Knitting vs. Crochet: What’s the Difference?


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A lot of yarn crafters learn either knitting or crochet first based on their interest or if there is someone around to teach them one or the other, but if you have a choice on knitting vs. crochet, which one should you choose to learn?

My History of Knitting and Crochet

My grandmother and mother taught me knitting though I remember my grandmother doing more crochet (and I don’t remember my mom ever doing crochet). My grandmother also tried to teach me crochet a few times but it never took for me.

It wasn’t until I learned the continental style of knitting (where you hold the yarn in your left hand) that I was finally able to figure out crochet. I can do both reasonably well now. I consider myself an advanced knitter and an intermediate crocheter on my best days.

Knitting vs. Crochet: What’s the Difference?

If you don’t already know how to knit or crochet, you might not know what the difference is between these two crafts. There’s little more maddening to a yarn crafter than someone complimenting your “knitting” when you’re actually crocheting.

So first let’s discuss terms.

Knitting is performed using two needles, one held in each hand. The yarn can be held in either the right hand or the left hand. There are all sorts of knitting stitches that produce all kinds of fabric, but the most common looks like little vs. If you’ve ever worn a sweater, odds are good it was knit.

This blanket was knit using Stockinette Stitch.

Crochet is worked with a single hook that is most commonly held in the right hand, with the yarn held in the left (we’ll talk about left-handed crafters in a minute). Again there are lots of different kinds of fabric that can be produced with crochet, but crochet vs. knitting tends to be more open in the stitching. Granny squares are super on trend right now and they are made with crochet.

A crochet sample worked in single crochet.

Fun fact: while knitting can be produced by a machine, crochet cannot. That’s why I said the sweaters you own are probably knit because it’s a lot more common to find mass produced garments that are knit than crocheted.

Crochet vs. Knitting Quick Questions

Which uses more yarn? Typically crochet uses up to 30 percent more yarn than knitting because of the way the stitches are formed, but it depends a bit on the project.

Read more: Crochet a chain scarf necklace | Chain stitch and single crochet

Which is faster? Crochet stitches tend to be bigger than knit stitches, so a project of the same size will work up faster in crochet. But it does depend a bit on your skill level, too (some knitters can knit really fast!).

Which is easier to learn? That depends on you and how you learn and the resources available to you. I had an in-person teacher and found knitting a lot easier than crochet, but some people pick up crochet more quickly than knitting. It’s a great idea to try both if you have access to a teacher (or good videos and books to learn from) and see which is easier for you.

What if I’m left handed? Lefties can do both knitting and crochet, and indeed there don’t have to be differences in your technique. Knitting and crochet both use both hands. Left-handed knitters often learn what’s known as continental knitting, where the yarn is manipulated with the left hand. You can crochet holding the hook with either the right hand or the left hand. Left-handed crochet is actually a mirror image to right-handed crochet so how you interpret patterns is slightly different.

Which is Better Knitting vs. Crochet?

The question isn’t really is knitting better than crochet because they make such different fabrics. The fabric knitting makes tends to be less open, which makes it great for sweaters and accessories when you really want to stay warm.

Crochet can be easier to make decorative stitches with, and the open nature of the fabric is great for warmer weather accessories, or if you live in a climate where it doesn’t get that cold. If you love the look of granny squares and chevron blankets, crochet is the way to go.

It’s also great for detailed colorwork blankets and amigirumi, a fancy word for crocheted toys and dolls.

Knitting is the classic choice for delicate lace and chunky cables, though there are methods for cables, lace and other techniques in crochet as well.

More to learn: How to choose the best yarn for your knitting (or crochet!) project

There’s even a form of crochet, known as Tunisian crochet, that in some ways combines the techniques of crochet and the look of knitting.

Start by learning the basics of both crafts if you can, or if there’s a particular project you really want to make that uses a certain technique you can start there and maybe try the other craft later.

Hopefully someday it won’t be a matter of knitting vs. crochet but knitting and crochet, both crafts that you enjoy to make different kinds of projects.

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