First Timer - How many stitches do I cast on


I woke up this morning and decided that I wanted to knit a hat… I don’t know what I’m doing. I never knitted before and thought I could follow along with a youtube video, but I’m using smaller needles than her, so the hat I tried knitting looked way too small.

I need to know how many stitches to cast on so the hat will fit my head.

I am using
Needles: US #5 3.75mm
Yarn: Lion Brand Heartland Medium 4
Head: 22 inches around.

My calculations were to cast on 220 stitches, but that many won’t fit on my needles. I’m getting about 11 stitches per inch when the stitches are bunched up as tight as I can get them.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Anthony and welcome! Good for you for deciding to knit.
The yarn you’re using knits at about 16sts/4inches on a 9 needle. If you knit on a 5 the knit fabric will be quite tight so you may want to go to a larger needle. In order to figure that out and to figure out how many sts you get per 4 inches, you need to knit a swatch. You knit a square about 5"x5" or larger (see Getting Started, Gauge, here: The swatch will also allow you to see what the knit fabric is like and whether that’s what you would like for you hat. It’s also a good practice piece for knit stitches.