Process and Product Knitters: Which Are You?

Are you a process knitter or a product knitter? Maybe some combination of the two? If you aren’t sure, or you have no idea what I’m talking about, read on for an explanation and to find out what type of knitter you are.

Process Knitters

Process knitters are those who knit because they love the process of knitting. These people knit for the therapy, learning, and state of flow one can slip into while knitting. One sign of a process knitter is that they don’t finish every project they start, and so have many WIPs in play and UFOs that need ends woven in. They don’t feel the need to finish everything they start because the joy is in the making of stitches.

I like to think that the knitting process also includes choosing yarn, making swatches, learning how to fix mistakes, and all the other little things that come up during a knitting project. The entire process from pattern selection to binding off can yield countless moments of being fully engaged and present, which is one of the major benefits of knitting. A final product is not necessary for these folks to thoroughly enjoy their knitting.

One part of the knitting process is winding the yarn. I enjoy winding by hand to bring myself into the moment. Photo by Hannah Rose Baker

Product Knitters

You probably already understand how product knitters think and behave based on the description of process knitters. These people love having finished a thing they can wear or give, and they finish most of the projects they start.

For a long time, I thought I was a product knitter. The majority of my knitting decisions are based on the item I want to create, and I generally finish all the projects I started. Even though I start all my projects because I want that particular knitted thing at the end, I have learned that I am both a product and process knitter (read on).

Stacks of finished handknit sweaters by a formerly self-identified product knitter. Photo by Hannah Rose Baker

Combination Process and Product Knitters

I consider myself a combination of process and product knitter because both pieces of the craft bring me joy. Firstly, I am selective about which projects I choose to start because I want to make sure I am spending my time creating something I’ll really want to wear or be proud to gift. Then, once I pick the next project to cast on, the entire process from start to finish simultaneously challenges me and is a form of calming therapy. I love finding exactly the right yarn, swatching to get gauge, casting on, knitting and learning new techniques throughout the pattern, and ultimately having a well-made product to present.

So, are you a process knitter, product knitter, or some combination of the two? What do you love most about the knitting process, and what types of projects do you finish the most?

–Hannah

Hannah Rose is a freelance writer, editor, and knitwear designer. She lives and knits in Northern Colorado. Find her on Ravelry and Instagram at @bakeyknits.

Discussion
  • (will not be published)

73 Responses to “Process and Product Knitters: Which Are You?”
  1. Hope Scheimo
    Hope Scheimo

    I am a combination of the two! I love knitting! I love how it relaxes me and love learning new techniques and don’t care how long it takes to finish a product and yet I knit to create the product to give away. I love seeing the smiles on the faces (mostly grandbabies) as much as the feeling of accomplishment when I see that I was able to “finish well” another piece! Thank you Hannah for your well defined post!

    Reply
    • Lois Wine
      Lois Wine

      I am both, and add a third type. Since I am fairly new to knitting, and am also a DO (do over) If I do not like the look of a piece, I will rip it out and knit it again. This is strange because I am not a perfectionist in other facets of my life! I just enjoy my knitting..

      Reply
  2. Rebecca
    Rebecca

    I am a process knitter. I enjoy taking my time with projects. Knitting is therapeutic to me, it gives me so much joy and peace 😊💕

    Reply
    • Victoria
      Victoria

      I am a process knitter, recently I haven’t been able to finish anything, but I love the way I feel when I have the chance to do it.

      Reply
    • Kat Graue
      Kat Graue

      I am product knitter. While enjoying the whole process, I am selective in what I knit. I usually knit for others and enjoy the giving of the finished product. I have always enjoyed knitting complicated Afghans and love doing stuffed animals.

