dusktreader knits

March 4, 2010

Knitting “vs” sewing

Filed under: What I talk about when I talk about knitting — Tags: , , — dusktreader @ 10:22 pm

Can't we all just get along? Image by incurable_hippie on flickr.

Does it have to be a competition? No. But I can’t help making comparisons.

I’ve been knitting for 6 years, and I consider myself to be at the intermediate level: I’ve learned a lot, and there are a lot of things I haven’t tried yet. But I’m a newbie at sewing: I just relearned (having not really learned anything in home ec. class except how to ask the teacher what to do next) last Fall. It was time. I’d dragged my mom’s old sewing machine across the country with me when I moved,* so i had to make it worthwhile and actually get around to using it. And now that I’m not in school I have stretches of time–hours even–where I can sit and focus on something fun guilt-free. Can you imagine?

I’ve made a few bags, and a few aprons. I made a skirt about a month ago and that was really exciting. (It fits me! In the waist AND the hips! I’ve worn it several times and received compliments. And it hasn’t even fallen apart!)

I think I like knitting better though. Sewing is more about finished product for me. I’m excited about having a bag that I made rather than being excited to make a bag. When I knit, I enjoy the process. The hats, socks, mitts and gifts are almost a bonus rather than the reason for doing it. I like being able to pick up my knitting anytime and do a few rows without all the elaborate set-up that sewing requires.** In knitting when I make a mistake, I can almost always ignore it with minimal consequences. In sewing, mistakes can ruin large swatches of fabric and can really stand out.

And knitting is portable. I spend a lot of time on busses. I like to knit on my lunch break. Or at the park, or on the plane, or at the beach. (And don’t say anything to me about hand-sewing. Besides the tediousness, I’m nervous about whipping out pokey needles in a public place. Knitting needles can be dangerous when handled improperly, but it takes a lot to get them to puncture your skin.)

I like sewing for things that are impractical or impossible to knit. I’ve always wanted to make a knitted skirt (and I will someday), but it would take months of knitting. I sewed a skirt in about 5 hours. I also like that sewing can enrich my knitting: I’m now a lot less afraid of projects that require sewn-in linings or zippers, and I have a new understanding of garment construction from reading up on sewing techniques.

It’s probably not my passion. But we’ll see. It’s still budding. Maybe in six years I’ll be designing my own sewing patterns.


*Actually, the boy dragged it for me in an extra suitcase I made him take. Thanks boyfriend! I’ll make you that superhero costume someday!

**Perhaps one day when I have a craft room with a sewing machine that I can leave set up and accessories and fabric that are well-organized, it will be easier to sew a little at a time.


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