How many stitches should I use for my hat?


I’m knitting a basic stockinette hat in the round for the first time, so complete beginner to this!

My pattern recommends 90 stitches with a gauge of 22 sts & 28 rows to 10 x 10cm using stockinette stitch.

It’s for my partner who has quite a big head. I measured his head circumference to be 24 inches (~60cm) around.

I’ve calculated this to mean 132 stitches instead of 90 (I cross multiplied 22:10cm, ?:60cm, 22 multiplied by 60, then divided by 10), but that seems like way too many stitches!

It also starts with a 1x1 rib, so I assume it will be stretchy too, therefore not necessary to have that many.

When shaping the crown, my pattern looks a little like this:

Row 1: k6, s2kpo, k6 six times (78 sts)
Row 2: knit
Row 3: k5, s2kpo, k5 six times (66 sts)

It decreases by 12 sts every 2 rows, so I was thinking I can only add extra stitches in multiples of 12? Would 102 stitches (90+12) do for the size of my partner’s head?

And then would I have to add another row at the start like this if I add the extra 12 sts:

k7, s2kpo, k7 six times

He doesn’t mind if the hat is longer/more slouchy.

I guess my questions are in summary:

  1. Would 102 stitches be enough?
  2. If I added 12 extra stitches (102 altogether), would I have to do another row of decreases?
  3. Is it best to do a gauge of rib 1x1 to work out the right size?

This hat calculator may be helpful. Are you using DK weight yarn? When I ‘wing it’ with a pattern I usually look at other free patterns, on ravelry or allfreeknitting, for similar yarn weight in the size i need and see what stitch count they use.
Gauge is usually worked over whatever stitch will be used for the body of the hat.
Hope this helps


That’s a very helpful hat calculator that nonknittingknots has recommended.
Remember too that you only want the hat to be 1-2" smaller than the head size, so 22-23" for the hat size.


Thank you for the calculator! I think I will knit with their decreases rather than the one in my pattern. I’ve just done a swatch now and my gauge is about 5.5 sts/inch, for 24” hat = 132 stitches. One thing I don’t understand how to do though is for the ribbing:

“For a K1, P1 ribbing, figure your cast-on number from the chart, cast on the next-lower multiple of 2, then increase to the chart number after the ribbing.”

So this would be 130 instead of 132, just not sure which rows I should increase, and what method I should use?


It depends on how wide(deep) you want your ribbing band. Most hats have a 1.5’’ to 2’’ brim, but you can go wider or narrower!! You will increase those 2 sts evenly on the last round, say at stitch 1 by doing a knit front back (KFB) and the nearest knit stitch to the 115th st.
Still seems to be an awful lot of sts for a hat, what yarn are you using? Fingering? Sport? DK?

ETA: Just looked at some DK patterns and they are all around the 130 odd stitch count for this size!! WoW!! As you were - take no notice of me at all lolol!!! :joy::rofl::joy:


I think it’s DK yarn, just want to use it up, will use chunky for hats in future!! And thank you so much for all the advice!


I knit tightly (despite trying not to!) and think it’s actually probably 6 sts/inch :sob:


That shouldn’t matter too much–as long as you double check the math and adjust properly. when it comes to the crown shaping i find standard beanie-type hats are somewhat forgiving.

Have fun. i love knitting hats. they are an excellent first in-the-round project and a great way to practice basics generally. Besides, hats are always useful.


Thank you!! I’ve been struggling to start this hat for weeks, moved on to other stuff in the meantime. Can’t wait for the fun part!


140 stitches on, ready to go! Fingers crossed all goes well


It really depends on the pattern you are using and what gauge you are getting with the yarn and needle size. A hat with mostly ribbing will stretch far more than one done in stockinette. Are you using the gauge on the yarn or did you make a swatch? A hat with a lot of ribbing will not need as many stitches cast on because it will stretch. I knit 2 hats and they did not come out the same size. The 2nd hat I cast on 90 stitches.


This is probably because of different techniques, but for me this would not be true. I knit Continental Combined style and my purl stitches are having the right leg behind the needle, thus very close to the left leg of the knit stitches (which is also behind the needle). I thus get a tighter ribbing without having to go down in needle size.

The number of stitches is thus dependent on the knitting technique and the only way to know for sure is by making a swatch.


If you’re getting five (5) stitches per inch, 24 x 5 = 120 stitches.