      Reply
  3. Valentina Arriaga
    Valentina Arriaga

    I think I could be a combination of both, I find it calming and relaxing, and at the same time engaging. I enjoy greatly the creativity that knitting requires and often the problem solving required to modify or adapt a project to a yarn or vice versa. I am back at knitting after a long hiatus and am loving it, I am a language interpreter and also use knitting it to practice multitasking while interpreting (helps with focus and mental agility)

    Reply
    • Robin
      Robin

      Wow these stories are great. I too have been knitting since I was 4.5 yrs old as well. I am not 94 yet but hope I’ll be knitting then too. I am definitely a process knitting. I do finish most projects I start however I’m know to rip out work and start new. Also I love winding yarn. I have a nice collection now of yarns in the house which I am thankful for.

      Reply
  4. Sharon Hunt
    Sharon Hunt

    I am a product knitter. While knitting my mind pictures the product/garment being used. Such a nice feeling!

    Reply
  5. Wendy J
    Wendy J

    I am a combination of product and process who is trying to become more product focussed so I finish more! I love to knit.

    Reply
  6. Andrea Hager
    Andrea Hager

    I’m a combination of both and didn’t realize it until I read this article. I have several started projects that I will get back to some day and projects that I start and finish. Very interesting thing to learn about myself.

    Reply
    • Patricia Anderson
      Patricia Anderson

      I totally agree with Andrea. Very interesting to learn about myself and my knitting.

      Reply
  7. Sue Meredith
    Sue Meredith

    I think I am a combination of the two. I think and research a lot about a project before I start it. I will often pick something to try a new technique while keeping the recipient in mind. I love to experiment with mixing yarns. Then once I start, I love being in the moment with my knitting. I always finish my projects, and occassionally rip them back and reknit if I’m not happy with them. It is all very satisfying, but the best is seeing someone wearing what you make with pride.

    Reply
  8. Marilyn
    Marilyn

    I’m a beginner knitter and I’m enjoying the process! The product provides the goal and motivation for me to learn the stitches. I’ve made a few hats, mits and scarves successfully and find that I don’t mind ripping rows out to re-knit and do it better! Knitting is relaxing and I’m looking forward to many peaceful knitting hours this winter.

    Reply
  9. Janice Basuino
    Janice Basuino

    I think I am also both. I love the feel of a soft yarn, and I enjoy the evenings while my husband and I are sitting on the sofa watching TV, and I am also knitting. The product knitter in me hoping to make a nice warm vest for my grandson.

    Reply
  10. STACEY
    STACEY

    After reading the article I’ve decided that I am a combination knitter. I really enjoy the process no matter what I’m knitting but also get great satisfaction in a finished project. Sometimes I will have a couple of projects on the go…a simple one to work on while watching TV and a “thinker” project that takes concentration and quiet and I enjoy both equally. I’m happiest when my hands are busy!

    Reply
  11. Marilyn Beebe
    Marilyn Beebe

    I am both. I love the excitement of picking the pattern and then the yarn and can’t wait to start knitting. Sometimes along the way something else comes up that I get excited about and I stop the first project and go on to the next. But there does come the day that I set down and knit to finish my unfinished projects.

    Reply
  12. Patricia Quaranta
    Patricia Quaranta

    I am definitely a process knitter. I have more projects unfinished than finished.

    Reply
  13. Teresa Abbott
    Teresa Abbott

    I am a process knitter I have tons of started projects but very few are finished. If I do not like the feel of a project I start I will start another projects.

    Reply
  14. Gail Attaway
    Gail Attaway

    I am a both knitter. I love the process of a project, watching it come to life, and look forward to the finish. I don’t always get the project finished before I start another. There are also times I give myself deadlines because I have a goal in mind. I just love to knit!

    Reply
  15. Mona Jamieson
    Mona Jamieson

    I am definitely a combo! The whole process from finding something challenging to knit all the way to seeing the finished product in the mirror or on someone else. It’s the same thing with my crocheting. It’s all therapeutic!

