theraineysisters knitting and so much more

March 27, 2008

From Susan — Sewing is the New Knitting?

Filed under: Susan's Mitered Cardigan,Uncategorized — lv2knit @ 10:29 pm

That is a quote from the paper today (Startribune, March 27, 2008). 

Knitting was the new-again craze five years ago. Everyone was clicking needles, from young professionals in bars and cafes to superstars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Roberts.  Now sewing is back in vogue.

“Sewing is the new knitting,” said Amber Eden, editor of Threads, a magazine for sewing enthusiasts.

Hmmmph.  I think it is great that young people are rediscovering how fun it is to get creative and customize your clothing and your look.  A return to our roots.  But the “new knitting?”  Au contraire, mes amies!!

Sewing is not and never can be the new knitting — because of one very important difference: knitting is portable.  Because it is portable, it can easily be shared as a social activity. 

The news article describes “sewing retreats” at hotels or on cruises, craft expos that attract thousands, etc.  But sewing enthusiasts cannot do what I did this evening: grab my knitting bag and hang out at Panera’s with my knitting peeps.  I didn’t have to drag a sewing machine, cutting table and iron with me to share my craft with others.  Sewers can host expos, have shop hops, blog about their projects — but the activity itself is either very solitary, or takes a lot of effort/resources/space to be a group activity. 

For many years, sewing was my hobby of choice — but I was hidden away in my basement sewing room, away from the family (not always a bad thing ;)), and isolated.  With small children, it just did not work.  So, I started knitting more and have never looked back.  It brought me out of the basement, into the light!!

Susan steps off soapbax…..Okay, let’s talk about knitting! 

Modified Mitered Cardigan
Mindless miters are mighty fun to knit!  I am liking this project.  You can really see the construction here.  The three sides of the 4th back section are on the needles.  The left and bottom edges are picked up along the adjacent sides of the previously knit sections and then the 3rd leg is cast on.  You can also see how I carved out the armhole shaping on the left side.

Mitered Cardigan by Norah Gaughan, Vogue Knitting (Holiday Issue, 2003)
Rowan Tapestry, US 6 needle

I am almost done with the back, so the project is motoring along nicely.  AND, it is very portable.


  1. Once upon a time Threads used to publish great articles about knitting, including a big one by Alice Starmore. Then it stopped including articles on knitting and became a very boring magazine as a consequence. So I cancelled my subscription. In short, wishful thinking on the part of Threads. BTW, Vogue Patterns is sad relative to what it once was, too. Let’s knit on!

    Comment by Katie K — March 27, 2008 @ 10:51 pm

  2. Hey, Susan, I think we live in a parallel universe. I used to sew a lot in my newlywed days, and kept it up when I had one child. However, I have to say that I was fortunate to know a wonderful shop owner who was willing to teach me a lot, hosted monthly sew-ins and was willing to let me come and sew in her shop. Can you believe that?

    Anyway, when baby number 2 came along, I just couldn’t muster the time or the gumption to be in my sewing area much. That’s when I decided maybe I should knit him a sweater. Prior to that I hadn’t knit since I was about 10. No, I didn’t get it finished before he outgrew it, but who cares? I’m having a blast! And, as my daughter recently told a friend, “When doesn’t she have her knitting with her?”

    Comment by Smuddpie — March 27, 2008 @ 11:37 pm

  3. From Susan to Katie — I was a steady subscriber to Threads and loved not only the knitting but the other crafts. Then they switched entirely to sewing — I was underwhelmed!!

    Comment by lv2knit — March 27, 2008 @ 11:51 pm

  4. That is even worse than knitting is the new yoga!

    Comment by Laritza — March 27, 2008 @ 11:54 pm

  5. I learned to knit (age 6) before I learned to sew (age 9). Sewing became my passion until a yarn shop opened 7 years ago a couple of miles from my home. Knitting took over my free hours, due to the friendly, hospitable yarn shop owner and her wooden table at the front of the shop where all could gather to drink coffee, visit, share ideas, encourage each other into buying way too much yarn!, and knit. Over the past 7 years I came to view sewing as a solo performance and knitting as a team sport. Sadly, our LYS will be closing tomorrow for good, and I guess it’s back to solo performances for me, whether I’m sewing or knitting. There’s an emptiness in my heart right now.

    Mary G. in Texas

    Comment by Katie's Granny — March 28, 2008 @ 12:06 am

  6. Hi Susan,

    you’ve got a great website (belated best wishes to your bloggiversary!) – I really enjoy reading about your and your sisters interesting and beautiful projects.
    The modified mitered cardigan looks most promising so far. I’ll read on…


    Comment by Ute — March 28, 2008 @ 5:44 am

  7. Susan, it’s great to know that you and so many folks (including me) have this sewing/knitting interest.
    Interesting that the breakdown is knitting = social activity, vs. sewing = solo activity. I wonder
    if there are any hand sewing groups out there, as in the early pre-machine sewing days.
    Best, Alice in VA

    Comment by Alice in VA — March 28, 2008 @ 6:45 am

  8. I’m a former Threads subscriber for the same reason. I was never, unlike Susan, a great seamstress so when they stopped publishing knitting I stopped reading. I was a little ticked that they made that announcement just after I had renewed my subscription for two years.

