Products have a Process

For the last month or so I’ve been working under a veritable deluge of new knitting design projects. Some of them are under my own steam, some are commissions for particular destinations or dyers, and all of them are things I’m enjoying working on and spending brain time on. I come home at the end of the day and happily beaver away at my notes or swatches or samples and it’s awesome.

A couple of these have started to jump the queue into my commuter time knitting, which I am starting to fear means bad things for the speedy completion of my Portland pullover, and that sweater I’m meant to be knitting for Elspeth by mid-April ::whistlewhistle:: but I can’t say no. One of the worst feelings a designer can have is fear of having no more new ideas, so if I should happen to find myself sitting in a small well of ideas and new projects to get going on, well, sign me up for that. I’ll fit ’em in somewhere.

I have also, ever since the middle of term, initiated a little ritual for myself of having a pub lunch on Fridays. I lecture every single day and it’s a long week to get through, so I decided to ritualize it with a burger and a beer, and it’s been good. I usually get there a little later after the true lunchtime rush, so I can have virtually any table I want and pull out the knitting and/or vapid paperbacks as easily as I please.


For a few weeks in particular the back of my brain has been working away trying to figure out one specific challenge, trying to come up with a sock to enter into Elinor’s awesome sock contest. (I should say at this point that Elinor has me completely and totally marked, telling me about the contest with an extra comment about “oh I WAS going to ask you to judge but then you wouldn’t have been able to ENTER it, lalalalalaaa ::eyelashbatting::” and at that point I had no choice but to jump in and see what happens.)

This is what my knitting brain has been mulling over for weeks, and this week I finally put it into a charted form, cast on, realized the yarn was too heavy for the number of stitches I wanted, ripped it out, cast on for it again (per my last post), and then I promptly went into a fit of indecision and ripped it all out after a few rows, cast on with another yarn, ripped that all out again, and was about to try again with yet another yarn when I just plain stopped. If I, with the sizeable sock yarn stash that I have, cannot find a yarn to work, then it is probably not the yarn that it is the problem. I have to go ahead and take that bullet for myself. So I had a drink and let it sit, as one does.

By yesterday evening I had it back on track with the second yarn (to the right, in the picture above, which incidentally is Madelinetosh tosh sock, in “composition book grey”, though it resembles more of a dusty purple. The cute pink stuff is from the Sweet Sheep and I’ll tell you about that one in due course.), and got it to do exactly what I wanted it to do. And then, after a few inches, I looked at it and realize that despite the fact that I had gotten the yarn to do what I wanted to do, what I in fact needed to make it do was something ever so slightly different…and ripped it all out again.

So here I am back with a cast-on sock and a scant 3 rounds, but it’s momentum and I’m content with it. Some projects just need more of a process, I am reminding myself. Some projects break their revelations to you at midnight just as you are falling asleep, and others while in a mostly-empty pub with a beer.

This knitting gig sure isn’t dull, I’ll say that much.
Have a great weekend!


  1. Yay for process! I spent every Friday of my senior year having a brew and something at the campus pub for lunch, and also have been known to knit there. Bon courage!

  2. Val Champ · ·

    Its Friday and I would like that beer..I am on my way to work for my 12 hour stint as a 911/police dispatcher. I have 3 night shifts this weekend, the 3rd ending Monday the morning of the Full Moon.

    I am taking my sock knitting, it keeps me calm and even if I am too busy to knit it can sit behind the phone where I can “pat” it..LOL

    But yes, a beer would be good.

  3. I am using the same yarn, MadTosh in Composition Notebook Grey for a sock project. It really is beautiful yarn. I’ve always thought about designing a sock but wonder about all the ripping out to get it right – I don’t like to do that. šŸ™‚

  4. That’s the part I like best: the beginning. It’s a vast empty canvas of hope, and you put a little paint on, start over, get things just the way you like them. I like starting way better than finishing the second sock!

    Have fun with your design.

  5. Sounds like you’re having so much fun

  6. Go with the creative juices, I”m sure Elsbeth with understand!

  7. This is why I keep think about trying to design something but never do. I simply don’t have the patience right now for all that starting over. Shame, because I think creating something totally from scratch like that would be really fulfilling (and exciting)! But I’m in a place in my life where most of the work I do seemingly produces very little. I take care of my kids and my house, and while that’s worthwhile (or should be), there is very little that is tangible to show for it; messes are made as fast as I can clean them up, I cook food and we eat it all up right away, that sort of thing. I’m also a pianist, which means I spend hours upon hours over the course of several weeks learning music. It’s a very rewarding, but very slow process. So right now, when I knit, I feel the need to be productive, to have something to show for how I spend my time.

    That said, someday I’ll put my creative powers to work and design something more substantial than the occasional hat. I would have liked to enter the sock design contest, but I’m just not in the right “place” for that now.

    Good luck with your design. I have all of your sock patterns, and they are all gorgeous! I’m sure this one will be, too.

  8. Enjoy the creative process. I always think that’s the best part rather than the end result. Good luck with the contest!

  9. all this creativity must be due to all the beer fumes. ‘->

  10. michael · ·

    i love that picture in the pub…the beautiful yarn…the creative notes and charts…and the beer…it makes me happy šŸ™‚

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