Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Leaving the Farm for A Day

This afternoon I’m leaving the farm for a brief 24 or so hours. I’ll be speaking in Topsfield to The Essex County Needlecraft Guild tomorrow which I am really looking forward to. But it is hard to leave this place – even for a day. Besides leaving the physical beauty of the place, there is always the strain it puts on my family and the farm. Julia is over the days of crying for hours before I leave but she still gets quite anxious and can’t tell me enough how much she loves me and will miss me. I cherish every little "I love you Mommy" I get from her 10 - almost 11 - year old mouth. I know when I walk out the door, everything will be fine but it does put a guilt trip on my mama heart.

In the throws of organizing for the talk, I received a call from Mary McClintock, a local writer, who has been asked to do a short article about our lamb business for the local food coop Greenfields Market. To say that the world is small is an understatement. Mary said that my name sounded familiar so she started to dig. It turns out that she is also an "indexer" and she prepared the index for Kristin Knits. How funny is that?

Of course, the conversation turned to knitting and we chatted a bit. She said she knows how to knit and really enjoys the process of knitting. She learned so that she would have something to do when she attends meetings which she evidently does very frequently. And then she told me that she mostly makes squares and then rips them out and re-knits the same yarn into a different square. For Mary, it is the process of knitting that she likes the most. We had a bit of an interesting conversation about this, knitting in general and then knitters. She let me in on this great article she wrote for the Christian Science Monitor. You all will probably really enjoy it.

So let me run off and attend to my crazy multi-tasking life. In the meantime, here's a question for you?

Are you a "process" or "product" knitter, crocheter or stitcher?
And why exactly do you knit, crochet or stitch?

I'll let you in on why I knit when I return later in the week.


melissa said...

I am a little bit of both - I love the product of course, but it still amazes me everytime i start a project that all those crazy letters and #s in a pattern can produce such lovely things.

I knit because i love to create - i love to knit for my 2 boys, but they only need so much, so thus i also love to knit for friends and family.

Anonymous said...

I love the process...don't always wear the sweaters I make, they don't fit right or turns out I just don't like them on my body. ...and I knit thru boring/stressful staff meetings, makes the time go by. I prefer to knit easy, don't have to look at the pattern too much, things. But I have done a norwegian fair-isle sweater with a steek, and cable sweaters. Lately, it's just easy stuff, lots of mitts and scarves. Oh, and I just finished my 2nd ever pair of sox. Easy!

anniejs said...

A little bit of both actually. I will try a new technique just to try it and never do it again (like entrelac). Or I'll try a new technique, master it and promptly never do it again.

I do enjoy finishing a project to move onto the next one. I like the sense of completion. And in my hurried, busy life, completing a project is deeply satisifying.

I knit for sanity. I learned when I was 10 years old and then "relearned" more than 20 years later when a very astute friend noted that I had dropped many of my hobbies during a stressful time in my life. I was in the throes of miscarriage after miscarriage and simply did nothing beyond think about my losses and go to work. She invited me to come to a class with her and it was instantly soothing to my knotted, worried brain. I have been knitting ever since nearly non stop.

I am also a glass beadmaker and for me making glass beads is about color and texture. Knitting keeps me thinking about color and texture for when I can't get into the studio (because I now have two little girls!).

I try to knit everyday to keep my synapses clear and firing.

duraknit said...

Mostly process, if you go by the fact that I can pick up any one of the many things in progress and be happy. And rarely finish things. But I do love to give people socks for birthdays and Christmas, so I guess when the occasion is imminent, I turn on the "product" switch.

--Elizabeth D

Turtle said...

a bit of both...i love the process but need to have a good feeling or be connected to what the end result will be to enjoy the process. I knit to be expressive, create, relax....like so many others!

Diane H K in Greenfield said...

What an excellent question.

Years ago when I started knitting and handspinning, I was very deliberately focused on the process so that I would learn with as few missteps as I could manage. I think it's a combination of both my methodical, stubborn German ancestry and my Capricorn efficiency pragmatism!

But after a good 5 years of focusing on process, I started to let myself go for the gold: the finished product. Nowadays, it's more about product than process, but that's mainly because I've got a good handle on process and barely have to think about it anymore.

Come to think of it, the process to product progression is how I handled art school, too. It served me well, but the downside of this tendency is that I don't have quite the creative abandon that others have, those who dive headfirst into learning a new skill and technique be damned.

So that's the how of my knitting and spinning. Why I knit and spin, well that's a different story. My German grandmother was always knitting and crocheting. She'd lived through a very difficult time in Germany, and was extremely thrifty as a result. Knitting, crochet, and sewing were important aspects of her adult life here in America, and we all benefited from her skill. But while I admired her skills, I didn't learn to knit or crochet (I did learn to sew) until I was an adult of 30 years. I married into a family of expert knitters and spinners, and I wanted to fit in at family gatherings. So I learned to knit and spin, too. Turns out I loved it!

Diane H K in Greenfield said...

I meant to add:

I can't wait to hear why you knit, Kristin!!!

Have fun in Topsfield!

Ruth Ann said...

For the process: its soothingness, the feel of the yarn in my fingers, the sight of colors flowing or changing.

