Process vs. Product

I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again (and again), I’m a process knitter, not a project knitter. From what I’ve observed about knitting, most knitters fall into one of these two camps, though I think most are unaware that you can categorize knitters into these two types.

For me, it all comes down to a basic difference in knitting philosophy, a different reason for why we knit. I do not knit to make stuff, I knit for the enjoyment of knitting. I enjoy the click of the needles, the feel of the yarn, and the action of manipulating the yarn into little loops. The stuff that is created is an added perk, but not a reason to knit. It is all about the journey, not the final destination.

On the other hand, creating stuff is what it is all about for product knitters. After all knitting is a way to make stuff. I’m not saying that they don’t enjoy knitting, it wouldn’t make sense to knit if you didn’t, but they enjoy the creation of a hand-knit item. The goal is to arrive at the destination. And in my experience, project knitters tend to complete more projects faster than process knitters.

Being a process knitter also explains some of my knitting habits to me. I don’t mind having projects that sit on the needles for long periods of time, because it’s not about getting the projects done. This is also why I have pieces that are almost finished sitting in a basket because they simply need to be assemble, or have ends woven in. I enjoy the process, but I don’t necessarily enjoy the finishing work, and since I’m in no hurry to have a completed item, I don’t mind letting the pieces sit. I’m pretty sure this is also why I’m not so good at knitting on a deadline.

However, despite of my love of the process, every once in awhile, a project gets in my head. I’ll come across a pattern or design or idea, and it will become an obsession. I will toss everything else aside and focus solely on one project until it is done. It happened with my Llama hat, my Owls Pullover, and my Carry-All Tote.

But this is rare for me, up to today, it had only happened three times in years of knitting. But now, it has happened again. I was browsing patterns in the latest issue of the Twist Collective (an online knitting magazine) and came across a pattern that I knew that I had to knit, the Sheepcote Pullover. I can’t explain it, it was love at first sight.

I saw the sweater, followed the link to the pattern, and printed it out. Then I spent time digging through my stash to see if I had yarn that would work (I didn’t). Then I spent a good portion of the afternoon going back and forth. Logically, I knew that I should first knit with the yarn I have stored upstairs and not by new yarn. But that would mean putting this sweater on hold. I wrestled with myself for a long time, but finally gave in to my impulse. I ordered the yarn for this sweater. I also know that as soon as the yarn arrives, I will cast on and knit on it obsessively until it is complete. That’s what happens.

In the end, it’s not so bad. I’ll have a new sweater to wear by the time sweater weather hits Wisconsin (probably before). And I fully intend to not buy more yarn before the end of the year. I know I have a good sized stash, and I should be able to knit from it for some time after this project. And I don’t feel too bad about giving in to this urge, knowing that it most likely will be a long time before the next one hits (I hope, it hasn’t been that long since I finished the Carry-All).

Because I know there is some obsessive knitting looming on the horizon, I am going to be working overtime on the Bridges of Roses socks, I’ve started on the leg of the first sock, so hopefully I can get it finished (especially as they are a birthday present for my mother-in-law, whose birthday was five days ago). I’d also like to get in some progress on the Mythos Cardigan, so here’s hoping that shipping is slow!

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