    Reply
  16. sandie charles
    sandie charles

    I guess I am a bit of both! I seem to begin a new project before I finish the one I am working on. I also love choosing the yarn and colors. I tend to work on two or three projects at the same time. I am a writer of novels and also work my writing the same way working on at least two books at the same time! O live in Ponte Vedra Beach. Are there any other members of the knitting circle that live near me??

    Reply
  17. Esther
    Esther

    My granddaughters name is Hannah Rose. Beautiful name. I am a combination of two. I am 80 years young and have been knitting since I was 8 years young. Too many projects to remember. If a fire occurred, I would grab my numerous photo albums and the wicker chest full of needles, and favourite pattern books dating back to 1949. This small chest sits at my feet and I rest my legs on while watching TV and knitting.

    Reply
    • Susan Woods
      Susan Woods

      I am a combo knitter. And, I often read other books while I am knitting! I pay close attention to the knitting but as soon as I get to several rows of stockinett I pick up where I left off in my book. Or I’m knitting while my husband is driving. I don’t have to look at my work so can look around and chat. It all works for me!

      Reply
  18. Sandy L Bretz
    Sandy L Bretz

    I am also a combination knitter. That was informative for me, I never really thought about knitting in that sense. I so love textures and knitting shawls that challenge me. Thanks for sharing this.

    Reply
  19. Connie O Byrne
    Connie O Byrne

    I’ve known for a long time that I am much more of a process knitter. I’ve forced myself to finish most things simply because they’re Christmas projects. Then there’s the sweater for myself that took three years to finish…lol. There’s also the lace scarf I finished without anyone in mind…now to figure out who to give it to!!!

    Reply
  20. Kathleen Travis
    Kathleen Travis

    I am a combination knitter although I have far more yarn than I will ever use. I even had to teach my sister to knit because she will inherit my stash! I tend to do more process knitting than finishing projects off. I still have a ton of chemo caps and comfort shawls that are waiting for me to get the sewing needle out to finish them off!

    Reply
  21. Louise
    Louise

    I’ve decided I’m a combination. I tend to semi-picture how I would like something to look although my process is also organic. I don’t tend to use patterns – I rather visualise an item. Love choosing colours & yarns

    Reply
    • cynthia smith
      cynthia smith

      I am so like you. I have to finish one before the next, I tend to do plenty of socks, I dot have a pattern but they always fit. I really do not like undone projects, therefore I will not start one prior to finishing the one on my needles, I love the feeling of doing. it is quite enjoyable.

      Reply
  22. Antoinette Farrugia
    Antoinette Farrugia

    I think I am a Process knitter because I have two protect that I started about 10 years a go and I haven’t touch them, and I should be a shamed saying this!

    Reply
  23. Meg Pritty
    Meg Pritty

    I am a project knitter. I knit by hand and also have two machines. I like to create as well

    Reply
  24. Barbara
    Barbara

    I am definitely a combination of the two. I am an intermediate knitter, always looking to learn new stitches and how-tos. I love yarn and all the scarves, hats and blankets I want to make are tugging at my heart. I also want
    to make a sweater one day and socks and so on and so on. I knit for relaxation, and being in the moment and sometimes I don’t want to stop. I have yet to make a sweater for my dog, but I know that will happen. Thank you Hannah for bringing this to us.

    Reply
  25. Maryann Coy
    Maryann Coy

    I believe I am both as well. The process does give me a therapeutic sense. I also get great satisfaction in seeing the finish product.

    Reply
  26. Sharon Fuller
    Sharon Fuller

    I am both but what I love the most is creating something. I have always been fascinated with all types of working from thread to yarn.

    Reply
  27. Marie
    Marie

    I am a combination of both. I love finding a project and starting. But finishing normally doesn’t happen due to finding the next project. Anyway, I just love knitting!

