Friday, August 22, 2014

How to measure hats in knit and crochet

How to Determine Your Hat Size In Knit and Crochet

I have recently started designing my own patterns and found myself scouring the internet for information as to how to write these patterns with accurate sizing. If I'm putting the pattern out there, I want people to be confident that I have done my homework and I know what I'm talking about.
I found equations and calculations galore and they helped tremendously. I will share these findings with you today. However, when it came down to it, when the hat was stitched up and complete, I wanted to know for sure if it was going to fit. I needed a model. I needed a head in the size category I had just created the pattern for. Well Houston...we have a problem. I don't have newborns and infants and small toddlers in the house anymore and we just moved to a new town less than a month ago and I know NO ONE with children in these age ranges. So, short of stalking poor unsuspecting mothers on the street and asking them if I could borrow their child's head for a minute to try on a hat, I needed a better solution. LOL I'm pretty sure I would go to jail for that and I'm not sure if they'd let me knit or crochet in there. ;0) So, what's a person to do when they want to know for sure if their hat is going to fit someone? If you are making a gift and sending it off or even if you are designer yourself and want to know if you are accurately writing your patterns, how do you KNOW, know? Well, hopefully today's blog post will help you all out. I'm about to take you on the journey I've been on the last 2 weeks in trying to figure out how to accurately determine a hat size.

Step 1:

Math, Math, Math and more Math. :0) So, you want to know how big to make your hat, you might need to do a little calculating. (However, if you buy any of my patterns there will be a point in the pattern where I will have done all this math for you and all you need to do is measure ;0))
Here is the chart from the crochet yarn council that I found on a sister blog: Crochet Geek
The website I found that on was:
This is your starting place. Here is the size chart that I used to calculate all the hat sizes in my patterns. Now, these of course are the average head size standards, your child may not necessarily fit exactly in their age group. On my patterns you will find at the start of the pattern the head size that the hat will fit in inches, so just take a tape measure and measure your child's head and you will know if that hat size is going to be a good fit or not.
So what do you do with this chart? Well, next you will need to do a little calculating. All hats start out very similarly. You start with a few stitches and start building up until you have reached the point where you are going to stop increasing  and then just stitch that number of stitches for the rest of the hat to build the sides. Well, after that last round of increases is made you should have a flat circle in front of you. You should be able to measure the circle at that point to determine if this hat is going to come out to the proper head circumference by using the following equation:

*Head Circumference Equation: (Desired Head Circumference ) minus 1 Divided by 3.14

For example, you would like to make the newborn size hat to fit a head circumference of 12". Well, all hats work best if they fit a little snug, so you actually want that finished hat to measure about 1 inch smaller than the head circumference you are stitching for. So, your equation will look like this:
(12-1)/3.14=@3.5" (I usually just round to the closest measureable size. In most cases going a little bigger to give room to grow, but not much or it will be too big to wear now).
For this example, then, when you have finished your last round of increases in the pattern, you will lay down that circle you've made flat on a table and take a tape measure and measure across the full circle. It should measure 3.5" at this point if you want it to fit a 12" head size.

*Hat Length Equation: (Desired Head Circumference) Divided by 10 Multiply 4

Again for the above newborn 12" size example, this would look like this:
(12/10) x 4 = 4.8
If you use this equation your hat length will come out different than the lengths listed in the yarn council's chart provided above. You will have to determine which works best for you as far as which length you want to aim for. I have found the chart to be a little on the longer side, as you can see for a newborn hat it has listed a length of 5.5" vs the 4.8" we got in the equation above. I have also found this to be true when I have been stitching my own hats, so I lean somewhere between the chart size and the result of the equation above.

Step 2:

You have now reached the point where you have stitched up your hat. You made all your calculations and you have the hat finished and ready to go....but you look at it and think, is that really going to fit? Did my calculations work? Did I make a mistake? How do I measure this? You run all over the house with your tape measure and measure every doll's head your kids have in sight. None of them are the size you need!! You drive over to Hobby Lobby and Michael's searching for something that will work as a head with that circumference to put the hat on....NOTHING!! You search JoAnn Fabric's website and all 3 stores only have Styrofoam heads in an adult size. I don't need that!! I have an adult size head, if I want to measure those hats I'll try it on myself! How do I measure this hat that's supposed to fit a newborn baby?? Or that 3 month old nephew I have across the country? I want to know BEFORE I send it how it's going to fit. Here's a little trick I found when I was in this dilemma yesterday.....
Yep!! That's right....balloons! Who would have thought? I was scouring the internet for a Styrofoam baby head or something I could use to measure my hat sizes and ran across a tutorial for making a paper Mache head. Well, I didn't want to get too involved or messy with my model head, I just wanted to know if my hat would fit. So...I found a bag of balloons and blew one up to the circumference of the head I was stitching the hat for and Viola!! I had a baby size head to test my hat on!! YAY!! I was quite excited about this discovery. :0)
In order to get a better idea of the whole picture I used the hat length I had calculated to draw the ears on to see how the hat would fit all the way down to the ears. I took the tape measure and measured from the center of the top of the head and down one side and then repeated it again on the other side.

