And we’re off –

I got my first pattern accepted for publication!

Can’t say much about it, but it is a typically weirdy thing (see previous post) and will probably be in print in about a year’s time. I actually submitted two designs, as a matching set, but the second was a garment that had a lot more competition. There, I don’t think I’ve given too much away! I’m exploring where I can publish the second pattern. Possibly with a few mods, possibly not.

So now I’m trying to put together the most comprehensive spreadsheet of sizes in the known universe. I’ve got the Craft Yarn Council’s Standards, used by Knitty amongst others, a spreadsheet by Marnie McLean, who is one of those designers whose pieces I recognise instantly, a chart from a bra company that I can’t find online any more (why didn’t I bookmark it!), and sundry other charts for babies, children, teenagers and adults, covering heads, hands, feet, and anything else I can think of. If you’ve got a body part, I want a measurement chart for it. And no, photos are not acceptable. Yech.

Meanwhile, the head is a-buzz with ideas. As part of an effort to be more organised and logical, I’ve created a set of folders on my laptop for calls, submissions, acceptances, random ideas, useful information, etc. Now I’ll have factor in work times to sit down and do a certain amount of work each day.

One thing the submission process taught me is that I desperately need a decent digital camera. My Fuji FinePix, crapulent thing that it was – one snap and the batteries died – has finally departed this mortal coil, and after selecting a new mobile phone specifically for its high-spec camera, the photos from it are corrupted every. single. time. I had to use the thumbnails for my submission… I do have a great selection of film SLRs, but running off an entire film for each submission, then travelling thirty miles to a developer and paying over the odds for digital copies, just to have a single photo of a sample just doesn’t jib with me. Maybe for Knitty, where I’d need to submit the photography, but otherwise? Nah.

Unfortunately, I don’t really understand digital cameras. Megapixels, CCDs, all wash over me. Apparently, for reasons that I don’t really understand, a digital camera with so many MP will produce much better photos than a camera phone with the same MP, all other things being equal. I’m reasonably good at spotting quality film cameras, but digital is still a bit of a mystery. All I really know is, the higher the MP, the bigger the resulting photo can be without degrading the quality, and digital zoom is way less important than optical zoom.

Okay, ya got me. The teacher will out. Supposing you want to print your photo at a fairly high-quality 300dpi (dots per inch = resolution = clarity), and you need a standard-sized 6″ x 4″ photo to fit in your photo frame. The formula for the minimum number of megapixels you need is

MP >= (height x dpi x length x dpi) / 1,000,000, (or (hl.dpi^2)*10^-6 if you prefer)

(6 x 300 x 4 x 300)/1,000,000

MP >= 2.16

So you need a camera with at least 2.16MP for this size of photo at this resolution. However, if you want an A4 (11.7 x 8.3) size photo – the typical size for graduation photos, for example – then the formula goes

MP >= 11.7 x 300 x 8.3 x 300 / 1,000,000

MP >= 8.7399

So realistically, you’ll need 9MP for that special day. Interestingly (well, for me anyway), if you wanted to announce the event in the newspaper, you’d need an image that’s only at 72dpi. How big an image can you send them from your 9MP camera? Well, we can work the formula backwards to get the area of the photo:

 Area = (MP x 1,000,000) / (dpi x dpi)

(9 x 1,000,000) / (72 x 72)

Area = 1 736.11111…

Now, at this point, I would usually square-root the answer to give me a rough value for the height and length of the image – around 41″ x 41″, if you’re interested (I know I am) – or you could try something a bit more principled, like using paper dimensions. The A0 size (46.8″ x 33.1″) comes in about 8MP. For comparison, that’s 1 square metre, about twice the size of a full spread broadsheet newspaper like the New York Times or the Daily Telegraph. You’d need to be really proud of yourself to pay the publication rates for a pullout centerfold poster in any of those…

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