    Reply
  28. Sandi
    Sandi

    I definitely started out as a product knitter; Loved knitting for the grand babies; but now I’m a process knitter; I have a lot of WIP s

    Reply
  29. NEVART BARSAMIAN
    NEVART BARSAMIAN

    I am a combination of the two! I like knitting! I can’t sit empty hands. So i have to occupy myself with something. If it’s not reading is knitting or crocheting or sawing , and love learning new techniques and don’t care how long it takes to finish. I knit to create and to give away. I love seeing the smiles and excitant of my grandchildren’s faces, as much as the feeling of accomplishment when I see my gifts are welcomed Thank you .

    Reply
  30. marie
    marie

    I’m a combination knitter. All the planning, the searching for proper yarns and colors, then the dreaming – how will the item sit on the body? The need to adjust to get the fit nicely, the colors and how they will suit the person’s color, – so many things to think about. Yes, I’ve been knitting for decades and hopefully will continue for at a least another one. A true joy in so many ways.

    Reply
  31. Marguerite Foster
    Marguerite Foster

    I am a combination of both. I am left handed and in order for the project to look like it is supposed to according to the pattern, I have to knit all the purl stitches, and purl all the knit stitches in each pattern. I am pretty good at it, but occasionally I mess up and do what the pattern says. That means I have to undo a few stitches (sometimes a few rows). I would love to find some patterns that are made for left handed knitters, but I have never been able to find any.

    Reply
  32. Mini Tandon
    Mini Tandon

    I am a process knitter. I do it for my own pleasure. It certainly is a stress buster. My thoughts definitely get sorted out to flow smoothly with the flow of my knitting work.

    Reply
  33. Mary
    Mary

    I think I’m a combination. I truly enjoy the process. I try to finish most projects. I have a rule, and I stick to pretty well, I cannot start a new project until I finish the one I started. I have abandoned a few projects here and there. But rarely do I ever finish if I’ve abandoned it, and I don’t like that at all. I do pick specific projects, mainly for someone else.

    Reply
  34. Jaye
    Jaye

    I must be a combination. I started out as a complete product knitter as a teen and when I returned to it in my 30s – it was all about getting something done I could be proud of.In my 40s, and even more now on this newest return (Covid), yes, I like the idea of finishing things, but more, I enjoy the Zen of the feel and colors of the yarn, the balance of the circular needles in my hand and the meditative processes going through my head. I love figuring things out, and especially love coming up with original solutions to making something I’ve never even seen before, let alone seen a pattern for. I’ll buy _Sweater Design in Plain English_ before I’ll buy a _Big Book of Patterns_. Come to think of it, I think I started out (after my1st pattern book which was all that store sold) by getting a Meribee sweater wheel and a book of knitting stitches to mix and match for Arrans, and going from there.I think it was the best early training I could possibly have given myself, because I had to think every step through for myself.

    Reply
  35. Kathy Nelson
    Kathy Nelson

    Although I usually have several knitting projects in process at the same time, I would say I am a product knitter. I can’t always take every project where I go, so I will have dishcloths or simple scarves going while I leave the more complicated piece to be worked and finished at home.

    Reply
  36. Debbie Webb
    Debbie Webb

    I’m absolutely both. I have to have several on the go. Some are a grab and go. I have them all in the same bag. Then there are the travel ones in their own bag. And of course the larger or more complicated ones (you know the special ones). I have a disabled adult daughter, who lives with us, so I have to have it all ready for the many appointments we have. I love my knitting no matter what it is because its my quiet time. I run away so to speak. Happy knitting everone.

    Reply
  37. Caroline
    Caroline

    I am a combination knitter, I usually have at least two projects going. One I don’t have to concentrate on, it is my therapy project for when I have to distress. The other I have to concentrate on, I am usually learning something new with these projects. Many times I don’t want the projects I am learning on, I just want to see if I can do it. Currently I am learning stacked stitches. Although I have put it aside as we are in the middle.of moving. I am looking forward to things settling down a bit so I can get back to it.

    Reply
  38. Glenda Knox
    Glenda Knox

    I believe I am a combination of the two. I love knitting for others but also enjoy the idea of trying something new. Not all of my projects are finished when I start them but eventually I go back and finish them off. Enjoy your emails.