Now, is this an exact measurement of a real baby's head? Probably not. I'm sure it's off a bit in some way or another, but it beats trying to track down a Styrofoam head to measure it. That probably wouldn't be perfect either. The downfall is if you are looking for something more permanent to continuously measure hats in that particular size, your balloon will deflate by the next day and you'll have to make another one. It's not a long term model for sure. You may end up buying so many bags of balloons you will have wished you had just invested in the Styrofoam head. But... for a quick solution for measuring a hat for fit, this is really the best way I have found to use.
I think that about covers everything I learned about hat sizing the last few weeks. If I think of anything else I will come back and edit the post, but for now that's all I've got. I hope this helps someone else who has been as desperate as me to get this hat sizing thing figured out. :0)
Good luck with your hat sizing and as always....
Happy Stitching!! :0)
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This is a great way to keep up with any other fun discoveries in knitting and/or crochet that I find along the way. :0)
*I found these equations on so many different websites that I couldn't decipher who the original source was to reference here on my blog. I just wanted to notate that I did not create or come up with those equations on my own. This was information I found in my lengthy search on this topic. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

How To Make a Magic Circle

How to Make a Magic Circle
Making a magic circle is about to be your new favorite trick in crochet. You are going to ask yourself, "WHY DIDN'T I TRY THIS SOONER??!!" It will change the way you look at working in the round. You will learn the trick to giving your project a clean look with a tightly closed center. You won't have that loose opening that you have to figure out how to sew closed when you are all done.
You can use this tip in ANY pattern that is worked in the round EVEN IF the instructions you are given are written with working a certain number of stitches into a starting chain. All you need to do in this case is look at how many stitches the pattern is calling for to be worked into the starting chain and then work that number into your magic circle instead.
For example, the pattern says to chain 2 and then to work 6 sc into the 2nd chain from the hook. Using the magic circle, you will make your magic circle up to Step 4 below (where you ch 1) and then on Step 5 is where you will work 6 sc into the magic circle. You will have the same number of starting stitches in round 1 as the pattern but you will have a much tighter close in the center of your project.
 (If you are having trouble with figuring out the start of a pattern, just message me and ask. Leave a comment here or use the email link on the side of the page. I'd be happy to help you adjust your pattern and get you started with the magic circle!) :0)  

Magic Circle Photo Tutorial

Step 1: Start by taking the starting end of your yarn and crossing it over into a loop (making the breast cancer awareness symbol). You will insert your crochet hook into the opening of this loop from back to front.
Step 2: Using your crochet hook, pick up the working yarn.

Step 3: Pull the working yarn through the center of the opening.

Below is what your work will look like at this point.

Step 4:  Chain 1 - making sure to keep that loop open
For a SC Step 5: Insert your hook back through the opening, making sure your hook is under where your loop is crisscrossed. (Working your stitches over this crisscross is how you will be able to pull this circle completely closed when all your starting stitches are made.)

For a HDC (or DC) Step 5: You will first YO before inserting your hook into the opening. Again you must make sure your hook is under where the loop is crisscrossed.  

Below is what your hook will look like if you are working a HDC from your magic circle. At this point you have YO and drawn up a loop through the magic circle from your working yarn so you have your 3 loops on your hook to make your HDC.

Below is what one complete HDC will look like worked into the magic circle

Step 6: You will continue working the number of stitches called for in the pattern you are working on for your 1st round. Below is what the starting round looks like in a hat pattern I designed that called for 8 HDC worked into the magic circle.

Step 7: Pull the tail end of your work tightly, drawing the center of your magic circle closed. Make sure you pull completely closed, leaving no opening in the center.

