Starting a scarf from scratch
I've been lurking for a while and earlier this month I just dived in a taught myself how to knit. I made a scarf already and now I want to make scarves and shawls for Christmas presents (I know I'm late but if I learn this I can get it in just under the wire).
I've seen some neat stitches in the Stitch Library at Knitting On The Net and I'd like to make scarves out of a few in full pattern but I don't know where to start really. I want to use the simple knit and purl patterns but--
When I pick out my yarn and buy the right needle, how will I know how much yarn I should buy?
I don't really have time to buy one of each kind of yarn that I like and make a gauge for every gift I'd like to make (12 scarves and 3 shawls to be exact). So I was hoping that there was some way I could decide the measurements of the item I wanted to make and using that -- calculate the amount of yarn I'd need based on what I picked.
I hope that made some kind of sense but I really am confused, any tips or rules of thumb you can pass along will make me oh so happy.
Please and Thank you!