So Who Needs Hand-Knit Sweaters Anyway?

And as evidence, I offer this, posted by none other than Grumperina, whose website is a showcase of breath-taking knitting. Of course, her reason for not knitting sweaters is due to the fact she's probably knitted something like 6 kazillion sweaters in her knitting lifetime and is just over it. My reason is because I am still only able to knit in 2 dimensions, and not very well at that. I have no business trying to knit sweaters. But I like the button and the rationale. And she invited me to take it, so here we are.

Reading her post boosted my knitting self-esteem a few notches, as it helped me remember that I, too am a process knitter. One reason (besides fear) that I move so slowly up the knitting techniques ladder is because I have been enjoying the journey and I am not usually in a rush to get to a new technique until I feel like I will enjoy the process.

I don't have a picture of the very first thing I ever knitted; it went to frog heaven a while back. The "yarn" was a ribbon/tape variegated number that caught my eye one day when I was at Michael's. I bought 2 balls of the stuff, some big plastic needles and a cheap little pamplet-type book that taught the basics of knitting and I was off. It took me several attempts to cast-on using the long-tail method, and then the expected struggles with making a proper garter stitch instead of twisting some of the stitches by going through the back, and of course, being utterly mystified about why I sometimes had more stitches than I started with, and then would come up short. It was an ugly mess. So I ripped it all out.

A few weeks later, Mr. C and I were driving to visit my family - a 12-14 hour road trip. I needed a project, and packed the ribbon yarn and needles. But this time I did something smart. I went to Barnes & Noble, searched through a bunch of knitting books and found "Knitting School". I could understand the pictures and explanations and so I bought it and read the whole book in the first few hours of the trip. And this time, when I picked up the needles, I knew what to do and why I was doing it. I still had a few dropped stitches here and there, and my tension was inconsistent, but I. was. knitting! I knew I was hooked when, during the trip, my then 7-year old niece, who couldn't stop petting it, said "Oh, that scarf is so beautiful! One day, when I'm bigger, will you make me one, too?"

Of course, the answer was yes.

Unfortunately, I ran out of yarn about 2/3 through the scarf and couldn't find anymore. So I laid it aside, bought lots of brightly-colored fluffy acrylic stuff at the local craft superstores and knitted up a bunch of scarves. The first ones were in garter stitch, of course.

Then I stumbled upon the Land of Knitting on the 'net and experienced a taste of what heaven will be like! Free patterns, discussions about yarn and needles, and blogs! My next few scarves involved variations of garter and double and triple YO's. I liked these because they looked more textured and went really fast.

One fateful day, I stumbled upon this and decided I must make one immediately. But first, I had to find these wonderful, feltable wools that kitty pi knitters were using. So I went yarn-crawling at real, live knitting shops in the area and that's when I stopped being hooked and became addicted to wool and bamboo needles. I knitted that thing up so fast, I'm surprised the needles didn't catch fire. And the results were so very satisfying:

Criquette quickly became addicted to real wool as well

Since then, I have knit many more simple scarves, including these:

I've added simple hats and dishcloths to my repetoire:

Yet sometimes I feel like a knitting slacker because I am not more advanced after more than a year and a half of knitting everyday, especially when I visit your blogs and see the beautiful things you are all making.

But I just need to remember that I am a process knitter. I knit for the sensory experience, the meditative experience and the experience of making something for others to use and enjoy. And to practice my cussing. I have learned that I do my best when I am focusing on only trying one or two new things - be it a new yarn, new type of needles, new technique or new pattern - at a time, and then repeating the experience until I feel satisfied that I have mastered it and then I can move up the knitting ladder.

As far as the first scarf goes, it got set aside and eventually frogged. Someone bought the frogged "yarn " at a garage sale. But I'll never forget that first scarf, because it was part of my process.

I'd love to read about your first knitting project and whether you are a process or product knitter, so leave a comment.

"I am a process napper. Now go away."


wildflower38 said...

I think I'm both a process and a product knitter. I love the way soft woolen yarns feel in my hands. It's therapeutic for me. I feel calm, relaxed and at peace when I knit. I like seeing FOs. I like that knitting gives me a creative outlet. I like learning new things. I'm like to dig my heads into something new and produce a good-looking item.

My first knitted item was a dishcloth. It looks ugly because my tension was all over the place. I keep it because I made it and it made me happy.

Nichole said...

LOVE all your "simple" knits... but they're really not "simple" but what you enjoy! :)

Lissa said...

My first project was a garter-stitch scarf, which I wore the entirety of last winter. I've since been knitting mostly flat things (dishclothes, a cat blanket) and find that I knit to have something in my hands.

I'd like to have wearable finished projects, but I'm thinking more on the line of wristwarmers and more scarves than I am sweaters...

I've been knitting for under a year.

~ Melissa (found you via the Fall into Autumn Dishcloth swap)

RandomRanter said...

The first two thing I started knitting were scarves. The first thing I actually finished was a purse.
And really, with the time, care, and money knitting asks of you, there is not point in not doing stuff that you like. Those scarves are gorgeous.

Camille said...

I JUST cast on for a paw dishcloth for you. Oh well, it's mine now. I'll just have to make you something else. You cheater!! Just kidding...I was growing rather attached to it anyways. Then again, can you really have too many paw dishcloths? Probably not. You need at least as many as you have paws in the house. Which for me is 16.

Violiknit said...

I don't know if I'm process or product, but I've come to accept that fact that I love knitting hats the best. I think that hats can be the most creative and crazy accessory you want them to be! I love your scarf progession pictures; they are all really lovely!