Patterns as Stories

One of the things that "gave" in a great life-shakedown of 2008, was my interest/intention to design/publish knitting patterns. I design a lot of my own sweaters and things, I enjoy the technical and creative aspects of knitting, and I really enjoy the meditative aspects of knitting. At the same time, I've worked in a number of different yarn stores, taught knitting classes and lessons, and tried to write patterns, and each engagement with the "business" side of the craft, leaves me feeling drained and weary of wool.

And so in the shakedown, I decided that while I probably have more knitting skill/experience and knowledge than I have of just about anything else, I don't have the interest or the energy to make a go of it. Or maybe more clearly, doing the things I'd need to do to become a full-time knitter would make knitting less fun in all the other ways that I find relaxing.

As I more fully return to knitting I've had to revisit this decision a fair piece. I ask myself do I want to try to teach again? Do I want to apply to give workshops at Folk schools and craft centers, let alone yarn stores? [1] And I think the answer is, mostly not. I do a lot of things very seriously, and I don't know that it's worth my time and energy to work on knitting more seriously, given that I want to do other things and, blah blah blah.

But, and you knew there was a but coming, I'm not sure that I want to just give it up. Not knitting, but knitting seriously, and writing about knitting, and all of that. Part of this reflection are thoughts about my niche, and my role in the discourse of knitting. [2] Which is maybe what I should have thought about when I was trying to figure out how to teach knitting, or write patterns a couple of years ago.

Unlike a lot of popular knit bloggers, I'm not big on taking pictures of my knitting, in progress, and my knitting tastes don't tend to suit "knitblogging" very well. I knit big projects in fine yarn and so I finish something very infrequently. And as a designer, I tend to knit for myself and I tend towards non-typical construction techniques. [3] Also I'm not nearly as [funny][harlot] and/or [polished][franklin] (let alone accomplished). So figuring out where I fit into this, or what my niche is is something of a personal challenge.

The last--and pretty key--piece of this personal puzzle is what I get out of the "knitting discourse," I don't subscribe to the magazines, I don't really follow patterns except tangentially and as inspiration, I haven't made a Clapotis, I've never taken a knitting class (aside from Knitting Camp), and I tend to buy really boring yarn.

So I've thought about writing knitting patterns more as essays, and less as instructional documents. I enjoy writing essays, and I really like writing about knitting, and I like reading about other people's knitting, and I'm not terribly interested in writing touchy-feely essay about how knitting soothes my soul or makes me feel closer to other people. But patterns as a story? Patterns that attempt to communicate not just the object, but also the design process, and the state of mind of the knitter during knitting? Am I the only person who would find this interesting? [4]

Onward and Upward!

[1]Maybe this is the result of the clash between my growing stash and my normal frugality, or the result of my spinning hobby/habit, but in the last couple of years, I've become less and less interested in the act of buying yarn. I like yarn, and I like all sorts of yarn makers and yarn shops, but I don't find commerce to be a relaxing part of the knitting experience. Which isn't a bad thing, it's just a cause of my trepidation.
[2]I'm sorry that I've lapsed into academic-ese, but in this instance I mean the contemporary knitting world. The big knitting magazines, Raverly, real-world knitting groups, my knitting list, knit shops, podcasts, and so forth. Basically the knitworld.
[3]The only real problem with this is that the designs that make a career (Kate Gilbert's Clapotis or Cookie A.'s Monkey Socks, for instance) tend to not be sweaters/men's designs, and while there need to be more men's designs, I think the reason that there aren't is pretty market driven. [franklin]: [harlot]:
[4]I'm serious about this question folks. Would you be interested in reading a knitting pattern like this?
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