Celebrating the Process, and a Giveaway

The process or the product? The doing or the done?

Have you considered where you get the satisfaction in your making? Whether you bake or garden or write or craft in some fashion, do you do it because you love the doing or is it the finished product that thrills you?

I’ve come to realize that I’m process-oriented, perhaps to an unusual degree. I love the doing and seem to care little for the done.

When I recently wrote about finishing the marathon yoyo coverlet, many readers asked what I was going to do with it. I was stumped. The absolute truth is probably nothing much.

Part of that is purely practical—the texture of the coverlet would make it a magnet for my cats.

But it is also true is that I’ve already sort of lost interest in the coverlet.

It was interesting as something to do, to make, to immerse myself in, but now it’s just another quilt in the house. Even my all-time favorite quilt, the 1812 cot-to-coffin quilt, is simply folded up now and stored in an armoire. The wool throw I wove? It’s in the cedar chest. The silver jewelry I’ve crafted? Tarnishing in the jewelry box.

The bottom line is that it’s the process of making that engages me, challenges me, makes me feel alive. The products sort of seem like just more things in the house–pretty things, but things nonetheless.

It’s the interacting with the materials, the touch, the skill, the focus, that I love.

The yoyo coverlet will get dragged out for the biennial show of my quilters’ guild, because I like warm fuzzies as well as the next person, but it will probably live in a cupboard or cedar chest until then.

I think this is also what leads to the Etsy shops I have. I love the process of making chocolates but don’t want to, and shouldn’t, eat all of what I make. What to do? Give some away and sell the rest.

I love weaving but one person can use only so many kitchen towels and scarves. But I feel driven to weave—I love the process. What to do? Give some away and sell the rest.

So, in support of the idea of giving some away and to celebrate the opening of, and the first couple of sales in, the newest Etsy shop, Woven Together, I’m going to have a random drawing for a handwoven kitchen towel.

So far the towel looks like this.


Do you love it?

The winner of the drawing will be asked to tell me what colors s/he would like to see added to the towel and, when all the pieces on the warp are complete, I’ll send the towel to the winner! It might be a few weeks before it’s finished . . . because I’ll be enjoying the process.

Anyone can enter, from any part of the world. To enter the drawing, I ask you to tell us, in the comments, whether you are process-oriented or product-oriented—what motivates your making/doing? Try not to just say “both” . . . .

And, if you’re inclined, visit Woven Together, and give me some feedback about what you’d like to see more of in the shop. This latter is optional, though!

The deadline will be midnight on Tuesday, November 8. As our Election Day, that’s a very important day here in the US. I will be voting, to enjoy the process and also, I am hopeful, the product of that particular action!

84 thoughts on “Celebrating the Process, and a Giveaway

  1. I love the end process for the most part. I try to choose projects that I can use with delight. Then again some projects just call my name with no place in my life later. But I LOVE using the things I make. I would LOVE to won one of your woven towels woven with red and yellow (the Provençal) colors of of my kitchen!

    • I, too, like to make things I can use–hence the dishtowels! And you do an amazing job of helping other crafters finish their work, to perfection! That must be very satisfying.

  2. For the vast majority of my projects I’m all about the process. Once the item is completed I toss it aside to cast on something new. There are very few projects that I just want done. Most of the time it’s because of a deadline. I really hate having a deadline.

    • I hate having a deadline and yet . . . I do get more done with one, even if it’s just a year-long challenge for my guild or someone’s birthday. I just can’t have deadlines for ALL my projects!

  3. I am very much like you, Kerry! I love the process & I’m happy with the item, but the finished product doesn’t mean much to me. I have a few (not many) lovely things I’ve made & kept for myself, that may be brought out for a special occasion & then put back in the closet, but I don’t have much of an attachment to them. I tend to give most of what I make away as gifts for family & friends.

    • Well, I’d say your friends and family are very lucky then! I know what an excellent weaver you are and I fully understand about getting absorbed in the process!

