Friday, June 24, 2011

Knitting on the Web: Knit Happens

I had no idea until a couple days ago that one of the proprietors of my favorite LYS has been co-hosting a weekly online radio show called Knit Happens. 

This week the topic was the scary but oh-so-often-asked-about issue of copyright.

You can read the store's account on their blog at Knit Happens.

Or you can head on over to the Knit Happens archive page. You're looking for Episode 69, but you might find yourself headed down into the rabbit hole of super interesting things to hear. (Nope, I'll never admit that happened to me. Uh uh. Not me. I won't say if it did or not. Okay, it did.)

Evolution of a Design (part 7): The Fabric

When I write up my patterns for baby blankets, I always provide a gauge measurement and then include some statement like, "not necessary to get gauge." Since a blanket isn't a garment, it doesn't require perfect sizing. As a result, if your gauge doesn't match mine and you end up with a blanket that's 33"x32" instead of my 31"x31", that's not a big deal.

So gauge doesn't matter, right?

Well... the way I think about it, that's only sort of true. It's okay to be a little bit off. There won't be any extra-long sleeves or super-tight busts to worry about. In that sense, gauge doesn't matter at all. On the other hand, gauge isn't only about size. It also has a role in the type and drape of fabric you're creating. Obviously, gauge isn't the only factor - yarn type and weight have a significant impact on your fabric. But you could knit up two wildly different swatches using the same yarn but different needle sizes.

So even with a baby blanket, where exact sizing may not be critical, gauge matters.

I suppose there are a number of different points at which a designer could (or should) start thinking about the fabric and what gauge is going to get them there. For things where sizing matters, it makes really good sense to get started on that right away. With this blanket, I didn't even begin to think about it until after I'd already created the chart. That's probably backwards, I know, but it's the way this design started to shape up.

Up to this point, I've been working in worsted weight for the blankets. Of course, my panda blanket has only 137 stitches across, so even in worsted, that's a pretty small blanket. The snail, though, is significantly larger. It's got a cast-on of 325 stitches. (I know! What on earth was I thinking?) It was pretty clear from the get-go that an afghan with that many stitches knit up in a worsted weight yarn has no business calling itself a baby blanket (if I used the same gauge as the panda, the snail would end up at 73" wide). So the decision to go with a lighter weight yarn was an easy one to make.

When I received yarn support from Dream in Color, the decision to go with DK weight was pretty much made for me. Before that I'd been toying with the idea of going even lighter - to fingering weight. I did a quick survey in a couple of groups on Ravelry, asking people what they thought of very light weight baby blankets. The responses were strongly in favor of them, particularly from folks who live in warmer climates. So, since I'd be using the DK from DIC for the intarsia version, I thought it might be nice to try fingering for the solid version.

Once both had arrived, I had to swatch. I know - swatching isn't terribly fun. I don't know many people who like it; I'm certainly not among those who do. So maybe we can call it a necessary evil. Because it's necessary. Even when you're knitting a baby blanket. Guess how I know? Go on - guess! (I won't tell you ... I'm sure you're right.) My younger sister is making the single color sample, and I needed to provide some guidance, so I knit up some stockinette swatches of the fingering weight yarn with a few different needle sizes. One was way too hole-y. One was way too tight, creating a stiff fabric. But one was just right. Good drape, good stitch definition. Perfect. It may be that a different needle size gives her the fabric I'm looking for -

Frankly, it doesn't matter what size needle she uses, as long as she gets gauge. Because you know what getting gauge will ensure? The perfect fabric...

Next up: converting the chart to written word...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Love When My Work Is Appreciated!

In fact, it makes me so giddy with happiness that I'm going to share my good mood with you!

This morning, I woke up to a text message with this photo:

That's the daughter of one of my most favorite college friends. And she's sleeping peacefully under the afghan I made for her. Precious, right? Well ... that blanket just happens to be one of my own designs. It turns out that I get to feeling generous when I'm giddy.

So here's the deal - I'll send a free copy of the Among the Bamboo pattern to anyone who comments on the blog before Saturday midnight. (That's June 25th, Pacific Time, as date stamped by Blogger.) I think it's easiest to gift it to you on Ravelry, so please include your Rav username. If you're not on Rav (why aren't you? You should be!) or don't want to have access to the pattern via your Rav library, then make a note in the comments that you've added your name to the mailing list (up there, in the right hand corner). Then I'll send you a pdf of the pattern ... fair warning, it's a big one, what with all the charts!

