Monday, December 21, 2009

Knitting vs Quilting

This affair that I'm having with quilting is turning out to be somewhat serious. I actually went into a craft store last week and did not buy the Interweave Knits Holiday Issue or Interweave Accessories Issues. Nothing appealed to me, especially the price of $14.99. Am I the only one that thinks that is a bit steep for a periodical? After a quick browse and a shrug of the shoulders, I headed off to the fabric department. See what I mean? It is bad.

There are a few issues I have with quilting though. It takes up a lot of space. You need to have a place for a sewing machine and ironing board and leave them out. The photo shows the area I've staked out in our lower level. It is just too time-consuming to get the equipment out every time. You also need a work surface for cutting and placement of fabric. Then there is storage of the fabric, rotary cutter, scissors, cutting mat, marking pens, and a host of other tools. When starting on a project you need the various fabrics for the front of the quilt, thread, backing fabric, binding fabric, and batting. This makes the ol' head spin.

Then there is the problem of what to do with the finished product. While quilts are useful for keeping warm, other quilt projects are not so useful. Exhibit A is the table runner I just finished. It is pretty and I'm proud of it but how many table runners does a person need? They really serve no purpose. Quilted totes are useful, but again, how many does one need or want? You can't wear quilts. Some people wear quilted jackets. I am no fashion expert but suffice to say, it is a rare figure who can pull off one of those jackets. Perhaps .05% of the population. And I bet you feel like a snowman wearing one of them.

Knitting is so simple. To start a project you need two things: (1) the proper needles, which you quite probably have on hand if you have been knitting for a while, and (2)the yarn. A blunt needle for sewing up the ends can last for decades. I've had mine for eons and feel quite attached to it. A measuring tool can be handy. Your project only takes up the space of your knitting basket or bag. I've managed to keep my stash under control so it only occupies two large plastic bins and one or two cloth tote bags. Most of my stash consists of wool left over from completed projects. I have one UFO lurking in the closet (Fair Isle Vest). Note to self: do a stash busting project soon.

The usefulness of knitted items knows no bounds. In fact, most knitted items fall into the functional category. People generally look good in them, too, especially babies and children. I wonder what percentage of knitters actually started knitting when pregnant? I get great pleasure in seeing my loved ones in their sweaters I've knitted for them. My husband is still wearing sweaters I made 30 years ago.

A big bonus for knitting is the portability factor. Take it anywhere with the exception of important business meetings, church services, and funerals. My husband is having cataract surgery tomorrow. I don't even mind a wait at the hospital. That means knitting time for me! I've found that with televisions going in waiting rooms, it is best for me to take my iPod, loaded with some knitting podcasts, and my knitting. I'm surely the most content person in a waiting room.

So I'm trying to analyze why I've gone off on this quilting binge, against all odds and against all reasonable arguments. Firstly, the fabrics are like sirens to the fiber soul. I think there is some kind of a pheremone injected into the fabric that lures one toward them. The colors and prints are nostalgic and feed part of me that thinks I would have liked living about 1900. (Only a little part of me.) The biggest factor is that I love tackling something new. While I have done some machine quilting before (c 1981) the tools and methods have changed considerably. It is a whole new world of fibery goodness out there.
So I figure I'll make a quilt or two and this little itch will be scratched for good. I'm hoping!


joyknits said...

I think the colors and patterns are a definite lure. Best wishes to Bob with his surgery - with mine, I think the drops were to worst part of it, otherwise pretty easy.

Pooch said...

Beautiful table runner! I donate many knitted items to charity. Our church quilting circle donates to local charities as well. Every baby baptized at our church receives a quilt from our circle. I'm sure many could be blessed by your talent. :)

Paula said...

That's a good idea, Pooch. We'll see how long the binge lasts.

KPiep said...

Fabric is very tempting to me, too. I try to stay out of quilting stores - especially the one or two that carry fabric that really sings to me.

KPiep said...

By the way, I agree that $15 is too steep for a periodical - ESPECIALLY the case in the Accessories issue which just reprinted patterns already published over the last five years or so. I thought that was a complete rip-off.

Printer Friendly