Originally Answered: Knitting a hat for a toddler?
Does he like the animal hats that are so popular right now? I knit one for my grandson and he loves it.
Lion Brand has several patterns here: http://www.lionbrand.com/cgi-bin/pattern...
I did the panda one and used Jiffy to replace the discontinued yarn.
If you want to make just a beanie, here's how to do it:
Select the yarn and needles you want to use. Cast on at least 20 stitches and knit at least 30 rows using the stitch pattern you want to use. Measure a 4" square out of the middle. Count the number of stitches and rows in the 4" square. That's your gauge for that stitch pattern with that yarn and those needles. It's going to be different if you change yarn or needles or stitch pattern, so there's no single answer for "how many stitches do I cast on?"
Decide whether you are going to knit flat or in the round.
Next, decide what border you want. If you want a rolled brim or a garter-stitch brim, any number of stitches will work. If you want a ribbed cuff, you need a multiple of 2 stitches for 1 x 1 ribbing and a multiple of 4 stitches for 2 x 2 ribbing. If you're knitting flat, add 1 stitch for the seam. You want the circumference of the hat to be 20" (which will stretch to 22"). Divide your row gauge into 20" to determine the number of stitches to cast on and adjust for the ribbing.
Let's say you got 13 stitches = 4". Divide 20" / 4" (= 5) and multiply x 13 = 65 stitches. You can round up to 66 for knitting in the round. Is 66 evenly divisible by 2? (66 / 2 = 33) Yes, it is, so you can cast on 66 sts for 1 x 1 rib or for a rolled brim or garter-stitch brim. Is it evenly divisible by 4? (66 / 4 = 16.5) No, it's not, so you'd have to cast on either 64 or 68 for 2 x 2 ribbing. That's for knitting in the round; for flat knitting, add 1 stitch for the seam.
A second factor driving the number of stitches to cast on is shaping the top. The shaping works better if the number of stitches cast on is evenly divisible by 6 or by 8. If it's evenly divisible by 6, you would divide into 6 segments; if evenly divisible by 8, into 8 segments. 66 is evenly divisible by 6 and 64 is evenly divisible by 8, so either stitch count will work.
The third factor is any stitch pattern you may be using for lace, cables, and so on. Make sure your stitch pattern will fit the number of stitches cast on.
Cast on the number of stitches you calculated and start knitting. A ribbed cuff or garter-stitch cuff is normally 1". A rolled brim is normally 1-1/2" to 2". When it's as wide as you want it, change to the pattern stitch. Knit until you have about 5" to 5-1/2" and shape the top.
Easiest top: Knit 2 more inches. Cut the yarn leaving an 18" tail. Thread the tail in a blunt yarn needle and thread it through the stitches. Go around one more time and pull the tail tight. Fasten off.
Shaped top: Divide the number of stitches by 6 or 8, whichever applies. The result is the number of stitches in a segment. If you are knitting flat, you will have 1 stitch left over for the seam. Let's say you're working with 66 stitches in the round. Divide 66 / 6 = 11. Each segment will start with 11 stitches. Knit to the last 2 stitches and knit those two together: K9, k2tog. Do that all around the hat. The next round, k8, k2tog around--and so on, decreasing 1 stitch before the k2tog each round. When you have 6 stitches, cut the yarn leaving a 12" tail, run the tail through the remaining stitches twice, pull it tight, and fasten off.