  4. Process, definitely.

    With a white warp, I think I’d like something green and orange for my kitchen – it would be my first handwoven dish towel, as I’ve yet to embark on such a finished project myself rather than testing and swatching and redesigning…

    Lovely shop.

  5. Oh definitely process driven. I have a box of handmade cards and a drawer full of embroideries etc. Currently hung up on tinsel yarn which just makes me smile. Nit certain what motivates me I have been crafting since I was old enough to begin. Crafting is like breathing. I am so I craft. I would love a hand woven towel please, they are so pretty.

  6. If you make me choose, I’d say the process. I deplore the kit quilts and masses of patterns that quilters now buy. No one seems to know or care how to draft their own quilts. I just took a class and everyone was talking about the latest kits and patterns they wanted. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why weaving is less popular than it was when I started. It’s more complicated and though you can buy kits (and I have to get going again) the results come out differently for each person.
    I do love the end result though! I have a quilt or two for each bed and many hooked rugs in the bedrooms. I am going to make myself use the new dish towels this week!
    But I am debating starting an Etsy store for the reasons you stated. I love making. ;-D

    • What you say about quilt kits is so true! I came back to quilting, after a number of years of not paying any attention, and was kind of shocked at the extent to which kits and patterns have taken over! It’s not my thing at all. If I’m going to spend that long on something, I want it to be 100% my own. And USE those dishtowels!!

  7. I’m very much process-oriented… I think that’s why I give so much away and never regret the fact that I do. I love that someone else gets to love and display or use my work. Having said this, though, I do confess that I often make useful things for myself, and I do like knowing that my process leads to utility.
    As for colours… the greens and blues of a beautiful tranquil sea.

  8. Thinking back on my previous years weaving and now quilting, I know that I am very much process oriented, but we also happily use what I make. But there are definitely parts of the process that I’m not particularly fond of, and it seems every major project has a point where I just want to ‘get her done’ and be on to the next thing. Though I no longer have looms (or a place to have them), I try to quilt every day, and we are still using on an every-day basis woven placemats I made well over 30 years ago. They are frayed along the edges and I’ve been thinking of making some french-fold binding to keep them from totally wearing out, at least for a few more years! I’d love to win one of your dish towels, and any combination of fall colors would be perfect!

    • Part of my issue with making quilts, i think, is that I find it difficult to use them. We have multiple pets so putting quilts on the beds isn’t really feasible. And our walls are completely covered with framed cross stitch and other stuff already! Weaving seems to lend itself more to use-ables so far!

  9. I am a writer and I love the process rather than the finished product, although I take pride in what I have written, I enjoy the emotion I put into what I write and how my thoughts come together. Action equals motivation! Great giveaway.

    • When writing goes well, I like the process. Unfortunately, most of my writing for most of my life, was academic writing–publish or perish. The pressure was on the product and that took a lot of the joy out of it for me. Thanks for coming by!

  10. I love knitting, so I guess I would go with process, although I do try to choose projects that will give me a usable end product. But if I can’t be knitting or spinning, I think I would go crazy. 🙂 And if I win, I would ask for some blue or periwinkle (or both) on my dish towel to match my kitchen which is gray and periwinkle with white. Love this idea – really hope I win because I love the things you make. 🙂

  11. [D] Planning and making are both very important, but the ultimate goal is to have made something that gives lasting value – both utility and pleasure. There’s only so many rugs, throws, runners, bags … whatever that we need, can use, or can store, and only so many we can give away. So in the end there has to be a limit to our planning and doing, and we gradually raise the bar and lower the output! We cannot practicably foresee what will in 10, 20, 40yrs time still be giving us service and pleasure, so it’s inevitable that we produce more than we need, and somehow the cream finds it’s way to the top! Now, back to the knitting!

    • You’re right, about raising the bar and lowering the output. One of the reasons I quilt by hand is because it slows things down and lets me practice a skill that almost seems to be dying!

  12. I would think that I am more process-driven than product; most of my stitching is on a roll waiting to be framed. Altho I do have some ornies on permanent display, it’s a tiny portion of my craft life.

