Friday, April 05, 2013

Learned Something Today

I have always felt that a calling of mine was to make chemo hats for people who are losing their hair for various reasons, mostly because of having to have chemo because of cancer.  Several people that I know have been recently diagnosed with cancer and one person is just losing her hair for no apparent reason that the doctors can figure out.  So, I'm knitting chemo hats for them.  I went to my LYS to find some yarn to make the hats with.  I thought about someplace like Hobby Lobby or Michaels, but I sometimes have difficultly finding what I need and how to figure out the gauge for the size hat I need.  I learned something this morning that I have never known before when figuring gauges.

I had a pattern for a basic chemo hat and the pattern specified a certain type of yarn.  I got to the yarn store and the yarn suggested by the pattern was all DK or baby weight yarn.  Unfortunately, all of the colors looked like yarn for baby items like afghans, etc.  It just didn't look like colors for an adult hat for a woman.  So, I asked for help and they showed me some soft cotton yarn that would probably be good for the hat.  I just couldn't figure out what size needle to use for this yarn to get a close gauge to the yarn that was suggested in the pattern.  So, the lady at the yarn shop was very helpful.  She told me that to use the size needle specified for the yarn I'm using, to divide the gauge into the number of stitches cast on to get the size of the hat.  For example, the yarn I bought suggests a size 7 needle in order to get a gauge of 5 stitches per inch.  So, to figure out the size of the hat, I would divide 5 into the  number of cast on stitches to get the hat size.

Cast on stitches:  96
Gauge:  5 stitches per inch

96 divided by 5 = 19.2 inch hat (approximately)

The same thing goes when you know your hat size, but you want to know how many stitches to cast on to get a finished hat that size.  Depending on your yarn and your gauge, you would multiply your hat size by the gauge specified on your yarn.

Hat size: 20 inches
Guage: 5 stitches per inch

20 x 5 = 100 (cast on 100 stitches for a 20 inch hat)

I know alot of people who knit and/or crochet probably already know this, and I think I knew it at one time back when I was knitting alot of hats, but because I haven't knitted hats in a while I just forgot it.  I'm glad I learned it again because it's very valuable information especially when you are knitting hats.  I also need to get back to knitting chemo hats. 

At one time I knitted lots of chemo hats and also sewed them and donated them to my local hospitals for them to give to the patients who need them.  Because I was working full time I just wasn't able to keep up with it because I was so tired and busy all the time.  Now that I'm retired, I have the time to make the hats and start donating them again.  My problem is that now I'm on a strict budget and I'm going to have to find a good, econonical yarn that would be good for this.  The yarn I bought today cost more than I wanted to pay and would normally pay, but it really helps me to go to the yarn store and get individual help.  Now, I'm going to have to take what I've learned and go back to Hobby Lobby or Michaels and work with it.  With my budget right now I'm not going to be able to go to a yarn store and pay high prices for yarn.  I can't wait to get started on this first hat and I will post a  picture of it when I finish.  The yarn I'm using for this hat is made by Rowan and it's called Softknit Cotton.  The color I'm using is called Tea Rose.

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