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May 30, 2006

Process vs Product

When is a knitting project a success?  Is a successful project one in which you enjoy every minute of the process regardless of the final fit?  Or must the end product be a winner for the project to be deemed successful?  nona's been pondering this question.

After a quick timeout for swatching -- 'cause who can resist the swatch -- I finished my Habu Vest.  I loved everything about the process of this project.  The silk yarn was a joy to knit with.  The schematic based pattern was clear, concise, and catered to my thinking style.  Steam blocking the panels to a paper pattern  was exacting and satisfying.  All in all a very successful project. 

Successful that is until I tried the bloody thing on.  Not at all becoming to my body shape.  Since we're friends, I'll give you a peek...


This vest would flatter a petite figure, not a nona-figure!
Luckily, I'm confident I can find a good home for this vest.

Process or product?  For me, it's the process.  An unflattering -- on me -- garment is still successful if I enjoyed the process.  How about for you?

May 30, 2006 in Project - Japanese | Permalink

Comments

Sure, with the caveat "I can find it a good home"! Also the caveat that it didn't break my budget in the first place. I'd probably never have picked such a garment for myself, sparing some of the questions at the end.

It's still cool.

Posted by: Daphne | May 30, 2006 8:29:13 PM

I agree with your comments about process but have so been looking forward to this product! It does fit differently from the photo (on the Habu website) which reminds me of a ladies "blouse" from 1910-20. I've been worred that my own Habu kit (French--dolman--sleeve jacket) will turn out too small. And it will be my fault--I changed to smaller needles and to a twisted rib in an effort to make the fabric less loose and sloppy. It looks good but the garment will be smaller. Let's bear in mind that silk like this will stretch out with wearing. And that Japanese patterns/fibres have a learning curve like anything else. Knit on!

Posted by: Nan | May 30, 2006 9:10:27 PM

P.S. That said, it does look very nice--interesting fibre and construction and well put together. Why not photograph (and post) some close-ups of the fabric and detailing since they were unusual and part of what made this process satisfying?

Posted by: Nan | May 30, 2006 9:16:39 PM

It looks a tad small-ish, but with the cropped tops this season, it's hard to tell if it's not supposed to look like that or not. I do like it and I think that if you enjoyed the process of knitting it, what could possibly be wrong with that, save that it didn't fit you the way you wanted. But you don't seem to be upset about it, so it seems all good to me.

Posted by: Wanda | May 30, 2006 9:29:01 PM

Obviously I'm nowhere in your league (I have enough issues working from patterns written in English) but I just finished my first adult knit garment and I don't think I like the look of it much (on me). But I really enjoyed the process of making it, which doesn't always hold true for my other knit and crochet products.

Posted by: Swapna | May 31, 2006 1:01:04 AM

Definitely the process has to be the incentive, otherwise I'd rather go shopping and get affordable garments that look a gazillion times better on me than the handknitted ones!!!
For the occasional success-product, a sock once in a while is the best bet. Socks always look good on you. (And if not, just add boots ;-)
PS: beware with these japanese patterns. Japanese women are notoriously petites. Same goes with vintage patterns, I think.

Posted by: Sophie | May 31, 2006 1:23:43 AM

Hmmmm - good question - one I tussle with from time to time when the garment/sock etc gets finished and just doesn't look right (I have a more Nona-ish figure than yourself) - I think it looks fine on you btw - those styles are "tray sheik" this season....I think I sit halfway - I love the process and if it looks good as an end result even better!

Posted by: Donni | May 31, 2006 2:19:41 AM

I think it was a success on all the levels you wanted it to be, save the fit part. Process can prevail if you're willing to accept the product, which you seem to be. So find it a home and enjoy all that you learned!

I need to keep this lesson in mind myself, because I tend to dismiss the process -- and that through it I learned something -- if I'm a bit disappointed with the results. On the other hand, if I've created a real disaster, I can always frog it and start the process all over again!

Posted by: Jane | May 31, 2006 3:42:02 AM

I must have missed something. What's wrong with it? It looks great to me!

Posted by: Sockbug | May 31, 2006 5:17:27 AM

I think it looks fine on you, actually. As was mentioned above cropped tops are quite 'in'. I love the color, too.

