Process vs. product

People who make things often fall into one of two categories: those that do it for the finished product, or those that do it for the process. Generally, product crafters will churn out an impressive quantity of a narrow selection of items. Sally will crochet fifteen hundred washcloths in assorted colors and different patterns. Barbara will whip up a carload of throw pillows for a local craft bazaar. Michael will release a book every four months for twenty years.

Process crafters, on the other hand, will seek out different techniques or methods, working more to satisfy a creative urge than to meet some arbitrary deadline. Lisa will start and rip out a pair of knitted knickers eight times. Bob will paint over a canvas eleven times in his attempt to capture the particular reflection of light off of a dew drop. Mary will take seven years to write a sequel, taking frequent sabbaticals to travel or pursue other interests.

There are crafters who have a foot in each camp, of course, or that go back and forth – I’m one of those. I knit to make things, useful things like socks or hats, but I actively seek out new patterns and techniques. I enjoy whipping out a simple washcloth once or twice, but then I need something to sink my teeth into. This is why I have several projects underway at any given time. Crafters like me will try new things just to see what happens, have a diverse product list, or come out with limited edition items. They may not be able (or willing) to duplicate something they made.

My latest cast-on is a pair of short socks with unique construction, they have seams on each side! The pattern has you sew these up before beginning the instep but I didn’t have a needle with me when I reached that point so I’ll just do it later. Makes for a funky looking WIP, though.


(Pattern: Turkish Bed Socks. Yarn: A Swell Yarn Shop DeKay)

About wonkydonkey

You want random? You got it. Mostly knitting and gardening, with some home improvements, pets, baking, family, and the occasional bad joke thrown in for good measure.
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2 Responses to Process vs. product

  1. I’m a process (and finisher!) crafter as well. I usually have 3 projects going at once. One incredibly easy and mindless to take with me to knit night so I have a chance to chat. A medium difficulty project for the rest of the time. And an incredibly large and/or complicated one for when the kids go to bed and I can concentrate on it. Sometimes it may be knitting. Other times it could be crochet or spinning. I like to switch it up but I do try to keep to my 3 project principle. I’ve been doing it for years and it keeps my mind going and the items are getting finished.

  2. wonkydonkey says:

    I don’t know that I could count the projects I have going at any given time. 🙂 Numerous, but they also span the difficulty levels. I love to knit socks, but I can’t knit the same.old.pattern.over.and.over – I think of the 15-20 pairs of socks I’ve knitted, every single pair has been a different pattern and often they are drastically different (not just a tweaked ribbing) – I love how many ways there are to construct a sock!

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