Step 8:  Join the circle with a slip st to the 1st st of the round. to complete the magic circle (unless your pattern specifies to not join with a slip st ).
I truly hope this tutorial has helped anyone that has struggled in the past with making the magic circle. As helpful as videos can be to learn a new technique, I find myself pausing and rewinding and trying to slow it down and watch it over and over and over again. That's fine when the video is short, but when I'm in a hurry and I just need to see one quick part over again to clarify if I'm doing it right, I get a little frustrated with having to watch the whole thing over again. If you are like me, I'm hoping this tutorial has been what you have been looking for. :0) If any part of this tutorial is confusing, please write your feedback so I can be sure to make adjustments for anyone else looking for a photo tutorial on this technique in the future. I'm so familiar with doing the magic circle that I might have left out a step that I didn't even realize that would make this more understandable. I won't know that unless someone who has tried to use this tutorial leaves feedback, positive or constructive. :0)
Good luck on your new favorite technique!!
Happy Stitching! :0)
Don't forget to keep up with any new tips and tricks I might post or other tidbits of Stay@Home Stitchings by finding me on Facebook:

How to make a slip knot

How to Make a Slip Knot
Step 1: Start by making the breast cancer awareness symbol with the starting end of your yarn. You are simply forming a loop by crossing the yarn.
Step 2: Reach your fingers through the hole of the breast cancer awareness symbol and hold that hole open with your index finger and thumb spread apart.

Step 3: Reach through that opening and grab the working yarn.

Step 4: Pull that working yarn through the opening.

Step 5: Keep pulling until a knot forms, creating a loop to start your work with (in either knit or crochet, it's just pictured here with the crochet hook.) You can adjust the size of that starting loop by pulling on either the working yarn or the tail. If you pull the working yarn your tail size will remain the same. If you pull on the tail side you will increase the length of the tail.

And Voila!! You have your slip knot made and your starting chain or loop to begin your next project!
Please don't hesitate to ask me any questions on this. Sometimes when you are so familiar with doing something, you think you are explaining in clearly when really in fact you might not be. Any feedback on whether this tutorial was helpful or confusing would be greatly appreciated!
Happy Stitching!! :0)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

School Paperwork...YIKES!!

So this cartoon is a picture of me over the last week trying to fill out the massive amounts of school paperwork to get the kids registered for school. I thought when we took them in 2 weeks ago and went to the office we had filled out all the forms we needed, but boy oh boy was I WRONG!! We had all of their orientations this week and little do you know when you walk in to meet the teacher you will be handed the dreaded folder with enough paperwork in it to kill a forest! Multiply that times 3!!! (I haven't even been to Adilynn's school yet so sadly enough I'm not even done! LOL)
This was me last night when we got home from the last orientation. I had all 3 stacks before me to fill out because it all needs to be returned next week on the first day of school....
 They should just hand you one form so you can fill in the basics and then photo copy it and fill in whatever name goes in the blank. It was the exact same paperwork for all 3 of them so who knows by the last one if I was filling in the right stuff....I was just working on auto pilot. It was all blurring together and I was having a hard time remembering whose paperwork I was working on. LOL I probably ended up writing the wrong name on somebody's, but oh well. It's done. We've met all the teachers and they all seem like they will be a great fit for each of the kids. It looks like it's going to be a good year for us here in Alabama. :0)
How about you? Does your school have a stack of registration papers every year for you to fill out? Any tips or tricks to getting it done more efficiently? that I've worked my way out of the pile of paperwork.....
It's back to stitching for me!! YAY! :0)
Happy Stitching to you too!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

For Every Skein There is a Reason...