I love the process, but I've frogged completed garments when the fit wasn't right.

Posted by: Karla (ThreadBndr) | May 31, 2006 5:20:05 AM

I've recently discovered your blog -- and I love it. Been reading through all the "back-blog."

You have made a beautiful sweater. The color is quite good on you (well, your arms and neck anyway). And layering is in -- longer t-shirt under shorter cardigan, etc. I am built about like you, though, and if I were knitting it for me, I would add about four inches to the length of each section.

I have to give my opinion on this because it is a problem I have noticed in reading other knitters' blogs. If you are knitting for yourself, you have to know what colors and fits flatter you. Look at every garment you have ever loved to put on -- the ones that make you look and feel great. Then either choose knitting patterns to follow that general theme or make up your own to suit you perfectly. What a shame to spend as much time and money as it takes to knit a lovely orange sweater (it looked lovely on the model) only to find it makes you look like a pumpkin.

On the other hand, if you just love a pattern and really want to knit it, make sure you have a friend or relative whose body type suits it -- and knit it in their size. But it has to be a color and style they would want to wear. What a burden it is to give someone a hand-knitted item that they would never use. You want them to feel generously gifted, not obligated to wear something they hate just because they love you.

Posted by: Tonya | May 31, 2006 6:43:05 AM

For me it's all about the process. Except for tried and true repeat knitting (socks, etc), I seem to learn something each time I try a different pattern or yarn or make up a pattern to suit my yarn. I simply love the knitting/ creating process. When I don't have a recipient, my work will sit on display in my office/ studio. I'm fortunate that I have enough visitors that eventually someone will claim my work of art! I happily give it to the willing recipient. Nona, you have created a work of art. I'm glad you are satisfied with the process.

Posted by: Anne | May 31, 2006 9:26:42 AM

Ummm, Nona, I hope by not petite you mean tall rather than big, because you look pretty thin in that picture.

I think process is usually the most important thing for me, but I have had objects I hated making which I loved because they turned out beautifully as well. Honestly, the best projects have it all - process and product.

Posted by: Julia | May 31, 2006 10:17:46 AM

It depends on the project. If it's something I'm tinkering around with to see how it works, then I'm lovin' some process. If it's anything that has a deadline to it, it's product plus a shot of vodka to help me get through it.

The vest looks great!

Posted by: Susan | May 31, 2006 10:18:08 AM

I wish I had the Nona-attitude! When I make something for me and it doesn't work out well, I am heartbroken.

Posted by: June | May 31, 2006 10:57:23 AM

What's wrong with it? It looks a little cropped, but based on what I'm seeing out there, that's the "in" look. Keep it.

Or, better yet, I'm relatively petite at 5'1" & 95lbs. Will it fit me ?

Posted by: Samina | May 31, 2006 1:48:15 PM

Boy, that's tough. I love the process, but it can feel like a letdown if the final result is "meh." There is a bit of a letdown anyway - 'it's over what's my next project' - but man, if I ever knit from a schematic that thing better fit me! I say that because a schematic and me typically do not get along. I need pics and words and hand holding and the occasional gnashing of teeth!

I for one don't think it looks bad on you at all, btw.

Posted by: Aura | May 31, 2006 2:36:31 PM

Hmmm... that's awesome that you loved the process, but I have to say my first reaction was that I would be royally ticked off if I did that much work and it didn't fit.

Posted by: Zarah | May 31, 2006 4:58:11 PM

I'll second (or third, or fourth) the comment that it doesn't look that bad on you. I might change the place where the tie is (put it under the bust, maybe?) or remove it altogether, and if the cropped look really bothers you you can always knit some edging on the bottom. But it doesn't look like a complete disaster to me.

Posted by: Bikkit | May 31, 2006 7:14:48 PM

If by "petite" you mean waif-ish, then I think you are right. I like the sweater, I think it just falls at an odd place. Not short enough to be cropped, and not long enough to be not-cropped.

Posted by: wmix | Jun 1, 2006 12:42:00 PM

who ever posted the thing about japanese women being very petite is right. but really, who am I to talk? i'm 4 foot 10 1/2 and weight about 85 pounds. it's good i'm thirteen and still growing.

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