When I say "Painting vs Sculpting," I am talking about knitting, of course. I've been thinking lately about different types of knitters and why I am drawn to some projects and not others. I think it comes down to whether people prefer to sculpt with their yarn or paint with their yarn.
Here's what I mean:
Often online, I will see blogs and forum postings from people who make nothing but socks. Gorgeous, hand-dyed, different intricate-lace-pattern-every-time socks. Or they make fair-isle scarves or sweaters which are a plain rectangle with very complex colorwork patterns. Or crazy aran blankets with a hundred different squiggles scattered across them. I am starting to think of this as "painting" fancy designs with the knitting.
I, on the other hand, am more interested in scuplting interesting shapes with my yarn. For awhile I thought that this was because of the fact that I am generally watching TV while I am knitting and I don't feel like counting every stitch. After mulling this over, however, I think really it's no less complex, and no more mindless to count the 6 stitches that come before a complicted increase that will eventually become the nose of some sort of hat creature (or whatever) than to count the 6 stitches that come before a color change or a yo, sl1, ssk, psso (or whatever) of a lace pattern.
It's not that I don't like fair-isle or aran knitting or lace. I've made perfectly good things using all of these techniques. It's just that when I find myself day-dreaming about knitting (yeah, I really do that) it's rarely because I am trying to figure out how to incorporate colorwork into a pattern. It's much more likely that I will fear my cat will get cold in the winter and so I will be trying to figure out how to knit a cat-cozy... or I will wonder how I would do the increases if I wanted a sweater with a zipper that went diagonally across the front... or I will wonder how to make the cuffs if I want to knit mittens that are also gloves (my new amazing project I mentioned in the last post).
Therefore, I think that there are two types of knitting, painting with color or lacework or cables, and sculpting with interesting shapes. In order to be a master of knitting, I feel like you have to be able to seamlessly integrate these two components into each other. This is what I strive for as a knitter.