Friday, October 26, 2007

Process vs Product, and Queuing

What knitter hasn't pondered the age old question of Process vs. Product?

Certainly I derive pleasure from the finished product, whether it be a pair of socks, or a sweater.... I want to be able to use the item or gift it to someone who will wear it. I don't think I would take the time to knit something that had no practical purpose, unless it was a wall hanging or something, and then it still is fullfilling a purpose.

The actual process of creating the item -- that is great fun, too. I love how the yarn feels in my hands, and the niftyness of taking sticks and string, dancing them around each other, and viola, having something that doesn't fall apart descend from the needles. I absolutely adore the colors yarn can take --- there is no color that isn't represented in a skein of yarn somewhere. Wouldn't it be so cool to swim through a sea of colorful yarn?!

So, I like creating the knitted item, the process of it, the learning of new stitches, the Ah-Ha! moment that comes when a technique that had been mysterious and strange suddenly makes sense, and I like the finished item, the product, the squishy goodness that I can hold in my hands and toss on my body. I don't know which one I like better, so we'll say I'm Switzerland in this debate, and I remain neutral.

Now we come to the Infamous Queue. I have a big problem with the Queue. I have so many projects that I want to knit, so many techniques to try. Such as stranded knitting, it's beautiful and intricate. I've stranded before, long ago, and I want to again. I've learned how to knit lace, and I love that, too. So into my queue has gone the Stung Honeybee Stole and a vest from Alice Starmore. I want to knit them all NOW. And I've got sock patterns, tam patterns, nordic sweaters, cardigans galore in my queue and the stash to support them, but the time to knit? Where is it???

When I cast on, I find that I become obsessed with finishing THAT ONE project, now. As a result, I become intimidated by the Queue. I feel swamped. No dent is made in the Queue (maybe if I quit adding projects???) And I feel inadequate when I see how many projects other knitters just seem to toss off their needles. How do they do it? How can I develop the ability to multi-task knit without going insane, or hearing one project cry when I pick up another?

The Illusion Skull Scarf I've been trying to finish for my daughter has started muttering and glaring at me everytime I knit on the Queen of Cups socks. "I was here first", it whispers. "Finish me, knit me, don't IGNORE me!!!!"

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