  13. Great post Kerry! Add in a giveaway and it’s brilliant 🙂 I had a look at the new shop – all those items look like such wonderful quality and your header photo reveals the texture and colour to be found in the actual articles. The thing that struck me was that because of the exchange rate difference purchasing a towel would make it (at $NZ43) something I would never dare to use, it would be stored away in a cupboard somewhere 🙂 which isn’t the idea at all!

    Now, with the exception of knitting or crochet, I have discovered I am entirely process oriented. I have some light catchers ‘cluttering up my work space’ – a direct quote from my mouth – because they have not yet been sold or gifted and as they are finished I have no interest in them, This was a recent discovery which quite shocked the person who was admiring them at the time. I think I was also a little shocked. Paintings are the same, they mostly languish in portfolios or journals and only one has made it into a frame and onto my bedroom wall. Give me some beads and some paints – though maybe not at the same time – and I will lose myself in a creative process. I will keep adding and adding layers and layers over a period of days or sometimes weeks until I declare it finished. I will admire it for a day or two and then it is done with – gone, out of here, something else is wanting to be created. Making something for someone is the activity that brings me the greatest joy because then the creative process is wound about that person and all their wonderfulness and imbued, I hope, with a little magic especially for them.

    Yarn making though is different. I mostly follow (or adapt) a pattern and have a finished product in mind, I want to see it being worn and take great delight in wearing my own creations or seeing others wear them. This doesn’t mean though that it has to be kept forever, for all clothing or adornment items have a finite life and when that is done, out it goes……..

    • You’ve described the feeling so well! I’m a little surprised that so many responders are saying they are process-oriented, though, since most of what I’ve been hearing about the yoyo quilt is “what will you DO with it?” And I have to admit, I’ll feel a little bad to put it in a closet . . .

      • Perhaps the ‘what will you do with it?’ question comes because it is so pretty, something has to be done with it…… It could, for instance, adorn the back of a couch, be a wall hanging, a bed head or a table adornment. Of course the cats would have to go ……….. 🙂 Or you could sell it for a gizillion in one of your Etsy shops!! 🙂

        • I do think people are reacting because they think it’s too pretty (and the product of too much work) to hide away. If only I could reason with the cats and give them sacrificial quilt to destroy instead . . .

  14. I’m motivated by the end result. Knowing flowers will bloom or a crocheted afghan will warm someone or a painted wall will freshen the room.

    As for all your unique products, I suggest either selling or gifting. Everyone loves a homemade gift from loving hands.

  15. Oh, please enter me in the contest. 🙂 You really got me to thinking here. I think if I dig deep, it is the finished product that I get the ‘most’ satisfaction from. I’m an organized type of person and only work on one project at a time, and I like the idea of beginning, middle, and end. My quilting is not up to the caliber of selling on Etsy so I struggle with what to do with it. Right now, I’m working on a couple of blankets for the Linus project and that makes me happy, happy. I looked at your shop, and that header photo with the striking blue would make people stop and look – gorgeous. All of your creations look top notch and worthy of a person’s purchase. I hope it is very successful so there can be a productive outlet for your beautiful creations. 🙂

  16. Wow, Kerry this is very cool! I love that you’ve got this shop. I am very process oriented. I don’t usually want the product; I have someone in mind to give it to, unless I can use it myself. I can’t collect things. I just don’t have the space!! I’ve been thinking of your toffee and am eyeing some of your woven things…. Mmmm…If I won, I would want blues and greens added to the towel…

  17. What an interesting question! I love the process most of all but as I haven’t made anything for years I would also like to see (one day!) a few finished articles! I love gardening as there is always something more to do there. I had a look at Woven Together and my goodness! What lovely things and gorgeous colours. I would love to enter the drawing (green and blue please) but I’m sure you’d have to spend a lot on shipping the kitchen towel so put me at the bottom of the heap!

