On Becoming An Intentional Knitter

Here we have a keeper, finally, after the fifth start. The fifth.

More and more lately I find I must cast-on in a sequence of attempts before the project finally ‘finds its feet’.

Not a bad way, but it takes a lot of time.

Wanting to learn to be an Intentional Knitter I am considering laying down some guidelines for myself,  and not allowing myself to touch the needles until I have drawn out completely what I intend to knit, and mentally gone over each step.   Afterall, is my  knitting a means-to-an-end, or  merely a past-time ?

Wanting to speed things up ~ knit faster, cut corners, grow into my skin a bit more (a lot more) I’m going to have to just quit with the lazy ‘whatever happens will happen’ way of knit design.  I want, no, I need to create a system for myself by which I can go from concept to satisfaction of a finished knitted project. I need to:

1. Sketch and confirm the intention of what I want to make, regardless of skills I don’t yet know.

2. Assess the skills I need to learn, and have resources ready at hand to apply them.

3. Write as I go, take detailed notes (because I intend to learn the skill of pattern writing.)

4. Stay to the plan ! Do not stray  (the hardest part, as I am so squirrelly by nature).

5. Finish, and write the pattern, for the sake of practice.

These are my thoughts as to how to go about the knitting in the future. I’ve already started these Autumn Sweaters for my nieces, so I can at least follow steps 3, 4, and 5. This committing aspect of design, is not for pansies, and I find myself up against a limitation of doubting in my ability. I must go deep within myself and draw on determination and faith in my ability, and to have higher perspective when to stay on course, and when to make an edit ~ and there between is a very fine division.

14 thoughts on “On Becoming An Intentional Knitter

  1. I say don’t mess with success! I can agree that adding some structure to the unintentional muse can help the process, but remember, creativity has it’s own rules,…or lack thereof :).

    • Morrie, your comment comes with perfect timing. I was already beginning to scare myself with the rigidity of discipline ! 🙂 But… I will ‘improve’ in little steps at least. xx THANK YOU !

  2. I am totally with Moz. Each play/session is so different…it’s intent and purpose for creative, design, skill-building practice, pattern writing…varies from one and other. Taking #4 rule for example,often times, ideas just don’t work out as planned. You may arrive to the appropriate finding from knitting up once, maybe twice, or even three times that your “idea” may be best altered. Sticking to a plan doesn’t always a good plan. But, you are definitely on a good track, Jen 😀 Love the sweater so far, sista.

    • So how about I lighten up on step 4 & maybe even 5 (if the writing a pattern, for instance, is so mathmatical and left-brained that it intimidates my creativity and I stagnate on the progress. I have nothing but the greatest admiration from your advice Sarah, as a pro knitter … stay with me here on this, pleeeease :).

  3. Mrs Disciplined!! I am impressed.

    I think it is so alien to creative people to be organised and planned. It may be an idea to make the plans and sketches into a scrap book which is a creation in it’s own right and beautiful to look at – Lots of wee swatches in it too (if you have enough yarn) – it is then so much more fun and part of the project whilst telling your story. I agree that you should have structure but if you want to deviate then do so – don’t try to put a square peg into a (beautifully designed) round hole. Making these changes part of your scrap book will encourage the ‘creativeness’ whilst giving you a good reference for the future. Just a thought.

    I think your determination and focus are admirable.

    And I love the sweater.

    • Brilliant ! No,… no square-thinking mathy pegs crammed into a beautifully designed round hole. Love it !
      Ok, I really need this scrap book thing. I see how some people ‘virtually’ scrap book, with certain programs and photos , but I think I’m going to have to wrestle myself into a habit of swatching… (oh, forgot that… perhaps between steps 1 and 2 ! 🙂 for that has yet been something I avoid. I have notes… which are total scribbles on the sides of sheets, on bills, on invoices of odd bits, on anything which is *not* the official progress notes , which I need to change. I have this overwhelming need to purge out the slop, the bad swatches, the wrong notes, but it occurs to me now, that the slop is part of the whole thing. Give me a “d” … now a “u” … and finally… a “h”. ! Thank you Lizzi, for your big-sisterly advice, I really have come to depend on you . In fact, I have my dream team all lined up on this commentary (finally : You, Morrie(Mo), Handstitch, and MrCampbellScot ! ) xx

  4. Jen, bizzilizzikelso so succinctly puts into words my own thoughts on this post. I believe this is an important debate for you to have with yourself and with those who have left their own valuable viewpoint here. I wish you well in your experiment to discover a design methodology that works repeatedly well for you and encourages you to discover the full gamut of your creative expression. I greatly look forward to seeing the results here on Yarnings.

    • Thank you ! Your viewpoint is very valuable too. I think you might be interested in my replies to the previous two comments. I would like Yarnings to stay innocent, to never lose the ‘wow-look-what-I-just-discovered’ feel to it, the amateur angst, and the obsessive ‘open’ thought process, and, and the dear friends who come and say their bit, which is the most important part of the whole thing, and essential ! For I then get to reply in turn and work it out more. I’m ever grateful !

  5. Hi Jen, I read “My Favorite Mistake”and thought how I agree! And the colors from dyeing turned out to have beautiful variations. I love how it turned out. I did get “lost” landed on a page where I couldn’t reply, so I thought I’d reply here. I tried clicking this post, and on the title page, both brought me here. I’d add that I don’t have any notes on knitting I do, except for areas I’m likely to make a mistake. But I like your system, and the added option to deviate if you want to! I always enjoy your posts, its very homey and interesting to read.

    • Thank you very much Martha, for your heart-felt comments , as always.
      I do make a ton of mistakes, and I’m rather just trying to figure out how to prevent them from happening so often. xx

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