To Stretch or Not to Stretch

First let me say that I really appreciate this site. I’ve been crocheting since I was pretty young but I really wanted to make clothes so I’ve been teaching myself to knit. I don’t think that I could have done it without this resource, even though it takes Forever for the video’s to load.

Ok I am making a hoodie for my mom’s birthday and it says to continue knitting until the piece measures 18 ½ inches. So I’m knitting but when I measure it I get confused. If I lay it flat it measure’s say 10 inches but when I stretch it just a little bit and lay it flat again it comfortably measure’s at least an extra ½ to 1 inch.

So should I stretch? Is it likely to loosen up over time? My mom’s pretty short so if it ends up to long it might look silly. :lol:

Thanks so much for your help.
P.S. it’s with Lionsbrand Homespun yarn in case that is relevant.

Yes that is relevant - especially with this yarn. Homespun tends to produce a very stretchy fabric that can grow greatly with time if you are not careful. To get a measurement that is closest to what it will do in real life, I suggest you hang it up for a while (a couple hours to overnight) and then measure its length while still hanging. I think it will only gain a couple of inches in length, so you can probably take a “stretched” measurement until you are 3" or so short of where you want to be. You should also check its hanging width as well. I think this would tend to narrow slightly, but probably not enough to significantly affect the fit.

Let me know if you still have questions. Good luck!