Constellate, how can I change my gauge?

We’re having a little KAL for Constellate, and I promised I’d talk about a few ways you can modify the pattern as part of the festivities.  One of the easiest (and I think most fun) ways you could modify this pattern is to tweak your gauge.

Now, the pattern is already written in three gauges (5.5, 6, or 6.5 stitches per inch, which should work for most dk, sport, or fingering weight yarns).  There’s a little chart in the pattern that looks something like this.  It shows you what size head the hat fits at various gauges and cast ons.

So if you wanted to work at 6 stitches per inch, and you have a 20 inch head, you’d cast on 104 stitches.  Of you can go the other way.  Say you have a 21.5 inch head, you can cast on either 104 stitches and work at 5.5 stitches per inch, or 112 stitches and work at 6 stitches per inch, or 120 stitches and work at6.5 stitches per inch.  (Oh, and it’s are stretchy, so don’t worry if your head isn’t exactly the size shown, this is very forgiving, go with the closest size, or if you’re right in between, I’d go with the next bigger size.)

But what if you want to make the hat with a bulky yarn?  Or a really skinny yarn?  You can totally do that, as long as you know your gauge and the size of your head.  So if you have a yarn you’re absolutely set on using, first knit a nice big swatch in the ribbing shown in the pattern, block it, measure your gauge (in stitches per inch), then measure your head (in inches).

Now you have to do a bit of math, but it’s really only a tiny bit.  You need to figure out how many stitches you need to fit around your head.  To do this, multiply the size of your head by 0.85 (that gets you a bit of negative ease so your hat isn’t too loose).  That tells you how big your knitting needs to be in inches.  Now multiply that by your gauge.  That tells you about how many stitches you need to cast on.

 Head size (in inches) x 0.85 x Gauge (in stitches per inch) = How many stitches it takes to get around your head

But, that’s not quite all there is to it.  You also need to make your cast on play nicely with the stitch used in the pattern.  In this case, that means you want your cast on to be divisible by 8.  If the number you got above is divisible by 8, that’s perfect, you totally win, you’re done, that’s your cast on.  If not, find the nearest multiple of 8 and use that.

So let’s work through a few examples.  Say you had a yarn that gave you a beautiful fabric at 4.5 stitches per inch and you have a 20 inch head.

 20 inch head x 0.85 x 4.5 stitches per inch = 76.5 stitches to get around your head
76.5 is not divisible by 8, so look for the closest multiple of 8, which is 80
So, to fit a 20 inch head at 4.5 stitches per inch, cast on 80 stitches

What if you wanted to go the other way.  Say you have a 22 inch head and the personal fortitude to knit this thing at 7.5 stitches per inch.

22 inch head x 0.85 x 7.5 stitches per inch = 140.25 stitches to get around your head
140.25 is not divisible by 8, so look for the closest multiple of 8, which is 144
So to fit a 22 inch head at 7.5 stitches per inch, cast on 144 stitches

For this hat, that’s really all there is to it.  So knit a good swatch (the ones I’m showing here are in no way big enough…you really need them to be at least four inches on a side, five is better), block it, and measure carefully.  Then do just the tiniest bit of math, and you can make this in any gauge you’d like!  I personally think it would be downright adorable in a bulky yarn and hope someone makes one and shows it to me.


Constellate KAL

So, enough folks have asked that I think we should do a little knitalong for Constellate!  I’ve got us a thread set up on ravelry right over here.  If this has found its way onto your needles, I’d be delighted if you’d come show it off!

Over the next week or two I’ll show off some swatches of this stitch in other yarn, talk a bit about how you could change up the gauge to make a really bulky hat, and maybe even see if we can’t come up with a few examples of how you could turn this into a cowl.  And if there’s anything else you’d like me to talk about, let me know and I’ll see what I can do.

But in the meantime, come show off your hats, I love seeing what you’ve made!