Gauge Problem :(

Hello Knitters!

I started the Hermione hat (pattern on ravelry) and I seem to have a bit of a problem.

First, I’m in Italy, so I don’t have a lot of access to stores, and the ones that are here, it’s somewhat difficult to communicate/fully understand every word exchanged. I bought Italian wool, and I’m fairly sure the weight is worsted, but I’m not 100%.

Second, my circulars are 80cms (32 inches) which is huge, obviously. When I cast on the 110 stitches, they were able to stretch out the entire length of the 80cms, and I did a few rows and realised, this is going to turn out to be massive, since I could fit my whole head through and wear it as a necklace!

I ripped it all out, and did a gauge (my first one ever, since most of my previous projects were things like scarves) - and it is supposed to be: 7 stitches and 9 rows as a one inch square. Stitch wise, mine is perfect, an exact inch, but row wise, mine is closer to 1.5 inches.

The needles are actually smaller than recommended by the pattern, I’m using 3.5mm rather than 3.75’s, so I’m wondering what my problem is?

and how do I fix it? I reaaaally want to get knitting again!

HOLP! :knitting:

First, I wouldn’t stretch all the stitches around a 32" needle. Use a modified magic loop - here are a couple sites to see it in action:

Usually rows per inch isn’t so important. In a hat it might matter depending on the pattern. I found several Hermonie hats, so I’m not sure which one you’re making.

  1. If you’re very familiar with yarn, then if it looks like worsted, it probably is. However, 7 sts to the inch is a very, very tight gauge for worsted weight. Worsted is a 4 on yarn standards, but 7 sts = 1 inch is pretty much a 2. That’s a big difference. Worsted should get you about 4 sts = 1 inch on US size 7 or 8 needles (4.5 or 5mm).
    So that may be problem no. 1. Do you have the label? Does it have a number in a little drawing of a skein of yarn on it?

  2. Your circular needles are not going to work on this. The circumfrence of your project should be at least a couple of inches longer that the length of the needles (you need the extra couple of inches for “working room”). So you need 16" -20" long circulars, or a bunch of DPNS. Alternatively, you can use that 32" circular as if it were 2 straight needles, convert your pattern to 2 needles flat knitting, and then just sew up the seam in the back when you’re done…

  3. Don’t worry about the row gauge. It’s very common to get the gauge 1 way, but not the other. The stitch count if really important, but the row count isn’t. Your pattern probably says, “continue for 8” or something along those lines. So just do that, and don’t worry about how many rows it takes to get there.

For hat making you need a 16 inch circular and then either DPN’s or another circular to do the top when you do the decreases, OR 2 circulars to start with, OR one long circular to do magic loop. Since you already have a 32" I’d suggest trying magic loop or modified magic loop.

7 stitches per inch isn’t worsted weight, it’s more like fingering or maybe sport weight based on this chart. Worsted is between 4 and about 5 stitches per inch. Using the wrong weight yarn will affect size of the finished hat. You can work with it, but you may need to adjust the pattern.

110 sts at 7 sts/inch should end up with it being about 16" around but if the yarn is worsted weight, you’re probably not going to get that gauge. And using 3.5mm needles on worsted is going to be much too dense, so the pattern is using something like sport weight, or dk yarn. There should be a gauge on the label that shows how many sts/inch for the yarn, that will help you identify the weight.

The pattern is not free, but the info on Ravelry says worsted weight yarn and 21 stitches over 4 inches which is about 5.25 stitches per inch. It also suggests a size 7 needle. Using a different needle size and yarn weight can greatly affect the outcome.

thanks everyone, what you’ve said makes sense… there is no number in a little ball on the label, and no ply mentioned either

What it says is…

US5 - 6 size needle, and then, 10x10, 33 23, and a little picture of a square, which i presume is the gauge, and because it’s italian wool, given in CM (?)

At least I know I have the right size needles for the wool mentioned

Not sure if it will help but here is a picture of the yarn -

The pattern I’m following is JL’s yarnworks hermione hat:

looking at it again, it doesn’t look like a worsted, it looks lighter, but not by much…

I’ll have a look at the magic loop links and or/try with DPNs I guess :slight_smile:

I looked it up on Ravelry and it says it’s DK weight.

Using smaller needles and a lighter weight yarn should produce a smaller hat. Could yours have seemed so large cause you were stretching the yarn over that huge cable?

The needle size is a good way to figure out what to use, a US 6, which is a DK weight and what’s called for in the pattern. The pattern has you using the 3.75mm/US5, so going down to a 3.5/US4 is a bit tight. If you use a 6, that should work but you may have to adjust your cast on st number because of a little bigger needle. Or it may turn out right, measure your head and subtract a couple inches because the ribbing is very stretchy and you want a snug fit.

What cast on did you use? The backwards loop is the only one I know that would stretch out to fit 110 sts on a 32" needle. That may not be the best edge for a hat, a cable or LT cast on would be better. And like the others mentioned, use the magic loop technique so the sts will fit. Or rather, it will ‘shorten’ the needle to fit the sts on it.

well first I tried to use alternate cable cast on, which took me so outrageously long and looked so lumpy and awful that I ripped it out and just did a standard cast on…

I don’t know what the name is, since it’s just the one my mum taught me! I use my index finger to cast on, rather than a second needle. It may well have just been super stretched, allowing it to fit the circulars…

I think I’ll give it another go with the magic loop, and if that doesn’t work, go to the DPNs. At least I’m confident I have roughly the right sized wool and reasonable needles - it doesn’t matter if it’s a touch tight, since there is an adult size as well as for kids, and I have a very small head anyway (and my mother loves me for it :happydance:)

Honestly this gauge thing is so confusing!

I was the person who added the wool on ravelry (my picture obviously, LOL) but I think they edited to add the DK weight, so hopefully they know what they’re talking about, I added the rest of the details myself :slight_smile: (and we’ve figured out how reliable/knowledgable I am, haha!)

I’m confused-- in the original post, you said that you were getting the perfect gauge in sts, 7 sts per inch. Was that a typo? Or?. . .

no, you read it right - the gauge was correct for the stitches, but not for the rows :slight_smile:

There’s something confusing about this. The yarn the original pattern used was definitely worsted. She also definitely lists the gauge as 7 sts = 1 inch. But the fabric in the photos doesn’t look particularly stiff or dense, which it should be if getting that kind of gauge with that kind of yarn.

So possibly she used a different yarn without realizing it. Possibly she is including the cables in the gauge (which is not how gauge is supposed to be stated, unless it specifically says so).

But no matter what, you are getting the correct gauge with your yarn, so just go for it.

yes I was looking at it and thinking, that doesn’t look as stiff as I would have expected, and why use such chunky wool for a small hat? not to mention, certainly the actual promo pic of Hermione’s hat is fairly fine wool, certainly not worsted…

anyway. Just an update to let you know… thanks so much for all your advice and suggestions, I cast on again slightly tighter, using the magic loop technique and it seems to be working out perfectly, I’m about 10 rows in at this point, and it seems to be the right size and everything so I am one very happy chappy :knitting:

thanks again everyone, and just so you know your assistance wasn’t for nothing, here is the troublemaker!:

hurrah for things working out! (until the next drama at least!)