Thursday, August 15, 2013

Work to Glory Ratio

I hope you will take a minute to read this.  I stumbled across this blog a few weeks ago and the concept of "Work to Glory" made perfect sense to me.  This is from "Tech Knitter's" blog and she gives credit to a friend named Carol for coming up with the knitting theory portion of her comments.  The link to the original blog is here and it is worth your time.  This applies equally to quilting as far as I'm concerned.

Theory 1: The "work-to-glory ratio"

This bit of knitting theory comes from my friend Carol (Rududu on Ravelry, where she is a Bobby Award Winner and a member of the Hall of Fame).


 A quick-to-knit item which turns out beautifully is the ideal subject for hand knitting, it has a good work-to-glory ratio. Conversely, a hard-to-knit item which does not ultimately inspire has a bad work-to-glory ratio. Naturally, there are also items which are hard to work but result in a great deal of glory. Knitters must decide for themselves where the balance between work and glory ought best to lie to give the maximum possible results, the biggest "bang" for your knitting labor.


The scarf which inspired today's post has the best work-to glory ratio of any project I have ever worked. The gorgeous yarn of which it is knit transforms the simple lace into a simply gorgeous fabric. Even if you're not as excited about this project as I am, it's an unmistakable illustration of the concept. This all-garter stitch lace can be made by any beginner, but the use of a beautifully-spun, long-repeat, well-dyed yarn substantially ups the glory quotient with no additional work on my part whatever.

This makes perfect sense to me!  As a quilter, haven't you found a project that "made your heart sing" and you absolutely loved working on it.  The colors. The pattern. The fabric. The process. Whatever.  In effect, there was definitely a "glory quotient" and it was worth it.  As I've gone back through some quilt pictures, these quilts definitely had a high "work to glory ratio."  There was something about them that I loved and I was sad (or at least wistful) when they were over.  Sort of like coming to the end of that book you couldn't put down but you read it so fast, it's over.


On the other hand, these quilts made me really unhappy to work on for some reason.  I got tired of the tediousness.  Or I didn't like the pattern -- even if I loved the fabric.  I didn't like the process.  I put them away.  I got them out and worked on them until I thought I was going to stick a fork in my eye -- and then I put them away.  I down sized one of them.  I gave one top away before it was quilted (and was thrilled it went to someone who loved it).  I donated one and I will finally get the binding on another and donate it as well.  Their "work to glory ratio" was very very low.  If not at the start of the project -- no one starts out to make a project they do not love -- but by the time I was somewhere in the middle.  


 Theory 2: Product Plus Process

When non-knitters look at hand-knit goods, most tend to focus on the result, on the product. "Why spend 42 hours making a pair of socks? Wal-Mart sells 'em for a buck a pair" is their attitude, their tolerably obvious attitude. Confirmed sock knitters, however, find that mass-made socks cannot be compared to hand-made--the custom fit, the warmth, the exact colors of a hand made sock cannot be duplicated. This excellence is sometimes the very heart of a successful knitting project--the seamless toe, the beautiful work, the perfect fit, the non-binding sock on the achy foot. Knitting as product (and, as a very superior product which 

you simply couldn't buy anywhere!)

Often, however, hand-knitted objects add another dimension, a process dimension. See your kid standing near the door in hand-made socks, ready to pull on shoes and head out? Those socks are loving that child--the kid is wearing a hug on each foot, and the knitter and the kid both know it. This is process and product combined: knitted object as connection between people.

Further, the knitter also remembers where the sock was knit--sitting on the sofa at home, perhaps, or on a splendid vacation, or maybe at the sick-bed of a beloved relative. Each stitch captures the tick of the clock while the curtains stirred the breeze, the vista of mountains unscrolling through the train window, the love and concern for the person in the bed. Process and product combine again: the knitted object as connection to personal history.


All hand-knits carry the invisible story of their own knitting--not just where they were knit, but also how--the color and texture of the needles which slid through the yarn, what the stitch markers looked like, how the yarn first looked on the shelf, how the project looked when first cast on and when half-finished, how the skeins of yarn then looked half-collapsed in the knitting basket. The older I get, the more foreground are these ephemeral joys.

I just love looking at some select blogs because those quilters have it figured out.  They are working on quilts that make them happy -- and they finish them.  I think that's what we do when we are entranced by a project -- or we know we will be when it's finished.  The glory may not be in every step of the process, but it will be in the finished product, the memories, maybe the pride, and definitely the joy of seeing someone we love cuddled under it or knowing it's going to a good home where it will be cherished.  Would a blanket from some super-store be cheaper and faster?  Certainly.  Would it be better?  Absolutely not -- there is no love in that blanket.  There is love in a quilt -- amidst every single fiber!

These are just excerpts from Tech Knitter's original post -- I encourage you to go there (even as a non-knitter) and see the comparisons to any fiber art and the similarities in the creative process.

I hope you are working on something that has a sky-high Work to Glory ratio!

Jan

28 comments:

a maidenhair fern said...

this is knitting? what a great idea for quilting. I'll have to try it. love the random extra long blocks.

Janice Cate said...

