Process vs. Project

This is a classic question among knitters: are you a process knitter or a project knitter?

A process knitter is someone who chooses to knit something based on what they might pick up along the way. A new stitch pattern or technique, let’s say. It’s like a puzzle to be solved, and as you work your way through the challenge, it gets easier, you gain confidence, and when you finish you feel quite satisfied with your accomplishment.

A project knitter is a person that sees a finished object and knows that they want to knit it so they can wear it or give it away. They will figure it out if they don’t know how to do something, but the joy is in reaching the finish line and admiring the finished piece.

I’d like to note that both knitters probably equally enjoy the process of selecting patterns, choosing the yarn, and casting on.

I am currently struggling to identify which type of knitter I am. I started out knitting scarves, then moved quickly onto hats. That was definatly a process knitter moment, as I was obsessed with cracking “the code” of knitting in the round and making the decreases in the right place. But I also chose patterns based on their visual appeal and wearability.

Since conquering hats, I have since chosen to knit things for a variety of reasons. Often times, I choose something just to see if I can do it. Socks, for example. There was a certain mysticism surrounding socks for me. They seemed magical in their formation and in the many ways they are constructed. I wanted to be a part of the not so Secret Society of Sock Knitters, know and understand their secret language of gussets, short rows, and provisional cast ons.

I didn’t see a particular pattern and say “Hey, those look like something I’d want on my feet!” It was more of a yearning to step up the technical difficulty of my knitting. I completed my first training sock while waiting in the ER last winter while my sweetie had an ingrown toenail taken care of.

mini-sock.jpgMy first sock

After finishing this little guy, I promptly cast on a basic sock in a self patterning yarn to try my hand at full size sock making. One sock went pretty quickly, a couple of weeks or so. Then I learned about SSS, or Second Sock Syndrome. Sock #2 didn’t even get cast on for another 6 months or so!


So, it’s starting to sound like I’m a process knitter, isn’t it?

Trouble is, I’m at a point where I’m not sure what to try next. When I’m looking at new patterns, particularly sweater patterns since that is what I feel is the next logical step in my evolution, I tend to get a little anxious. Shoulder shaping? Steeking? Button holes? Ahh! And yet there are some really beautiful garments out there that I could see myself wearing. When I admitted to my SnB gals one day that I was intimidated to make a sweater or other garment, Nancy pointed out that socks are in fact garments. Touche.

My solution to all of this was to try lace. No new techniques to learn, per se, as I am comfortable with yo’s, ssk, k2tog, etc. But lace work, like sock knitting, has a certain mysticism around it, a devoted following of knitters who swear by certain techniques. So I cast on my first lace project, the Easy Flame Lace scarf with enthusiasm and got started.


The pattern is simple and easy to read, the yarn is beautiful, and the needles are too. And now that I’ve figured it out, it’s getting tedious. I want to move on to the next project before it’s even finished! This is unusual because I’m typically a monogomous knitter: I knit on one project until it is finished. Or, I give myself a little flexibility and knit one sock, start something eles to give myself a break, then knit the other sock. This is the particular loop hole that the Flame Lace scarf slipped through.

So have I come to any conclusions? I am sure that there is no one better method than another. After all, knitting is about pleasure in whatever form you get it. It seems that a knitter can be a project knitter, a process knitter, or like me, a little bit of both.

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