Process or Product?

I’m the kind of crafter who always has to have something on the (in my case) needles. Having just finished a piece whose yarn was scratchy and whose design was tediously repetitive, I found that (for now) I’m drawn to a design with frequent changes, using yarn that delights my fingers.

So, for the first-mentioned piece, product was the goal. But now I find myself seeking pleasant process.

What most consistently informs your own choice of project? Product or process?

I don’t know about anyone else… but for me, it depends. But if I really think about it… it’s a combination of process, product, and overall achievement. Most of my crochet projects (well, almost all of my craft projects of late) are for personal use, or as a gift. Plus the need to make extra income for my family. That’s why I started writing patterns.

I enjoy the process of creating a new pattern. It’s true, that right now, my patterns are really simple, easy patterns… but it’s the fact that I am being creative in a way that will allow others to work in the craft. That process of crocheting something out, figuring out a pattern and writing it out for others to follow gives my brain the stimulation it needs.

Once I’m done, I actually have two products. The item I crocheted, which I will either use, or give to someone else to use, and the pattern I’ve written, which I will then sell to others that are interested in it. In that way, I’m giving back to the craft, in creating patterns other can follow and enjoy.

Then there is the overall achievement. I’ve made something unique, with my own two hands. It’s the look on someone else’s face when I give that item to him or her. That look of delight, when someone realizes I love, and care about them enough to devote the time, energy and creative spark, to make something uniquely for them. A hand crafted item is an item made with loving care. It may not be perfect, but that’s part of its charm. Anyone can go to a store and buy a gift. When you take the time and effort to make a gift for someone, you are thinking about that person every step of the way. From what colors they like, to what their personal style is… you are creating a product that can not be found anywhere else. Then there is also the accomplishment of completing the project, and the sense of satisfaction that comes with it. You brought that product into existence. The patience and devotion that comes with making an item by hand, breeds its own sense of triumph. There are not many that can say ‘I did that’. It’s a tangible reminder of who you are, and what this person means to you.

Wow, I seem to be in a philosophical mood today!

It depends.

Sometimes I’ll see a pattern that just looks really fun or interesting or something I can learn from, but it’s not necessarily something I’ll use. That’s a process knit for me and I’ll often give away the end product. This happens a lot with shawls. I probably have 200 shawls in my queue just because I find them fun to knit, but there are only certain shapes I like to wear. For example, I don’t care to wear half-circle shawls usually, but I really wanted to knit a Dusk into Twilight shawl with this pink yarn that I had. I don’t even know why I bought it because I rarely weary anything pink (red is more my color). So I knit it anyway and donated it as a prayer shawl.

OTOH, I just finished a baby sweater that was all product. I wanted to knit it as a gift and I did enjoy working with the yarn, but I didn’t learn anything new and it was a basic, boring knit.



I sometimes wonder if I’m even a knitter. I love to look at patterns and find the yarn. But I lose all interest at certain points in the process - socks are good to the first heel, never mind the second sock, baby cardigans are good for the two fronts and lose interest for the sleeves and back. The current shawl was good from 5 stitches to about 100 with two repeats of the pattern - I’m two rows away from the final increase to 315 with an edging to do yet. Scarves are good for about a foot, and then I have five more to go. Baby blankets and afghans are nice for about the first quarter and then it’s slogging to the end. Maybe I like the idea of knitting more than the actual knitting. I mainly knit while watching TV - it alleviates the guilt of watching TV (at least I’m doing something with an end product and not wasting my time type of idea) or for relieving boredom on long road trips. Maybe I need to find a new hobby?

@annekepoot Maybe you’d like weaving? Or could it be that you just need a short break from knitting? I was really feeling the same way at the beginning of the year. (It wasn’t burnout from holiday knitting because I don’t knit gifts for Christmas.) We took a couple of big trips in January and February. I did bring my knitting, but hardly knit at all, even during the 56 hour return trip! When we got back I found myself excited to knit again.

Oh boy, I bet your WIP count is as high as mine, even!

@annekepoot I’m the same way, which is perhaps why I have seven or more things on the needles, one on the hook, and several others in hibernation. I run into something tedious or annoying or some kind of roadblock, and it sits and sits until I can find a mental slot for it. Designing and starting projects has been, historically, way more fun for me than actually working them! A strong product focus combined with the immediate gratification of a project well planned doesn’t lend itself to actually completing the project.

