Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Process Vs. Project

This past Sunday, at our monthly crochet club meeting, I admitted, out loud, that I am enjoying learning how to knit. Members I've known for years, who know me as a die-hard crocheter (still am, by the way!) were in shock (as much as I was when I first admitted this to myself). Once over the shock they said they were happy for me, offering me congratulations on overcoming a hurdle I have been trying to clear for years! Happy with this acceptance, I decided to treat myself to the holiday 2008 Knitsimple issue. (I figure if a magazine has a title of Knitsimple it has to be my beginner speed, right?)

What I found interesting, that could translate to all of the fiber arts, is the column "last stitch" written by Laura Bistow. The article is titled "process makes perfect." Laura states that she is a 'process knitter: one who is content to click away without an ultimate purpose,' whereas the 'project knitter is one who is compelled by a great pattern or [is] confident enough to make [something] someone would really wear.'

With all that is going on in my life at this moment, I find that I am compelled to be a 'process stitcher' (regardless if it's crochet or knit), allowing myself to think about possible solutions, making mental holiday lists, and so on. Yet, the conservative in me demands that this 'process stitching' eventually end up as a useable end product (thus also making me a 'project stitcher' too).

As I watch my stitches slip from my crochet hook (and now the needle too), it seems to help me melt stress away. The projects I am working on are not challenging. Rather, I want the freedom, the pleasure, of simply making stitches that will allow me to journey into deep meditative thought. I don't care if my stitch count is right, if it looks pretty, or if I should have used a smaller hook/needle for my ribbing. Right now, making mindless repetitive stitches is what is important to me; allowing the process to give me the fuel to press on, to tackle what needs to be. And should it result with a scarf, or two, or a dozen, perhaps with a few blemishes, then that's OK with me, for now. Stitches can always be easily ripped out later to be corrected, perfected, right? :)

Readers, what about you? What type of stitcher are you? A 'Process Stitcher," or a "Project Stitcher?" Have events in your life ever changed the type of stitcher you traditionally are?


Stitchy Mc Floss said...

I think I am both. Some times there is just a pattern that is so cool, I just have to work it. Other times, I miss crocheting, or knitting and just have to do something. I have discovered that I am a seasonal crafter. In the colder days I want to knit/crochet in warmer days I want to cross stitch. Two events that have changed my life forever have been the passing of my parents. I found alot of comfort in crocheting when my Mama passed away, and then knitting when my Daddy passed away. I know for me, when I am stressed, I always feel better after I have created something. Some times the process really is the project. :)

Crochetheaven said...

I am like Stitchy McFloss - both a process and an project. There are times when I need what I call a "brainless" project. One where I can just sit back with my hook and yarn while getting lost in my thoughts, without worrying about what the finished project will look like. Then there are the moments when I really want to feel challenged and pick out a cool afghan pattern to work on. Right now I am in the "brainless" stage. Either way, what ever comes off my hook, I hope the receiver of the final creation will be blessed and kept warm.

Astaryth said...

Hmmm... I think I crochet because I enjoy it... but usually find someone who 'needs' something so that I'm not just 'wasting my time'.

On a side note, when I finished the afghan I was working on over the summer (Now I just have to mail that heavy thing out... that'll cost a pretty penny!), I saw the prettiest pattern for a scarf. Unfortunately it was a knit pattern... so I decided to teach myself to knit. Surprisingly, it is going fairly well. I am working on a scarf in both knit and purl that looks pretty good. I won't be ashamed to give it to someone LOL! AND, it is allowing me to get used to using the stitches so I will, hopefully, be ready to attempt the project I -really- wanted to do!

I'm finding knitting to be much slower process... maybe because I'm not comfortable yet.

Anonymous said...

congratulations on learning to knit. I took that successful step a few months ago with the help of some of the members of my knitting group. They welcomed me and my crochet hooks (they all crochet, too) and when I expressed the desire to FINALLY learn to knit a teacher immediately volunteered. She asked what I wanted to knit and the provided the pattern, needles, and suggested a reasonably priced yarn.

It has been quite an adventure and I find myself a process knitter and crocheter, relaxing into the calming repetition of motion.

What fun to be "bi-crafty" and have new worlds open up!

CrochetWithDee said...

"Some times the process really is the project."
Stitchy Mc Floss, I love that line. You hit the nail on the head! :)

CrochetWithDee said...

I'm really enjoying reading everyone's thoughts on this topic -- such insight!!

Thank you!!