Howdy Ya'll..... Just practicing my southern drawl. For those of you who were not aware, my family recently PCS'd (which in the military means had a permanent change of station and in regular words means we moved). :0) We left the lovely and very family friendly town of Papillion, NE and have moved to Alabama near Maxwell AFB. We loved our previous location and could have easily settled there forever, but as we military families know so well, home is where the military sends you. :0) We look forward to the 10 month adventure we will have here in Alabama. We are even more excited to learn where home will be next, but will not find out that information until later in March or April.
So, I didn't fall off the face of the earth, I was just sitting in my car driving through about 10 states or so. We drove from NE to NY to stay with family for a while, and then from NY to AL. My husband even added a solo car trip from NE to AL and we counted that in 2 weeks he had been in 16 states!! It's been quite a summer and hopefully explains to those of you who have been following the blog where I've been and why I haven't been posting lately.
We've just recently finished unboxing everything and getting the new house in order. One of my biggest challenges of course was getting my yarn stash reorganized and unpacked into a smaller space than I had in our last house!! THE HORROR!! LOL And if you can even imagine, the movers who boxed it all up took my nicely, color coordinated bins and threw misc. items in with the yarn and packed NON YARN items in WITH the yarn!! I was horrified!! I pretty much had to dump out every bin and box I had neatly sorted and organized in NE and start from scratch. I was pretty much buried in yarn and my husband teased me when he saw the initial mess saying he was never going to find me or see me again. He thought it would take the full 10 month stay here to get all that yarn into the new, smaller space I had available. It took me less than 3 hours. I think it only took me like 2 but my husband insists I was in there even longer than 3. You know how we get when we are with our yarn...time just slips away, so I'll compromise with what he tells me on this one.
I found myself going through all the categories in that picture above as I had to organize my yarn stash. I don't really sort it that way, but I did think those things as I went through it. For the most part I try to color coordinate my yarn since it's mostly worsted weight, and then I take all my other weight yarns and sort them in separate spaces. It's hard to explain and I'm too embarrassed to take a pic of my addiction, so you'll have to take my word on it. :0)
So, now I hope to get back on track with all things Stay@Home Stitchings. We are getting settled in nicely. The hubs starts his school (the reason we are here) on Monday. The kids are registered for their schools and activities. We even already had to  do our school shopping this weekend because Alabama had a tax free weekend to help us out with the ginormous expense of school supplies for 4 children!! Thanks Alabama!! :0) Now we wait for school to start for the kiddos in about 2 weeks. Other than that I am hoping to FINALLY get my hands on my hook or needles and some yarn and get back to stitching....I have missed it SO much!!
So...........     Happy Stitching!!! :0)   ....... I know I will be!!
Find me on Facebook too if you haven't already. I sometimes keep up to date a little better there than I do on the blog: Stay@Home Stitchings

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Too much yarn too move??? Nah.....

So for those out there who are not aware, my hubby serves in the US Air Force and we have been given orders to move this summer. Today officially starts the whole process when the representative from the moving company comes to do the initial walk through and assessment of what it will take to pack us up and haul our stuff from point A to point B.

Up until this point I could easily hide my yarn addiction and growing stash and no one would even be aware it exists (except my family who lives here and can find it, LOL). It hides (as much as several boxes of yarn can hide) nice and neatly up in my bedroom closet. It's a huge walk in, so I've even organized it neatly by color to make it easier to find the perfect yarn for the perfect project when needed. It's a nice huge space and I don't often have people walking through the master bedroom closet so my yarn stash's existence hasn't needed to be revealed until today.

 Today begins the utter humiliation of being "found out". That cartoon picture above is me later today blocking my closet door so the moving representative won't enter and I can avoid him passing huge judgment over something I am certain he will not understand. I am quite proud of my yarn stash....privately....without telling others about it. I'm just happy to have it I guess is a better way to say it. I love it being there. I love having a stash to go to when I want to start a new project and don't have time to run to the store. It just makes me happy that it's there....until I have to let other people who do not know me know that it's there. Not that I really care what other people think of me, because I really don't, honestly. But it is hard to explain to others who are looking at you so oddly why you have hundreds of skeins of yarn just sitting around. :0)

 I don't know how I've accumulated so much because I honestly don't buy nearly as much yarn as I would like to. Most of it has actually been given to me by others who no longer want/need it. I love free yarn and am always willing to take it off people's hands because I know the day will come when the perfect project for that yarn will come and I'll have it ready and waiting. I think this brings me back to a previous post of my "SABLE" condition....stash acquisition beyond life expectancy. LOL I have so many projects and ideas and yarn and probably not nearly enough days in life to do them all. I guess I need to learn to knit and crochet faster so that maybe, just maybe, I might get my endless project list stitched up with all the beautiful yarn in my closet.  Until then I guess I'll have to unblock the closet door, show the movers what's behind door #1 and let the skeins of yarn fall where they may. :0)

How about any of you readers out there?? Do you have a large yarn stash and do other people know about it? Are you proud enough to shout it from the roof tops or are you a private accumulator like me? I'd love to hear what other stitchers feel about their stashes! :0)

Happy Stitching!! :0)

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle- Donatello

It has come to my attention that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are back. I wasn't one to follow them the first time they were around, but my sister was a HUGE fan! It inspired me to stitch up a newsboy hat sporting the green character. I plan to stitch up the other 3 TMNT as time allows. I'd love your thought and feedback on this Donatello Hat. :0)


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