New Obsession

Clearly, knitting was a gateway drug.

I started and finished a sleeve of the Giant Project in four days.

Blocked and unblocked

And then, took nearly a fortnight for the next sleeve because I bought a sewing machine!

In the last few days I’ve cranked out:

A bag to hold my sewing stuff. I’m glad I don’t have to sew bags for a living because that is the clumsiest thing I’ve seen (hence just the proof-of-existence shot, and no accompanying beauty shots).

A long boring rectangle to hide the edges of an ugly mattress.

A skirt! An actual living, breathing, adult garment! What a pity I cut out two Front pieces, which makes it really uncomfortable to wear! However it’s lined and zippered and all, so I’m sort of proud of myself. Might do another post later with all the gory details. Pattern from Sew U

A pair of shorts from Dozens of Ways to Repurpose Scarves. I’ll just use the picture from the book because there’s no way I’m pasting photos of my backside on the internet. It came out exactly as pictured.

How does sewing compare with knitting?

Pros

Fast: Even with all the excrutiating prepwork of cutting and pinning and fabric alignment, it is possible to make a (simple) garment a day.

Trousers: I might eventually gather courage to make myself trousers, which will liberate me from the tyranny of skinny tapering fashions in all the shops. I hate that shape! So unflattering. This was one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to buy a machine. Down with tapering pants!

Cons

Lack of Control: I’m so used to being able customise everything I knit, I feel vaguely degraded by how much I have to depend on patterns produced by others. It’s like going from being the oldest class in Junior School to the youngest in Senior School – you’re a silly, irrelevant, little thing all over again. Hopefully this stage won’t last long. This is an important factor for me, because I found myself much calmer while making the bag — there were no patterns to follow and notches to match.

Waste: as knitters we find ways to use up every last scrap of beautiful yarn, and it almost makes my skin crawl to see how much fabric goes waste even if you position pattern pieces ever so carefully. As a knitter I create fabric; but as a sewer – ummm that came out wrong; I mean, as a sewist – I discard so many scraps that, if they were dough, they could just be rolled out again to get at least five more biscuits. Thread must be wasted too. Before and after starting each line of stitching, I have to leave a 5” tail. I did try to be thrifty and leave 2” before starting, but that makes the thread jump out of the needle in the most annoying way.

Corrections: Using a seam ripper is ten times slower than frogging a knit.

Portability: No way to stuff the machine into a travel bag to work on while travelling.

Scheduling: There’s no way to finish a quick little seam or cut out a piece while waiting for a file to download. Each act of sewing is an Serious Undertaking needing preparation and set up.

Hmmm, five Cons vs. two Pros! Why, then, am I going to continue sewing? Did I mention it was fast…?

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3 thoughts on “New Obsession

  1. I’m a knitter and a sewer too – you’re right about the pros and cons but I just can’t do without one or the other…. I go through phases with them. Well, actually I knit every day and I sew less. But, sewing is so much faster so I sew much more than I knit…. make sense?
    I would add to the pros (to balance it out….) you can add a lot of colour and texture to your wardrobe with sewing, ummmm, Once you figure it out, you can make clothes fit better than anything you would buy, and, I love trims.

  2. That’s funny because I feel the same but the other way around about being able to easily customize in sewing and having to learn from scratch almost in knitting

  3. Ha ha…I tried knitting before and I can’t take it. I always lost count of the knit and purl and the stuff i knit never turn out right. The same thing happen when I tried cross stitch. But I love to sew. I find that I have more freedom to express my style and to construct any item the way that I am most comfortable. And sewing offers a wide variety of medium….not just fabrics. 🙂

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