Round Sizing

Hello again everyone. I’m back with another question. Before you ask, my scarf is coming along very nicely. Since frogging it the other day I’ve gotten it almost a foot long. :woohoo: And 5 color changes.

I’ve also started another project, this one is inspired by the posting from fatoldladyinpjs about the Solders that knit.

I’ve decided to do the watch cap but with slight variations. I’m going for 2 tone black and white with black being the bulk of the project with 3 parallel white stripes wrapping halfway round horizontally. That’s not my problem. I’ve working using DPN’s never done it before and last night I sorta figured out working DPN, and got my cast on onto my 3 needles. My issue though is the sizing looks off. I followed the pattern for the cap using 108 stitches divided up between 3 needles, but it’s looking a bit small.

Tonight I can post a pic of where it’s currently at for some feedback as far as stitch spacing goes for casting on. Where it’s at now though the hole looks barely large enough to fit a toddlers head. Possibly 4 - 6 inches diameter.

As always I appreciate your input.

What size needles and weight yarn are you using? Is it the recommended gauge for the pattern? If even one of those is different it can affect sizing.

Two things come to mind here.

First is, (and I only learned this recently myself) that your gauge can be different when you’re knitting in the round like you would be for a hat than it is when you’re knitting flat – like a scarf. (Somewhere there’s a recent thread on this very topic in fact.) Which is tangentially related to my next thought…

Second, when you knitted your scarf, you were making garter stitch – knitting every row (no purling) But if you do the same thing with the hat (i.e. knit every round) you’ll be making [I]stockinette[/I] stitch which is [I]considerably[/I] narrower than garter stitch given the same number of stitches. So 108 stitches in garter stitch is wider than 108 stitches in stockinette. So if you based the gauge for your hat on the gauge you got making your scarf, it would make your hat come out small. Even if you were using the same yarn and same size needles.

Finally, this may not be an altogether bad thing. A little bit small is what you’re going for in a knitted hat because it’ll stretch (sometimes a LOT) and if you make it bang-on the size of your head, it’ll blow off in a good gust of wind. Not really what you want in a hat. So if you’re gonna be off, it’s better to be off on the small side.

[B]UPDATED: [/B] Yup. I found the thread on round gauging, and there’s an excellent shortcut in it from Suzeeq.

I’m doing a watch cap right now on four dpns and it’s 112 stitches so not much removed from yours. I have heavy weight yarn (possibly Arran, it’s hand spun and doesn’t list the weight), and 3.5mm dpns. It’s a k1p1 rib so will be very stretchy.

Best thing to check is yarn weight and needle size.

Here are a few things to consider: 1) Are you stitches squished up on the DPNs so they won’t slip off? If so, then you’re not seeing the actual size of the hat, and 2) the hat will stretch, of course; that’s what the ribbing is for, but it may very well be that it’s too small.

You might want to knit a swatch in the round (video here: to check your gauge. HOWEVER, hats are usually such smallish projects that it’s almost not worth knitting a gauge swatch because if you’re unhappy with the size, you can usually start over quite easily. That’s just me, though. [I]You[/I] may find it more efficient and less frustrating to just go ahead and knit a gauge swatch and then do your hat based on it.

Something else just occurred to me, though it sorta falls into that “Is it plugged in?” category. But it occurs to me that with a scarf, checking gauge isn’t all that important, so you might’ve skipped that step. But when you’re trying to get something to be a certain size, you can’t really do that. The pattern you’re using will say 108 stitches, but that’s predicated on a certain number of stitches per inch, and if you knit tighter or looser than that 108 stitches for you won’t be the same size as 108 stitches for somebody else, given the same yarn and needle size. And the variations can be [I]significant[/I]. (A lot more than you’d think.)

So you want to knit a swatch using the yarn you’re going to make the thing out of, measure 4 inches and count the number of stitches you put into those 4 inches. Ideally you’ll measure it in 3 or 4 different places and take an average (especially if you’re just getting used to DPNs). For the sake of completeness, you’ll usually check the number of rows (or rounds, in this case) in 4 inches, but that’s probably as critical for this project.

Also, when the work is still on the needles, it’s GOING to look smaller than it actually is. On the needles, your stitches are turned so they’re perpendicular to the needle. Once they’re OFF the needle, they’re gong to rotate so they’re in the plane of the fabric. And that’s going to make the piece a LOT bigger (maybe as much as double, depending on the yarn/gauge).

The vast majority of hats I make I use US 7 needles, worsted weight yarn and I cast on between 72-80 stitches. Obviously that can change if I use a different weight yarn. That’s why I asked about specifics as well.

Which only underscores the point about different folks having different gauges. When I made the Raspberry Beret, the band was 74 sts… on [I]US 9[/I] needles and [I]two strands[/I] of worsted weight yarn. Which gave me about a 22" circumference. (Yeah, my stitches were… ahem… a little tight.)

Actually you can get the same gauge on the same needle with different weights of yarn. I used double stranded lace weight on size 9s and got the same gauge as worsted on 9s. The thin yarn just makes a thinner fabric. Try it sometime - take some thin yarn and your size 9s and see if you get the same gauge as the doubled worsted (which would be a super super bulky so no wonder the sts were tight with 9s, needed an 11 or 13 for that weight).

Needles are size US 5 and yarn is #4 pattern called for those netting around 5 - 5 1/2 stitches per inch.