In recent months I’ve been trying to take this into account and make sure that the process is gratifying enough in and of itself to keep my interest throughout the project. Some yarns just feel really good to knit, and sometimes the pattern is engaging enough to stay interesting. Sometimes I have a nice gradient yarn and watching the colors develop is my carrot, and sometimes it’s an utterly boring knit with so-so yarn but it’s my car project and better than nothing!

So rest assured, you are indeed a knitter, even if you have to make some process adjustments so you get more FOs out of your UFOs. I think we just got a new UFO support group here, if you want that final push for some of yours.

That’s the problem - I rarely have WIPs because I soldier on with gritted teeth until they are done. Then another “squirrel” runs by and I’m in the loop again.

I’m not sure - I had a quilt phase for 20 years, an embroidery phase for about 10 years, knitting since I was 10 so about mumble years (let’s say there’s a reason I’m on Elderberries) so maybe this phase has run its course? Can’t be because I’m still SABLE. Maybe go back to crochet?

@Amore My answer is both. I usually start with the product I hope to make, and enjoy the many processes that come with creating. I always have a few things OTN that require different levels of concentration. For a while I wasn’t knitting very much at all, I was sewing. I had left a few groups on R because they were no longer enjoyable and that affected my enjoyment of the process. Joining this wonderful community not only cured that but has me going out again to podcasts and YT to learn more techniques. What I love most is that there are always new things to learn. That being said what gets me looking for needles and yarn is a product that I want to make. I’m sorry for sounding so nebulous, the truth is I’m not sure I really differentiate the two in my mind.

@annekepoot Crochet might be the answer. Sometimes when I just don’t feel like knitting, I’ll grab a hook. I’ve been tempted to try weaving, but I don’t know if I’ll like the setup process. Like you, I’m SABLE or close to it. I’d be inundated with yarn if I didn’t occasionally destash. Of course that doesn’t mean much. I have a closet full of scrapbooking supplies that I haven’t looked at in ages. I should really sell off some of that.

For me, it’s almost always about both process and product. I love spinning my own yarn, and hate just doing plain knitting or weaving. When I look for knitting and sewing projects, I look for interesting or complex construction. For knitting, that often means lace or stranded colorwork. Some of my favorite sewing projects are tailored coats and jackets. Most of my weaving is doing bands, and weaving pictorial bands is so much fun!
One of my woven bands made into a guitar strap—Playing Cats


I’d have to say I’m more process than product. A great project to me is like a visit with your best friend. Many times I’m sad when a piece is finished. I frantically look for another project. Sometimes I’m lucky and me and the new project are kindred spirits. Other times, you feel like you’ve joined a “clique” that you don’t belong in. Thankfully, lately I’ve made great friends with almost all of my projects!

I adore the process of knitting. I love hand winding yarn, too. I don’t enjoy sewing pieces together, but I will do it, because I want the final product. So, for me I really love the process best. I enjoy challenging stitches and patterns, too.

I agree - unusual construction keeps my attention - loved making String Theory socks.

It’s an interesting combination of the two for me, for some unique reasons. Process is a large part of it because I am disabled and mostly housebound, so I knit to keep myself busy and give my hands and mind something to do. I always have a couple projects going because I literally don’t do much else besides knit. However, as the daughter of a hoarder, I learned the hard way (when I had to clean out my mom’s house after she died) that having too many interesting, but useless, objects around the house is a very bad thing. I won’t make anything unless I know for sure it’s going to be useful or worn by the recipient, so I’m very picky about what projects I’ll even consider. That’s not to say I don’t have tons of patterns saved, but I won’t actually start on a project unless I’m sure if it’s usefulness. I recently discovered some charity knitting projects that make me very happy because I can make interesting things that I would have no use for normally, but know that they will actually get used.

You are my new role model.

“A great project to me is like a visit with your best friend.”
How expressive!

This is a wonderful insight into the mind of a crafts designer.
Thank you, SDMcDaniel, for your expressiveness and your insightfulness.

Yup, I gotcha about the squirrels!