In my many years as a knitter and yarn shop owner I have come to realize that every knitter falls into one category or the other. I know, you can’t always generalize, that there are certainly knitters who fall into the gray area between the two groups. Choosing just the right pattern and finding the perfect yarn are common denominators in either group, it’s what happens next that defines the true/core type. Process knitter or project knitter. I define a process knitter as one who subconsciously is not strongly driven to produce a finished garment, although there is always the belief at the start that it will be completed, and timely at that. For sure this won’t be another unfinished discard. As a process knitter myself, who has been knitting for almost as many years as I’ve been alive, I invariably believe that the project I’m so excited to start will be finished before I know it. Unfortunately, this knitter (me) can become thoroughly caught up in the challenge of deciphering a complicated pattern, maybe modifying it along the way, ripping back and redoing, changing a color – all for the joy of doing. Easily distracted by the next best thing to knit, the works-in-progress can really pile up. Don’t look in my closet.
By my definition, a project knitter is one who is motivated most strongly by the end result. The finished project. This knitter works diligently to the finish line, easily able to resist the temptation of beginning a new project until the last tail is woven in. There is always a next project in the wings waiting its turn. For this type, it defies understanding how one could have numerous items in the works. No bags or baskets of unfinished and abandoned projects for this knitter! An added bonus for the project knitter – as if a new sweater or a pair of socks isn’t enough – all needles are accounted for since they’re not buried and forgotten in aging projects.
Yes, I proudly declare, without excuses or apologies, that I am a process knitter. Stepping off my pedestal, I’m truly embarrassed to admit what I’m about to write. My most recent confirmation of this fact that I’m a process knitter, is the overflowing basket of half finished sweaters for 6 month old grandson, Jack. Oh yes, I started out with the best of intentions to finish these sweaters long before Jack was born. I carefully chose the patterns, the yarn and supplies for each, stored them neatly in their own little project bags then packed them in my suitcase to be finished on my January trip to Spain. I’m sure you can guess what happened. Yup. They’re still packed in their pretty little project bags in various stages of completion.
Thankfully I chose to knit them in a larger size (I know myself fairly well) so there is still time. I hope. Fortunately my daughter Leigh, Jack’s mother, understands me and how I work. This is extra nice since she is a project knitter at heart. Note that Jack has many completed items that she created.
The truth is that with the birth of Jack I was inspired to design a collection of baby hats and off I went in that direction. I have about dozen in the works to date and true to form they are at various stages in the design process right along side of Jack’s basket of unfinished sweaters. The good news? Eventually I do finish almost everything I start even if it’s not on the original timetable I’d envisioned.
There is a moral to my story. If you are a project knitter keep right on churning out those garments – your friends and family will love you for it. If you are a process knitter with piles of unfinished projects, don’t let feelings of guilt and embarrassment over unfinished business stand in the way. Embrace your style and knit on!