I was being so good.
I frequently begin projects without doing a gauge swatch. I tend to just use the label info as a guideline, wing it, and start knitting. If I don't like the way it's going, I take it out and start over. But that's just me. To quote my 9 year old, "that's how I roll".
But this time, I was not following a pattern. Noone else had done the math for me. I was making it up as I went along. And it was a hat. Something that actually had to fit correctly.
An appropriate time for a gauge swatch if ever there was one.
So I grabbed a ball of my beloved Granite and a set of 10 1/2 circs and cast on 12 stitches (past experience told me to expect about 3 stitches to the inch). I tested out buttonholes and their placements, using the seed stitch and stockinette in the way I intended for the final product.
When all was said and done, I pulled out my trusty measuring tape and started my calculations. That, my friends, is where things got fuzzy.
Depending on where I measured or how it was laying, the 12 stitches measured at either 4 1/2 or 4 1/4 inches. So I needed either one or two stitches less for every four inches. After a little division, that means I got either 2.5 or 2.85 stitches to the inch. Doesn't sound like much difference, though, right?
Okay. Let's take a moment here and figure out how many inches I was going to need all together, shall we?
I happened to have a hat on which I was basing the fit of this one, so I laid it out and it measured 11 inches across the bottom. That means I needed my new hat to be 22 inches. A little multiplication, and that means...
What?! Either 55 stitches or 62.7?! That's a difference of 7.7 stitches! At so few stitches per inch, that's several inches!
That's when I started going with what was convenient. If I had 60 stitches, the math for the decreases at the crown would be easy: Start with K8, K2tog across the 60 stitches, and go down one knit stitch between the decreases every other row after that. Cake.
So that's what I did, and this is what I got:
I have a big head. But not that big.
I had figured that the hat might be coming out rather big, but I could felt it a bit, right? Well, I decided I didn't want to felt it quite that much. Because when I had my ponytail coming out from the unbuttoned top, the hat would bunch up funny if it was all super-felted and thick.
Out it all came. I started again with my size 10's. Muuuch better. Of course, at this point the hat is not only done, but I've worn it several times and I am finding that I would like it to be just a touch more tightly woven and a touch smaller. So I might just try and felt it by hand in the kitchen sink since I'm leary of putting those buttons in the washer.
But I'll be sure and get pictures first. Just in case.