ONCE AGAIN, KNITTING AND MATH LIGHTBULB MOMENT!
I needed to make a baby hat in a hurry, so I went to my go-to pattern called “The Tri-Cornered Hat.” I’ve made this cute hat a few times, as it’s quick and easy. As I started thinking about this project, I realized “Oh, my gosh! I’m doing so much math.” There’s math right off the bat. It uses chunky yarn and big needles = fast knitting because everything is big. If you’ve read my past posts, you know that gauge is very important. A lot more math is necessary when figuring out the amount of stitches to cast on.
Having dug through my yarn stash and found an appropriate chunky pink yarn, I began the cast on using size 11 needles. I didn’t know exactly how many stitches to start with but knew that, due to my pattern, I needed a number of stitches that was divisible by three and then that resulting number had to be divisible by two. (Pretty confusing as three things need to be correct – the proper circumference for the size of hat desired, a number divisible by three then two.)
As I cast on and got near the needed circumference, I began analyzing the more complicated math. I was right around 40 stitches when I looked at the size, but it was too small. I thought, “why not go to 50 and see how big that is” but then realized that 50 is not divisible by three. Oh, 51 is, 3 ÷ 51 = 17, but 17 is not divisible by 2. What next? 45? 3 ÷ 45 = 15 but again, 15 didn’t work with the next step of math. 46? Nope. 47? Nope. Ahh, 48 was the magic number. 3 ÷ 48 = 16. 16 ÷ 2 = 8. Yes. I enlarged my cast on to 48 and it looked to be about the right size. (Who knows how big a nine month’s head is anyway? Plus, there’s always some stretch – or room to grow, right?)
Now that I had the right number of cast on stitches, I began knitting in the round. The pattern calls for at least 6” of knitting before working the tri-corner portion of the hat. But, uh-oh. I was running out of yarn. I had thought this might happen, so I had a complimentary color for the top of the hat, but this also posed a math problem. This yarn, while called chunky, was much thicker than the hand made yarn I started with, which would mean altering the needle size with this new yarn to continue making the same size stitch as the rest of the hat. I knew I had to go down several needle sizes so grabbed a size nine and gave it a try. Creating a nice tight knit stitch resulted in a similar size, so I could move on with this new yarn.
Once I reached seven inches in length of the hat (I added a little more for safe measure), I began dividing my stitches per the pattern. I separated my stitches into three pairs of 8 and cast off using the kitchner stitch. Whala. Hat completed in short order with a little math lesson included.