And, actually, for everyone who joins the mailing list, I'll even throw in a special surprise bonus.

And, in case you're one of those who thinks intarsia just isn't for you, this pattern is a two-for-one. Check it out! You get instructions for both versions - written for the solid color, and charts for solid and instarsia options.

And honestly, the solid color option is super super easy - made for a beginner. Just knits and purls, with a few yarn overs and knit 2 togethers. If you can count, you can make this blanket!

Of course, if you love this and want to support my design work, don't forget to check out the coordinating bibs, available via Knit Picks IDP.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

More Things to Think About

I was sitting down to write the sixth installment of the "Evolution" series, but the truth is that's going to have to wait. I stopped by my Twitter feed (you can follow me, if you like - @adriennepdx). I don't spend a lot of time on the site, but this morning I happened to see a tweet linking me to the blog Dark Matter Knits.

The topic? The lessons designers learn from working in a yarn store.

I've never worked in a yarn store. I work in education - first as a high school teacher, then as a college admissions professional, and now in grant management for college access programs. I am passionate about education and providing access to higher ed, so I don't see myself leaving the field anytime soon. I have had moments, though, when I've thought it would be fun to work in a yarn store. Fun. I mean, really really FUN. I have worked retail, so of course I know that it wouldn't be all fun. But since it's merely a passing whim when it hits, I'm going to go right ahead and keep on deluding myself into believing that there would be no bad moments. No miserable customers. No days of exhaustion. Nope. I'm going to keep right on telling myself that working in a yarn store would be amazing. All the time. Every single moment of every single day.

The problem with this delusion, of course, is that I don't benefit from the lessons one learns while working the store. (Okay, yes, I know there are many more problems with the delusion, but I'm trying to get to my point, and this problem is the most salient to it.)

But Elizabeth's blog post offered a few of those lessons. She makes sense. A lot of it. Some of the things she mentions are things I've already been thinking about. Namely, photography and the need to have it stand out. This is a good reminder for me to seriously consider my photos and to care about that as much as I do the actual finished item.

The other thing I've thought about but not in quite the same way is the yarn substitution question. I've never assumed that someone would use the same yarn I did (even with the designs I have in the Knit Picks IDP that makes it so easy for folks to purchase the exact same yarn, I know that many knitters buy the pattern and then head to their stash, LYS, or big box store to purchase yarn). I've tried, therefore, to offer yardage rather than skein-age. I thought that was enough. Now I'm wondering if maybe I should be providing actual substitutes. And I'm wondering what the best way to select those substitutes is ... when I don't want to knit several samples. And I almost never want to knit several samples of the same thing.

Either way, I'm glad to have something new to ponder. And the evolution of the snail blanket is just going to have to wait another day or two. I figure that's okay. It'll all come with time.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Taking Better Pictures

Photography just isn't my forte. I doubt it ever will be. I'm lucky to have nieces and a sister willing to model designs and a brother who's offered to take photos. I'm absolutely grateful to them for their assistance, even when it's given begrudgingly.

There are some items, though, for which modeling is either not necessary or not practical. Or for which I don't have a willing model. And there might be times when a quick photo tutorial is what's needed, and I don't have access to my brother and his camera at just the right moment. What do I do then?

Well... I have this problem. It's just a little problem - not very big at all. But when I succumb to it, I succumb to it. I can be impulsive in purchases. I can also be too deliberative.
(To illustrate my point, I'll share these two quick facts: one day I thought it might be a good idea to buy a house, the next day I talked to a real estate agent, two days later he started showing me properties, and 2 days after that I'd made an offer on the first house we saw. I considered the notionof buying a house and then had signed off on the deal within one week. One week. Just one measly week and I'd made a huge purchase - the biggest of my life to that point. On the other hand, I had a couch I hated. It wasn't comfortable - even giving me backaches from sitting on it sometimes, it wasn't attractive, and I'd simply had enough. I thought about buying a new couch for months before I actually did it. And by months I mean somewhere in the range of 18-24 of them! For a couch. Years of deliberation for a measly new couch. Which I love by the way.)
Now back to our regularly scheduled program...

