Sunday, November 14, 2010

Good Consumer. Good.

I feel like this post needs a kind of disclaimer because I am writing in a different style this time. I love snark, wit, and sarcasm and occasionally attempt to put it in my writing. This entry is an exploration of that tone. I'm not entirely sure if I will write more posts this way or even that I needed this disclaimer. Perhaps I'm just avoiding writing the actual post.


As a person moves beyond the first stages of learning how to knit they usually begin to be either a product knitter or a process knitter. In other words, they knit because they are product whores or because they enjoy the zen meditation state they fall into as they knit.

The images of these two types of knitters is not without their bias. A product knitter, I imagine, is the kind of consumer that capitalism happily produces, the person who lusts after what they cannot have and who works tirelessly to obtain ever increasing amounts of stuff. This person is the good consumer who, capitalism tells us, keeps our economy going.

The process knitter, on the other hand, sits on the floor in lotus pose calmly knitting through everything and doesn't care if mistakes are made or if the cat starts eating the sweater. This knitter uses good materials to enjoy the process ever more and is occasionally surprised that a finished object occurs at the end of knitting.

My current project has convinced me that I fall squarely into the product camp. I want it like a good consumer wants black friday to hurry up and get here already.

I know that I am a product knitter because I do not enjoy knitting this thing. I made a scarf for a friend some time ago out of a mystery yarn in my stash which I'm sure some well meaning person gifted to me. It is a purple worsted weight acrylic boucle. This means that its a pretty color, kind of lumpy, and splits like a needle going through fabric.

I didn't particularly enjoy knitting the scarf either, but I am trying to use up my stash because I'm poor and buying yarn when I already have lots seems silly. I designed a large reversible cable to go down the middle of the scarf. Why did I try to make a cable, something that needs good stitch definition, in a yarn like boucle that has almost no stitch definition? Because apparently I like to torture myself.

And not just on the one project. My dear friend asked for a matching hat for her coming November birthday. "Of course I'll knit you a hat to match your scarf! I'd love to. I have more of the same yarn too!" Great.

Since the scarf had a cable, the hat needs cables as well, because I need continuity or my brain will explode. That leaves me at today, knitting cables with a yarn I already know won't show cables very well and wishing the stitch definition on the hat was better.

Today I am a product knitter. People ask me why I knit. Sometimes I give them the product answer. I like to knit because of the things I can make. They are unlike anything store bought. They are my own creation. Something I give them the process answer. I like the feel of knitting. I like knowing how the decisions I make about my knitting will affect the finished object. Sometimes, it calms me down. This product/ process debate is really all just a cover up for the fact that I don't know why I am knitter.

I don't know why I am knitting a cabled hat in purple acrylic boucle worsted weight yarn, except that I want it. Except that my friend has been such a good friend to me for so many years. Except that every stitch is totally worth it.

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