Knitting vs. Sewing & Why You Should Learn Both

 
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You might read this post because you can knit but are tempted to learn how to sew, or you sew and are curious about knitting, or you don’t have experience in either and want to know which one to learn. Either way, in this post I will be comparing these two practical skills and explain why you should learn both. Let's dive in!

1. Versatile wardrobe for changing seasons

By learning both skills you can create a personalized, versatile wardrobe that caters especially for a climate with changing seasons. I live in a climate where summers can be up to +30 degrees Celsius (≈90˚F) and winters down to -30 (≈-20˚F), and that is why I need a very versatile wardrobe. I need both knit garments to stay warm in the winter, and sewn garments that help me feel cool in the summer. Now, I’m not saying that it isn’t possible to knit summer garments, or that it isn’t possible to sew warm clothes for the winter. Both can be done via choosing the right materials and the right patterns!

But. Although you can sew warm garments from ready-made knit fabrics (I’m talking about the warm “woolly” stuff, not e.g. cotton jersey), I have found that there is a lot more variety available in terms of the fiber content and color choices in yarns than in fabrics. Plus, you have more options texture-wise when you hand knit your fabric, whereas ready-made knit fabrics have a more limited selection of textures to choose from. This is my personal experience based on what is available in fabric stores here in Finland, but also on what I have seen online. Furthermore, there are tons of lightweight fabrics available that are perfect for hot summer weather, and while there are also yarns available in various weights with different fiber contents, choosing a lighter weight yarn to make a summer-appropriate garment means also a lot more work than sewing a garment from lightweight fabric because the stitches you are creating are also small, so you will have to knit a lot of rows into your garment. 

All in all, learning to both knit and sew will most definitely bring more versatility to your wardrobe whether you knit only for the colder months and sew for the warmer months, or do both throughout all the seasons!

2. The experience of knitting a garment and sewing a garment differ from each other

There are plenty of factors that make knitting and sewing very different experiences. For example, one of the absolute pros of knitting is that a knitting project is usually portable. If you are knitting a sweater, a cardigan, socks, or any type of garment or accessory, it is relatively easy to carry that project with you in a project bag. So, you have the pleasure of working on your project while commuting to work, waiting for an appointment, during lunch break, but also while watching a movie comfortably on the couch. I have seen people knit in class at uni, and they say it helps them concentrate better on the lecture. I tried knitting in class during the past spring term for the first time, and sure enough, it does work especially in mass lectures!

Sewing, on the other hand, is usually restricted to the area surrounding your sewing machine and/or overlocker. This may not even prove to be a restriction when you’re working on a small or simple project that can be sewn from start to finish in an hour or so, or even in a few hours. If your sewing project requires hand-sewing, that, of course, can be done in a variety of places. 

In terms of how much time it takes to finish a project, generally, sewing is faster. Sure, there are many phases in between buying your fabric and turning it into a garment, but once you have that fabric pre-washed and ironed, AKA: ready for cutting and sewing, it's just usually so much quicker to finish a sewing project as opposed to a knitting project.

Correcting mistakes is also one factor that adds up to the overall experience. Correcting mistakes can be faster on a sewing project than on a knitting project. The seam ripper is every sewist’s friend (yes, we all need it), and using it to rip back a seam you sewed incorrectly is pretty swift. But on the other hand, if you have made a mistake of e.g cutting your pattern pieces in the wrong size, that can be harder to fix, and even impossible. So, I cannot stress enough this mantra that every sewist appreciates, or eventually will learn to appreciate: Measure twice, cut once.

Correcting mistakes on a knitting project, on the other hand, can be a bit more flexible, because you’re creating the fabric as you go, and if you find that you have made a mistake, you can rip back, correct your mistake, and continue constructing your piece from there. Of course, you will learn to evaluate whether it is necessary to correct a mistake or not. Some mistakes might not be that big or visible for it to be necessary to rip back rows and rows of knitting, especially if you’ve spent a long time knitting after you made that mistake. If you drop a stitch, that can usually be fixed with a crochet hook quite easily. So, not every mistake you make with your knitting, takes a ton of time to correct.

3. Your craft mojo changes

"What's a craft mojo?" you may ask. Well, I think the easiest way to explain it is to say that it's what you feel like making. When you know how to knit and sew, you also have more variety in terms of which craft to channel your craft mojo.

Sometimes you feel like you just want to take your time and work on something at a slow pace and sometimes you'll be pumped up with energy and be ready to finish a ton of projects at one go. Sometimes you can't be bothered to take out your whole sewing arsenal in order to be creative, so you turn to your knitting instead. Or, perhaps this week you have very limited time for your craft hobby, so you want to make sure that you make the most out of that time and perhaps have a finished garment by the time you need to move on to something else, so you use that time for sewing instead of knitting. So, having both skills under your belt, gives you more chances to harness that craft mojo and bring you one step closer to having a versatile personalized wardrobe!

 

I hope I have successfully explained why I think you should learn both knitting and sewing. To put it shortly: These skills complement each other. Learning both skills give you more flexibility when e.g. your time to be spent on making your garments varies. And, let’s face it, sometimes you won’t feel like sewing, but wouldn’t mind knitting, or vice versa. Therefore, it’s good to be equipped with both of these skills to keep building up that self-made wardrobe at all times! And as I said at the beginning of this post, the ability to knit and sew will also help you create a more versatile wardrobe that includes clothes for all seasons and weathers.

Now, if you are new to both knitting and sewing, you might ask which skill to learn first. I will cover that in a later post.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions concerning this post, just leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!