Process vs. Product

Find a group of knitters anywhere and ask them whether they consider themselves a process or product knitter and I’m sure most of them will have an opinion one way or the other.  It can sometimes appear to be a clear-cut answer, and for some knitters, perhaps it is.  But I also think that it can often be more of a spectrum and that knitters can move back and forth between the two extremes over the course of their knitting “career.”  And even for those knitters that identify themselves as product knitters, they have to have a bit of a process knitter inside, because to be honest, if all you cared about was the product, you’d just go buy a pair of socks or a sweater.  You wouldn’t spend countless hours making stitch after stitch yourself to arrive at the finished object.

Let’s take a moment and examine each type of knitter.

yarnsterYou might be a process knitter if…

…you have bags upon bags upon bags of WIPs strewn throughout your living space.  These WIPs are likely in various stages of completion from just started to all but finished.

…you understand the term “startitis” and do not feel guilty when this affliction hits.

…once a project reaches the boring stage or you get tired of staring at the same yarn and stitch pattern for days on end, you have no qualms about shoving it in a project bag and placing it on a shelf for an obscene amount of time.

…you spend a lot of your life knitting, but don’t actually have any handknit items to wear.


On the other hand, you might be a product knitter if…

…project monogamy is your preferred MO.  You begin a project and devote yourself tirelessly to it until you’re finished.

…once you’re finished with the knitting portion of a project, you actually follow through on the finishing (i.e. sewing buttons, seaming, blocking) and begin wearing the finished object.

…you have a closest full of lovely finished handknits to wear.

I’ve always known that I was more of a process knitter and at my core, I probably always will be.  It’s more about the planning the project – perusing patterns for hours on Ravelry and then picking out the perfect yarn to go with it, and then the joy of casting on those first few stitches and getting started.  I also really enjoy when a project is at the point where I can just pick it up and knit when the moment is right.  Spending long stretches of time on the sofa watching TV or movies and knitting away stitch after stitch.  Of course, the finished item is a goal for me and is something that I want to have eventually, but I’m more apt to get distracted by other new shiny projects before getting to that point.  I always have numerous project on the go at the same time so that I can switch it up when I get bored with one.  I’m a little bit ashamed to admit that there are projects I started years ago that I have yet to finish.  Also, in the same vein, there is a stack of projects where I’ve finished the knitting, but still need to do the finishing work, which means I can’t actually use the knits.  And this is what I’m getting tired of.

I think I’m slowly leaning more towards the product knitter end of the spectrum, because as my skills have increased and the amount of knitting I’m doing has increased, I want to be able to show off my knitting to others.  I want to wear it and display it.  I want to finish projects for other people and gift them with love so they can enjoy them.  Right now, my pile of WIPs is out of control and I think I need to put some limits on myself to actually get things finished before casting on new items.  It feels so good to finish something, so I’m not sure why I avoid it as much as I do.

Tomorrow I’ll share a great big post rounding up all of my WIPs to take stock of what all is on the needles.

How about you – are you more about the journey or the end destination?  Share your thoughts below in the comments.


2 thoughts on “Process vs. Product

  1. Its so true that there is a spectrum from process to product. For me, when I was a new knitter and the first few years I was a process knitters. In the last few years things have changed dramatically and I am now a product knitter. It started when my yarn budget took a dramatic hit and I was no longer able to add endlessly to my stash and wip pile. Now, it’s hard for me to have more than one project going at a time. I feel I must finish one project before moving on. As time has gone on, it is no longer the casting on that is my climax, but the casting off that feels so good.

    She Knits in Pearls

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