In which I realize that I am a selfish knitter

[Edit]: My friend Kelly has just (JUST, like, this past week) started spinning with a drop-spindle and I’m sure there are many of you who know the ways of spinning who would be extremely capable of heading on over there and celebrating her first handspun and giving her tips. Wouldn’t you? *bats eyelashes*

Although I didn’t do much posting last week, for some reason I spent a bit of time mulling over the whole “why I knit” concept. And then Lolly posted about her “Someday” projects, the ones she wanted to knit for a while and didn’t because she wanted to work up to the skill level first (and BTW the hoodie she’s making is looking gorgeous).

Somewhere in one of her books, the Yarn Harlot talks about process knitting vs. product knitting: if, on a desert island, you would choose to unravel your one knitted item and re-knit the yarn over and over again, you’re a process knitter. If you would leave the knitted item intact and go off in search of other materials to knit with, you’re a product knitter. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a product knitter – ultimately, I think I knit because I want the finished thing, to use or to wear or just to have and say, “I made this!”, and move on to something else.

I think I have the same trepidation as many knitters of “I can’t do [insert knitting skill here] yet, so I’ll hold off on that pattern for a while”, – and I KNOW I had that trepidation in my first year of knitting in particular. Right now, I’ve become the sort of knitter whose trepidation is, in the end, always outweighed by the fact that I’m stubborn, ambitious, and oriented towards the ultimate goal of having the finished thing. Also, the more I knit the more I convince myself that I am capable of knitting – whether with new skills or skills I’ve already learned. This explains why, in 2006, I managed to knit 6 sweaters (2 of them fair isle, 3 involving a few cables), 7 pairs of socks, and many other miscellaneous things, and why my stash continues to grow and my mental knitting wish list gets longer every month. 😉

So when I call myself a selfish knitter it’s because I am ultimately knitting for me, me, me. 😉 Knitting is close to my only hobby these days. For the past ten years or so I spent a great deal of time doing volunteer work with the same organization, and last year when my commitments there came to an end I decided to take a pause with that work and do things that I wanted to do for myself. I never used to do that – I was always the person who was out doing something different every night, either working or volunteering or taking on a new project. It’s very refreshing to me that I’ve streamlined the commitments I have in my personal time – whether this is permanent or temporary, only time will tell 😉

The thing that holds me back in my knitting, more so than whatever skill level I’m at, is always time or money – the time to knit the thing, or the money to buy the yarn or pattern or whatsits that the thing needs to get knitted. I got clued in to this fact when I realized that my “Someday” projects (the ones I’m waiting until “someday” to do), are all ones that I covet dearly but have to wait to start until I have fewer things on my plate. I think the project that goes at the top of my “Someday” list is from the book Viking Patterns for Knitting, the ‘Ragna’ pullover. It’s got 4 long panels of cabling that join up a few inches above the bottom to form a kind of medieval tunic look. (Also, I borrowed this book from my friend K and really need to get it back to her and buy my own copy to drool over.)

I swear, when K let me borrow the book I was this close to leaving lip-prints on the pages, that is how much I was taken in by all the patterns. The cables are friggin’ gorgeous. I don’t know how much I would actually wear the Ragna pullover (it would be very warm, very big, but at the same time oh so gorgeous and a fantastic challenge), but damn I want to knit it. Someday.

Today, I still have wee unfinished socks. And other unfinished sweaters. 😉

A “Someday” list, of sorts:
*Ragna cabled pullover from Viking Patterns for Knitting
*The nightie and dressing gown from Mason-Dixon Knitting
*A lace shawl – the Icarus Shawl, perhaps?


  1. I’m definitely a product knitter, too. I enjoy the process, but ultimately I want the finished product. I also knit almost always for me.

    I pretty much, almost from the beginning, decided that nothing is out of my grasp skillwise. Of course, I have found that color stranding isn’t a skill I’m good at — but then again I don’t really enjoy doing it either, which is helpful since I’m not good at it. I just WISH I were.

    What’s that aran book (on the left)? I’m a sweater book collector and I don’t have that one.

  2. Anonymous · ·

    I’m more of a process knitter, but I’m finding now, as I start knitting more and more, that I’m beginning to want to hoard the things I make.

    I have the Sensational Socks book, and cannot wait to start making some .. once I finish a few charity knits I have on the needles. And I got the Viking knits book for a friend of mine, who just loves it. 🙂

  3. Anonymous · ·

    Wow, I hear you. I feel the same way about a lot of this. I too am a product knitter, but I’m trying to be more of a process knitter – hence the spinning. I too am enjoying having cut back on the volunteer commitments this year and being somewhat of a hermit at home, knitting all the time. And boy, do I know about the time and money limiting your knitting choices! Ah, to have to freedom to knit whatever you want!

  4. Anonymous · ·

    Oh, I do love your list.
    And yes, isn’t Kelly just amazing with her spindling?

    This year,with the knitting from my stash I’m also going to try very hard to knit some things for me… I’m going to try and be more selfish, I’ve been watching you knit all those glorious items for yourself with big envious sighs….. =)

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