I Am A Knitter

tuck ends between layers of fabric double knitting

When I was young, I begged my grandmother to teach me how to crochet. She agreed to teach me. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that crocheting was the thing you did with one stick and knitting was the thing you did with two sticks and since I mostly saw her knit, I actually wanted to learn to knit instead. She stubbornly insisted that crocheting was easier so she would teach me to crochet, not knit. I stubbornly insisted that I wanted to do the thing with two sticks not one stick. So, my early attempts to become a knitter were aborted before they began.

mistake in knit lace shawl

My mom taught my cousin Lindsey and I to knit when we were young teenagers and took a family road trip to Yellowstone together. It was a good way to keep us busy in the back seat of a car. We had cheap acrylic yarn, plastic needles, and a very simple baby sweater pattern meant for charity. I took to knitting a bit more naturally than Lindsey did, but we figured that someone would rather have her sweater than no sweater at all, so we sent both of them off in a box for charity at the end of the trip.

knit sweater facing

I started knitting regularly when I was in high school. It gave me something to do during lunch and on the bus to and from school, and I produced quite an assortment of hats and scarves for my friends and family.

In college, I started knitting through my classes (any time that I didn’t need to be taking notes) and with every year since I have spent more and more of my time knitting. It’s now pretty much a constant – any time that I am sitting still, I am knitting. I find that I self-identify as a knitter as much as I self-identify as a sewist, and because it’s easier to knit in public, I am more likely to connect with a stranger over knitting.

modified plaid knit pattern

I find that knitting and sewing fulfill different needs for me. Knitting is such a slow process (especially because I tend to knit sweaters and almost always choose lace or cables and fingering weight yarn) that I don’t expect to see visible progress with any single knitting session. It keeps my hands busy, quiets my busy thoughts, and makes me feel productive. Although I’ve designed a few knitting patterns, I’m usually quite content to work from available knitting patterns, even though I probably could draft my own – this is in direct contrast to sewing where much of the time I look at a sewing pattern and think that it would be easier to draft it myself than to go through all the fit changes necessary from a pattern as-is.

Are you a knitter? Do you find knitting and sewing meet different needs for you?


Each week this year I’m going to reflect on an aspect of myself and how it affects me as a sewist, crafter, or blogger. It may get deep, it may get emotional, it may get totally silly. It may be something I’m proud of, it may be something I cringe at, it may be something I aspire to. I may say a lot, I may say a little, I may ask questions, I may not answer them. I don’t quite know where the project will take me, but I’m excited about the journey. I’d be honored to have you join me on this journey. Chime in any time this year in my blog comments, on TwitterInstagram, or your own blog. Join me in my theme for the week or make up your own.

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Comments 4

  1. I feel the same way about the pattern thing. I like using others patterns for knitting but my own for sewing. Especially since I started doing costume design since I much prefer working in metric compared to inches. Although I do find it hard to complete knitting projects as they can take a long time.

  2. I always have a knitting project going, sometimes two. I mostly knit at night or with my knitting group. Of course traveling in a car is perfect knitting time. If I have two projects, one is more complicated – like a sweater and then I’ll have simple socks on the needles as well – for those times I know I’ll be sitting around waiting.

    I also sew and quilt – but that necessitates a sewing machine, and tends to be more solitary and not social. Days can go by between finishing and starting sewing projects, but there is ALWAYS some knitting on the needles.

  3. Knitting is more about the process for me. Sewing is about the product and the process can go hang most of the time. I enjoy making clothes for my daughter more than for me, but I need them more. I tend to use her clothes to learn techniques, since it’s a smaller outlay of time and materials. In her closet are my first attempts at a blind hem, french seams, top-stitching, and bias facing. I just started spindle spinning and it’s knocked knitting off it’s throne as most favored craft. It feels like magic to take fluff and turn it into stuff. My daughter actually thinks it is magic and I think she’ll be spinning herself soon. We’re such atavists.

  4. That’s so funny…. I asked grandma to teach me to crochet, and she did, but she taught the names and turns wrong, so I had to re-teach myself how. Crocheting stuck with me, but I’m turning to Mom to learn to knit

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