Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Knitted Headband DIY Tutorial!

Here’s a super quick and easy knitting project that’s perfect to whip up over the course of a couple of chilly Autumnal evenings! This stretchy, ribbed head band is just the thing for keeping hair off your face when cleansing, toning and moisturising (like you do twice a day, right?) or applying make up. I used a ball of yarn I had hanging out in my stash which I believe to be Rowan Cotton Glacé in ‘Ecru’ but you can use any yarn you fancy! This is a perfect project to use up any old scraps of yarn but if you do need to buy some, one of Rowans 100% cotton yarns such as the Cotton Glacé or Handknit Cotton would be lovely.

I know it looks like there’s a lot of work to do before you actually get to start making the headband but I promise it’s all easy peasy and the headband itself is just about the simplest knitting project ever invented! The step by step tutorial is aimed at the newbie knitter! If you’ve only just learnt to knit you might find this tutorial handy because you’ll be learning how to make a swatch to determine the gauge of your knitting and how to use this information to draft a pattern (albeit one of the very simplest kind). I also think it’s nice to do some simple but useful knits when you’re starting out instead of just knitting endless swatches... That being said even if you’re a pro why not give it a go? You could whip yourself up a little cleansing cloth while you’re at it!


Yarn (I used Rowan Cotton Glacé - you’ll only need a tiny amount)
Needles (I used 3mm bamboo needles - John Lewis have a great selection!)
Tapestry needle (for weaving in the ends)
Tape measure

Stage 1: Knitting a swatch and figuring out how many stitches to cast on...

1. First take your tape measure and measure around the circumference of your head, where the headband will sit. Make a note of this measurement - for example, my measurement is 21 inches.

2. Now it’s time time to knit up a swatch using your chosen yarn and knitting needles - you’ll use this swatch to determine how many stitches need to be cast on for the final head band. To make a swatch, first cast on (CO) 32 stitches then continue in knit 2 (K2) pearl 2 (P2) rib for 32 rows (I know it seems like you’re casting on more stitches than you need - after all, all you really need to know is how many stitches there are to an inch but if you take this measurement from a larger swatch you’ll get a more accurate idea of the way your knitting evens out over a number of rows).

3. Once you’ve reached the desired number of rows, bind off in rib. Now take your swatch and gently stretch it out as far as it will comfortably go. Pin the fabric in this position then place your measuring tape alongside the swatch and count how many stitches fit into 2 inches. As you can see from my swatch, there are 12 stitches to 2 inches of fabric. If I divide this 12 by 2 then I'll how many stitches there are to an inch - in my case, 6!

Times this number by the circumference of your head and you’ll know how many stitches you need to cast on in order for the headband to stretch and grip your head nicely!

You can repeat the process to work out how many rows of stitches there are to a an inch - in my case 14. I want my headband to be 2 inches wide so I need to knit for 28 rows but let’s be honest, you can just freestyle the width and stop knitting when it looks about right!

I worked out my measurements as follows: My head measures 21 inches so this is how large I want my finished headband to be when stretched to the max. From measuring my swatch I know that there are 12 stitches to 2 inches of fabric (or in other words, 6 stitches to 1 inch of fabric). So 6 times 21 = 126 - and that’s how many stitches I need to cast on!

Make sure that however many stitches you cast on it’s an even number and that you’re starting the rib with two knit stitches and finishing with two purl stitches (so that when the headband is sewn together you get a seamless repetition of the k2 p2 pattern - you don’t want four knit stitches all huddled up awkwardly side by side!)

Step 2: Knitting the headband...

1. Now you’ve figured out how many stitches you need to cast on and how many rows you want to knit it’s time to get started! Because we’re going to be seaming the headband once it’s finished, cast on an extra stitch at the beginning and end and make sure you always knit these stitches regardless. These extra two stitches won’t form part of the main headband but will provide a little bit of extra fabric for you to sew a neat seam with later!

2. Knit in k2, p2 rib for however many rows you need in order to obtain your desired width. Once you’re done cast off in rib.
Step 3: Get it all sewn up…

1. Take your tapestry needle and thread it with a length of yarn.

 2. Sew up your headband using a mattress stitch - your seam should be almost invisible from the outside and the k2p2 pattern will flow uninterrupted.

That’s it! Get the fluffy white towels at the ready and swoop that hair off your face like never before using your brand new custom knit headband!

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