, , ,

The other day Boss J asked me a question that should have been easy to answer.  I was showing off my trial run dress, and she asked, “Do you like sewing?”  And the answer, after a lot of qualifying, was, “Sortof.”

The truth is, I don’t really like sewing.  I mean, I don’t mind it.  It’s ok.  It’s often a challenge, which is good.  Things that aren’t challenging in some way don’t tend to hold my interest, and if I’m not interested things have a way of just not happening.  But if I had the choice of spending an afternoon, say, sewing a dress versus knitting a new and challenging lace pattern, or reading a new book from one of my favorite authors, or watching a movie with my sisters, I wouldn’t spend the afternoon sewing (unless, of course, there’s a major Deadline hanging over my head, and then all bets are off).

What I love about sewing is the things I can make.  I like creating things in general, and I like the challenge of taking a piece of flat cloth and creating something three dimensional that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but uniquely suited to be worn by my body.  Sewing is the only way I know to get the kind of clothes I like for a price I can afford.  It’s that simple.  So I sew.  Sewing is also relatively fast.  For example, it would take me days or weeks to knit a baby gift (or, in the case of baby blankets, years), but I can finish half a dozen bibs in an evening.  So in that case, when I don’t have days or weeks to knit, I sew.

When it comes to making things, what I really love is knitting.  I enjoy knitting in and of itself.  I find it soothing, relaxing.  Knitting helps me keep attentive and in my seat during meetings or long conversations.  By bleeding off a little of the excess energy that would otherwise have me fidgeting, interrupting, or completing others’ sentences for them, it enables me to actually listen to what is being said.  I like the way manipulating two basic stitches can create such endless variety and beauty.  I love the colors of the yarn, watching the way it changes in different lights, how the stitch pattern interacts with the color to make something new.  I love the way really good yarn feels in my hands: the springiness of wool, the softness of alpaca, the smooth slickness of silk.  I love watching how it knits up into various fabrics, from dense cables to lace so light you think it might float away.  I find knitting endlessly interesting, and I would knit even if I didn’t need any of the objects I create.

I have often heard the terms product vs. process knitters.  A product knitter likes knitting for the things he or she can make by knitting.  The actual act of knitting may be cumbersome and time-consuming, but having that unique, awesome product at the end makes it worth it.  Process knitters love the actual act of creating.  The end result is not as important.  I think this is what makes the difference between my attitudes toward knitting and sewing.  I’m a process knitter, in love with all the things that go into making a beautiful, useful thing.  However, I’m a product sewer.  All I want is the finished product, which I will wear with great pride for years.  The actual work of sewing is a necessary, well, not evil, but the challenge you have to get through to end up with the thing you want.

So do I like sewing?  Well, yes, in that I really like the things I can make, enough to put up with the various annoyances of sewing itself.  But my heart belongs to knitting.