I have heard that we knitters are supposed to, generally speaking, fall into one of two categories: process knitters and product knitters. (I feel like I should have a citation here, a sure sign that I've been reading too many academic articles lately.)(But just in case you want one, I could cite a couple of the Yarn Harlot's books to support my assertion, I'm sure.)
I am, however, an odd duck. Or schizophrenic, take your pick (I prefer the former, it sounds so much more friendly). My attitude towards my knitting varies, depending on the project, and I often find a way to incorporate both a process and a product bent into one project. Case in point: the Hip in Hemp skirt.
I am knitting this in a single color, and in an adult size (rather than the striped children's size shown in the picture, which, though cute, probably wouldn't flatter me at all). So here's the thing. I didn't really swatch. I knit the waistband and checked my gauge, more or less, and as it looked more or less right, I kept right on going. As I've been knitting, I have been keeping an eye on the skirt to see whether its proportions are turning out to look anything like something that might realistically fit someone like me. My general theory has been that, if it's too small, it'll go to Older Daughter. The chances of it being so oversized that it will be unwearable are slim, so I haven't worried too much about that. I like the look of the fabric on these needles, so all is well.
I find myself knitting exclusively on this skirt, as I'm dying to see how it turns out on so many levels. I'd like to know if it's going to fit. I'm wondering how the fabric will feel once I've washed it (this is my first time knitting with hemp -- I'm enjoying it quite a bit more than I'd expected -- and I've heard it washes up a dream). I'm wondering whether it'll be so see-through I'll need to put together some kind of light cotton lining underneath. I'm wondering whether a knitted skirt, even if it fits, will be at all flattering on someone who is, shall we say, a bit zaftig. Or, even if it looks good, how I will like the hang of it, as it will have some weight to it. In other words, I'm knitting this thing the way I read a fun mystery/thriller/plot-driven novel -- I'm dying to see how it turns out.
I'm not sure what to call this approach to knitting. I am aware that a number of people would call it insane. I mean, really. Swatching would answer so many of these questions. As would taking a really formal set of measurements of me, and comparing them to the measurements on the pattern (as opposed to a more loose slapping of the tape measure around the hip region -- my widest bit -- and calling it a day).
I feel about knitting this the way I've felt about knitting a few other projects that I've done. I just want to knit it. I want to have done it. I would like for it to be something I can and will wear, but frankly, I have no idea whether I'll wear a knit skirt until I have a knit skirt. And if I don't end up liking it, I'm not worried; I have an optional recipient should it be too small, so it's not like it's wasted knitting (is there such a thing?). I'm not sure even that explains my attitude towards this project. It's a forward momentum sort of thing; damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead. Or something. Is there a name for this? Kamikaze knitting? Insanity? On the one hand, it feels definitional of process knitting, except that I'm dying to see how it turns out, which is not very processual at all. It's good fun, either way.
As I'm working outside (just got the carpets cleaned -- finally!! -- and am trying to keep me and, more importantly, the dogs, off of them until they've had a chance to dry somewhat), I don't have any camera except the one in my computer, which, given the sunlight, isn't producing the best shots, but I did want to provide you with some evidence that I am achieving some kind of progress on the skirt. (That was all one sentence, are you impressed?)(It's grammatical, I promise; I'm pretty sure I could even diagram it.) So here's one.
I know. It looks more like one of those overexposed, it really is a flying saucer doncha see it?, shots than anything else. It doesn't convey the lovely navy blue character of this yarn, or the fact that I'm 41 rows into a 137-row project. Not too bad, eh? Of course, as happens with an a-line skirt knit from the top down, the rows get longer as I go on, but not too dramatically longer. They're also nicely spaced. One pattern row, and then three knitted rows. One pattern row, three knitted rows (I love knitting in the round). So it's easy to get myself to do one of those four-row repeats, and I only have to concentrate on the first row. Nice.
OK, while I feel like a bad Andi McDowell impersonator when I say this, don't hate me because I didn't swatch. It's apparently my nature as a knitter not to. (Hence the almost pathological preference for objects whose final size has some leeway to it.) I may pay large on this one. Of course, I may not.
Stay tuned for next time, when Our Heroine tries to decide whether the thirteen balls of yarn she bought will be enough to finish. Will she make it? Will she run out? Only time will tell.