Well, I've received a few more sample knits back, and I've learned a few things:
1. Some sample knitters will lie and say just about anything to get you to send them yarn and an original pattern.
2. Many of the liars mentioned above will then simply steal the yarn, and fall off the face of the earth. (RUDE!)
3. Others of the liars above don't understand the purpose of knitting a sample.
4. Good sample knitters are worth their weight in cashmere.
Knitting a sample is a two-fold job - one, you need to create a wearable sample to be modelled for photography. Two, you need to indicate any weaknesses to the pattern to the designer. I have received beautiful mittens back into which you cannot insert a hand. Pretty, but useless. I've received samples back that are NOT beautiful, and the finish work is a disaster. I've received samples back in which the knitter clearly is a novice. (Whose work do they show me when they apply for the work?) One recent sample was done by someone who does lovely right slanted decreases, and did not do one left slanted decrease properly. Not one.
All of this makes me appreciate the good and competent sample knitters in my life. They are a wonderful resource, and good women all. I only wish there were more than three in my life.
Of the original 8, I'm down to 3, with several previous projects needing to be re-knit. All the current projects need knitting, too. I'm tempted to commit a designer sin and knit my own samples just to clear the backlog. It's a serious time crunch! If only we could all knit in our sleep, I think we could be back on schedule by the Fourth of July!