    Reply
  39. Edie
    Edie

    I too am a combination of process and product. I generally pick projects that I want to create for myself or as gifts but I love trying new skills and techniques as well. Knitting is my happy place!

    Reply
  40. Laura Shaffer
    Laura Shaffer

    I think I’m a project knitter. I finish what I start even if it takes a year or more. I knit when it’s cool and garden when it’s hot. I freeze dry meals and goodies in between. Sometimes I like sewing too.

    Reply
  41. Kitty Lynch
    Kitty Lynch

    What an interesting article! I have been knitting in the shutdown like I’m getting paid for it,, L learned to knit when I was about 8 or 9 years old. My friend Cathy Tusick and I were complaining that we were bored one summer, and her grandmother taught us how to knit!! I have been knitting ever since then! I have lost contact with my friend Cathy, but I ALWAYS think of that summer day, every time I’m knitting!! I am so grateful to have learned when I was young, because it takes alot of patience to learn to knit well. I have knit an Irish knit bunting, which was my pride and joy, and some how misplaced it during a move. I’ve knit mittens, baby sweaters, lots of socks, and wash cloths!!! During this pandemic I’ve been knitting cowls, and scarfs. Just t garter stitch, and I just give them away. They are quick, and people really like them! I use all different yarn, and I usually use two strands. But lately Ive discovered a bulky soft yarn that’s pretty expensive, so I’ve bought the ‘off colors’. that are less expensive. Anyway, knitting has given me such joy throughout my life, I’m so grateful to have learned when I was young. Knitting soothes my soul!! ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  42. Phyllis
    Phyllis

    I am a mixture of both. I’ve been knitting for 56 years, and give most everything I make to someone else. But, I enjoy the process, too.

    Reply
  43. Doris Dippel
    Doris Dippel

    I have WIPs, but many are the result of being interrupted by a new baby on the way or someone needing a warm cap. I drop what I’m doing to quickly meet that need for a baby sweater or booties and finish them, only to learn of yet another project needing my immediate attention and knit that rather than picking up the WIP. And, I am easily distracted by the lovely patterns I find on-line from wonderful websites like “I Like Knitting” and start a new project to try it out. Too, I LOVE the feel and look of yarn fibers and colors, so if I find some I really like and find a pattern to begin a new project, I do it just to try the new yarn! It that process? I guess so. It’s also product; at least I can rationalize why I have WIPs with new projects on my needles and others waiting in the wings! I’m 83 and have knitted continental style since age 7, so I cut myself some slack! Why not??!!

    Reply
  44. Janice Thomas
    Janice Thomas

    I am a process knitter. I love the way the yarn looks on the needle. After I can see what something is going to look like, I want to start something else. I rarely finish anything.

    Reply
    • Eileen Astor
      Eileen Astor

      Really appreciate all the info you post. Answer to your question today: I am both!!!!
      Probably more of a process knitter. So relaxing.

      Reply
  45. Janice Sapp
    Janice Sapp

    I am a combination of a process and product knitter I’ve been knitting since I was 12 although I don’t know how to do a lot of things I was ask for help for something when I’m knitting when I was pregnant with my daughter I net up a storm and everything that I could fine to net

    Reply
  46. Diane Wilhelm
    Diane Wilhelm

    I think I am both….like to knit for the process, but also like a finished product.

    Reply
  47. Linda Stout
    Linda Stout

    I love learning a new stitch or method of casting on or learning different ways to turn a heel. Then i have a problem finishing the sock, although I do, because i love the sock.

    Reply
  48. STACEY
    STACEY

    I am a combination knitter. I love to knit and learn new techniques so will pick a project based on that. I usually have 2 projects on the go at the same time…as easy one to knit in front of the TV, and a challenging one that needs my full attention. I do have the need to finish everything that I start though.