    • Oh, I don’t mind the shipping cost, if an international reader wins! I was thinking about gardening and that’s one case where i might be more product-oriented than process. I like the process but am really motivated by the promise of the blooms and the color!

  18. Kerry, I love everything in your shop! As for the question, I may truly be one of those tied people! I love making, and am always adding to my list of things I want to make, but I always make with a goal and deadline in mind. I make quilts, but they aren’t for me, they are wedding gifts. I do sew for myself, but there is nearly always a reason behind the item. I get great satisfaction looking at a completed project, both immediately after and years later! I don’t have very many unfinished items around, yet if I didn’t have a deadline looming, I would still be doing some project!
    As for the kitchen towel, I would say red and white, with just a bit of navy blue if it worked out!

    • It does sound like you balance the two impulses, Kathy! I sort of wish I cared more about the finished product of what I make–I mean, I put a lot of energy into some of these things!

      • Well, I will appreciate them for you! They remind me of my host mom Aud in Norway. She was trying to lean double weaving while I was there after college. I guess it was becoming a lost art.

  19. I am product, product, product. I am too impatient to be process-oriented. About the longest process I can bear these days is bread making! So I have my eye on those bread cloths in your shop! But I would be more than happy to win a towel.

    • Towels can be perfect bread clothes! They are willing to go either way. Your floral arrangements must make you very happy, since the product is fairly easy to achieve (for someone with your eye!) and the product is right out there, in the limelight!

  20. Definitely process!! The joy of knitting, the feel of the yarn, the ‘mastering’ of the pattern, the connection to history, even ancient history. Seeing the project grow and than..the smell of wet wool when blocking..oh even better than wet dog ;o). Finally taking the block pins out and making the last photo. I will neatly fold the socks, shawl, hat and…give it away ;o) The most joy I find in knitting the little preemie hats for our hospital. i make something special of each hat, put love in each stitch and hope that this little hat will bring a glimmer of joy in worrying times.
    Same goes for my drawing.I enjoy the process, although its harder work than knitting. Once finished I sell it, store it or give it away.
    However, as you well know, i would be chuffed to bits with a finished project made by you ;0)
    I am of to your new etsy store…i still have not started mine…xo Johanna

  21. I’ve always thought of myself as a “process” person–when visiting my sister once, I complimented her on the handwoven towel in her kitchen. She looked at me funny and said “You should like it — you made it!” I didn’t remember! I love seeing the dressed loom, ready to throw the first shuttle. Watching the design grow on the loom thrills me. And there’s a definite satisfaction in pulling the finished web off at the end. While I also like to see a purpose in what I’m making, the making is the best part!

    Congratulations on your new shop and on your sales already!

    • Thanks, Jean–I was quite thrilled to get a sale or two so quickly after starting the shop. I think selling weaving online will be an uphill battle, because one cannot touch and hold the items, but I’m not sure I have a future in craft shows so . . . That’s a great story about forgetting you made the towel! I understand perfectly and share your enthusiasm for the process!

  22. Neither. For me it’s the anticipation…before the doing. Planning the details and envisioning the finished project. But if I had to choose one or the other, I’d say product. Usually, when I’m involved in working on some project, I think “Why on earth did I ever get involved in this?” But then sitting back and hopefully admiring the finished project makes it worthwhile.

    • That’s an interesting new twist on this discussion–the anticipation! I admit I like that, too. And I’ve been known to do quite a lot of happy planning, then never move on to the doing stage.

  23. Well, it looks as if I’m joining the crowd. Process every time. I have no driving passion, unlike you. I love to write, to cook, to immerse myself from time to time in a craft project which rarely stands the test of returning to it consistently over the years. But when I’m involved in something, yes, it is the being involved. Afterwards? Pshaw! It’s over. I love your website, but in all honesty I’m unlikely to buy. I’m trying so hard to cut down on ‘stuff’, and it’s difficult for me. But that draw of yours? Ah yes! How fabulous to own something crafted by someone whose writing and work generally gives me so much real pleasure. Something perhaps in blues, so different from one other that they almost clash – as if blues could. Do put my name in the hat please. But of course I don’t expect to win. Great and generous idea of yours!

