I've had a mixed day folks. I managed to find the two balls of Blackstone Tweed in the discontinued colorway that I needed to reknit one of my samples to match one of my patterns-in-the-works. That was fantastic, and I bought those bad boys before my debit card knew what hit it. I also got quite a lot done in the shop today and I had the satisfaction of being able to see how my hands (which touched just about every yarn on the machine-wash side) were able to make a big difference in how pretty it all looked. But then I got a few customers today who were having trouble with projects because they were trying to knit something with a different yarn than called for, in a totally different gauge than the pattern is calculated for, and they wondered why it wasn't working. Someone actually asked me to explain to them why they liked knitting with one yarn but not the other...? How should I know why you like one thing and not another? And honestly, you have the right to like what you like and to dislike what you dislike, so you don't need to stand at my counter and try to justify it to me over and over. We have a simple exchange policy. If the yarn is still in original condition, and you have your receipt, that's all I need. No explanation necessary. And I tried to tell this customer that, but she continued to justify. Let the guilt go. It's okay to dislike a yarn that we like. Just tell me what you want and I'll point you in that direction...and if you don't like it...just say so. We'll move on.
Now, that being said, if you want to knit something but you don't have a pattern, and you don't want one (which seems to be happening more and more often lately), I respect that but I can't be responsible for the finished outcome of a project if you wing it. There are no guarantees in knitting, just like there are no guarantees in life. And there are lots of little pitfalls that less-experienced knitters (and even very experienced knitters) can get into when knitting a garment with no pattern. Why? Because maybe the yarn has more drape than you realized and it flops all over the place when it's supposed to be structured and firm. Maybe you knit a yarn at the necessary gauge, but got a fabric so dense that it can stand in the corner by itself. Maybe you got something that is delicate and will pill if not treated gently...and then knit mittens out of it (like I did). Or maybe it's not even the yarn. Maybe the yoke depth is too deep and it bags under the armpit (happened to me). Maybe the rate in increase is too fast and the gusset isn't long enough to fit your thumb without pulling up the cuff (again, happened to me). Maybe you wanted to make a boat-necked cardigan and wondered why you never saw any patterns for one (only to find out exactly WHY there aren't any).
Designers make a million mistakes and they learn from them all, and then they pool that knowledge into a well written pattern so that you can knit a garment without going through all that. You just knit. We cover most of the unexpected issues so you don't have to. It's hard work, and it's all available for your convenience. So, if you want to know how many yards of some random yarn you'll need to knit a vest for an eight-year old girl, I'm going to point you to a pattern because there are way too many variables to go over and it would make your head spin. And if you decide that you still don't want one, I'll respect that, I'll give you a very rough estimate, but don't hold me to that...cause things are probably going to go off the rails.