    Reply
  49. Jane
    Jane

    I find that I would like you to process and a product knitter, l am because I Usually know what I want to know before I start most of the time I take a swatch but more than not I give up because I get frustrated because I never dead cage never I’m always like a half a stitch off or sometimes even a full stitch and no matter what I do I can’t get gauge so that’s a little frustrating to me and I’m an experienced knitter. I have one ufo that has been in that position for sometime.Now I’ve completely lost interest in the project.Socks or a better project for me I am more willing to finish them and get onto the next pair because I really enjoy making them although still there it’s really hard for me to Reach Guage. Since it’s late is there any wisdom from the wise and awesome knitters out there?

    Reply
  50. Judith
    Judith

    I am definitely a process knitter. I have over 40 WIPs. I love taking classes, learning new techniques, and discovering new yarns and materials to work with. The excitement of casting on is such a high. But once I’ve mastered what I set out to learn or try, I itch to start something else. But, I’m not completely immune to finishing things and I am a prolific knitter. I usually finish multiple projects a week.

    Reply
  51. Lois Wine
    Lois Wine

    I am both, and add a third type. Since I am fairly new to knitting, and am also a DO (do over) If I do not like the look of a piece, I will rip it out and knit it again. This is strange because I am not a perfectionist in other facets of my life! I just enjoy my knitting..

    Reply
  52. Roberta
    Roberta

    I am a combination of both Process and Product Knitters. I love to knit and crochet. I need more than one project on the needles because if I get tired of working with one color, I can go to the next . If one project is larger that the other it gives me a break also or if one is more complicated that the other I can relax in between time.

    Reply
  53. Patti
    Patti

    I guess I am more of a process knitter. I am knitting a beautiful Celtic pattern with lots of cables on half the row, and a basket weave stitch section on the other half. Funny thing is, the cable section is so logical and easy, but the basket stitch section is giving me agita. I’ve ripped out like 50 rows after realizing that my mistake will not block out. I recently ripped out another 20 rows. So far I’ve been knitting this thing for 2 months and have only gotten through 2 out of seven 48 row repeats. My friend asked me how I keep on without giving up. I told her I don’t mind ripping it out over and over again because if I wasn’t knitting this, I’d be knitting something else, and as long as I have stitches on my needles, I don’t care what it is. So now you have shown me there is a name for my knitting style. I am definitely a process knitter.

    Reply
  54. Peg H
    Peg H

    I am a pure product knitter. I find it difficult to start and then not finish the project I am working on. Part of that though could be because I am a beginner when it comes to knitting!!

    Reply
  55. Iva L Riddle
    Iva L Riddle

    I have a t shirt that says ‘I knit so I don’t hurt people’ Yeah pretty much 🙂

    Reply
  56. Katie C
    Katie C

    I’m mostly a process knitter, happy to try different yarns/stitches/colors to see what develops. I knit for charity, so almost every experiment becomes useful at some point, but I don’t stress the finishing part. Currently, there are about nine different projects in various stages of incompletion. Also, arthritis problems in my hands further limit my production.

    Reply
  57. sylvia
    sylvia

    i am a combination knitter. i currently have 8 projects in various stages of production but mostly when i want something special i get it done in a timely manner.

    Reply
  58. Darlene Houston
    Darlene Houston

    I am a combination. I love knitting dishcloths and scarfs or hats for quick gifts, but I love knitting prayer shawls for the meditative state you can drift into as you knit. I just find it relaxing. I also love pretty yarn.

    Reply
  59. Pip
    Pip

    I’m neither, as I actually hate knitting and couldn’t read a pattern if my life depended on it! The only reason I do it is because I get an idea and just have to try to see how it works out. I just work it out as I go along and it’s all guesswork, so I’m stuck with doing it. Since I don’t enjoy the process, I’ve been known to take years to finish one piece – with lots of swearing too. However, I love colour and have a stash and a half of wool, cotton and silk.

    Reply