As you’re deciding which craft to pick up and learn, it helps to know what makes one technique different from the other. Even if you have no real intentions of getting into knitting or crochet as a hobby, it doesn’t hurt to learn more about them. Apart from being able to make an informed choice of which one you’d like to learn once you’re ready, it also helps you win brownie points with your crafty grandma!
Differences between Knitting and Crochet
While it’s common to think knitting and crocheting are one and the same, there are significant differences between both crafts.
To knit, you would always need a pair of needles, which would allow you to hold rows of live stitches. For crocheting, however, you would only need a single hook to join loops together directly on the piece. This means that with crochet you are only dealing with one open stitch at a time, whereas in knitting you would be having a bunch of open stitches that you carry up the work.
When it comes to function of the tools, crochet hooks are actually more functional than knitting needles. One set of hooks is enough for all your crochet projects for the rest of your life, whereas you would need a specific pair of knitting needles every time you change the size and type of your project. Additionally, there are different types of needles too that you can choose depending on your pattern. Simply put, you can’t just use a circular needle if the pattern calls for a straight one. The other consideration too is that knitting needles are also slightly more expensive than crochet hooks. In fact, one pair of knitting needles is roughly double the price of one crochet hook. So just imagine how much more you need to spend if you require different needles for different projects?
As the tools being used are different, the stitches are looped differently too as a result. When you knit, the stitches that you make form a “V” shape. Once they are joined together, they look like a bunch of braids. However, the stitches in crochet look more like knots tied on top of one another.
Because the stitches are not the same for both knitting and crocheting, the finished products would also have differences in weight and overall appearance. Even if you use the same yarn and almost the same size of hooks or needles, crochet fabric will always be thicker, heavier and stronger than knitted fabric. That’s because most stitches in crochet are made of two loops that are wrapped around one or two strands of yarn, whereas knitted stitches are looped only in a single strand of yarn. What this suggests is that there is a better technique to use depending on the type of product you intend to make.
In general, crochet is best for home décor, stuffed animals and blankets, whereas knitting is ideal for fashion garments such as sweater, scarves and cowls. Even if you can make crocheted garments work, the lack of stretch in the fabric can tend to be problematic.
A lot of enthusiasts find that crochet is a lot more manageable than knitting, mainly because of the portability and how much easier it is to backtrack from your mistakes.
Reality is, it is much harder to start and stop a knit project midway because there would always be stitches that are going to be left on both needles. Even with a stitch holder, this requires careful maneuvering to ensure your stitches don’t fall off. You simply don’t have this problem with crochet as the stitches are looped onto the piece itself and there’s no transferring required to ensure that the stitches would stay intact. In fact, to stop a crochet project midway, you just have to remove the hook then put a stitch marker to the last loop. Once you’re ready to work again, all you have to do is unhook it and carry on.
If you’ve missed any stitch or forget where you are in your project, the way you can correct your mistakes would also be very different in both crafts. In knitting, you would have to undo your stitches by transferring them back to the old needle. Depending on the stitch style you used, this can get really tedious and unwieldy. It also has a greater room for error because you can make more mistakes while transferring the stitches back to the first needle. For crochet, you just simply remove your hook and pull the yarn to undo the loops until the desired point.
At the end of the day, both techniques are just different ways of looping yarn to create fabric. Depending on the product you intend to make, there will simply be a better technique to use, yet there is no one point blank answer to say what is better as a whole.
What would be the best thing to do for you is to take workshops on both knitting and crochet, so you can really see the differences firsthand and decide for yourself which skill you’re more invested to master. The truth is that both skills also invite similar skills and a similar discipline, so it all boils down to what would make you feel more fulfilled. If you’re the type who wants to see the results of what you’re making right away, then go for crochet! Otherwise, enjoy the slow-paced art of knitting and wait for magic to unfold right in front of your eyes slowly.