A couple of months ago I started writing a thing that I think will be a book, or something close, about knitting. A few weeks ago, I jokingly called it "Gestalt Knitting," and the name stuck, at least for myself for now. The idea is to write a book, that's mostly about knitting, that's less a collection of patterns, and more of a meditation on the process of designing and knitting some sweaters, hats, and socks.
As a knitter, I've never really followed patterns: even when I see a design that I like, I always end up changing it somehow: changing the process to be something that I'd enjoy more (e.g. knitting in the round,) or modifying the size a bit (I've always been slim and I know I like to avoid wearing things that feel like tents,) or adding features that I know increase the comfort (e.g. making the neckline more open, or the sleeves a touch wider.) Patterns, thus, for me are sort of an opening volley in a conversation about a project rather than a description of a project, and I think in practice this is pretty common, though I think that often, knitters think about their modification as minor and inconsequential when really they're super cool and important.
I'm less interested in any specific design or pattern, and more interested in these kinds of basic patterns that we can reach to when faced with a pile of yarn and a desire to knit a sweater (or socks, etc.). Sort of the knitting equivalent of a family recipe that you can make without looking at any instructions and maybe without really measuring the ingredients. After a while, I suspect many knitters have a few things that they can just make on their own--like a hat or some simple socks--and one of my goals of this project is to help expand the collection of "house patterns" by explaining and exploring some of the basic garments that I tend to knit.
As a writer, I have a lot of practice writing about the details of complicated ideas and processes in unambiguous and clear terms. I'm interested in seeing if I can take my style for writing about procedures and concepts can translate to another subject area. Knitting patterns are, by convention, super concise and linear in a way that gives people just enough information to reproduce a specific garment, but ends up leaving out so much useful information about why you would knit something in a specific way, options for modification, or interactions between the pattern, the shape, and the process of knitting. When I'm knitting I get a lot of delight from the way all of details of a project come together, and I want to frame and present knitting projects in ways that really highlight that aspect of knitting. I also want to write something that's knitters would find engaging to read all on its own, even without overlapping any of my specific knitting projects.
While I've made a lot of progress on the draft, I still have a bunch of work to do on this project: both in terms of more writing and also knitting "research." I suspect I'll write a bit about it here. Stay tuned!
I made a new instagram account, because that seems to be a thing, for knitting specific things: @gestaltknitting