Monday, August 17, 2015

Three Dimensional Thinking for Knitters

I've been thinking about the difference between the way knitters and sewers approach fit and pattern customization for a long time. I wrote this post about it back in Dec 2012. I tried asking some knitters what they thought the difference was. It was clear from the responses that the knitter only group think sewing makes fit much easier. The ironic part is that sewers are sure knitting is much easier to fit due to the stretchiness of the fabric. I can tell you that my pattern drafting experience shows knit drafts are much simpler. You can do all sorts of things with cut and sew knit yardage which can't be done with woven fabric. Wovens require more seaming, more technical underpinnings, finishing and more fitting expertise.

I do realize that gauge and stitch multiples create trouble especially for the math phobic. However it is so much more fixable in knitting. We can tear back, but once you cut fabric if it's wrong you often can't fix it unless you have more fabric to re-cut. Which is why sewers make test mockups before cutting into very expensive fabric. I may have escaped this fear because my loose gauge forced me to rewrite the patterns I used when I was a beginner knitter and my lack of height meant I had to recalculate sleeve shapings in my early garments. I suspect my sewing influenced me as well in that I did not expect the patterns to fit me as written.

I suspect the difference in the education of each group has an impact as well. Fitting techniques start in beginner sewing classes, whereas in knitting it seems to come up much later in the learning process.

A designer friend told me her observation is "many knitters have a huge disconnect when they think about knitting as it relates to garments". I wonder if knitters are more likely to fall into the process/product categories. It is true we knitters make things which are outside of mainstream fashion. I make lace shawls knowing my non-knitting friends don't get it. When I took sewing classes students did seem to be more fashion focused when choosing their projects. I only took garment based classes. I wonder what my observation would have been if I tried quilting or other needle arts? 

I have come to one clear conclusion myself. I've become convinced that many knitters do not think three dimensionally when it comes to garments. Sewers come to this thinking much more quickly. Perhaps it's due to learning about darts and seamed shaping so much earlier on? What do you think?

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