Now that you know all the technical stuff – how to knit, what tools to use, various kinds of yarn, etc. – let’s have a little fun. How about we cast-on a project?
I’m getting a little ahead of myself. We’re not going to just cast-on the project. We’re going to go step by step through the whole process of knitting a project.
What are we going to make? I’m really not a fan of scarves for first projects. I think hats are a great place to start. There are so many lessons to learn with it. There’s knitting in the round (easier than it sounds), ribbing, and decreasing. Not to mention, when you’re done, you have a great accessory.
What You’ll Need:
- Yarn: Any weight, any color, and any fiber you desire
- Needles: You’ll need two sets of DPNs or circular needles (remember to have a fairly long cable if you go with circs). One you’ll find by making a gauge swatch. The other one will need to be 2 sizes smaller.
- Stitch markers: This is for later in the project. You won’t need them until the crown.
- Blunt needle: This is also for later, when we’re casting off.
Part One – The Calculations
We have to start at the beginning – the gauge swatch. I know, it’s not that fun.
Grab your yarn and some needles. It doesn’t matter what weight yarn. Knit a couple of swatches (for more information about that, check out Knitting 101: Reading a Pattern) to figure out how you want your fabric. Smaller needles make a tighter fabric, and larger needles will give you looser fabric. Don’t forget to wash and block your swatch.
Measure how many stitches are in 4 inches. Do some division to find out about how many stitches you have per inch. Now, measure your head. Wrap the tape measure around the back of your head and around your forehead, where the hat will sit. This is going to be so much easier to use than you might think. I was scared of math in knitting, but it’s basic algebra.
(Number of stitches per inch) x (your head measurement) = the number of stitches you need to cast on
If your number of stitches per inch is a fraction/decimal, round down. Take a look at your total number of stitches to cast on. This next part is my personal preference, not so much a rule. Is your total divisible by four? If so, you’re good. If not, round down to the nearest multiple of four.
With your smaller needles, cast on that total number.
Next week, we’ll get started on the actual knitting. I’ll go over knitting in the round, both on circs and on DPNs (which aren’t terribly different).