Friday, March 20, 2009

a) Process; b) Product; c) Neither

I've been meaning to write this post for a while now. Quite a long while, in fact. There's some irony to this, as you'll see if you stick around for the whole thing. (If you don't want to, no worries -- how about entering my comment contest instead?)

Many (if not most, or indeed, all) of you reading this will be familiar with the concept of process vs. product knitting. But for any Muggles who've wandered over here, I offer a brief primer...

Process knitters are, as you might guess from the term, all about the actual process of knitting: they enjoy learning new techniques and skills, the feel of the needles and yarn, and aren't particularly bothered about when (or even if) they complete their project. Many process knitters keep very few of their finished objects, instead gifting them to loved ones (who often fail to properly appreciate them...but that's another post altogether).

Product knitters, on the other hand, are all about the tangible results of the craft. They knit because they want that sweater, hat, stuffed animal or dishcloth -- not necessarily for themselves: many product knitters churn out charity teddy bears or baby blankets by the dozen -- and they want it a.s.a.p.

Process and product are pretty much two ends of a continuum, and I think it's generally agreed that most knitters fall somewhere in between the two extremes. Few process knitters have literally no interest in the final product, and the number of "pure" product knitters in this day and age must be tiny: it takes a special kind of masochism to knit without taking any pleasure at all in the process itself.

A Third Way

This is all pretty reasonable. Piggy, however, is not really known for being particularly reasonable. So allow me to nominate a third category to the spectrum of knitter types.

Because while I certainly enjoy the time I spend knitting, and celebrate each time I cast off a WIP (it doesn't happen often, as you might have noticed), neither the process nor the product are the most important part of my life as a knitter.


Yep. I'm all about the stuff that happens before the cast on: the hours of yarn fondling at the LYS, buying countless skeins without any specific pattern in mind -- just because they are beautiful; the evenings (and mornings, afternoons and late nights) spent on Ravelry, gazing at patterns, building up a ginormous queue of projects, the vast majority of which I will almost certainly never cast on; the every-growing collection of books on techniques I may try someday; and the the stitch-and-bitching, talking, blogging, reading and dreaming about knitting...with very little actual knitted fabric to show for it at the end of the day.

Skeptics might suggest that what this all boils down to is procrastination, rather than a true style of knitter. Bah! I say. It's true, Piggy could procrastinate for Canada; but I think it's more than that. Really. I enjoy the social aspect of knitting as much as the knitting itself or the end results. And I'm o.k. with that.

I'm sure there are more of you out there. Come join me in my campaign to acknowledge the knitting world's pre-processors! We have cake...


  1. There should be a fourth answer......
    d) All of the above.

    But then I'm known for wanting it ALL.

  2. YES! YES! I do knit, but I'm more fascinated with choosing yarn and patterns than the actual process. Once I finish with a piece, well, ok. Who wants it? Back to the LYS.

  3. As my father would say, I resemble this remark. I'm so happy to finally know my category! Sometimes it's just more fun to change all of the colors and rechart the item than to actually knit it.