This morning I made an impulse buy. I was standing at the bus stop, thinking about how I might be able to photograph the plush toy I'm working on (don't get too excited ... it'll be a long way off before I'm ready to share). And I was thinking about how I don't care for the photos of the nook cozy at all. And I decided I needed to rectify the problem. So I fiddled around on my iPhone until I found this: 

And I ordered it. Right then and there. I really don't know anything about taking pictures. And I don't have a clue as to whether or not this will be a helpful tool. But I'm counting on it to be.

What do you think - good purchase? Bad purchase? Neutral?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Evolution of a Design (part 6): Converting Colorwork to Texture

After my yarn arrived (so pretty, so soft, so all-around lovely), I started thinking about my decision to only offer this pattern in one version. I wavered. I hemmed. I hawed. I just wasn't sure it was the right choice. After all,
  1. 61% of the Ravelry project pages attached to Among the Bamboo are not the intarsia version;
  2. when I sought out testers for the soon-to-be-released monkey blanket pattern, I received more interest from knitters wanting to knit the solid color option; and 
  3. I really do like the idea of providing an option that is suitable for a beginning knitter.
You see where I'm going with this, right?

I'm not generally one whose mind is easily changed, but I am pretty good at convincing myself of things. This was one of those times - of course I could make this a two-for-one pattern. There's no question that takes more work (essentially writing out/editing two patterns, knitting up two samples, etc.). But the charting's not so different.

Or so I thought...

It turns out that going from the solid-color version to colorwork is actually easier than going the other way. Well, maybe "easier" isn't the word for it, but this reverse (for lack of a better word) process did require my brain to work in a different way.

For each of my two previous patterns, I started with a chart I'd created for a textured blanket and colored it. Because the design had started out as a series of knits and purls, it was a simple matter of adding some color -- mostly with the theme of "make sure all the knits that touch each other are the same color and all the the purls that touch each other are the same color."

The main motifs in my textured patterns are created using stockinette and reverse stockinette stitches, so designing the image is akin to drawing in black and white. (Or in any two colors.) There's no shading and no outlining. If the design can't be clearly defined in two colors, then it doesn't work. It's easy enough to add colors in, but I discovered that I needed to retrain my brain to go from several colors down to just two. As I write this, it doesn't seem so difficult, but while I was in the midst of it all, it really did take careful thought to consider which pieces of the puzzle would be which "color."
It's a matter of going from this
to this.
These two baby snails are exactly the same size and shape. Nothing has changed, save the coloring. Maybe it's different for you, but to me? These two snails look totally different. And yet, they are exactly the same, save the coloring. I suspect that if I had started with the solid-color version in mind, I might have made different choices.

On a different note, this was the exercise that convinced me the swirl on the color version shouldn't be knit using intarsia but should, instead, be part of the finishing. Duplicate stitching will help set off that swirl pretty well, I think.

Up next? Considering gauge and weight of the fabric...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Evolution of a Design (part 5): Response to Submission

To make this long story a bit shorter, they said "no thanks."  But that's not all. What they really said was "no thanks, but we'd like to provide yarn support for your beautiful blanket," provided I was planning to self-publish. Yarn support! So I would be able to touch this yarn and see it knit up into this cute-but-not-cutesy baby blanket. To say I was thrilled is an understatement.

The yarn arrived, and I've just begun preparing it for knitting. I'm still working on another project, and I haven't quite finished writing up the instructions for this one, so it'll be a bit before the knitting is truly underway. Still, check out the gorgeous yarns I get to play with. This is the DK Everlasting.  Beautiful, soft, and washable!

And now for the close-ups.
How perfect is this for the snail shells? Colorway: Tidewater

Also Tidewater, all balled up. Pretty, isn't it?

Colorway: Gilt. This will be the border and the snails' bodies.

Colorway: Tart looks much different on my screen than it does in person.
It's a gorgeous green, not quite so electric as I see it here,
but also not totally subdued. (It'll be the grass.)

And the perfect name for sky ... Colorway: Heavenly
Up next? Rethinking the intarsia-only option...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Evolution of a Design (part 4): Selecting the Yarn

For better or worse, my yarn decisions for a particular design often depend on how I plan (or hope) to publish a pattern. For example, if I'm thinking that it might be a good bet for the Knit Picks IDP, then I'll plan to use KP yarns. In another case, I submitted a design for a book and they were looking for patterns to be knit in locally spun or dyed yarns (with an emphasis on "local" being in the vicinity of the designer).

