KNITTING vs CROCHET: ULTIMATE GUIDE. Learn the Difference.

knitting vs crochet

I will cover the controversial topic – knitting vs crochet. Keep reading and you will find out – which is a better and easier technique! First of all, I am a knitter and crocheter myself. Secondly, I researched this topic and now sharing the results with you.

What is knitting?

Origin of the word knitting comes from Old English cnyttan which means to tie a knot.  Knitting is a handicraft to create fabric from different yarn or threads using two knitting needles. In knitting, you are creating a series of loops on the needles. The basic knit stitch resembles letter V. Knitted fabric is drapery and elastic. By manipulating them in different ways, you can create different garments and accessories (jump to crochet and knit idea section).

Yes, you can knit pretty much anything if you like, but some things are more suitable for crochet.

History of knitting

No one knows how old knitting is. Most likely, knitting originated in the Middle East. The first found fiber used for knitting are cotton and silk (not wool or linen, as would be the case with the first knits in Europe). The direction of knitting itself – the right to left tells us it must be the Middle East.

First found knitted piece is a sock in Egypt dated 11th century.

Did you know knitting burns 102 calories per hour?

 

Needles-crochet-hooks
Knitting needles and crochet hooks are available in different shapes and sizes.
 

What is crochet?

The word crochet comes from French language diminutive of croc ‘hook’. Crochet is handicraft to create fabric from different yarn and threads using a hooked needle – a crochet hook. Crochet creates knot-like stitches. You can create everything I mention in the list above, and most likely these are the fundamental things people are knitting or crocheting. You can crochet anything your heart desires, but some things are just better to knit. Crochet is bulkier and holds its shape well. 

Hey, why don’t you try half circle crochet bag pattern yourself? Free pdf download included. 

Crochet History

The origin of crochet could be sought in Egypt. The edges of the fabrics found were decorated with a technique similar to twist or braid. The Nordic people have had a similar technique. The findings date back to the Bronze Age.

Crochet as we know nowadays originally was a substitution to lace-work because of the speed.

Knitting or crocheting – what is the difference?

First, knitted fabric is a kind of either knitwear or lace. It all depends on the tool with which tools were used (knitting needles or crochet hook) and on its characteristics. We can definitely say that this is a non-woven fabric.

Crocheted fabric is made by hand, less often – on basic knitting machines, but such are very rare. Crochet can be plain or lace, for example, Irish lace and cables. Crocheted materials are quite dense, do not stretch and do not deform.

What you see in stores usually are knit garments, unless it is some kind of handmade store.

Crocheted items usually are only handmade.

Knitted fabric is more common, because is manufactured on an industrial scale on knitting machines. In addition, there are also household knitting machines. It can be plain, with a pattern, lace or cables. Knitted fabric stretches well and deforms with improper care.

Once you will learn how to crochet or knit – you will tell the difference easily.

In the pictures below, I show you few examples knitted vs crocheted items.

Crochet motifs
Crochet motifs. Crochet is unique technique. You can create different shapes. In knitting, it is almost impossible to replicate these motifs. Underneath is a knitted piece of fabric.

First knitting machine was invented in 1589 for the production of stockings by William Lee.

knitting vs crochet swatch
On the left knitted swatch and the right one is a crochet swatch

Knitting vs Crochet Comparison Table

WINNEREXPLANATION
1. Yarn usageKnitting (crochet uses about 30% more)Therefore, for the same size piece of work and basic stitches, crochet will weigh more.
2. Difficulty to learnCrochetKnitting involves more live stitches, and that is more difficult to handle, while in crochet, there is only one live stitch.
3. Different shape creationCrochetCrochet has more freedom in creating different shapes with one hook- triangles, ovals, circles, squares. While in knitting, use circular needles or 4-5 double point needles.
4. PortabilityCrochetCrochet is easier to take with you and don’t worry about lost stitches.
5. How difficult to fix mistakesCrochetIt is easier and faster to fix a mistake in crochet by unraveling. In knitting, picking up stitches back on the needles after unraveling is pain. Another option is knit back one stitch at the time to fix the mistake (tink).
6. AutomationKnittingKnitting machines exists, but crochet machines do not. Although, some sort of crochet can be done on the knitting machines, but is rare.
7. Fabric densityKnittingUsing same weight yarn or thread, the knitted fabric will be thinner, therefore, crochet is good for holding shapes.
8. Amount of stitchesKnittingCrochet has a limited amount of basic stitches, although it doesn’t mean fewer crochet patterns. Variety of patterns is a combination of basic stitches. It might seem, there are more knitting patterns available, but that is not true.
9. Ability to do without lookingKnittingIt is more common to knit without looking at the knitting itself. In crochet, you have to be more careful with the stitches. It is possible, and many can crochet simple patterns without looking at the work, but it is much easier to knit though.

10. SpeedCrochetConsidering same yarn weight crochet is faster. Row height between knitting and crochet is different. In crochet rows, mostly are taller, therefore, faster.
This table shows 11 Pros and Cons of Knitting vs Crochet
knit stitch and crochet stitch
Knit stitch structure and crochet stitch structure
knit top versus crochet top
Knitted Top and Crochet Top
knit hat and crochet hat
Knitted hat vs. Crochet Hat
knitting vs crochet
Difference between knit lace and crochet lace
Knitting vs crochet

Which is easier to learn knitting or crocheting? 

Taking into consideration only one live stitch and a crochet hook to handle, crochet is much easier to learn. 
According to google trends, crochet is as popular search topic as knitting (updated information). In 2019, crochet was more popular than knitting, which let me think crochet was easier to learn. 

From my experience, I don’t remember which was easier or harder for me. It all depends on how keen you are on learning a new technique and what do you want to get in the result?

