Sunday, January 27, 2008

Warning!! Philosophical Ramblings Ahead!

When I started knitting there was a serious and passionate discussion going on in the blogosphere - are you a process knitter or a product knitter?

A product knitter is in it to get the goods. Knitting is certainly enjoyable, but the juice is in the finishing, in the having, in the kudos from others as they ogle the beauteous art that leaps from your (far more clever than theirs) hands. For a product knitter the point of the endeavor is in the end result and the process is just something you need to get through.

A process knitter, on the other hand, lives for the process of knitting and the end product is almost an afterthought. The juice is in the planning, the actual stitching, the magic of progress. A process knitter certainly enjoys the end product, (who wouldn't?), but the bulk of her energy, attention and pleasure is found in the stitches.

I think that you can tell who you are in your attitude toward mistakes. I don't mean crazy making catastrophes like the unraveling of the Harlot's leaf last week. I mean normal mistakes that require re knitting a row or even a whole section of a project.

Do you want to tear your hair out and put your knitting in a time out for a week - or a year? Probably a product knitter. Do you relish the chance to figure out just went wrong and when you do, you dance the dance of joy and then rip it all out to make it right? Probably a process knitter.

A process knitter finds incredible opportunity to learn and refine her craft in every mistake. A product knitter only experiences the frustration of defeat. Which one do you want to be?

I've been musing this question a lot as I continue to have significant challenges with sleeves (more on that in another post). I must be more process oriented, because I've had a high time with making these darn things right. It is all very thrilling. And that got me to thinking, isn't this a whole lot like life?

In life, what is the juice for you? Is it the product - the end game, the lotto ticket, retirement, Prince Charming and Happily Ever After, or is it the process of living? When you hit a curve ball in life, do you want to tear your hair out and take a time out with a substance of your choice? Or, do you relish the chance to figure out what went wrong and then try something else based on what you learned?

What kind of life do you lead? Process or Product?

One last thought. The process, by definition, is on going, ever changing, ever renewing. The product is an endgame. And what is the endgame of life? Right. Death.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

When are you expert?

This is the saga of the ever changing sweater. Here is the information: Pattern: Leavened Raglan from IK Fall '07 (what a great issue!) Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky in Silver Silver, Needles: 17 US.

First, I knit the pieces and all was good. Then I washed and blocked the pieces. The sleeves seemed to grow, but I blocked them to measurements. After I seamed everything up, this is what I got...

See the arms? How freakishly long the are? In fact, the stitch marker is where the arms should have been. We are, like, 8 inches too long! Gah!

This is how the sweater makes me feel...

Like a freakin' Gorilla. Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh...

I have read, in that annoyingly casual tone that expert knitters often adopt, that you can just snip off the offending rows, pick up the live stitches and knit a new sleeve cuff. ARE YOU INSANE???!!! Won't the sleeve, I don't know, disintegrated instantly into a pile of grey kinky wool mess?

Apparently not. I tried it out on the swatch I had knit and darn it all if it not only worked, but now I could see the reason for the casual tone. It really is that easy. So, here's me about to snip off the offending rows...

See how I placed a smaller needle into the stitches just below the row I am snipping? Thank God mohair sticks to itself like a super strength magnet. I still can't get the hang of consistently finding the right stitch to catch up. Anyway, place the needle into the row below and snip the stitch. I choose to unravel the row stitch by stitch. The sometimes annoying experts just snip the whole row. You now have a row of live stitches on the small needle and the offending part just falls away. Magic!

Newly altered sweater and me, the now annoyingly casual expert knitter, looking quite smug.


Niece was at my house for dinner and a game of Nertz (some call it Demon. Never tried it? Oh, we are talking good times, people). She saw the un-seemed sweater and a picture from IK and said, "oh, I would totally wear something like this". Say no more, niece!!! You can use a humongous wooly sweater in Boston way more than I can in So. Cal!

Here is Happy Niece.

She got this today for her 21st B-Day. Isn't it cool? But.... do you see what I see? Is her right sleeve shorter than the left?......... GAH!!!!!!!!!

I take back the expert knitter comment. I sooooo take it back. ;-)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Let's Hear it For Instant Gratification!

I've been humming along on Oblique and Leavened Raglan, but yesterday I cast on for a more instant project - Last Minute Purled Beret from Wendy Bernard.

Mom took a tumble the other night and put dent in her head. The doctor declared her just fine.... but he had to take a chunk of her already not so full hair to do it. She needed a hat and she needed it quick!

A little stash diving turned up some Noro Kochoran that I had been saving for a special project. Guess this is it, as my Mom won't wear just any fiber on her head. 12 hours later I have a pretty stylish head covering! Here's a slightly battered Mom wearing said hat...

So cute that Little Girl wants one too. Guess the sweaters are gonna have to wait for a bit. Keep this up and I might have to give up on the Narcissistic Knitter title...