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Not even close.

Process versus product is a false dichotomy. THERE I SAID IT. Loads of people talk about whether they’re process knitters or product knitters — or whether a project is a process knitting project or a product knitting project — and I don’t think I’m one or the other. I can’t think of any projects where I was gritting my teeth and knitting painfully forward because I so badly wanted whatever it was I was making (frankly, I don’t think my knitting skills are so l33t that it’d be worth the dental damage), and knitting a thing I hated or didn’t want just because I needed to work my fingers smacks of obsessive-compulsive behaviour. Like all either/or propositions, it’s usually a boo-boo to say the appeal is all product or all process.

But I think they might be two ends of a spectrum. Without doubt there are things I like less than the process of producing them (I like making cakes, but most of the time I couldn’t give two shits about eating them and prefer to give them away to coworkers), and there are some things that aren’t as fun to do as they are to complete, but the end result makes the less-fun process worth it (cleaning the bathtub springs immediately to mind). But the best projects of all are the ones smack in the middle of the spectrum, where process is fun and the end result is perfectly worth it: like making bread or shaking cocktails.

Lately I’ve been hankering for very particular knitting. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and writing, so I want something soft and woolly and comparatively simple to balance the brain out (yeah, that’s how it works; trust me, I’m a neuropsycholiniguist). But I’m not going to knit endless, unwanted garter stitch squares just to keep my hands busy. (Am I the only person who hears phrases like “keeping your hands busy” and “the devil makes work for idle hands” and immediately thinks “ANTI-MASTURBATION STRATEGY”?) So I want to knit things that are soft, woolly and straightforward, but also with a final product I genuinely want.

There’s socks on the needles, obviously, but I’m losing my appetite for socks: I have a fair few now and demand is dropping around here. Makes the end result — and therefore the process — less satisfying, yanno? So I switched to the other end of my body. This dreadband is, as far as I’m concerned, the ne plus ultra of knitting projects, meeting every tickbox for Awesome. I needed a simple black dreadband to bravely restrain the frizzy baby dreadlocks for work, so it’s a much-desired product (tick PRODUCT box); it was an easy and happy process, finished in one evening while hanging out with mates and having dinner (tick PROCESS box); and it used up the last of a rogue ball of black crepe that was unlikely to be used for anything else (tick NON-WASTEFUL bonus box).


This baby is done and ready to fly. I love it: it fits, it was fun to make, and it used up some stash that was just cluttering up the joint. Full marks!

Next level of commitment/complication up, a sweet and pretty top:

WIP not looking its best

Not looking awesome in this shot, but have a bit of faith: this photo is more for the purposes of comparison when I finish it. The Lacey Tunic is charging along nicely, after a short hiatus. See, I had to work the back shoulders/neckline at the same time as the front shoulders/neckline and this was apparently enough of a brainfuck that I just threw the whole thing in a bag and surrendered, shouting “What am I, a physicist?” (No: neuropsycholinguist, see above.) Finally, its plaintive cries started to wake me in the night, so I huffily got the bag out and did a status examination. Turns out I only had two rows to go and then could kitchener the shoulders together and whammo: body done. I had it done within an episode of the Simpsons. Now I’ve just got a couple of brief sleeves (seriously brief: pick up stitches around armhole, eight rows of seed stitch, DONE) and a generous cowl to go and it’s ready to wear. Brief sleeves and a cowl are awesome while-talking knitting, and while having a look at the pattern last night I remembered why I wanted the top in the first place: looking forward to doing it, looking forward to getting it done. Process and product meeting in a beautiful unity.

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