Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Psychology of Knitting 101

Strange title for a second post in a brand-new blog, I know. I haven't been knitting for as long as many people have, but I have to confess that the whys and the hows of knitting fascinate me. Why do people knit? How do knitters approach knitting?

I've stated this before, but I love to knit because I feel as though it allows me to be creative using a medium that is easily accesible. I can't draw, or compose music, so while I feel like I'm a creative person, I'm not able to use my creativity within the confines of many of the established art forms. This brings us, in a roundabout way, to the art vs. craft debate; craft (supposedly) being something that is created with a useful purpose in mind, and art being something that is created for it's own sake. I don't quite agree with those definitions, because I believe a purse (whether or not it's cabled, fair-isle, or plain old stockinette stitch) can be both a work of art and a useful object.

How do knitters knit? I don't if I'm unusual in this, or it's a symptom of my stash illness, but I almost always tend to buy the yarn before I have a pattern in mind. It's sort of like an "Ooo - Shiney!" response, and then later a "Hmm....maybe a hat?" reaction. I'm very haphazard in planning for projects (although I'm trying to be very good about swatching, especially now that I'm approaching projects where that really matters!).

One thing I hear a lot from experienced knitters is the desire to not be bored while knitting. They don't want to do a simple st st scarf or 2x2 ribbed hat, but instead seek out patterns that keep them engaged the whole time, like complex cabling or lace. See, I'm different there. What I enjoy most is watching the finished object emerge from the end of my needles. There's nothing more exciting to me than starting out the night with 36 cast on stitches, four dpns, and some Noro, and ending up with half a sleeve for a sweater. So I guess I enjoy quantity and finished objects more than the creation of them. I'm not in it for the ride, only the desitination :)

Although, part of the reason why complicated patterns aren't a "must" for me probably has to do with the copious amount of television I watch while knitting. I'll post more about this pattern later, but I have to say it sucks to be on a groove with the Razor's Edge poncho from SnB:Nation only to find I skipped a yo because something exciting blew up on the tv.

Next entry, I promise, will have pictures!


Queen of Sheba said...

Hi, I totally understand your urge to buy yarn before you have a project in mind because the same happens to me. I buy a ball simply because the color (or combination of colors) facinate me and take it home and then think what could it be good for. This is why small projects (accessories and so) are very helpful. Unlike you, I enjoy the creation more than the finished piece (no, wait, I love both). Seriously, I indulge in engaging in something rather complicated (don't get any ideas, a single cable is complicated for me) because I think knitting plays a therapeutic/calming role for me.

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