The five stages of a knitting project

December 5, 2008

1. Yarn, pattern or kit catches your eye and tells brain, “Look closer.” Brain causes body to swivel about (rate of swivel depends upon a number of factors, including how besotted you became by the initial impression). Hand engages. Mind starts to race. Yes. I. Must. Have. The yarn, pattern or kit follows you home.

2. Yarn or pattern or . . . crawls into stash to begin the gestation period. Now here is where process differs slightly among knitters. For a monogamous knitter like me, yarn must be touched and fondled at least three times and on occasion, as many as ten times, before it comes into contact with needles. Patterns must be glanced at, read, glanced at, read, over and over and over and countless yarns considered.

For all those swinging knitters who have — gasp — multiple UFOs at any one time, the contact between yarn and needles may occur far more quickly. But, as I understand it, after the initial swatching and casting on, the project must still remain at rest until the gestation period is over. There are no exceptions; although, gestation periods may vary.

3. The brain gets upset that it’s initial infatuation has not been satiated. It wants this [ fill in the blank with the appropriate item: sweater, shawl, pair of socks, scarf, hat, other woolly item ] NOW. Frantic knitting coupled with passion for the entire process, the yarn, the needles, the pattern, the everything. Every single moment spent in the throws of this activity spells love, love, love.

4. Hate. You look at what you’ve done. It’s ugly. It’s not what you envisioned. The color is abysmal. The stitches are not even. Should you rip it out? Should you persevere? Maybe you could give it away. Someone would like it. Or would they? The thought crosses your mind, “Just finish it and burn it.”

I believe for the swinging knitters, this is the point at which the project is stuffed in to a bag — making room for yet another knitting bag purchase — and put away for a secondary gestation period. For monogamous knitters, this is the point at which knitting becomes a chore and the house finally gets cleaned. But how clean can a house be? Reluctantly, the project is resurrected and resumed.

In the case of the swinger, the project resumes when the knitter is looking for a favorite pair of scissors, stitch marker, needles, etc. and makes the dive into the stash-hoard, head first. “There it is,” your mind says, “it’s got to be in that lovely bag I bought ages ago.” Out pops the UFO ready to resume it’s proper place in the queue. Perhaps there is repeat of steps three and four.

Either way, swinger or monogamous, finally, it’s finished. Thank goodness that chore is over.

5. The knitting is done, you might as well block it. Or assemble it. Or sew seams or whatever the case may be. You carry out this drudgery and as you do so, you reminisce about the love you once shared. The memory of what you had initially envisioned has grown dim. But now, before you, something new flutters within you. Grow still, my beating heart you cry, as this phoenix rises into true magnificence.

Or maybe not. At any rate, you decide it isn’t so bad after all. You might as well send it along to it’s proper place, be it in your closet or to a friend. It becomes what it had always wanted to be in the first place. A hand knitted garment or object. An item that was lovingly created, stitch by stitch. No more, no less. I mean, it is, after all, just a [ fill in the blank with the appropriate item: sweater, shawl, pair of socks, scarf, hat, other woolly item ]. Lovely as it is, there will be others.

Oh yes, there will be others.


3 Responses to “The five stages of a knitting project”

  1. Kate Says:

    I’m your polygamous knitter – but you’re still pretty good at describing the life of a knitting project!

  2. Bethro Says:

    The swinger! That’s me, baby.

  3. Chrissie Says:

    Hahaha, I am a promiscuous knitter as well. Like a sailor I have a kntting bride in every port. But I do know the phase when the actual piece does NOT resemble my image of it AT ALL. And yes, sometimes that might be the point to roam somewhere else. To me my knitted objects are like children. They never turn out like they are expected to – with only a few exeptions. But they are unique and beautiful nonetheless, even the misshapen ones unless I frog them back into embryo state again. Yarn is so full of options. It’s a promise and will never disappoint you. A finished object is defined and you have to live with all the pros and cons and accept them for worse or for better or frog the whole thing ;-)).

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