I’ve always been told that there are two types of knitters – process knitters and product knitters. Now, I chafe at the idea that anything can be broken down into just two categories. Additionally, I start to get an eye twitch any time someone tells me that I must be one or the other and that I will always be that one thing and can’t ever change camps, let along sometimes be one and sometimes the other. But that being said, I know that if I HAD to pick one – I would totally be a process knitter. I love the act of knitting, just love it. As much as the end product is an important part of things, for me it’s much more like the cherry at the end of the was-an-ice-cream-sundae-but-is-now-a-puddle-of-ice-cream-soup. It’s a bonus, a gift – it’s not the main part of what knitting represents to me. Case in point – years ago I was living with one set of coursins but had packed up most of my stuff in preparation to move in with my aunt and uncle. It was my last night at my cousin’s house and I had moved a substantial amount of stuff over to the other house, but I thought that I had left myself enough yarn for the blanket I was working on. At 8 PM that night, far too early for me to go to bed, I ran out of yarn. I looked at the time, looked at the movie I was till watching, looked at the blanket with the little tail of yarn and no remaining skeins, and did the only thing I could – I ripped back a good 5 inches of my knitting so I could keep going on my project. (If you are cringing as you read this, you may be a Project Knitter!)
But sometimes, and only very rarely has this happened, I am a Project Knitter. Today, I am wearing the epitome of a project that I hated working on but love wearing. It’s this lovely little number:
This is my Blumchen sweater – I have other photos of me wearing it that are not so mood light-y, but I really loved how the stitch definition just popped out in this one. The pattern is by Anne Hanson, and as usual, it’s a fantastic creation. If I were only allowed to knit from one designer’s patterns for the rest of my existence, Anne Hanson would be my pick. Her patterns are so easy to read and follow – not so detailed that you feel like you’re reading an instruction manual, but with all the details a knitter actually NEEDS. (I’m looking at you, sweater designers that think I don’t need a schematic of what the finished project should actually look like.) I had to change the arm length for this pattern, and that was it – and that’s something I usually need to do, since I have teeny arms.
This is my favourite sweater – and I know, I say that about every sweater I make but honestly, I love this one. The yarn I used, The Sanguine Gryphon’s Eidos, feels so fantastic against my skin. I have this other sweater I made out of a yarn that has cashmere in it, and would it make sense to you if I said that sometimes, that yarn is too soft to the point where it bothers me and I need to take it off? (I’ll understand if that makes no sense to you.) But this yarn is cozy and comfy. It has a fantastically tight twist, so it doesn’t get tons of pills and sweater snots the way some of my other creations have. It fits perfectly and I mean PERFECTLY. It’s fingering weight, so it’s never too hot, and the colour I picked knitted up to be a perfect, earthy, neutral shade. Yes, all in all, it’s my perfect sweater. But here’s the thing –
I hated making it.
Hated it. Not every step of the way, but most of the way, I did not have fun. To start with, this yarn that I think is so fantastic and wears so well – it was hard to knit with. For some reason, that tight twist was just wearing on my fingers, and that made my hands hurt. I have a few more skeins of it, and I love the way it wears well enough to use them up instead of selling them, but I had to think a few times about that choice while I was in the process of making this.
That beautiful stitch pattern that just adds to the feminine shape and design of this and that is interesting enough not to look boring but subtle enough to be really wearable on a number of occasions? It was boring. Tedious and repetitive. I had it memorized after just two repeats of the pattern, and after that point, it felt like I was just constantly working towards getting to the next decrease or increase. This is something you don’t want to feel when working on a sweater constructed from fingering weight yarn. Some people love patterns that are filled with mindless repetition, and I certainly can fall into that category…but something about this just didn’t work out for me, making-wise.
But you know what? I kept going. And the reason for that is evident in the photograph of me wearing the finished product – I knew without a smidgen of doubt that when this sweater was completed, I would love it. I would wear it and treasure it and spend most of my days hoping that I could wear it three days in a row without anyone noticing.
Sometimes, I’m a process knitter. But on occasion, I like to sit back and look at the product I made and think, “Wow – that turned out even better than I could ever have dreamed.”