For the product: finishing something beautiful makes me happy. I would never be satisfied to consistently make unwearable or unusable things. If I make something that just isn't right I re-work it until it is.

For the creativity: I almost always change at least the color of something I make from a pattern; that way it's partly mine.

For the challenge: I like to try new things and find that I can do them, and to try to put colors together in a new way and find that they're pleasing.

Joyce said...

Learning new things and mastering new ways of doing things are what draw me to knitting as well as the colors and textures. I don't think I will ever run out of finding something new to learn in knitting. I think that my favorite part of every project is the planning part. I will spend lots of time finding just the right pattern and yarn and swatching, measuring and editing the pattern. Then I get in the comfortable part of knitting when the pattern is set and it's just knit, knit, knit to the finish. I love sewing up the pieces and having it all come together. Once the project is done though, I hope the person who receives it loves it or gives it to someone who will love it, but I just move on because the finished project is not creative to me any more and at that point, it's just another hat, sweater, scarf etc. I rarely knit the same pattern more than once. (Although your book inspired me to knit the same hat multiple times just to see the various color combinations I could come up with!) I am so looking forward to your new book!

Tonia said...

I consider myself a project knitter but...I really need to knit everyday- it keeps me in check-knitting helps to keep me calm when I feel anything but, it soothes me when I am frazzled and knitting just generally makes me feel better in this crazy world. I love how the color, texture and pattern feed my soul. Knitting makes me happy and everybody knows when mama is happy everybody is happy!

Cathy said...

A process knitter...definitely. As soon as 1 project is off the needles, another 1 is on. Do I always put the finished project together? No...not until I absolutely have to. I just want to knit.

Beth said...

I love the process, the feel of the yarn, the beautiful needles I now use, and having something handmade at the end. But I also love deciding on yarn and a pattern to make something for someone I love and then giving them a handknit gift.

I started crocheting when I lived in Kenya in the early '80's. I was teaching village health workers and their sense of time was definitely not American. I would arrive at the appointed time and wait for one or two hours til everyone finished carrying water, hoeing their gardens, pounding their maze...and then they'd come to the health worker training. During the wait, I decided to learn to crochet because that's what all the other women were doing. I came to be known as the mzungu (white person) who crocheted. All the Kenyan ladies thought it was funny because they imagined that in America we did all those kinds of things by machine. I still have the first table runner I ever crocheted out of fine white cotton. I don't crochet now. I knit. But one of these days, I'm going to pick crochet back up.

I love knitting while my husband reads aloud to the boys and me. Can't wait to hear why you knit. Have fun while you're away from the farm. I know they'll miss you!

I'm gonna tell Mom! said...

To borrow a movie line...Knitting completes me.
I love the process, but the product matters. I don't know that I could love the process without a successful end product (at least most of the time).
And I loved that story. My knitting group and I have wondered about why a group of ladies with knitting needles in hand are approachable but the group of ladies sitting around a table drinking coffee or discussing a book is not.

Anonymous said...

Some of process, some of product! I enjoy the process, and I enjoy my finished items too.

Why? Lots of reasons! Including:

I like, no, I *need* to keep my hands busy most of the time, and I need to create - wearable items fit the bill quite nicely. And it feels really good to know I made "it" myself, that I'm capable of that creating.

I enjoy playing with colors, whether I'm creating them or putting together yarn or fabric I've purchased(I've tie-dyed t-shirts and fabric, yarn dying is somewhere around the corner...).

I want to have clothing, specifically shirts/tops/sweaters that *fit* (I'm very tired of having to tug down the fronts of my shirts constantly, or not being able to find things that fit!).

Knitting is my go-to, as it's relatively portable (I mostly knit small projects - socks, hats, mittens), and I've learned to knit without having to look much. Right now I'm drawn to textures, and handpainted fingering weight yarns, although I've finished a couple of sweaters in the past 6 or 7 months, and have another one almost finished. Plus an uncounted number of socks, mittens/handwarmers, hats, and a cowl and a shawl.

In addition to knitting, I sew (mostly clothing, and the occasional bag or quilt or odd project for DH), crochet occasionally, cross-stitch (very occasionally now, but x-stitch was my go-to craft for many years), bead using seed beads, do calligraphy, make paper-crafts (mostly cards and bookmarks)...I'd like to add weaving (probably card-weaving, less equipment that way), and spindle spinning to the line-up. Someday!

-Jean Marie

Sherrill said...

Kristin - I ask myself "Why do I knit?" all the time. I'm all about the finished product. Process is just what I have to go through to get there. Same for most all of my crafts, expect for embroidery. I actually enjoy the time it takes, the motions, the quietness of it.


ellen said...

Color, color, color.

Willow said...

I am more a process knitter than a product knitter. I do enjoy giving my knitting away for people to enjoy though. I spin so I can have beautiful yarn and I knit so I can creat something beautiful and useful. Useful! That is important to me--that I create both form and function.

marit said...

