The Good Choices Checklist (Part I)

Posted by Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on February 16, 2019

The Good Choices Checklist (Part I)

We’ve all been disappointed, in hindsight, by projects that were probably not a good idea in the first place. To combat the letdown of an FO (finished object) with which we’re unhappy, we’ve created a helpful checklist. It will help you choose projects for yourself that are worth the time and worth the money. (Some of these questions also inform our design process!)


Would I wear this? Would I buy it if I saw it ready-to-wear? Do I like this style on me? Can I customize to a more flattering length? Is this a key piece or an accessory?

Most of these questions depend on your personal approach to style. You’ll want to consider how you like garments to fit (be sure to have a recent set of measurements on hand!) and what kind of accessories you like.


Do I have the skills I need to do this? What skills will I learn?

Knitting projects can often provide the platform for learning a new technique. Before taking on an engaging new project, be sure you know where you can find help with the more technical aspects. Most Churchmouse Classics patterns provide brief tutorials for steps that require a special technique, and we’ll share many of these on our website. If you ever need knitting aid, a different perspective, or just to talk out a problem, our Churchmice are always happy to help!


Will this knitting be fun? Am I in the mood for this project right now? What kind of knitter am I? Do I like to knit and chat, knit and watch TV, or do I prefer meditative silence?

A sure way to find out if you’ll like your planned project is to swatch for gauge and fabric (check out Swatching for Success for more insight). At the same time, you’ll be able to test drive the stitch pattern and see how you like working with your chosen yarn. If you find you don’t like working with the yarn, you can return any skeins that you’ve not wound or used (with the exception of yarn from our Sale Bin). Life is too short to work with a yarn you don’t really love!


How much ease do I want for this style? Given my personal measurements, which size should I knit?

Check out our Measuring for Sweaters and Measuring for Hats stories for some useful tips on sizing, ease, and how to get accurate measurements. (Several of our patterns can be knit in different sizes for different styling.)


What yarn will work well for this piece? Do I run hot or cold? What kind of care will this yarn need? How many yards per skein? How many yards of yarn will I need for the size I’ve chosen? Do I need any extra (or any less) for customizing the lengths?

When it comes to choosing a yarn for your project, there are many factors to consider. Weight—do you like working with lace-weights, bulky-weights, or somewhere between? Construction—maybe you’d prefer densely plied yarns over a lofty single-ply, or vice versa? Content—some yarns are warmer than others (yak down is warmer than sheep’s wool, sheep’s wool is warmer than plant fibers like cotton and linen) and some are softer (cashmere and silk are smoother and softer than 100% wool yarns).

In order to figure out the number of skeins of a particular yarn you’ll need for your project, divide the yards needed by the yards per skein. Add an extra skein for swatching and testing aftercare.


Is this project worth the cost?

You can determine the estimated cost of a project by multiplying the number of skeins you’ll need by the price per skein. Now ask yourself again, “Will I enjoy this? Will I wear this?”


Is this project on a deadline? Do I have this kind of time right now?

You may have more time than you think—ten minutes here and there can really add up!

Estimated Knitting Time

We’re often asked, “How much time will this project take?” Of course, it depends on how quickly you knit and how much knitting time you have. But here’s our favorite method for a ballpark estimate of the time a project might take. It may seem a little silly, but when we’re knitting design prototypes and shop samples, it keeps us honest!

Step 1: Estimated Time per Square Inch

Sq” in swatch _____
Minutes it took to knit swatch _____
Divide sq” by swatch minutes _____ = minutes per sq” [A]

Step 2: Estimated Square Inches in Project

Using pattern dimensions and/or schematic, calculate square inches of each piece using outermost dimensions (a conservative estimate).

Back _____ sq”
Front(s) _____ (x 2 = _____ sq”)
Sleeves _____ x 2 = _____ sq”
Collar, bands, etc _____ sq”

Total sq” _____ [B]

Step 3: Estimated Knitting Hours in Project

Multiply total square inches by minutes per square inch.

[A] _____ x [B] _____ = _____ total minutes.
Divide by 60 for knitting hours _____
Add 1-6 hours for finishing and blocking for total hours _____

Now, do a little reality check—and don’t let yourself get discouraged. Knitting help and encouragement is as close as your phone or device! You can reach helpful Churchmice by calling our Island shop (during business hours, 10:00 am—6:00pm PST) at (206) 780-2686 or emailing us at We are always happy to share our love of knitting with you.