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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Process Versus Product

Where do you fall?  Are you about the destination, or the journey? 

I have come to the conclusion, slowly, that I am a process knitter.  That is the only sane and logical way I can explain how many dang unfinished objects I have.  I must reeeeealllly like the process.  Yup.  That's why I have so much stuff on the needles and what feels like only 2 finished projects to my name, and I have been knitting for almost four years now. 

I know I've finished more than two, maybe four things.  But still, if I finished everything in my closet and project bag...s....  well, I would have a sizable pile of handknits.  How can you tell which category you fall into?  Here are some probing questions.  A word of caution beforehand, however.  Do not ask yourself these questions if you are A) uncomfortable with facing the truth, B) uncomfortable with the size of your yarn stash, C) operating heavy machinery.  Drowsiness may occur. 

Do you have many unfinished objects in your stash?  More than two? 

Do you find yourself making up reasons why you must cast on another project?

Do you have little or no problem "shelving" a current project for finishing at a later date?

Are you bothered when you cast on for another project when you "should" be finishing your current one?

Are you only working on one thing at a time?

Do you buy yarn with no clear project in mind, but simply because of sheer desire for it? 

Are you running out of places to put your unfinished projects?

I find I am unconcerned with finishing things anymore.  I mean, I might finish a sweater, which would be no small thing, considering, but the risks involved in blocking it and sewing it up!!  I mean, people, it might not fit!!  One sleeve may be two inches longer than the other.  If I don't finish it, and just knit here and there, on into eternity, I have this lovely sense of heading towards a finish line without the bone crushing reality of making something that won't fit a humanoid, but perhaps a giraffe.  My self-esteem just can't handle something awful of that magnitude.  Miles of yarn and months of hard work leading up to...the desire to swear loudly and awfully for a full 48 hours straight. 

I remember (vividly, still) one of my first finished projects.  I knit a nightgown.  No, really.  Guys, please stop laughing.  I know...a nightgown???   Really?  But yeah, a nightgown.  It was very gorgeous; it was in Mason-Dixon Knitting (I love those ladies), and it was knit in Louet Sportweight linen.  At the store, I decided to swap out the yarn for Knit One Crochet Two Ty-Dye.  In worsted weight.  And...being the newbie that I was, I sort of scrapped the basic tenets of gauge.  I set to work with the needles recommended in the pattern, but not the yarn.  I knit.  I knit some more.  I knit for two months, monogamously, on this.  Vine Lace patterned hem....waist shaping...seed stitch top.  Then I knit the front, all the same, but add in bust line shaping, etc. etc. etc.  Finally I was ready to block and sew them up.  I had been dealing with some doubts since I was working with something that was giving me wavy ty-dyed pink and purple horizontal stripes that would make a twig look chunky, but I kept telling myself it was going to be great.  Oh, and it was.  A great disaster, right up there with Krakatoa.  It was sooooo big.  I mean huge.  It was so wide that it looked like a hair scrunchie for an Ent stuck in the 80s.  It would have made a smashing tractor tire cozy.  I would have a picture of it put up here, except the picture, along with the knit, has mysteriously disappeared....  That sucker hit the frog pond with enough velocity that people in France had their hair blown back.  I believe that may have been the moment when I was profoundly, psychologically placed firmly in the process knitter column. 

That being said (boy, wasn't that a lot of rationalization for this next sentence?), here is a new project I have started:

This is Cascade 220 in Denim Heather and Merlot Heather.  I'm playing with fire, trying to design a sweater from a pattern book, like this one:

Doing a swatch (I can be taught), and going for it.  I am not sure what to do with the neck, the sleeves, and whether weeping will be involved, but I'm going to try anyway.  All the Elizabeth Zimmermann I've been reading lately has me puffed up like a Scotsman from "Braveheart" to be a fearless knitter rather than a blind follower. 

Stay tuned....


NTDeej said...

Since I have 3 scarves on the needles, as well as 2 afghans, a pair of fingerless mitts, and a felted knitting bag, and I plan to start a 4th scarf and a moebius wrap within the next 24 hours, I'm gonna say I'm process knitter here. I was amazed when I actually finished a pair of elbow length mitts and a baby hat last weekend. Oh, and I'm making a scarf or wrap for my sister's birthday at the end of November, and none of the items mentioned above are it. OY!

Nik said...

You're really making me think because I never thought about where I fit. I guess I would say that I'm a product knitter. I can't wait for something to be finished so that I can wear it.

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