    • You say you have no driving passion but then admit to loving to write and cook! Thanks for looking at the shop and, truly, I have no expectation of anyone here buying stuff. I hesitated about writing about the shop, because I didn’t want people to think I was looking for sales. It felt weird to write about it but, on the other hand, it felt weird not to, since it’s an outgrowth of everything else I yammer on about! I put your name, with the others, into the drawing!

  24. It’s fun to read others’ answers. As for me, it depends. If I am cooking I enjoy the process, but the product is the more important aspect. 🙂 And for quilting? I’m not sure. I take pride in the product, generally, and some of my quilts are special and important to me, even a few I’ve given away. I don’t remember their processes much as I look at them or think about them. (Exception: the piece I call “Untied,” which I hand-quilted. I remember all those stitches!) But I do get great satisfaction from the process. When I was younger I so often thought I’d like to be one of those people who can MAKE things. And now I am. 🙂

    • It is fun to read all the varied responses–I could’ve guessed some but others have surprised me. I would’ve had you pegged for the process, especially with the medallion quilts, since you think your way through every stage of them. And I completely understand the excitement of being “one of those people”!

  25. I think I’m more process oriented. I always liked the process of creating a new issue of the magazine I used to edit and, like you, tended to be more interested in the next product (the next issue) when the first was done. I also was pretty obsessive about doing the steps in the process in the right order and had to explain why a lot because I relied on other people to get me to the end point.

    • This is a very different sort of making than many others here have been engaged in–interesting perspective! And an important attitude with a magazine, where you almost have to move on from one issue to the next very quickly! No resting on your laurels in that business!

  26. With knitting (and embroidery) it was all about the process. I really didn’t need or use 75% of what I knit, but the needles were always moving. With garment sewing, it is about the product. It’s an amazing moment when I’m done and the item leaves the worktable and finds a place in my closet or dresser drawer. With sewing, I think I love the planning phase the most, sorting through fabrics and patterns, and matching them up.

    • This is a very interesting distinction–it only makes sense that, if you’re going to sew clothing, it’s because you want to wear it and, therefore, the product becomes more important!

  27. Hi Kerry
    Great post! Got me thinking! I think I am process oriented but there are days when I want revel in my creations..Just look at them, find a few mistakes and just feel a little contented:)
    Congratulations on the shop:)..Lots of good luck to you:)

  28. Kerry, it is so timely to read this post. Only yesterday, I was sitting in silence working on some complicated lace knitting, and I realised how very happy and content I was to be spending time with a beautiful silk yarn, carefully creating loops and spaces of various sorts – it almost did not matter what the end result was (although I am also happy that it will be a beautiful lace stole – a present for my mother). 🙂

    • That kind of mindfulness, awareness of the moment and how special it is, is one of the best things about doing any work by hand, I think. And how lucky is your mother, to be the recipient of the stole, but also your time and love that went into it??

  29. When I have time, I’m process oriented. I love thinking about how I can take an idea and make it my own. Your work is lovely!

    • That’s an interesting distinction–“when I have time.” It’s true, if we’re making something on a deadline, it’s hard to stay process oriented! Thanks for coming by!

  30. I’m completely process oriented too. I never know what to do with anything I make. Nowadays I try to make things for someone so I can get rid of it and it doesn’t clutter up drawers and cupboards not being used.

  31. I’m definitely more interested in the process…it takes me absolutely FOREVER to get a project done because I’m always busy with work or something else. Those moments I get to actually spend on my embroidery or other projects are so wonderful, I always ask myself why I don’t allocate more time, more often…. The end result is definitely satisfying, but not as enjoyable as the actual creative process.

    Your Etsy shop is stocked full of absolute treasures….

    • Thanks, Sheryl! Obviously I have a lot more time to devote to all this, since I’m retired, but I’m pleased to report that the process never seems to get less delightful!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s