Knitting tools and techniques

Before you buy knitting needles for knitting a certain thing, you need to familiarize yourself with the description of the work and recommendations for the selection of yarn and tools.

The thicker the thread, the larger the diameter of the needles should be.

Regardless of the material from which the tools are made, they must certainly be without damage and roughness. This will lead to inconveniences in operation, the thread will not slide properly. Although, to work with too slippery yarn, such as silk, it is better to use tools with a less polished surface.

Needles with Teflon coating, bamboo or wooden are suitable for this.

To perform various knitting techniques, sets of five or circular knitting needles will be useful.

They are especially relevant when working on seamless socks and mittens, hats.

Children’s clothes that do not have side seams are also best knitted using circular knitting.

Straight knitting needles in a set of two pieces are perfect for knitting scarves, shawls, coats and much more. It is important that all the tools are easy to work with.

Basic knitting stitches:

  • Knit stitch
  • Purl stitch
  • Yarn over
  • Cast on

Knitting techniques

There are 2 main types – handknitting and machine knitting. In the list I will write  handknitting techniques.

  • Flat 
  • In the round
  • Garter stitch
  • Stockinette Stitch
  • Jacquard knitting
  • Brioche
  • Fair Isle 
  • Lace
  • Cables

 

 

Crochet tools and techniques

Crocheting requires only thread and hook.

The principle of choosing a hook practically does not differ from the choice of knitting needles. Just like knitting needles, hooks come in different thicknesses and can be made of different materials. They also need to be selected for the thickness of the thread used in the work.

The most popular hooks are not too long—only about 15 centimeters.

Long, thirty-centimeter hooks are useful for Tunisian knitting.

There are varieties of wool from which yarn is made for crochet. The best of them have a silky, thin, long and elastic fiber. These include Angora, merino, camel wool and mohair.

You can use cotton yarn, linen, silk, wool yarn or any synthetic threads.

The yarn should be even in thickness, uniform and strong enough, since the unequal thickness of the thread will affect the appearance and quality of the finished product. However, there is a special buckled yarn, with knots or thickenings evenly distributed along the entire length.

Basic crochet stitches:

  • The chain stitch
  • The single crochet stitch
  • The double crochet stitch
  • The half double crochet stitch
  • The treble crochet stitch
  • The slip stitch

Crochet techniques:

  • Flat
  • In the round
  • Tunisian crochet
  • Corner to corner (C2C)
  • Broomstick crochet
  • Hairpin lace
  • Free-form crochet
  • Irish lace
  • Different colorwork (Mosaic)
  • Filet crochet
  • Bavarian
  • Bruges
  • Overlay

Just to name a few.. there plenty of crochet techniques out there. 

 

Additional crochet and knitting tools you will need:

  • stitch markers
  • Stitch holders (to hold open stitches when not on a needle)
  • measuring tape
  • tapestry needle
  • scissors
  • device for making pom-poms
  • row counters
  • device for weaving cords
  • yarn stranding guide for colorwork projects in knitting
  • Pins for blocking

Should I learn knitting or crochet?

 

My answer is – learn both! It doesn’t matter which one you learn first. I can explain why:

  1. Learning to knit and crochet will give you more freedom creating or following patterns because you can combine both techniques.
  2.  A crochet hook will help you not to tink (knit back), but fix one or two stitches on the spot!
  3. Crochet is a great side technique for knitting.
  4. Learning to work with a crochet hook will open new crochet techniques, for example, crochet with the universal netting fork, Tunisian crochet or broomstick crochet.

If you have decided you want to learn only knitting, then my advice is to learn at least how to hold the crochet hook and basic stitches. It will help you in knitting, for example, fixing mistakes on the spot – see in the YouTube video above.

One more reason to learn these crafts are health benefits:

  1. Crocheting and knitting reduce anxiety and stress.
  2. Repetitive movements help to calm down and get better sleep.
  3. Build your self-esteem.
  4. Hands – brain connection contributes to the development of both hemispheres
  5. Help fighting depression and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 30-50%.

Knitting and crochet – a healthy addiction.

 Experiment

I offered my husband to learn basic knitting and crochet stitches. I was curious about the result. The experiment you can watch in the video below.

 It surprised me to find out that my husband already had an idea about crochet.

His mother taught him basic stitches when he was a child. And he didn’t forget how it is done.

Therefore, he asked me to give a small crochet hook and thin yarn. Knitting was more complicated to learn for him. And, to be honest, knitting turned out to be more difficult to teach.

At the end of the experiment, the husband admitted – crochet is easier than knitting.

Crochet ideas

Traditionally, some things are crocheted:

  • Rugs
  • Bags
  • Summer Hats
  • Slippers
  • Dresses (lace in crochet is gorgeous – Irish lace)
  • Home accessories – baskets, dishcloths, doilies, napkin tablecloths
  • Motifs – flowers, leaves and free-form shapes

Knitting ideas

Some things are more knitted than crocheted:

  • Sweaters
  • Socks
  • Cardigans
  • Gloves
  • Hats
  • Shawls and scarfs

Every point can be discussible, as there are no strict rules about them.

You can crochet even socks these days. Techniques develop, now you can find many tutorials about crochet socks.

More interesting stuff:

How To Make a Magic Ring–Full Guide 2 Methods

5 Knitting Videos That Blew My Mind

Knitting Hacks – Make Knitting Easier!

How to Crochet Bag Tutorial-Magic Ring-Circle in the spiral

knit (one’s) eyebrows

To furrow one’s brow, often due to worry or confusion.

Conclusion

Now you have a general idea about knitting vs crochet.

Knitting and crochet for me are like fork and spoon – you need both if you want to enjoy different food. 

And while both crafts have their own unique benefits, it ultimately comes down to preference which one you choose.

If yes, please share!

crochet vs knitting

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