Choosing is Hard to Do

Choosing is Hard to Do

May 10th 2023

If you were at Maryland Sheep and Wool, you might have seen our prototype for a short 9-inch circular needle. This is a method of making socks or small “tubes” that does not use Magic Loop or double points. We had such a positive response that we decided to move to the next phase: sending out prototype samples to knitters willing to test them and give us feedback.

Sounds easy, right? I feel great sympathy for the people at Build A Bear who had lines and disappointed children when they were overwhelmed with customers trying to get the bears priced to match the age of the child. We had a similar thing happen here.

We planned to ask on Facebook, email, Instagram for potential testers during the week of July 9th. We believed that by the end of the week we surely would have enough knitters willing to help us. We couldn’t have been more wrong.

I see all the emails (yes I am obsessive) and within 1 minute, applications started to flood in. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Within 22 hours we had over 1000 emails!

We let knitters know that we had to stop taking applications on Tuesday July 10th. However, there were a few in the process and we looked at those too.

I thought you might be interested in what we did to get to the final 20. First we printed out each one of the more than 1000 submissions. Luckily, we had an extremely smart young man working here this summer who understands Signature more than most – Laura’s son, and my grandson, Jack to help.

First, he separated those who just sent their name and asked to be a tester with no mention of experience with short circulars. In the pile of the hundreds who had experience with short circulars, we looked for other attributes such as previous testing experience or those who had worked with competitors needles. It was heartbreaking to see knitters we know that were not picked.

It was so interesting to hear a term from Jack that was unexpected and humbling. He carried a big pile in and said, “There are a lot of fan letters in these which I sorted out”.

And he was right – there were so many kind comments.

Even then there were so many left that I took over from Jack to make the final choices, so blame me. At the end I just turned them over and randomly picked out 20 of them. That is just how great our choices were.

I want to thank each and every person for taking the time to ask to be part of the testing team. I know some of you will be disappointed in not being chosen and I was disappointed not to be able to choose everyone of you. Stay tuned for the results!