    Comment by surly — March 28, 2008 @ 8:04 am

  9. Susan- I sewed a few things for the kinders, then that led to quilting, which got out of control,
    and needlepoint, cross stitch, ceramics-
    But knitting is by far the best thing. Sewing is so NOT the new knitting.

    Comment by Lorraine — March 28, 2008 @ 8:18 am

  10. *Knitting* is the new knitting. And black is still the new black.

    Comment by Miss T — March 28, 2008 @ 9:09 am

  11. I don’t know how to sew! To me, knitting is the new scrapbooking. I haven’t scrapbooked much since I re-discovered knitting. I would have a lot of room for yarn stash if I got rid of my scrapbooking supplies and tools!! But sad to say, scrapbooking benefits my family more than knitting does.

    Comment by Christine — March 28, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  12. I thought crochet was the new knitting? The sewing folks must just be jealous.

    Comment by Paula — March 28, 2008 @ 10:18 am

  13. I love the way this yarn is knitting up. It’s looking gorgeous!

    Comment by Beadknitter — March 28, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

  14. I am very eager to see all the mods you bring to your second mitered jacket. I have been battling this pattern over the past year.Not the knitting but the fit — I am discouraged by how oversize my jacket back turned out to be (even following size Small instructions)and I know it would take a bit of serious arithmetic work to get to a less baggy result. So I applaud your sleeve mods in advance and I can’t wait for more info once you are done!

    Comment by Laura — March 28, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

  15. Hey there –
    That sweater is coming along nicely! I love Rowan Tapestry, but can never come up with a satisfactory project for it…horizontal stripes are not very flattering on me. 🙂

    Anyway, interesting article…it’s quite true, sewing is not really a group event. The resurgence is great, but I’m not sure that the knitting craze has gone away. Especially if you browse Ravelry, many people started knitting within the past 5 years, and I don’t see that dwindling as the article implies.

    Comment by Juliet — March 28, 2008 @ 4:44 pm

  16. Thanks for posting the wip of the Mitred Cardi! It is so pretty! I am waiting very impatiently for the magazine to arrive from Canada! lol I can’t decide whether to use the Mountain Colors, Peace Fleece or the generic Webs wool. decisions, decisions!

    Sewing is the new Knitting…heh. They are not even in the same ballpark! Two very different “sports”. lol

    Comment by Kate/Massachusetts — March 28, 2008 @ 6:53 pm

  17. Can’t beat beauty and portability! Or Nora for that matter!

    Comment by Carol — March 28, 2008 @ 8:12 pm

  18. I learned to sew after I learned to knit. I have done both most of my life and enjoy both. I don’t compare because it would be like saying which of your children you love best. Although most of my sewing is done with a machine, not all is. My great knitting friends this past good Friday joined me at my daughter’s house as we worked on the hand sewing for her wedding favors. They offered and I could not begin to express my gratitude. They made a huge difference in the progress of the project. It was every bit as social as our knitting nights. This past winter as the group assembled to stitch up our group afghan we got a peek at the appeal of a quilting bee. What a phenomenal time! Until about two years ago, knitting was as solitary for me as sewing. Based on the number of quilting groups in our area, I’d say they have managed to make this a social event. Where there is a will, there is a way. Sewing is the new knitting?? Please. Sewing is sewing and knitting is knitting. Give each its due. Perhaps this explains why our local Barnes and Nobles has decided to thin the knitting books and plump up the sewing section. I don’t see the enthusiasm for knitting dying down…nor should it.

    Comment by Niteowl — March 29, 2008 @ 1:06 am

  19. Sewing is not the new knitting–its just that knitting is the gateway craft to other obsessions! I’ve been knitting intently (obsessively) for about 5 years and I love it. I love all the patterns, the yarn, the blogs. I love that I can drag my knitting to soccer practice and the doctor’s office. BUT I find myself sewing a bit, needing to stretch in my craft–and I think of it like cross training for knitting! I think knowing more about garment contruction really helps with sweaters too, and gives me more confidence in my main craft. Plus, sewing is so FAST! you can make something in an afternoon rather than in a month. THAT is exciting!

    Comment by suzanne — March 29, 2008 @ 8:12 am

  20. Sewing will never be the “new knitting.” I never cared for “this is the new that” turn of phrase anyway.

    However, sewing is very portable. In her book “Quiltmaking by Hand,” Jinny Beyer explains how she makes all of her stunning, intricately pieced huge quilts all by hand piecing and quilting. Anyone can do it. Her instructions are impeccable.

    I enjoy hand and machine sewing and knitting, the latter of which will always hold my heart. But I do take my sewing along as well – sometimes. I take my knitting along – always.

    Comment by Susan — March 29, 2008 @ 9:56 am

  21. I’m in big trouble, because I knit, I sew, and I quilt….I never (or rarely) finish a project now. I don’t think that sewing is portable, but I do believe that sewing is resurging. It was pretty dead a few years ago, and was difficult to find fabric. With the internet, fabric can be purchased without a store. Works for me…

    Comment by Michelle — March 29, 2008 @ 12:15 pm

  22. Sewing is fun, knitting is fun, crossstitch is arduous! but I love them all.

    Oooh, how nice of you to be modifying the pattern my mother picked out for me to knit for her! She was hesitant about the squares on her backside.

    Comment by Carrie K — April 1, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

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