The other day I was pondering about why I knit, and at what point I decided to move beyond being a beginner. As I gained more experience, my reasons to knit changed depending on the project. So what follows are my thoughts on the philosophical question – Why I (You) Knit?
- Designing – Initially, as with most beginners I relied on purchased pattern instructions for my projects. As I became comfortable with knitting, and understanding pattern instructions, I needed a challenge. For me, this came in the form of wanting to make garments for myself, designed by me, including how-to write instructions. I leapt into designing by copying knits I saw in stores. So tape measure in hand, I would take measurements in the dressing room, drew a quick sketch and schematic, to begin the design process. This is not to say that this should be every knitter’s goal. However, copying designs and knitting from measurements is a skill that comes in handy when you can’t find the right pattern that meets all your expectations.
- Rest and Relaxation – I often knit to rest and relax. Give me its repetitive, sometimes hypnotic motion, and I’m in the zone – focused, but not overwhelmed by the task at hand. Knitting for relaxation is probably not for the absolute beginner, but give it some time to get comfortable knitting. I think most knitters can’t wait for long stretches of knitting time.
- Project vs. Process Knitters – Some knitters focus more on the destination – the project, whereas others focus on the journey – the process. No knitter has total focus in one camp or the other, but I think that we place more emphasis on either the project or process. The process of knitting is where I gain the most pleasure. However, when a project meets both needs, that’s the most fulfilling.
- Challenges – Sometimes I just want to do “mindless” knitting, because I don’t want the challenge of writing the instructions for a design. But a knitter can’t stay in their comfort zone forever; you need to try something new including pattern stitches, pattern writing, different cast on methods, swatching new ideas, or other techniques. The challenges are endless, but can certainly spice up your knitting.
- Gift Giving – I’ve known knitters who only knit gifts for Christmas or other special holidays. Experiencing the appreciation in a recipient’s eyes is the best gift of all.
- Seasonal Knitting – I’ve also met knitters who only knit in the fall or winter. I’ve been asked “why do you knit in the summer…don’t you get hot”. If you’re a die-hard knitter, the time of year doesn’t matter. What is more fun than a cool drink in hand lounging on the deck, knitting.
- Socializing – Although my blog is a social media tool, and I love sharing my skills with an audience, I must admit that social knitting is not one of my top reasons to knit. Knitting is my private time; time for working out designs or simply relaxing. Distraction from other knitters would cause me to lose focus. I can’t deny the enjoyment others have by socializing and knitting. It certainly helps in meeting the knitting community, and learning new skills.
- Wardrobe Additions – I cringe at the thought of purchasing an expensive sweater made out of synthetic yarn. For me, knits must be a quality purchase – longevity, wears well, and is made of the best yarn. Depending on your skill level, budget, and time, most knitters could make a high quality knit rather than a purchased one. With the best yarn, I try to knit something new and fashionable for my wardrobe each season.
The art of knitting is to experience joy in the beauty of color, texture, and in its accomplishment. There are many more reasons to knit than what’s listed above. Depending on the project and its purpose, my focus will be skewed towards one or two reasons. But I would say my private time is where my journey starts and ends for every project. What are your reasons for knitting or does it really matter?