I love this thread!
Just another 2 cents worth from me - There seems to be some difference of opinion about what art really is. It's getting divided into "art" and "craft" when there's really a simplicity to the whole subject.
Art is, pure and simple, a communication.
The artist wants to say something to others and expresses that message in his or her chosen medium. A writer uses words, but others use different things, like wool or paint or whatever.
Rosemary, what you wrote is beautiful, and believe me when I tell you that all those wonderful communications from your heart go in with the yarn! It's all part of the package and does get across to others.
It's not about the practicality of the art, or even the end result. A young child who has limited language capability can still get his or her message across, if only by screeching!
As the child grows and learns, his communication range broadens and he can make himself understood more smoothly. Same with anything you're using to create art. The first rose I painted took me 2 1/2 hours and ended up looking more like a daisy. Now, about 12,000 roses later (I kid you not!) I can paint a rose in 5 minutes that looks real enough to pluck off the canvas!
Practicality? I've probably done nearly as many hand-painted furniture pieces as I have murals and canvases. And it always gives me an extra zing to know that my "practical art" will be lovingly used as well as enjoyed visually for years to come.
So, if you've got the impulse to create something, whether it's from a pattern or not, whether you're an expert at it yet or not, go ahead and communicate that desire by making it happen.
OK, that's it for now from the peanut gallery here!
So, who else is an artist? Let's hear it...