Applying knitting mind to sewing projects

7 Apr

I’m a lot more patient when knitting than when sewing.

I know, starting out, that knitting a garment one stitch at a time takes a long time. I go in with a patient, long-term expectation. But for some reason I have it in my head that no matter the complexity of a sewing project, if I just sit down and devote a whole afternoon/day/weekend to it, it’ll be done. This has no basis in logic. Yes, I can knock out quick projects like a skirt or a simple dress in an afternoon, day, or weekend. But there’s no rule that I have to–and just as in knitting, sometimes two steps forward follows with a big step back.
For some reason I routinely sit down with a knit or crochet project telling myself “I’ll just do a few rows of this lace before dinner” or “I’ll carry this scarf with me for the train ride, maybe I’ll get a half-inch finished today.” I take small bites, and am satisfied with small progress.  Maybe it’s because with sewing, I have to set up the machine, cutting table, ironing board, etc. and I feel like that effort should be rewarded by a completely finished item. But I’m going to practice changing those rules. I’m going to bite off only small parts at a time. “Tonight I’ll just cut out the pattern pieces.” “This afternoon, I’ll just add the zipper.” “Maybe tomorrow I’ll set in those sleeves.” Small, attainable, goals focused on process.


This is my hobby, after all: something I endeavor because I enjoy.  So doing it over and over, multiple days (weekends) in a row (even working on the same project) should be no problem for me. And when I find myself rushing through a hem or an interfacing, I’ll remind myself of a current work-in-progress in yarn, and try to make the mental transition.

6 Responses to “Applying knitting mind to sewing projects”

  1. juli April 7, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    With knitting, it’s easier to take the work out on a whim and pack it away again. With sewing, not so much, as the sewing machine and general gadgetry are such an integral part of sewing and their unpacking and re-packing take so much time and effort that you really want to squeeze out the maximum sewing to compensate for the trouble.

    Sewing your garments by hand gives you the same experience (and ohm!) as knitting – hooray for slow crafts!

  2. Denise Toepel April 8, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Hurray for you! It’s It’s a great idea.

  3. Sophie O. April 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    For some strange reason, my brain works exactly the same way: I’m rarely in a hurry in knitting, whilst I always want to be finished with my sewing. And I can’t blame the setup as I have a room where my sewing machine stays so I can start straight away. This is very bizarre, I’m glad to know I’m not the only one 🙂

  4. Zoe June 10, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    I’m like that too with sewing. I don’t have to set up the sewing machine and my ironing board is always out but I know what you mean. I find the cutting out & preparation rather boring so it can take me a whole weekend to cut something out as I do it in really small doses. Then when I go to sew it I just want to wear the silly thing right now, so I rush and things don’t look as nice :/

  5. surfjewels August 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    I am exactly the same, Knitting I know will take me an age, which is fine, but I expect a sewn item done and dusted that day! If it’s not I get stressed about it and then leave it unfinished 4 ages. I read on another blog about this goal of trying to sew a little bit here and there like you said and it’s def an idea to try.

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