For the snail blanket, I didn't yet have a solid plan formulated when I saw a call for submissions from Dream in Color Yarn.  They were seeking baby sweater/blanket combos but were willing to consider just blankets or just sweaters.  I've worked with DIC Smooshy before and liked it a whole lot, but I'd never worked with the yarns they were hoping to highlight (Everlasting DK and Smooshy with Cashmere).  I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to get my hands on some!

So I looked through the colors, decided their yarn could really soar in this snail pattern, and I put together a proposal:

Despite poor rendering of the colors here, this one page proposal told the story ...
and gives you a preview of the design, too!

Next up? Their response...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Free Pattern: Nook Cozy

 About seven months ago, I took a new job in an office downtown. Driving downtown is a pain, parking costs are painful, and my employer heavily subsidizes public transit fares. So it wasn't a hard decision to become a bus commuter. In fact, there was no question, really. I decided, though, that I probably deserved to get myself a "welcome to my new job" gift and picked a nook - after all, I was now going to have lots more reading time.
I was a little worried about scratching the screen, so I set to work knitting up a case. Which I love. So here, I'm sharing the pattern with you. If you have a Kindle or other e-reader, we can debate the merits later ... for now, know that this pattern is easy enough to adapt to fit any size you need!

Nook Cozy, by Adrienne Enriquez

6” x 8” (15.5 x 20.5cm)
50gr/100 yds worsted weight yarn
(shown in Knit One Crochet Too, The Gourmet Collection, colorway Parfait Swirls)
One pair US Size 7 (4.5mm) needles
Size E (3.5mm) crochet hook
Small tab of hook-and-loop tape
Sewing needle& thread
2 decorative buttons
20sts and 40 rows = 4” in woven stitch
Knit, purl, woven stitch (alternately called linen stitch), and single crochet

Pattern Notes: You may make your cozy bigger or smaller with a few easy modifications. To change the width, cast on fewer or more stitches but always an odd number. To alter the length, work as many repeats of Rows 1-14 as needed until your pieces is the desired size, then work Rows 11-14 once more before repeating and moving on to the Closure Tab.

sl - slip
RS - right side of work
WS - wrong side of work
wyib - with yarn in back
wyif - with yarn in front 
Woven stitch pattern:
RS: *K1, wyif sl1 as if to purl; repeat from * to last st, k1.
WS: P1, *p1, wyib sl1; repeat from *to last 2 sts, p2.                                                                    
Cast on 29 stitches.

Main Body of Cozy
Row 1-10: Work in Woven Stitch Patt, beginning with RS row.
Rows 11 and 13: Knit across.
Rows 12 and 14: Purl across.
Work Rows 1-14 four more times, then Rows 11-14 once more.

Repeat all rows within the Main Body once then proceed to Closure Tab.

Closure Tab
Row 1 (RS): Work in RS of woven stitch patt.
Row 2: P2tog, work in WS of woven stitch patt to last 2sts, p2tog.
Row 3: K2, work in RS of woven stitch patt to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 4: P2tog, p1, work in woven stitch patt to last 3 sts, p1, p2tog.
Repeat Rows 1-4.
Next Row: P2tog, work in woven stitch patt to last 2 sts, p2tog.
Bind off.

With wrong sides together, fold widthwise so that the fold line falls in the middle of the first section of 8 rows of stockinette.  Starting at the fold, single crochet through both layers across one edge.  Continue single crocheting around the flap.  When you reach the double layer again, single crochet the two layers together along the last edge.  Weave in ends and block if needed.

Block as needed.

Sew hook-and-loop tape on the inside of the flap for closure.  If desired, sew a button (or two) on the front of the flap for decoration.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Design Inspiration from the Internet

Okay, so maybe I was wrong the other day - maybe I really will be sharing some of these more whimsical things. But only when it makes sense. Only when it has some relevance to my designing/knitting. Only when it will give more insight into how my "design mind" works. If I see something that gives me an idea, and if I feel that idea simply can't be kept to myself, then I'll share it here.

Like this.

Airigami: The Fine Art of Balloon Sculpture by Larry Moss.

For those who'd rather not read the whole post I did, this short video gives a glimpse into what I saw and am now going crazy about:

First of all, I think this is kind of neat. I'm a teeny-tiny bit enthralled by the ideas
a) that someone would have the patience to put something like this together. And then I think about how much time knitting takes and I realize that knitting requires patience, too. So really, it's that
b) someone would create art that can't possibly have a shelf-life of more than a few days. Tops. Amazing!

Still, as I was admiring the work and marveling at the willingness of the artist, the thing that was really foremost in my mind was ...

