The cardigan I just finished got me thinking about product vs process knitting. Product knitting is when you knit because you want to use the finished object. A process knitter likes the process and isn’t necessarily knitting to use the finished project. I have realized that up until now, I have been more of a process knitter. Until recently, I would pick projects based on how much fun they would be or what skill I wanted to learn. Often it would be a thought process of, “I just finished a piece and now what do I want to do?” Or I would pick a project so I could learn a specific skill. When I started to read Karen Templers blog more and the handmade wardrobe hashtag, I started to want to be more deliberate about what I chose to make. I was inspired to make pieces I could use in my wardrobe. At the time I was so inspired by the pictures of people wearing the pretty garments that they made and being thoughtful about what they wanted to add to their wardrobe and I wanted the same thing.
I saw another side to all this when I recently finished making The Belcarra Cardigan. The piece was frustrating and it was a struggle to keep doing it. It took a lot longer than I thought to make it and I had to unravel and redo it several times before I got a good start. I almost put this sweater on hold because it was taking so long and spring was coming . It was frustrating to be still working on this sweater I had hoped to wear this past winter. I ended up pushing through and finishing it. I knew it would bother me to have an unfinished project hanging around until next fall. I also persevered because I wanted that sweater in my wardrobe.
During the process of making this sweater, I lost some enthusiasm for making garments on a regular basis. Not too long before, I had been so inspired by making more garments but my frustrations with this project dampened my enthusiasm. I read somewhere that the pieces that end up being wardrobe staples are often very boring to make. I can definitely see how that can happen. I realized that it can be draining to plug through a frustrating process because you want the finished object.
I had been moving towards being more of a product knitter but I realized I also needed to make sure I was working on projects that are fun. I realized that the pieces I do because “wouldn’t hat be cool!” keep things fun and alive. I made a log cabin scarf because I really wanted to do a log cabin project. At the time, I certainly didn’t need another scarf or another project. I want to make a lace scarf out of light green yarn because I like doing lace knitting. Moving forward, I still want to make useful garments but I am realizing that I need to make sure that I leave room to be spontaneous and have fun with my projects. I am also thinking that the next time I am frustrated with a project, I will give myself permission to frog it and put it on hold.
In the past I had hesitated to make sweater because of the cost of buying a sweaters worth of yarn at one time. However, I am realizing that you can make a sweater that you couldn’t buy for the price of the yarn. I showed my mom a sweater I made and she would tell me that you can’t buy a sweater like that. When you think about it, she is right, I don’t know where anyone would be able to buy a handmade sweater that is made to your measurements. I looked around and realized that a nice wool sweater can very, expensive and hard to find. For example, I looked at my dad’s LL Bean catalog and a wool sweater from LL Bean is anywhere from 70 dollars on up.
I recently went to the mall and I saw a sweater at a chain store. It was acrylic, made in China and it cost 60 dollars. For 60 dollars you can buy the yarn to make one that is much nicer and that is made with natural fibers. For 50 dollars I bought yarn for 2 sweaters from Knitpicks when they had a sale. I also looked at the sweaters I had bought and they are all cotton. I looked around the stores at the mall and I didn’t see any wool sweaters for sale. Mind you this is in the fall in a cold climate. All this made me realize that a lot of stores don’t sell wool sweaters for a reasonable price.
If you know where to look, wool to make sweaters doesn’t have to be expensive. The sweater I recently made was made from yarn I got on clearance at JoAnnes for about 3 dollars each. I used 5 skeins of yarn to make the sweater so the yarn cost me 15 dollars. On the other side of this, I think that if you can reasonably afford it don’t be afraid to spend a little extra to make the sweater you want out o f the yarn you really want to use. If you live on a tight budget, you can also find yarn that is affordable and with some work end up with a sweater that is nicer than a lot of the sweaters you could find at the mall.
This past weekend I finished this sweater. I put my log cabin project aside to finish it. I wanted to finish by the end of January so I would have time to wear it before the weather got warmer. I was nervous about doing the sleeves and neckline. I had to pick up stitches to do both and I hadn’t done either technique before. I was especially nervous about the neckline. It was 88 stitches on double pointed needles and I was nervous I would have a bunch of dropped stitches. Thanks to some YouTube tutorial they turned out fine. I am so happy with how it turned out. I have already worn it even though I still need to block it. It is a much needed addition to my wardrobe.
Lately, I have been decided to make more sweaters . When I have been stressed out, I have been looking at sweater patterns on Ravelry to relax. This is a list of some of my favorite pullover sweater patterns. It is a sort of wish list; all of these are either in my favorites or in my queue. If I have time, I really want to make the Margot pullover this winter. The rest may have to wait at least a few months but I still enjoy looking at the patterns.
The For Irene sweater is one o f my favorites. I just love the lace detail on the sleeves and yoke.
I love the bold stripes and how this designer used color in the Camaro sweater.
The Margo sweater has been in my Ravelry queue for ages. If I have time, I mat try to make it later this winter. I like the split him and garter stitch edging.
The Pixilated Pullover uses stranded color work in a very innovative way and I love the effect.
The Breathing Space pullover has a unique design with an asymetrical hem. It uses short rows to a good effect.
I love the garter stitch detail on the sleeves on the Flax Light sweater. Plus if you made this sweater, it would be a solid addition to a handmade wardrobe.
” I knit so I don’t kill people.” This is a common humorous saying among knitters. This week, this saying could be revised to say, “I knit so I don’t completely stress out.” I have have been working on the Green Gable Pullover and it has really helped my stress levels. It is a top down sweater. The pattern has a simple lace panel at the top.Once you get past the lace panel , it is row after row of knit stitch. It has been a long week and I am finding working on knit stitch very soothing.
I am enjoying seeing the top take shape. I love seeing a ball of string and some sticks turn into an item. The picture on the top show my progress so far. Lately, I have been working on this sweater to the exclusion of other projects. I am thinking it may not take as long as I thought to finish it. I am already thinking about what sweater I want to make next. What about you? What is your favorite pattern to knit to relax or de-stress? Do you prefer simple patterns or more complicated patterns?