head circumference by the number of stitches per inch. If my head is 22 inches I would subtract 2 inches getting 20 inches. 
5 x 20 = 100.

4. The next thing is that most hats for older children and adults are about 7 inches long, measuring from the cast on edge, before the decrease rounds begin. If you want the hat to cover the ears measure from the bottom of the ear to the beginning of the crown of your head. If you lay your hand on the top of your head with your fingers extended, measure from the bottom of your ear to your fingers. 

When I do this I get exactly 7 inches. You can make the hat shorter or longer to suit your preference before you start the decrease rounds.

5. The decrease rounds in Itty-Bitty Hats are based on numbers divisible by 8. You need to have a number of stitches on the needles that is divisible by 8 stitches for the decrease rounds in Itty-Bitty Hats to work. So on the round before you start the decrease rounds, decrease the number of stitches needed to get to the nearest multiple of 8. 

For example, if I cast on 100 stitches on the round before the first decrease round I would decrease 4 stitches. I would do this by knitting two stitches together 4 times evenly across the round to get to 96 stitches. Now I am all set to start the decrease rounds.

6. To finish the hat I usually like to have not any more than 9 stitches remaining to close up the hole at the top of the hat. If you end up with more than 9 stitches on the last round you can knit one more round to decrease the number of stitches. It can also work with a few more or less stitches so don't worry too much about this ending number.

There it is. I hope this helps anyone wanting to size up a pattern from Itty-Bitty Hats.

My hope is that in the future I will have the chance to write a hat book for older children and larger size heads. That would be really fun.

best, susie


camby said...

Thank you so much for doing this!! I've wanted to make some of your hats for adult size heads but didn't know how. This is great!!

paws said...

Great information. Thanks, Susan.

Dany said...

Very useful informations! Thank you Susie! I will save this post.

Tracy Batchelder said...

Very clearly explained. Thanks.

Betz White said...

Yay! Now I can make the bumble bee hat for my husband! Haha, just kidding.

Thanks for de-mystifying the noggin thing. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much! I just printed this out and am going to tape it into the cover of my book for future reference. I love each and every one of your baby hats and can't wait to start making them for big people.

caednkat said...

Thanks for the info. I've sized up the Simple Baby Hat for my two kiddos (caednkat on the Rav). But that was just through trial and error.
My kids love wearing hats and I have a nephew (toddler now) who adores them too. I would be first in line for a big kids hat book!!

~yolanda said...

Thanks so much susie for the tutorial. This makes knitting so much more user frienly. If I see a pattern I like, now I can adjust it up or down to fit my needs. What a treasure. Thanks again!!

Beth Northrop said...

Thanks! You have a great gift for making instructions simple enough for everyone to understand.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much - I too have sized some of the hats up but without any confidence - I have put this in my saved knitting folder - you are the BEST!!!!


Kathleen said... should show that picture of your snowflake hat that I made for my daughter in college...I made matching ones for her and her friend prior to a ski trip out west. They are great!

Susan B. Anderson said...

I lost that picture. Could you send that again? I am sorry about that, I would love to post those beautiful young women wearing their hats.


Anonymous said...

Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! Now if I can just follow the math!

Anonymous said...

Thank you soooo much!!! Great info...

Angela said...

Thanks so much for this explanation. Is this true for the hats in itty bitty nursery too? I want to make the cupcake hat for my daughter (who has had an above average sized noggin). This could be lots of fun.

Susan B. Anderson said...

Yes, this is absolutely true for the hats in Itty-Bitty Nursery. It is the same formula for the decrease rounds.

Good luck.

Susan B. Anderson said...

Yes, this is absolutely true for the hats in Itty-Bitty Nursery. It is the same formula for the decrease rounds.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I just realized I can now make the candy cane hats for my whole family. They would be just perfect for our holiday photo card!!! ...Just love your blog, photos and creative lifestyle. Keep up the great work. Liz

Anonymous said...

Oh my, I just realized I can now make the candy cane hats for my whole family. They would be just perfect for our holiday photo card!!! ...Just love your blog, photos and creative lifestyle. Keep up the great work. Liz

Anonymous said...

Thanks Susan! That was a great tutorial...very straight foward and uncomplicated. :)

Anonymous said...

I had that question myself! Thanks so much for answering. :)

Lucy said...

Thank you so much for the info, Susan.

I just knitted a size 1-2 years "little pumpkin", and it fits my head with a bit of stretch, and my head is 21 inch. Thought it was because RYC Cashsoft DK yarn is stretchy...

I'm going to knit a "inca sknowflake" for myself, using Noro Silk Garden instead of Kureyon.

So it seems the 2 years and up size in the book will just fit me...?

Anonymous said...

On pg 81 of Itty Bitty Hats there is a pair of bootees and a cardigan to go with the rosebud hat. Is there a pattern for these two pieces in another book?

Susan B. Anderson said...

The booties on page 81 are a free pattern on the sidebar of my blog and on ravelry and the pattern for the cardigan is in my online pattern shop and my ravelry pattern shop, called rosebud cardigan.

Unknown said...

Thank you! This really increases the number of hats I'll be able to create using your book.

Herba said...

This is great, wish someone would do this for the 18th seaman hat as I would like to make different sizes of that hat for charity