Thanks for sharing this. It does apply to my quilting, especially the part about the love going into the quilt. I have thought about the cost of the fabric and time spent sewing. But it really is win-win. I love the planning and sewing part and hopefully the recipient will appreciate a unique, handmade quilt.

knitnkwilt said...

Fun to think about. I've received comments like this: that's a lot of work to put into a charity quilt. Usually when I've done a pieced border. But I like to do them. It's about process--guess that's my 'glory.'

Amy's Crafty Shenanigans said...

Thanks for sharing on TGIFF!

Marianne Jeffrey said...

I think this is why so many people want patterns for quick quilts these days because we can enjoy the final product without to much extra effort, I think I am finding a balance for myself atm. Thanks for sharing!

Sparkling said...

Love that little blue quilt. I don't think anyone can ever go wrong with a blue quilt. I just love them!

Teresaquilts said...

couldn't have said it better in fact had not even thought it through but that makes some much sense, a wonderful insight. Thanks

Rhonda R. said...

Nice thought-provoking post. My personal quilts tend to be more involved. I like to take my time and enjoy the process. For charity quilts though, I tend to do fast and easy. Using a simple design I can bless more than one person in the same amount of sewing time. I loved looking at all your beautiful quilts.

Gari in AL said...

Your post made me smile as I have the same feeling. Usually I am in love with the quilts I am working on as they give me a special time to think about the person they are going to. And now, as I am knitting my first sock, I smile each time I sit down to have some knitting time. What a joy to be able to love what you are doing and then to also love what you have done.

katyquilts said...

Wow! So very, very true! I love to knit socks and the ridiculous amount of time to make them causes me to wonder if I have lost my mind and yet, it seems worth it. I agree as far as quilting goes as well. This is why I am not a big fan of mystery quilts. I have to know going in that I like the quilt enough to follow through and finish.

Rhonda said...

Thank you for putting into words some of my very thoughts towards quilting projects that I've absolutely loved and others that I've not been happy with. You have captured the essence very well!!

Connie said...

What a wonderful post and it makes perfect sense for quilting also. It is funny because the 4 quilts you didn't enjoy making.....were some of my favorites to make. We are all so different which makes everything fun. I don't knit but always enjoy seeing all the neat things others make.

Dar said...

Great words for thought. Your "love to quilts" are very pretty and looked like they were quick and easy. I noticed that a couple of the "not so thrilling to make ones" are those of many, many tiny pieces. I am making one of those now ES, but I love the colors, not so much the small pieces, but it's a challenge. I will love it when it's quilted and the end result will so worth it. After all, it will be almost a "free" quilt -- from stash only.! That improves the work-to-glory ratio. :)

Diana - FreeStyleMama said...

Lovely! So colorful!

Jane said...

Thanks for sharing this. Love your very colorful first quilt posted, especially. Now I'm going to click the link to the original post.

Nann said...

I think we have a new initialism: the WTGQ, or work-to-glory quotient.

I notice that two of your low-WTGQ projects are Quiltville mysteries. Did you work on them as mysteries, or after the entire project was revealed? (The Hidden Wells design was so low on my WTGQ list that I never attempted to make it!)

OTOH, I understand why your elongated colorful stripes (first photo) are high-WTGQ. Very energizing!

Nann said...

OOPS! Make that WTGR, work-to-glory ratio.

Melinda said...

Very thought provoking. I need to think more about this and focus on projects with wtgr.

Sarah Craig said...

Great post! And very thought provoking. It makes me look at the ongoing projects I have with a different eye.

Whoop whoop!!

Jill Shepherd said...

What a great post! There's definitely something in the 'work to glory ratio' - and I could describe lots of my projects in those terms - I like this way of looking at things!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a fabulous week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success
http://www.jembellish.blogspot.com/

akainik said...

Love your post... really interesting, makes you think

Came here from Quilt Story :)

Linda said...

I stopped in because I like your quilt that you linked to Judy's DWM and found this very thought provoking post. What a great concept. Oh and we must have the same tastes because I totally agree with your favorites and not so favorites.

Sara said...

Wow so very true! I think I've only had one project that I really hated...and I mean hate. I try to choose things I love and if not I know I won't finish it.

Joanie's Trendy Quilts said...

Oh yes this does make so much sense! It makes me understand some of my feelings of my quilts or others. I think I will have to change my perspective when thinking about making another quilt! Thanks for sharing! Now I understand why I love my 3 inches nine block on point quilt so much.

momiji said...

Many thanks for such a thoughtful post. The "work to glory" ratio definitely explains a lot to me. My last quilt was on the low side of that ratio--it started out high, but dropped steadily as I finished quilting it. But even so, that quilt taught me something important about color choices and why I shouldn't let any single designer fabric line dominate my work.

oneenglishteacher said...

It's obvious why your quilts with good work to glory ratios were enjoyable; they were gorgeous.

Overall, what a great post about the virtues of handmade goods.

The Sassy Quilter said...

I totally get this. It is definitely about the ratio, as with most things in life:) Nothing better than handmade, wish more realized that. Thanks for the great post.

Susan@Organized31 said...

You've captured exactly how I feel about craft projects. I've always joked that I have a short attention span, but I like the idea of Work to Glory ratio. I'm pinning now to help me remember this great rule of thumb for my projects.