Big Heads

I have always despised the knit and crochet hat patterns that boldly assert they fit the “average sized head.”  What is “average” and for whom?  In statistical language, an average is the central tendency of data, and the three most common measures of central tendency are the mean, mode and median.   So saying “average” is, frankly, sloppy.

I come from a family chock full of big-headed folks – on my American father’s side.   I guarantee you that our “average” adult head size is far above the U.S. median.

Linda6mosTo the right is a picture of me in San Francisco at 6 months.  Clearly I am my father’s daughter.  The size of my 6-month head gives a hint at the size my head would be as an adult!

The picture of me below was taken in Norway about 2 years later.  (I must have had a very strong neck.)


Also note there seems to be quite a space between my eyes and my hair-line (which is above the end of the razor-edged bangs I sport in this picture).

Now many a mother would artfully arrange her daughter’s bangs in an effort to diminish the size of girl’s forehead.  Not my mother.

Linda4USThis picture to the right not only shows off the size of my head but my mother’s hair skill in styling bangs!

(My younger sister was lucky in this picture; she had no bangs for our mother to trim.)

We lived briefly in Hawaii while my father was stationed at Pearl Harbor.  My mother hated the tropical humidity and, thinking our hair would mildew, nearly shaved our heads.

Linda6NorgeThankfully we returned to Norway where my grandmother put a stop to our  nearly-shorn heads.  In the picture to the left, my hair had grown out.  <shudder>  My mother, however, who had once long, beautiful blonde hair, never again grew her hair long (though we never returned to live in Hawaii – or any other tropical place).

So, when writing out hat patterns, remember to be more specific than “small, medium and large” sizes.  Specify inches and centimeters!


About sweatyknitter

Fiber art devotee, author, and amateur artisan bread baker.
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18 Responses to Big Heads

  1. I think she kept cutting shorter and shorter to “even them out.” By the time they were close to my hairline, she had a built in guide! 🙂


  2. salpal1 says:

    All I can say is that at least your mother could cut straight! My photos all feature bangs that are visibly shorter on one side than the other.


  3. cleo14 says:

    I had the same problem with a hat for my niece. When I was casting on I simply asked around about why was the “average” size 1 & 1/2 year old head. Her head is very large. The hat wasn’t long enough but she loved it so much that I didn’t bother to lengthen it.


  4. kfklever says:

    My pleasure!


  5. kfklever says:

    Just wanted you to know that I’ve nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogging Award!


  6. Clearly it’s time for you to design your own hats! 🙂


  7. I shudder to think there could be a country where MY head is a small! 🙂


  8. Socioknit says:

    This is hilarious. I actually have had the opposite issue with hat patters because I have a head that is smaller than average. Due to this, I always have to wonder about how my pattern will turn out when it indicates “average”. In fact, to this day, I haven’t made one from a pattern that fits me.


  9. Another excellent tip! I am a small size in my country but if I try an asian size I am a large!


  10. That is precisely correct. Our great minds think alike!


  11. My Norwegian relatives look like gymnasts compared to my American relatives! 🙂


  12. When IQs are above average, people rejoice. So should we with our above average-sized heads! 🙂


  13. We undoubtedly have such large heads to accommodate our large brains! 🙂


  14. ethgran says:

    I always blamed my enormous head on my Norwegian ancestors. I guess I will have to take a harder look at my English ancestor’s pictures – luckily I have several pictures. Or maybe it is from those few Scots that sneaked into my background – none of which do I have nary a picture of – well, one came over in the 1600’s and the others came over in the 1700’s. I also have the huge span of forehead – maybe size and forehead expanse go together.


  15. tgonzales says:

    That’s so funny, because I have an above average sized head too. Thanks so much for sharing. Hugs, Tamara


  16. Yes! Big Heads unite! I’ve got a noggin that rivals a champion pumpkin. Well, maybe that’s a bit drastic, but it sure feels like it when I try on an “average” sized head and discover that “average” means your average baby monkey. Me? I don’t have a baby monkey head. I have a HEAD.


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