A few years ago I learned about the concept of slow food - an amazing idea. When you take the time to cook and eat your food slower, you enjoy the whole process more and it's also healthier.
Lately I've been seeing a lot of people bragging about how fast they knit, how many stitches the can do per minute; and I wonder why this is relevant.
Maybe it's because I'm more a process knitter than a product knitter, maybe it's because I'm too down to Earth, I just don't see the point in knitting faster. If I need something fast (let's say a coat to protect me from the winter temperatures), I go out and buy one.
Please don't start throwing stones just yet, bear with me. I knit because I enjoy the process, I want to learn new techniques. If I go for speed, I'll have to stick with the "been there, done that" ones - the (argh) brainless knits, and those are boring.
I can see the point of speed when you have a (short) deadline or if you knit for a living, but honestly, who among us do that? Yes, I've done some test knitting and had deadlines, and still, with good planing, I never had to speed up my knitting and was always able to deliver the items in time.
For some people being the fastest knitter around might be a goal to be achieved, and that's fine. It's not one of my goals. I knit for the enjoyment of finding a clever design, for the thrill of learning a new technique - I like things that make me think, I like to learn. For me, knitting fast prevents me from paying attention to details and if I went that way, I'd be knitting for the sake of a finished item only.
What really bothers me about it most, though, is the fact that some people are using their speed as a way to prove they are better than other people around them - to put people in their "proper" place. It hurts me to read people excusing themselves for not being fast enough, and associating the speed they knit with lack of skills.
I propose we practice a little slow knitting. Lets take the time to read and understand the pattern in front of us. Give ourselves the time to appreciate a clever move the designer put into the pattern. Lets enjoy the pleasure of creating each stitch, and understand the subtle differences between the various stitches, take the time to admire the beauty of the fabric we're creating.
P.S.: In case you're wondering, I'm not that slow of a knitter. I could knit a simple sweater in a week if I wanted to, but I rather tackle a garment of unusual construction and take my time savoring it - take the time to understand the pattern, go searching for instructions on how to do a new to me technique etc..