Crafting · Design · Knitting · Project Planning · Yarn

Yarn Math

As an Engineer, I am supposed to be good at math.  Alas, that was never really the case.  I struggled to get through it and always had difficulty when I couldn’t picture what was going on.  Enter yarn math.  Something practical that I can apply some really basic and easy math to!

The Problem:  Design a quick little headband for my newest Niece to wear to a wedding.  It needs to match a cute little red dress that her Mom found for her.

The Idea:  A cute little 2×2 ribbed headband with a flower attached to it.

The Execution:  A quick trip to Michael’s to find the closest colour match with the dress in tow.  My wish list item was to find a sock weight yarn that matched the colour.  I wanted a lighter weight yarn since I don’t want the stitches to overpower the three week old baby.  Light and delicate was the plan!

I found a ball of Loops & Threads Woolike which is a super fine (light fingering/sock weight) acrylic/nylon blend.  Gauge on the ball band was 32 stitches/4 inches in a size 2 (2.75mm) needle.  Mom measured Baby’s head and found it to be 14 inches.  So how to figure out how many stitches to cast on?

The Math:

32 sts ÷ 4 in = 8 sts/in

8 sts/in × 14 in = 112 sts

Therefore, if I am knitting to the manufacturer’s gauge (I may or may not be, I didn’t really want to do a gauge swatch that would take longer than the project itself), if I cast on 112 stitches, I should be pretty close to a 14 in circumference.  The 2×2 rib should offer some stretch to make up for minor difference in gauge.

The Flower:  I used the same pattern for the flower that I used for the hairpieces I made for my wedding.  I absolutely love the author (Lucy at Attic24)and her tutorials are how I really opened up into the fun land of crochet.  Just note, she writes in British crochet terms which are a little different than the terminology used in North America.  She does explain the differences as well, just need to remember them!

I used the same yarn with a 2.75 mm hook and finished the flower with a little pearl bead in the middle.

The Result:

headband baby


Headband with size reference

headband closeup flower




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