Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fast or Fun?

I belong to the Knit Picks e-mail list. Actually, I belong to a bunch of yarn and knitting e-mail lists, because I like to keep up on the latest sales tips, tricks, cheap yarn and patterns and yarn specials. *ahem* Anyway, recently one of my Knit Picks emails arrived. It linked to a video tutorial on speed knitting. I clicked over to watch it . . . . but then I closed out before it even loaded. You see, I'm torn on the idea of speed knitting.

On one hand (or perhaps "one needle"), the idea is very appealing. There are so many things out there that I want to knit! I think about starting and finishing a sweater before the heat of summer hits. I imagine actually knitting a pair of socks each month. I dream of cranking out little things like mittens and cowls and hats (oh my) when ever the mood strikes. It all sounds pretty great.

But then I thought some more. I thought about what knitting really is to me. A process. Something relaxing (most of the time) and enjoyable (usually). Do I really want to turn knitting into a quest in which I must go faster and faster? I push myself an awful lot. My house must be spotless. My dinners must be scrumptious. My diabetes must be in control all of the time (which is impossible, but that doesn't stop me from beating myself up on those inevitable bad days). I put a lot of pressure on myself already. How happy will I be if I now pressure myself into speed knitting? Not very happy, I think. I want my knitting to be something I look forward to. Something that releases the pressure. Something I enjoy. Even if it takes me two months to finish a pair of socks. Or almost a year to knit a sweater. I can live with that. I feel so proud when a project gets finished. Wouldn't that pride fade if I was churning out projects right and left? I suspect it would.

The one opinion I don't want about speed knitting comes from my stash. The lace-weight, cotton, baby yarn, wool and sock yarns.


Or the pile of worsted skeins.


Or the bin of sweater yarns, sandwiched between more baskets of lace-weight and a big bag of acrylic.


If you ask them, I don't knit fast enough. They worry that I could never live long enough to knit them all. They may have a point. But I think I'll knit at my own pace anyway.

What are your thoughts on speed knitting? Are you inspired to give it a whirl? Or do you find it a stressful thought, like I do?

20 comments:

Jennifer said...

I worry about the chances for repetitive motion injuries. I also agree with the knitting process for relaxation. If you're all concerned about speed, won't you lose that?

Melissa said...

I'm with you. No need to go super fast. I try to just enjoy the process!

JellyDonut said...

I watched the video and it has some good points--relaxed shoulders, minimal finger movements. This might actually help prevent injuries. But when I heard the word "compete," I was outta there! No way will my knitting ever be a competition. I already put too much pressure on myself to make my knitting as perfect as possible. Now I'm supposed to be as fast as possible too? I don't think so.

I feel the same about speed reading. Sometimes you just have to let go and enjoy the process.

Danielle said...

I saw that email, too, and didn't click on the link. However, maybe I should. I, like you, enjoy the process and don't want to push, push, push. However, maybe there would be tip that would make my knitting faster without pushing. Then, I could knit all those things in my queue and have so many finished projects to share with my friends and family. :)

Kathy said...

Karen

I like to finish things. I am no speed knitter, but I am monogamous and so I cannot take year to knit a sweater. It is my thing about waste and worrying I wont ever get back into that particular patterns groove again. I love a good relaxing knit. Tiny bit of challenge is good.

I am so glad you have observed how you like and HAVE to have some perfection in your life. IT is so good for us to take the time to do this.

Im no speed knitter. Nope. I couldnt if I wanted to be ! hahhahahha.

I'm Marissa said...

While I would like to knit a bit faster (because I currently hold the title of World's Slowest Knitter), I'm with you- I would not want to turn knitting into anything other than what it is to me right now. I want more time to knit! And I want to move into your stash room.

Spincerely said...

I agree with you too, Karen. As much as I go on and on about finishing things, I am more of a process rather than product knitter. I even like knitting swatches just for the sake of knitting. I have also slowed down a bit over the last year and I'm taking more breaks in my knitting just to keep my fingers and hands in better shape.
Now, I have to go find out how to get on that mailing list. I used to get Knitpick e-mails all the time, I wonder when they stopped?
(and btw, you have SOME stash!)

Lynn said...

I'm with you on this one. The time I DON'T enjoy knitting is when I HAVE to. The idea of speed knitting reminds me of speed reading. They tested us in school once and while I did really well, I did NOT enjoy what I read. Since I read for enjoyment (most of the time anyway), why rush the experience?

Heide said...

The idea of speed knitting falls into the same vein of thinking that makes my husband question why I have so many projects on the needeles at once. To him, knitting is nothing more than a job to get done rather than a relaxing process to be enjoyed.

Zonda said...

I'm with you as well! :) As much as I'd love to knit up the stash..I do like to enjoy it! :)

bmom said...

I'd love to knit a little more quickly than I do. Especially when I'm working on the shawl with the 815 stitches per row! But it's not a contest -- I just try to finish projects in a reasonable amount of time without hurting myself.

Besides, I'm afraid I'd make a lot of mistakes if I went too fast -- now that would really bother me.

Jessica said...

Great post! I had to giggle a couple of times up there at the top! :)

For me, I think speed knitting would be nice to have for those time when you want to turn it on (like the never ending scarf or something), but I'd also want to be able to turn it off when I just want to enjoy each stitch and the feel of the yarn through my fingers. It's a tricky balance for sure.

knitseashore said...

I didn't see the video, but it sounds like speed knitting is a misnomer. The faster I knit, the more I frog...better for me to get it right the first time. Like you, I have some perfectionist tendencies, and I can't just live with the mistakes.

Sonya said...

I watched the video too. But I have a pace that's comfortable for me. As much as I'd like to crank FOs out faster!

Sarah said...

While there are certainly some instances where I want the finished product NOW, darnit -- in general, I don't think speed knitting is for me. It sort of voids the reason I knit in the first place!

Ariel said...

I'm a super-slow knitter, but I can knit much faster if I really try. For me, though, that pace makes knitting stressful. I'll crank it out if I'm on a deadline (which I generally avoid anyway), but much better to enjoy the process!

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

You are so funny! I am also torn about the whole concept, somehow it seems like too much pressure. I also didn't let the video load!:)

Beverly said...

faster is not always better and there's something to be said about tradition!

i'm so glad i found you on eryka's blog! not only are we both knitters. i am also a diabetic and we have competing yarn stashes. we must be twin sisters of different mothers!!

Walden said...

I think at times, it has merits, as something new to learn. But in the end, I am all about the process and not so much about the product, so for me it would take all the fun out of it. Knitting and any crafting is more about the creativity, the learning, and the journey . . . why would I want to rush all of that?

AmyPinSeattle said...

I'm not so concerned about the speed...however, becoming competent in several different methods of knitting to prevent any repetitive stress injuries.

By default, I do a bit of a weird combo of throwing, but with my left hand instead of the traditional right hand. So I watch a video to pick and will try to pick for one row at at time while alternating with my default method! This is especially nice to break up row after row of stockinette!

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