“What are you knitting?” You’d be surprised how often I get this question when I’m out and about and crocheting. I usually just share what I’m making and maybe explain that it’s crochet. Both crafts do share a lot of similarities. They are not the same though. Do you think you’d like to try out crochet? Here are some of the main similarities and differences between crochet vs knitting, including why crochet may be the right choice for you.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my full disclosure policy details.
This can be a hot topic. Many folks prefer one craft to the other. I learned to crochet long before I learned to knit, and I think this is one of the reasons why I gravitate towards crochet. For me, it goes faster, is more intuitive, and designing in crochet comes naturally. Others love to knit, and for them, it goes more naturally. Both can produce truly beautiful, hand-crafted creations to be enjoyed and shared.
Crochet Hooks vs Knitting Needles
One of the biggest differences between crochet and knitting is in how the fabric is constructed. In crochet, you are working with a single hook and the yarn. Knitting, on the other hand, uses two knitting needles and the yarn.
For both crafts, the hooks and needles can be made from a variety of materials and in a variety of price-points. If you want to get started with either craft, investing in the hooks or needles can be easy and inexpensive.
Crochet vs knitting stitches
Using hooks versus needles generally ends up creating different stitches and fabrics. Because crochet uses a single hook, stitches are generally made one at a time. Sometimes crochet is described as making interlocking loops that can resemble small knots one at a time. In knitting, multiple loops are held on one needle and worked to the other needles in rows or rounds.
Both crafts use a variety of stitches. In crochet, stitches can vary depending on how many times you yarn over and how you manipulate your hook as you make the stitch. They can also vary depending upon where you place your hook. Crochet stitches can easily vary in height. Because you can put your hook in different places, crochet stitches also move easily in different directions. In one popular form of crochet, free-form crochet, stitches are placed wherever the crocheter desires without following a pattern.
Knitting has also been described as making interlocking loops. The difference is that in knitting usually multiple loops are “live” and worked in rows or rounds at one time. There are variations. You can work just a few knitted stitches at once such as when starting a project in the round.
Knitting uses two basic stitches – the knit stitch and the purl stitch. Then, as in crochet, there are lots of variations to produce different effects.
Is Crochet Easier than Knitting?
Ok, this may be a little biased, but it seems the consensus is that crochet is easier to learn than knitting. One hook is easier to handle than two needles at first. Also, there is less risk of dropping stitches in crochet. If you drop your hook, there is only one live loop of yarn that can unravel. In knitting, you work the project from one needle to the other. If you drop stitches from one of the needles, you can risk all of those loops unraveling.
In crochet, it is easy to remove the hook on purpose too. You really don’t need to use a stitch holder when you remove the hook. The loops almost never fall out. Or, if they do, it’s only a few loops that come out. This makes it easier to fix and recover from mistakes in crochet. If only a few loops unravel, it is easy to make them again.
With knitting, you will need to put your knitting project on a stitch holder or some other method of holding the knitting if you want to remove your hook. One other method is to work on circular needles. When you want to take a break, you can slide the knitting project on the wire connecting the two needles. The needles are then much less likely to fall out. If a needle does fall out and some stitches unravel though, it is harder to repair. You will need to place all of the loops back on the needles and correct for any stitches that have fallen out.
To take the counterargument for a bit, some say knitting is easier to learn because there are only two basic stitches. Once you have the knit stitch and the purl stitch down, you can create all kinds of knitted patterns. And, others say knitting patterns are easier to read than crochet patterns for this reason as well.
Is Crochet Faster than Knitting?
Crochet is generally faster than knitting. There are bunches of quick crochet projects out there if you want to make something fast. Things like quick and chunky blankets and hats.
Knitting projects can be quick and chunky too, but generally the equivalent crochet project will go faster. It will also likely use more yarn. Of course, speed will depend on a bunch of variables including a particular person’s speed and skill, the size of the hook or needles, the type of project, and the kind of yarn.
Some Projects Are Easier in Crochet
Any kind of project that you can crochet, you can probably knit and vice versa. Both crafts are incredibly versatile, and talented designers have created patterns in both crafts for almost anything you might want to make.
Some projects do come more easily in crochet because of its speed and its ability to move more easily in different directions. Crochet is faster than knitting so it’s a great choice if you like larger projects like blankets especially if you’d like to get them done more quickly.
Crochet also moves in different directions much more easily than knitting. This makes crochet a more a natural fit for three-dimensional objects like toys and also for making motifs and flowers. You can literally stick your hook anywhere in a project. Thus, it is easier to make projects that require moving in different directions.
This is the good stuff! Both crafts use yarn, and really almost any kind of yarn can work for either craft. Yarn comes in a variety of weights and materials. The Craft Yarn Council maintains a list of standard yarn weights including a handy table that shows the recommended needle and hook sizes for both knitting and crochet.
When you are starting out, it may be easiest to begin a project using yarn right in the middle of the yarn weight system. This weight of yarn can be variously called medium, worsted, afghan, aran, or #4 weight yarn. It may also be easiest to pick up some inexpensive yarn for your first project.
I am a big fan of always choosing yarn that speaks to you and that you love. This could be because of how it feels, the texture it creates, its color, or how well you know it will hold up in the wash.
There are so many places to buy yarn. If you are interested, explore the yarns at local yarn shops and independent yarn sellers and dyers. You can find lots of different kinds and brands of yarn if you look around.
And, you can swap different yarns in for the yarns used in patterns as long as you can get the same gauge. Before you know it, you will build up a “stash” or collection of yarns you personally own.
There are other similarities between the two crafts as well. Many enjoy both crafts because of the generally quiet and meditative nature of producing stitches by hand. This applies in both crochet and knitting.
For smaller projects, both crafts can also both be extremely portable. There is no need for specialized equipment. It can be easy to carry around a project, your hook or needles, and maybe a few extra materials such as scissors or some stitch markers.
Both crafts are also relatively inexpensive to start. With no specialized equipment, the biggest investment will likely be your hook or needles and yarn. You will probably want a few other items as well such as scissors, stitch markers, and a tape measure. And, patterns are available in a variety of forms for both crafts.
Why Crochet is a Great Craft
To sum things up, there are many similarities between crochet and knitting. And, they are often easily confused. Crochet is a great craft if the following appeal to you:
- Crochet can be easier to learn at first. Try crochet if you like the idea of holding one hook versus two needles.
- Crochet mistakes are easier to fix. You are less likely to have many stitches unravel in crochet.
- Crochet is generally faster. This makes it a great craft if you are interested in making larger projects like blankets.
- Crochet moves more easily in different directions. So, it’s a great choice if you’d like to make flowers or other motifs or if you’d like to make things like toys. For this reason, it also great for lots of home decor and gift items.
One of the best things about both crafts is the ability to be a lifelong learner and to experiment with new techniques. This may be why many come back to these crafts again and again as their go-to hobbies. Or, it could be the yarn too – because who doesn’t love digging into a pile of squishy yarn.