"Huh. I wonder if I have the skill to design a knit object that mimics some of the great art of the world? Or maybe some of my favorite photographs?"

And now I've got even more design ideas bungling around my head. Which just makes me wonder if I'll ever have the time to knit the sweater I've been promising to myself for over a year?

Evolution of a Design (part 3): Beginner Texture or Intermediate Colorwork?

In each of my two previous baby afghans, I started out thinking of the design as a textured piece all knit in one solid color. I added the colorwork option after developing the initial idea. In fact, for Among the Bamboo I hadn't even thought about making it multicolored because I'd only tried intarsia once before, on a placemat that was felted, so it didn't matter quite as much how neat the back of the piece was.

 (Total side note: if you think you might like to try intarsia but are a little bit scared, I recommend the project I first tried. The pattern for Swirl Placemats is available in Felt It! by Maggie Pace. In addition to having this project, the book is a really good introduction to felting. And to show you how well they turn out even for the most novice colorwork knitter, here's a photo of mine, circa 2007. Sorry about the cut-off edges. I'm still not an expert photographer, but I'm willing to admit that's a pretty bad one!)

Ahem. And now back to our regularly scheduled program...

It was a tester who asked if she could try the panda blanket in color, and I figured I had nothing to lose so I said sure. And it was gorgeous! I fell in love almost immediately and knew I'd just have to suck it up, overcome my fear, and make a sample of my own. It was brilliant of her, really - the pattern had quickly become accessible to a wider range of knitters. In fact, it was almost like it was two patterns in one. What a deal! And who doesn't like a good deal?

When I started with the monkey design, I had a notion that it could be viable as a two-in-one pattern, but I hadn't fully committed to it. I designed the chart at the request of a tester who liked the textured option, and I didn't know that I'd take it any further than providing her with the Excel file.

The snail blanket is exactly the opposite. My mind's eye was showing me this blanket in color from the very beginning. As a result, it was color (not the telltale "•" used to designate "purl on WS/knit on RS" in knitting patterns) that I was using to create the actual chart on the computer.

As I looked at the picture forming in front of me, I realized that I needed to add some texture to this pattern. A sea of green stockinette stitch might work for the grass, but it would be terribly boring to knit. And clouds could be done in a different color than the background sky, but that just adds one more color of yarn and (more distastefully) a whole lot more ends to weave in. So I needed some texture in the grass, and the clouds could be done in relief, just like the panda and monkey of previous designs.

I started feeling kind of proud of myself - I'd now come up with a design that combined the two types of blankets I'd been making for a while. I was fairly certain that this one could stand alone as a colorwork-only pattern. And that left just the business of thinking about what colors I wanted to use!

Next up? Choosing colors...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Yarn on the Internet

I don't think I'll regularly post such things, but ... maybe this time it will give some insight into my thought process. As I watched this video, all I could think about was how unrealistic it seemed.  Watch. And tell me you don't have the same reaction:

Not because a ball of yarn obviously can't traverse the streets of Chicago on its own. No. It's unrealistic because that WHITE ball of yarn stayed clean and WHITE all the way until it hit the dye pot.

Of course, when it came out of the dye pot, all I could think was how that would be the perfect colorway for one of the designs bungling around in my head! So, you know. These designs are just all around me.

Evolution of a Design (part 2): The Image

We left off at the snail burrowing into my brain. I wasn't sure, though, exactly how I wanted my snail to look. My sister had offered to bring over her daughter's library book that had a remarkable number of snail photos in it, but in the age of the internet, I just went for a quick Google Image search instead. I actually sometimes prefer the Google route because it provides drawings as well as photos. Sometimes drawings (either realistic or caricatures) are more helpful for the baby designs ... even if you're going for cute-not-cutesy.

I probably spent 45 minutes looking through snail pictures before I had a clear sense of what I wanted my snail to look like. Once my mental image had solidified, I did a freehand drawing on plain white paper. I don't have that drawing anymore, but trust me - there were a lot of erasure marks as I struggled to get it just right. I have never called myself an artist.

With the drawing in hand, I printed out a piece of knitters graph paper that had the right number of squares in the right dimensions to give me the size of blanket I thought I wanted. (Truth be told, it wasn't a fancy knitter's graph paper - it was just an Excel file in which I'd manipulated the cells to be the correct size and then printed with the gridlines.)