The end product is the most important. I knit because I "have" to. Keeping my hands busy, and making something either for myself or to use as gifts (I knit lots of socks and hats and mittens...) I love to sew, and I used to crochet all the time. I learned when I was a kid, and have kept on doing it ever since. Now I'm a stay-at-home-mum with four kids and a husband away more than half the year (right now he's in Houston...)we have 70 sheep and a small farm, and I think knitting (or any craft/handwork)is a proof to myself that I'm actually DOING something! Also I love the different yarns, colours and textures. Not everything I make is practical or functional...but I have fun making it ;-D

Vermont Designs said...

Process knitter & crocheter, to bring to life the design ideas constantly flickering in my head. Some want to be born urgently, others are just waiting for the right moment. Vermont Designs by Shelagh.

Buttermilk Biscuit the Norwegian Fjord Horse said...

Both, but more the process than the product. The process is a creative outlet in and of itself for me. The expression of "doing" is important for me, and having something at the end is a big bonus and sometimes a surprise.

technikat said...

I started out oriented toward the product. Ripping out mistakes was painful because it wasn't proceeding toward the product. The longer I knit the more I realize that I do it because I enjoy the process. The finished product is a bonus. So now I don't mind ripping out if that's what it takes to make the knitting the quality I want.

I love learning new techniques and trying things I haven't done before just to learn them. And in knitting, there are lots of new things to learn. When I first learned to knit, I thought once I learned to cast on, knit and purl, that was it. Little did I know that there were dozens of cast-ons and bind-offs. Thousands of combos and tricks. The internet has been eye-opening. Without it, I would not have been aware of all the books and patterns that are available.

Kate G said...

Definitely process. I make small items (mitts, gloves, hats socks and toys) and give them away. It's learning new techniques that floats my knitting boat.

Anonymous said...

I am definitely a process knitter. I was just thinking about this in the last few weeks (odd you should bring it up) as I wondered why I don't finish much or I keep starting new items....it's because every item I start is usually something new I want to learn or it's a twist on something I already know or to "just try it". GACK! it's a bit frustrating. I don't care...I love the learning process, and if I die with 20 items on the needles...oh, well (actually, there might be over that amount already).

Now, when it's an item that I can just let my fingers fly on, e.g., circular stock. stitch, that is quite pleasant, too. Good time to let the mind and ideas flow.

Charlotte in Jeff City said...

I am more process than product. I enjoy the product but LOVE the process. It rarely upsets me to have to unravel something that is incorrect. I figure -- I enjoyed knitting it the first time, I'll enjoy knitting it the second time. I can't understand those who would prefer to leave an error rather than fixing it simply because they refuse to rip out their work under any circumstances.

Lisa Smith said...

What a good, thought-provoking question Kristin! I'm inclined to say I began as a process knitter & have progressed to a product knitter, but the two constantly do overlap. Now with crochet, that's a different story! After following your link to Lucy at Attic24 (from your post on Feb. 25th entitled "In My Face He Is"), I became determined to learn to make a ripple blanket. So crochet is all about the process now, as I stubbornly try to teach myself how to do it. I've tried several other times over the years & am convinced that I have no aptitude for it whatsoever. Knitting felt so natural & crochet feels so awkward. Thanks for your blog, it always is a bright spot in my day!

stringplay said...

I've thought about this many times and I'm pretty sure I'm a process knitter. I think I just delude myself by thinking I'm making a product, but really just need an end result to better justify my time (to others?). I like the goal of the finished product even if I'm not always 100% satisfied with it in the end. When it's done, the next product calls, but it's the process I enjoy. Very thought provoking. Always enjoy your blog and lovely pictures. And thanks for the link to the interesting article.

Lorraine said...

Consciously I'm a product knitter, a mostly monogamous one. I'm happiest with only a couple of projects on the needles.

Unconsciously, I'm a process knitter. Knitting is my security blanket. I take it everywhere and am uneasy if it isn't close at hand.

Lizz said...

Oh process to be sure. With 5 homeschooled kiddos I don't have enoughtime for product. lol

Cheryl said...

Hi, Kristen! What a great topic! I am most definitely a process knitter! I love to knit, but I rarely love the finished product, and I give most everything away. (Which drives my husband crazy, btw:-) I would have to say that socks are the exception; I always love my handknit socks... though I still have no problem gifting those, too. I'm curious about why you knit?

Jenny said...

ran across your blog while i was surfin' around some others. and you have some great content here. there's lots to check out and i'm really enjoying my stay. i'd like to invite you for a pop on over to my blog if you'd like. i'd love to have you. :) i've subscribed to your feed so i'll be coming back for sure.

DJ said...

I'm definitely a process knitter.
It's all about keeping hands and mind busy. I have knit the most and 'produced' the least during the most stressfull times of my life. I just need that motion of
needles and yarn together, to let my mind sort things out. Of course, I do love having nice things that I created to use for gifts for loved ones and for charity, too. But, process is at the root of it all for me.
Hugs, DJ in SW MI

Lachesis Looms said...

Definitely process. I like to think about the person I am makinhg it for and put all of my love into the stitches, but the completion of it used to be a problem. Now, I just have a rule to not have more than 2 items going at once, so if I want to start a new one, I have to finish one of the others. This keeps me motivated and productive. = )