When the time came to enroll in a “house” for Knitting Blog Week, I struggled to figure out where exactly I belonged. All of the houses represented an aspect of my own knitting life. I am frequently working on more than one knitting project and flitting from interest to interest, like the bee; I use new projects as a way to teach myself heretofore unknown skills, like the monkey; I frequently bring my knitting to places I feel anxiety, the way the manatee might. In the end, however, I chose the Peacock House as my landing pad this week.
Eskimimi describes the peacock as “tak(ing) something good and mak(ing) it brilliant. Buttons, embellishments and a bit of sparkle prove that perfection lies in the details – like a Peacock’s Tail.” Reading this description made me think of both the way I’ve used unexpected colors, shapes, and buttons to enhance a project. The first part of Eskimimi’s phrase – “take something good and make it brilliant” – also caused me to reflect upon how I’ve modified patterns to make them more wearable or try-on-able while I’m working on them. Changing a cast-on to a provisional crochet cast-on or keeping the stitches live so I can Kitchner seams together has also helped me from unleashing my drunken-sailor seaming skills to the world.
I first took up knitting about seven years ago, with the full knowledge that I tended to passionately pursue my pastimes, only to burn out in a blaze of obsession and move on to the next thing. As a result, I thought of myself not as a “process” or a “product” knitter, but rather as a “cautious” knitter. I made a lot of garter-stitch scarves and side-seamed hats and only bought enough stash for the project on which I was working. When I made my first wearable sweater, I started to see the needle shift from “cautious” to “product”, as I saw how a new project could teach me new skills while I worked on it. That sweater was the first I knit in the round. When I made my next sweater, I learned how to do a three-needle bind-off so I could work the shoulder seams without having to sew them up. Though top-down raglans and set-in sleeve projects are my favorites, I also loved doing sleeve decreases when I worked a bottom-up project, like Beth Hahn’s Gretl sweater, in the round.
Knitting has been a great comfort to me over the years. Though I love the feeling of pulling yarn through loops, I also like having a specific point to which I’m working. I felt a little trepidation at identifying as a process knitter after reading Debbie Stoller’s ‘Stitch N Bitch’, which describes product knitters as never really learning anything past knit and purl. Having some idea where a project is going has helped me to keep knitting and not get discouraged.