Waaay too tight

Ok so I’m trying to teach myself to knit and I wanted to make the kitty hat from stitch n bitch (http://kittyville.com/knit/kitty_hat.html) which I guess might be a little bit ambitious since I’ve only completed one item so far which was a little bag from a kit I bought. I think I pretty much get everything but gauge, I understand what it is and why its important but not how to control it. I think i cast on and knit much too tight. Even when I used larger needles for the cast on it was too tight. Any tips on how to loosen up? Also how do you measure a circular needle? do you measure just the cord or from needle tip to tip or what? Thanks for the help. The videos on this site are wonderful btw!

Here is an article about loosening up

http://knitty.com/ISSUEspring05/FEATloosenup.html

When measuring circulars…you measure from the tip of one needle to the other tip.

Hope this helps. :XX:

thank you!)