Thursday, February 16, 2006

Why I enjoy designing

Yesterday I received the unexpected pleasure of an email from Melissa in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Melissa made a version of my men's vest (featured on an archived for her guy for Valentine's Day. She was also kind enough to send a photo:

This is one reason why I enjoy designing. You know by now that knitting is the source of great pleasure for me, and providing someone with a project that they enjoy knitting and produces a good-looking garment -- well, that's very gratifying. I get a huge kick out of seeing someone else's spin on a garment I've designed: their color choices, slight alterations they make, and so on. Melissa used a cashmerino instead of Manos and you can see how the stitch pattern just pops with a less rustic, more uniformly-spun yarn. Cool.

I know some knitters who are very talented and creative and design lovely items, but who have no interest in creating patterns that other knitters can follow. To them, knitting is an opportunity to create one-of-a-kind garments, to wear a sweater or scarf or hat that no one else in the world can wear, an expression of their individuality, a way to reject some of the everyone-is-wearing-the-same-sweater-they-bought-at-Gap mentality of the masses. Knitting as anticonsumerism, if you will. I find this fascinating, although it's not something I personally am very concerned with. When I was a kid, I was painfully conscious of not fitting in, of not wearing the "right" brand of shoes or clothes, of not having a huge budget for clothes and not having parents who were very concerned with style. (To give you a feel for my parents' take on fashion, my dad freaked out the first time I wanted to wear blue jeans to school because he viewed blue jeans as something poor kids had to wear. You can imagine how this went over with the hippie sensibility that was en vogue at the time, this being the, ahem, 1970s.)

The knitting world is large, and I am lucky to encounter knitters of all ilks. Philosophical differences like these keep it interesting.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting post, with some takes on knitting I had never thought of. I have seen people design and knit their own sweaters for exactly the "anti-gap" reason you give, but never thought of it that way.
I design stuff because an idea pops into my head, and then I can't find a pattern for it. Now, with the net, I can sometimes sell the pattern, and yes, it gives me the warm fuzzies to see someone else's interpretation. Partly for the inspiration of their take on it, and partly just that someone liked my stuff enough to take my idea and run with it.
I'll have to check out the RYC.
Barb B

Carol said...

Hey, Barb B, where ya been?

Anonymous said...

Hey Carol! I been waiting for the meds to get to work on the depression. Finally they've kicked in and I'm back to my old self mostly. Except I can't have wine with dinner.
Barb B.

MissyJoon said...

Carol--I think the vest turned out really nicely--and it looks so good posted on your blog!!!! Tahnks for your postivie comments!

Maria said...

It's generous of you to go to the considerable effort of developing a pattern for others to follow (as opposed to just making notes you could follow if you wanted to knit another) and then post it to share.

I just use Sweater- and SockWizard (and Barbara Walker and EZ, etc.) to draft patterns because I'm too stubborn to match gauge. And then there's the aforementioned pattern fear- due in part to my, also stubborn, left-handed-knitting-from-right-to-left. I have to understand what the designer was doing so that I can re-interpret it.

Maybe someday, when I've done something I'm really proud of (hey, it could happen), I will put it out there for odd lefty knitters like myself. I know a beginner would appreciate it. Oh, how I struggled!

Rana said...

There are also those of us who would be happy to share, but, since we made up the garment as we went and didn't always note down the tricky parts, don't have a pattern that we think another person could use. (I've gotten over this when it comes to socks, where asymmetrical results would drive me mad, but sweaters and other one-offs... I'm still working on it.)

I really like being able to compare the two versions of your design. :)

Marcia said...

I was a poor kid and my mom wouldn't let me wear jeans for the same reason your dad didn't like you wearing them. Weird shit.