I’ve often wondered, with all the knitting I do, why I don’t have more finished projects to enjoy.
Most of the things I’ve made, I have given away. I give them to friends and family to enjoy (I hope), and then I make something else.
It’s not that I don’t care for the finished products. I am excited to see how they turn out, and I enjoy seeing people wear the things I’ve made. But I’ve realized that the finished object isn’t what makes me tick.
For me, it’s all about the knitting itself. That makes me a process knitter.
Process Knitter vs Project Knitter
Process knitters enjoy the act of knitting, figuring out the techniques and the stitches, etc. If you mess up, you don’t mind tearing it out and starting again (see my experience with my Rolling Rock sweater).
As a process knitter, you’re more likely to have just one or two projects going at once.
Project knitters work for the finished product. You get excited about casting on, and about the finished product, but the time between cast on and bind of might not be so enjoyable for you.
You’re more likely to have a bunch of projects going at once, and to jump around between them.
Most people fall somewhere on a spectrum, and it’s hard to be just one kind or the other, but these are the two big categories.
The Joys of Being a Process Knitter
Dr Art Markman, professor of psychology and marketing at UT Austin in the US, suggests that process knitters, on balance, probably get more enjoyment from knitting than project knitters.
In an interview on the VeryPink Knits podcast, he says, “Process people spend time enjoying the moments. It’s the problem-solving and the time spent that creates the enjoyment.”
For project knitters, on the other hand, “the highs are higher, the lows are lower, and probably overall it’s hard to be as satisfied on any given day to work on something.”
As a process knitter, it’s true that I get most enjoyment out of actually doing the knitting and getting it right. It’s a puzzle to figure out, a mystery to discover, and when I get a good pattern, it’s good fun.
How to Choose Patterns for Process Knitting
Now that’s not to say that I don’t sometimes find knitting a project a bit of a slog. If I’m not motivated by the pattern, if it’s boring or too repetitive, I’ll get into a slump.
In order to avoid such a slump, I pick challenging patterns. I look for new construction of a sweater, or new stitches or techniques so that I can learn something new.
I’m currently working on Carol Sunday’s Mia Francesca, a heavily cabled number with an interesting new construction I’ve never encountered before. It’s fascinating, and I’m enjoying it immensely. It will probably be finished, however, just in time for warm spring weather.
Finally Knitting for Me
Though I’m not a project knitter, I do want to make more items for myself that I’ll be able to enjoy. Since 2016 was the year of knitting for others, 2017 is the year of knitting for me. First this cardigan, and next up will be a new shawl to enjoy.
Dr Markman also notes that knitting is a great brain training activity for three good reasons. First, the fine motor control needed to knit engages your brain in a valuable way. Second, it requires problem solving, since you often have to figure out instructions or new techniques. That requires thought, which is always brain-healthy.
Finally, the social side of knitting is also beneficial. If you get stuck, or you need help, you can call up your knitting friends or go to a knitting circle, which is also good for the brain.
So if you’re in the Munich area and you’re looking for an English-speaking knitting circle, check out my new Stitch n’ Bitch on Meetup.com!