I knit like I cook: I start with a recipe, and follow parts of it but not others. I make the dish, or the garment, my own.
One of the most exciting things about designing knitwear is seeing other people make the designs their own. One of the toughest things is telling Sample Knitters that they don't get to interpret at all.
For samples, the colors and yarns are chosen in advance. The gauge is chosen in advance. Every line of the pattern needs to be followed exactly. I love seeing the beautiful finished products, and I'm eternally grateful for all of the feedback on the reliability of the pattern, but I hate telling other knitters what to do! The terrific women who knit samples for me are happy to challenge themselves with a new project or technique. Bless their hearts. It would make me crazy!
The trickiest bit, I'm learning, is to knit exactly to someone else's gauge. I tend to knit my stitches a little tall compared to the average. When I knit up a swatch to use as the base math for a design, that's the gauge. When someone else knits it, if the row gauge is off, the pattern comes out like a fun house mirror version of the original. If the stitch gauge is off, the sample doesn't fit normal human dimensions. So I'm trying to make my gauge as moderate as is humanly possible to make my patterns more flexible. Wow! It feels like trying to use someone else's handwriting.
And so it goes. I'm sorting out a tricky bit of thumb math right now. Thank heavens this project will be felted. Row gauge is a little less critical. A little.