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Yarn & The City: Process vs. Product

Maybe this just happens to me, but I’m often disappointed when I get to the end of a WIP. Not because I’m unhappy with it, but because I almost always miss the making of it once it’s done. I’m definitely a process over product knitter. I enjoy the act of knitting and making more than I do the act of wearing what I’ve put my time into. It’s always a challenge for me to say goodbye to a WIP. It will no longer keep me company on my commutes or fill an awkward conversation with a level of familiarity. I love the moment when I become so comfortable with a pattern that I no longer need to obsessively check it and I can just enjoy the work flow.

Sometimes I even procrastinate finishing a project by coming up with reasons to frog it. Part of this is the perfectionist in me, but a bigger part is me just wanting to stretch out the process for as long as possible. My companion this summer was the Ripple Bralette by Jessie Mae Martinson. The pattern had been in my favorites section on Ravelry for the longest time. Every now and then I would see a version of it that was so adorable that I would run to my yarn hoard to see if I had any yarn that could work. Part of the problem became that I had put the bralette on such a pedestal that no yarn seemed to be good enough. Then finally at my last event in June I worked with Fuzzy Cactus Yarns to create a custom yarn for a screening of The Alienist. Fuzzy Cactus Yarns made a gorgeous yarn colorway that completely captured the feeling of the show. I had every intention of using it to make a market bag so that it could be used all summer long. But at the party one of my members, Hannah, brought up how she wanted to use it to finally make the Ripple Bralette. Finally I had a yarn that lived up to the hype that I had built in my head.

The process of working on this pattern was another thing that made it so difficult to put away. I was working with a custom hand-dyed yarn, a pattern that I had been obsessed with for ages, and to add to the experience I decided to use a special stitch marker from Ritual Dyes. I really should have known that this project would be difficult to let go of. It came with me everywhere this summer. Multiple trips to the beach, The Highline, and even a shopping trip. It fit perfectly in my newish project bag from Artemis Yarns. Even if I knew I wasn’t going to have time to work on it that day I would pop it into my purse on the off chance that I would have a moment to do a round. It’s the perfect project for this, because the repetitive pattern meant that in the beginning I only had to keep track of my inches.

I had a deadline in my head for when I was supposed to move on, but I let that deadline come and go without putting up a fight. By now some of you are probably rolling your eyes and saying “she does realize that she can just make another one right?” But I’ve never been a maker that enjoys making the same thing twice. That’s probably why I’ve never liked making socks. I typically finish one sock pat myself on the back and then go back months later to work on the second. Maybe one day I’ll attempt doing the two in one method or working the second pair in a different color to spice things up. By the time I’m ready to make the second sock I usually have my eye on something new. But I digress. When I put down a pattern I know that it’s probably the last time I’ll get to work on it. Because of this, patterns become time capsules for me and I can typically pin-point exactly what was happening in my life at the time that I was working on it.

This hasn’t been the easiest summer in the world for me. It’s been filled with high highs. But also the lowest of lows. My aunt finding out that she has cancer lines up perfectly with the beginning of this cast on. I remember the point I was at when my mom told me that news. There had been a pit in my stomach for a day or so. My mom had told me that my aunt sent her a text saying “we need to talk”. I sat in the corner of my parents living room in my favorite chair and pretended to stitch while I watched the wave of emotions wash over my mom’s face as she listened to the phone call that confirmed all of our worst fears. I didn’t have to hear the other end of the conversation to know what was being said. I added an extra row of ribbing and later ignored my inner perfectionist who wanted to go backwards and delete that moment from my memory.

The bralette would become the happy place that I went to and also the place that I would go to dump my frustration and sadness. It was my therapy. It gave me something else to focus on and at the same time it gave me hours to think and process my feelings. I put it all into the work. There are a few projects that hit you at the right time. This summer reminded me of how grateful I am to my craft for everything it gives me.

About mid August I realized that my time with the bralette was going to come to an end by the end of the summer. I had already extended the body of the pattern, double and triple checked my work. The instructions were so clear that I only made one mistake during the whole process and it was an easy fix. With the colder weather starting to creep into the east coast and summer starting to come to an end,  I decided that I couldn’t stretch out my time with the bralette any longer. It was time to move on to the next WIP and find a new therapist for the coming fall months. I finally bound off the straps last week and just like that it moved from an adored WIP to my newest FO.

I really am thrilled with the end result and I do think that I’m going to wear this one on a regular basis. I’ve already managed to wear it twice in two weeks. But this FO has become more than it’s practical use. It will always hold these memories along with the new ones it’s going to pick up as I wear it over the years to come. But when I needed a safe place to fall this summer the Ripple Bralette was there. And for that I’m forever grateful.


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