Monday, September 25, 2006


I started another post but it sounded a bit apologetic. When I have photos I'll post them and if they suck, they suck.

I've been thinking a lot about why I knit and what kind of knitter am I? Am I a process or product knitter? And does it matter if I am one, or the other or both or neither? I suppose I could be trying to understand my uncontrollable urge to stash. Except reading other knitters' blogs and books, this isn't really that weird. And lots of people stash tools for their hobby ... like my Mum with her beading and quilting and most people who love to read keep libraries, often with large book queues. There's nothing worse than sitting down at 9pm at night with a good DVD or movie on TV and thinking ... "hmm yes I'd like to make this in pink and white" and not having any pick or white whatever on hand. It stifles creativity.

So then, I am trying to understand my compulsion to cast on and start projects and then ... cast on and start other projects. I guess I'm not project driven to the point that I think "I want a scarf/socks/sweater" and then sit down and make it to have it. I tend to think of wanting to make things so I've made them. Sure I like to have things I've made, although I don't tend to keep a lot of what I make. But often I enjoy the experience of following a pattern and seeing how it turns out. And that means that since I'm not driven by a need for whatever the object is NOW, I can enjoy trying out a variety of patterns at once and pick up whatever I feel like knitting at that point in time.

The trouble with that is that every so often I suffer anxiety - too much to knit, too little time, what should I be knitting now? And whatever I am knitting now is preventing me from knitting that, over there, now. I deal with this in two ways. The first is to pick one object, the thing closest to being finished, and work on that to completion. This satisfies the panic that I finish nothing. The second is to pick say 5 objects and work on them in rotation, either by repeat or number of rows or next step in the pattern, or sewing up. This satisifes the urge to be knitting everything at once.

Finally, why do I knit? Especially if I gift most of what I make, or like I am doing now, making to sell generic items. If I knit things and don't care about them when they are finished (often they go straight to the intended person or put away in the cupboard to be wrapped and labelled and priced for sale) then I can't be knitting for the finished object. This got me thinking last night about artists. Painters paint and when they are done, they try and sell it. The majority of their work goes away to be viewed by other people. They put their heart and soul into a piece and then out it goes into the unknown. Gone forever. On the other hand, how many paintings can one person keep? Even if the answer is 30, prolific artists will paint far more than this in a lifetime, and they won't love every single one of them. Thus, its the act of painting where the pleasure is derived - the act of creating, and once done, the enjoyment is found in doing it again and the first object, whilst loved, may not hold the same allure as the blank canvas of potential.

So then. Does that make me an artist? Am I practicing my craft more as an art than as .... a craft?


chocolatetrudi said...

Sounds to me like you're a process knitter. You love the process, and aren't necessarily itching to use the finished item.

BWT, artists aren't always painting to sell. Having been an illustrator, I love the fact that I can paint what I like, in whatever medium I like, and take as long as I like. If anyone buys one it's a bonus, and I'd much rather I sold it to someone I know who will give the painting a good home than some stranger who might throw it out when he or she changes the decor.

Alisa Krasnostein said...

But the problem then lies in how prolific you are. My mother discovered beading. She loved it, got obsessed and was turning out 5 or 8 necklaces or earrings in an evening. She ended up with hundreds of beautiful creations ... and we looked at her and said, you have to sell them.

I wonder if it relates to how long you spend on a piece?

chocolatetrudi said...

Oh, I know the whole storage problem thing really well. It encourages me to actually let people buy some of my paintings. Otherwise I'd keep them all myself.

I used to be really into silk paintings and churned out waaay too many scarves. Fortunately I lost interest after a while, and have gradually given away or sold all but my favourite scarves as gifts.

Only trouble is, I spent hundreds of dollars on a big roll of silk. I've been tossing up whether to sell it, or dye it up, cut it into ribbons and knit it.