Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Process vs product

I guess I have always known I was a product knitter. One of the things I have always loved about knitting is that there is an end point, and a finished product. Unlike housework, or say, teaching, where you just have to keep doing it over and over, and sometimes it feels like you have nothing to show for it, knitting has that very satisfying sense of accomplishment when you complete a project. Don't get me wrong - I am well aware of the myriad joys and celebrations of teaching - but often teaching successes are transitory and you have to begin again the next day - or the next period! It feels like - and rightly so - a never ending task. So, generally, my knitting history has been one project, work it through, complete, begin a different project. Like people who read several different books at a time, I couldn't understand why one would have several different projects on the go at a time. This was true for me of sewing, as well, though I don't sew much anymore. (Knitting is so much more portable!) Of course, there have been exceptions, but in general, one project on the needles at a time. My stash reflects this habit - I don't have a large stash, and most of the yarn in it is leftover from completed projects rather than anticipatory skeins for projects down the road a ways.

So, this year, something strange happened to me. It coincided with discovering the blog of that ultimate of enablers, the Yarn Harlot. From her site, I started exploring knitting blogs and knitting patterns online, and discovered the wealth of creativity and projects out there - not that I didn't have a wealth of pattern books here at home and ideas from the LYS, but the inspiration of seeing what others are doing has a powerful effect. I started one project, then another, then another, til all of a sudden I had about five on the needles at once. Yikes! At first, it was very satisfying, exploring all these different patterns at once, but fairly soon, the anxiety factor started slipping in... Completion! When was I going to get these things finished? Well, if you have read any of the preceding entries on the blog, you realize that I did indeed get things completed, and several of them, as well, but it has been a learning experience for me. I do enjoy the process of knitting. I do enjoy experimenting with different patterns and techniques. But what I still like best is that feeling of accomplishment when a project is finished and can be gifted.

I have grown, though. I am now more comfortable with having more than one project in the works at once, but I know that I will likely have only two or three going at one time, and that one will generally predominate until it is finished. Tomorrow, I will show what is in progress right now, and what is waiting to be worked on... In the meantime, one photo for today: in keeping with the concept of teaching, here is Stewart learning how to knit. He asked me to teach him when I was working on his quidditch sweater. This is going to be a bookmark, if it ever sees completion!