Does this seem old school to you?  It kind of is.  And it gets even more so! Because I took my drawing and taped it to my living room window. Then I taped the graph paper on top of that and traced my snail on to the graph paper. I find the next step painstakingly tedious but necessary: using a pencil, I matched up the drawing with the squares on the graph paper, like so:

In this picture you can see the beginnings of my next step as well as my brainstorm. First, the next step - once I had the snail outlined, I transferred the design into Excel. The heavier marks you see in the picture are from me coloring in each box after I'd made the appropriate notation on the computer. Why yes, yes this does take a lot of time.  A. Whole. Lot.Of.Time. I've decided it's worth, it though.

And the brainstorm? See that baby up in the corner? I decided I couldn't resist making this a mama snail with a few babies trailing behind her. Cute, right? Of course, it added a new wrinkle - this blanket design was now going to be significantly wider than it would be tall. Which mean that grass and sky would be necessary:

So now I had some snails, some sky (in the form of clouds), and some grass (not pictured, but trust me - it's there).

Next up? A color scheme...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Evolution of a Design (part 1): The Idea

Part of what I'd like to do with this blog is take you through my thought process as I create new designs.  I won't be able to do that with every pattern, of course, but there are some for which I think it might be kind of interesting.

This first time around, it'll take several posts.  After that - well, we'll just have to see.

I've been on something of a baby blanket kick, and I've been especially interested in creating designs that are cute but not "cutesy."  They will totally work for a baby (or a toddler), but they don't scream "Hey! I'm all baby, all the time!" I'm not a parent, but I think that if I were, I'd be the one looking for the cute-not-cutesy gear.  I figure I can't be the only one, and someone's got to design the stuff, so it might as well be me, right?  Plus, I feel a bit like I've got the most fertile friends and family members around lately.  And gifts are always good to have on hand...

It all started when I decided to design a blanket for a friend who was pregnant with her first child.  I'd seen a scarf that used a bamboo stitch pattern, and I thought a panda sitting among the bamboo would make a great baby afghan. It turned out so well that I decided to publish it. One of my testers asked if I had any other designs of this type. By which I think she meant the cute-not-cutesy, jungle-animal-themed, blanket that could be knit as either a solid-color textured afghan, or in "full" color using the intarsia technique.  At that time, I didn't.  But I wasn't opposed to making more, and just her one question got me visualizing what a lion or monkey or giraffe or tiger scene could be.  She said her son was especially interested in a monkey, so I set to work making a chart especially for her son.

After that, I was all set to start on the giraffe (really - in my head, this thing is super cute!) when my older sister said, "Adrienne, I think you should do a snail."

And a funny thing happened - that snail set up residence in my brain.  I couldn't shake it.  That was it.  The giraffe quickly took a back seat to the mollusk, and there was nothing I could do about it.  Nothing.

Next up? Put the idea to paper...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Estimating Yardage Isn't My Forte

I've been working on the intarsia version of the Swingin' baby blanket, and I'm now thinking I'll need to order more yarn.  This is frustrating on many levels:
  1. I already ordered more yarn once - 3 skeins (540 yds) more! - and I had thought I was being generous in that estimate.
  2. Before I sent in the first re-order, I'd already decided to modify my sample from the original pattern, eliminating a whole 40 rows from the blanket!
  3. The shipping is expensive, and since I'm not super-thrilled with the yarn, I don't want to order more than is necessary, even though that would reduce my per-skein cost for postage (something I actually do think about).
  4. I'm nervous that this is just foreshadowing for my next project, a baby blanket for which I received yarn support based on my yardage estimates ... and what if I screwed those up this badly?  I can't very well go back to the yarn company and say, "oops!" can I?
  5. And then there's the whole embarrassment factor.  I have a math degree and was a high school math teacher.  I have pretty good estimation skills.  But I seem to have a mental block for figuring these things out, and I really just don't understand why.
Thankfully, I have some test knitters who have been working on this project in a variety of yarn weights and so are able to provide their actual yardage counts.  I'm so grateful that I'll be able to use their work to provide accurate material requirements in the finished pattern.  I can't imagine how stressful it would be to publish a design without having had yardage calculated from a finished object ... not after this experience!

(Plus, I'm heartened by the fact that I'm not the only one who has this problem ... this blanket is going to my cousin for her soon-to-be-born baby.  She's also knitting an afghan, and she's also had to place three orders for yarn!  Maybe it's just going to be the way with this babe!)