The actual pattern,

You might want to see if you can get at least a rough gauge count with the needles and yarn you’re using. Those needles seem small for that yarn, at least to me. Maybe the yarn they’re referring to is on the skinny end of the worsted range. I’m using US 6 with Lion Brand Pound of Love and getting about 5.75 sts/inch. This yarn is skinny compared to other worsteds I’ve used.

It is rather skinny, I believe if I space out the stitches I’m getting 6 - 8 per inch. Too small?

Again I can post pics tonight, as long as I do it before I start knitting. Once that happens I’m done for the night.

I wouldn’t get the same gauge now as I did then regardless. I’ve finally managed to teach myself how NOT to garrotte the needle… most of the time at least. But anyway.

What I was really getting at was Jan was using US 7s and worsted yarn and I was US 9 and bulky yarn and we were getting about the same number of stitches and [I]probably[/I] working on [I]about[/I] the same size hat. For Wendy (who’s a very relaxed knitter) to match my gauge she’d have to drop at least 2, maybe 3 needle sizes from what I use given the same yarn. (And it used to be more like [I]four[/I] sizes!)

I’ve also had at least one occasion where two yarns that were only [I]slightly[/I] different (Plymouth Select and Cascade 220) gave me just enough difference in gauge that the same pattern fit in one yarn and not the other. And this wasn’t just on the same [I]size[/I] needles, it was the same [I]actual[/I] needles. The Plymouth was springier and slightly thicker, and fit perfectly. The Cascade was just [I]slightly[/I] thinner and came out too big. Not by much, but enough that we had to do some fidgie-widginess to draw it in a little. The lesson learned: Take Time To Save Time; ALWAYS Check Gauge! Maybe Mercury was in retrograde or something so it was a one-off, but…

Garrotte the needle seems to be exactly my problem, even with the scarf. The whole stitch uniformity thread was pretty much about that I just couldn’t explain it as well as the word garrotte describes it. Same thing with this project I believe my stitches are just too tight and closely spaced.

I’ll definitely post some photos of the cast on row, how far should I go past that to gauge sizing, a few rounds?

I’d say, yes. I’m horrid at math but if they’re getting 5.5 sts/in. and you’re getting 8 sts/in, there is an appreciable difference.

108 / 5.5 = 19.6"
108 / 8 = 13.5"

Thank goodness for calculators!

I see two options: Do more stitches and adjust the decreases accordingly or use larger needles.

To gauge your stitch count accurately you’ll probably need to work several inches. There is a video here about swatching in the round but I can’t find it now. I have a really hard time finding the videos I need here. I’ll try again and if I can find it and check back to give you the link.

ETA: Found it! On youtube I could search to find it.

Small alarm goes off here when you say “space out the stitches”. I’m not sure what you’re saying here. If you mean stretching the swatch, that’s not an altogether bad idea when you’re doing a hat, because it’ll be stretched when you wear it. But if you’re counting the stitches while they’re on the needle, you’re not getting an accurate count. They’ll be oriented differently once you’ve gotten them off the needle and you might actually be closer to the prescribed gauge than you think.

Plus there’s a [I]big[/I] difference between 6 and 8 stitches per inch. And that difference has a bigger effect the bigger the piece is. At 6 sts/in 108 sts gives you 18" at 8 sts/in it’s only 13 1/2". At 5.5 it’s 19.6" and at 5 you get 21.6" so if you’re actually at 6 sts/in, your hat is 3.6" smaller than it would be at 5 sts/in. That’s a long way to stretch, even if the hat is ribbed.

If you take that same difference and scale it up to a sweater, you get a Frankensweater that will house a small tribe of pygmies from an obscure island nation in the Pacific Rim. (Ask me how I know. :teehee:)

Larger needles. Definitely larger needles. :Dustin Hoffman:

It’s a common difficulty, especially when you’re just starting out. I think it must come from trying to hold all that stuff together and do all that other stuff at the same time. Plus, there’s a natural tendency to wrap the yarn tight around the needle to make sure the stitch is the “right size”.

What finally(!) worked for me was letting the working yarn rest in the “pocket” where the two needles cross and not trying to pull it any further beyond that point before pulling the needle tip through to make the stitch. And it was (and sometimes still is) HARD. I’d gotten used to that comforting “clink” (or “click”) the needles made against each other when the yarn snapped through that gap and it was a little unnerving to not have that indicator that everything was were it was supposed to be. But once you’ve gotten that rhythm into muscle memory, and realize how much easier everything ELSE is because of it, you’ll be a lot happier. Not to mention faster.

I’ll definitely post some photos of the cast on row, how far should I go past that to gauge sizing, a few rounds?

Yeah, the cast on round won’t tell you much as far as gauge goes. As for how many rounds you’d want to go… you’ll probably get a different answer from everybody. I’d say at a minimum you need enough to get the fabric to lay flat so you can measure it. The “usual” gauge swatch is 4" x 4", but you’re probably not too awfully concerned with the number of [I]rounds[/I] per inch. If it’s a little long, no biggie. Besides which, by the time you have 4" of hat you’re almost halfway done with most hats anyway.

I could go larger, I don’t have larger DPN’s though and sorta had my heart set on doing that method vs working from a circle. I did pick up an interchangable kit at LYS wife wasn’t too keen on that $90 later, but it does have the equivalent of 21 needles vs $10 per needle set.

I’m a loose knitter and a US 5 is too tight for me really with #4 medium weight yarn.

Yes, everyone’s gauge is different, but if we know the basics of what you’re doing it helps to diagnose problems. I’d measure your gauge and if its too many spi then try going up a needle size or two.