I knit several hats and scarves with knitting looms, but was starting to get a bored. So about 18 months ago, I decided to learn to knit with real knitting needles.
I bought a copy of The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting by Nancy Queen and Mary Ellen O'Connell and promptly started working on the first scarf in the book. It's a simple garter stitch with fringe. I was using smaller needles and different yarn than the pattern called for. Which means I knit back and forth for what seemed like forever.
I didn't finish the scarf. Don't get me wrong, I think this book is a great reference. Using it to understand knit, purl and cast on has been working very well.
After two failures for my husband's modified London Beanie, I made a twitter plea for help. There must be some sort of guideline to understanding how much a hat would stretch.
The answer is: it depends.
It depends on the yarn you are using, how tight you knit and what pattern you are using. It may also depend on the moon but I'm not sure about that. ;-)
The advice I was given for my latest hat was:
- Knit 18 inches for a measured 22 inches
- Plan for 20-30% stretch
- Use 90 stitches
- Put the big hat on his head, pull it to a comfortable tightness, then subtract those stitches
- That's why knitting a swatch is a good idea
I'll let you know how it goes.