When I started knitting, I was without a doubt a product knitter. To me, knitting was a means to an end: it was the sight of many beautifully knitted sweaters I saw on Ravelry that made me want to knit too. At first, I far from enjoyed the process of knitting: I wanted those sweaters, and that is why I did it. But once I got the hang of it, I started to enjoy the act of knitting as well. Recently, I concluded that somewhere along the way, I have transformed from a product knitter into a process knitter. Don’t get me wrong: I still want to knit beautiful sweaters, it’s not like I want to knit any old thing just for the sake of knitting. But in the past few months, I noticed a change in my attitude towards the process of knitting. Allow me to explain.
Sweater knitting addict
When I had gotten the hang of knitting, I was cranking out projects like crazy. I knit adult-sized sweaters in a week and children’s garments in days. In december 2015, I hadn’t knit a sock in my life, and I dediced that 2016 would be my ‘Year of the Sock’, in which I would knit a pair of socks each month. I think I made it to 9 pairs of socks, but I also managed to knit just as many sweaters that year. I knit nine adult-sized sweaters in twelve months. 2016 turned out to be my ‘Year of the Sweater’, an addiction I happily continue in 2017, having already finished one and being halfway through the second one.
I often noticed how I stopped enjoying the process when I was knitting the body of these sweaters. First I would get bored doing the endless rounds of stockinette, and eventually it would just frustrate me that the damn thing still wasn’t done yet. Even though these sweaters often took me a week or maybe two to knit, I got impatient and didn’t enjoy myself. Finally binding off and weaving in the ends was like a sigh of relief that the project was finally complete. And then I’d do it all over again.
However, lately I find myself enjoying each step of the process of knitting a sweater. Steadily working my way through the body of a sweater now has something comforting to it, because at the end of the body, I get to knit the yoke, or the sleeves. That isn’t any different than it was before, so what changed?
Life changed. A lot.
Around this time last year, I was working my ass off finishing my master thesis and applying for jobs. It was a very stressful time in which knitting prevented me from losing (all of) my sanity. Not having to think for a bit and just letting my hands do the work was such a welcome change to burying myself in academic writing and job hunting!
And then, last August, suddenly everything went right. I got hired for my dream job and then graduated university. A week later, I started my job as a professional nerd. I can hardly believe that I’m getting paid to do what I like all day, and I really enjoy working life. However, working does come with much less free time, and that leaves less time for knitting too. I used to have some knitting time during my daily train commute, but that’s no longer an option since I obtained my driver’s licence earlier this year.
These changes have left me being more picky about what I spend my precious knitting time working on. It also has made me enjoy the process of knitting more. Whereas knitting used to be my way to get that beautiful garment, it has now become my way of having some me-time after a day at work. And even though this change has slowed down my knitting significantly, it has made me appreciate it that much more.
I’m curious: are you a process or a product knitter? What do you enjoy most and least about knitting?