So you’ve heard all about the modern revival of the ancient fabric crafts of crochet vs knitting but you don’t know which one to start with?
Or even if you should give them both a go? Which is easier? Which is faster? Which is cheaper?
There are a lot of similarities between the two and quite a few differences too, so let me talk you through the pros and cons so you can decide which one might suit you to start with – but then you have to promise me that you’ll try the other too, because sometimes you need both skills to create beautiful projects.
And once you’re addicted (as you will be!) you can swap between the two to give your sore musles a rest!
What is Knitting?
Knitters use 2 needles to link loops of yarn through each other. It’s a very simple and repetitive process as it basically involves combinations of just two stitches. The main stitches used in knitting are the knit stitch and the purl stitch, you can learn how to create those by watching my youtube tutorials.
Stitches are added to the needle by ‘casting on’ a set number of stitches at the beginning, so all of the stitches are held on one needle and are worked in rows by pulling a loop through to create a stitch and transferring that new stitch onto the other needle. You can see a video tutorial of my favourite cast on technique here.
Knitting can be worked flat to create blankets, scarves and home decor. You can also seam your flat knitted projects to create rounded or shaped pieces such as hats, and sweaters. You can use either two straight needles for these projects or a circular needle, which has a cable joining both needles together.
Once you become more practised at knitting you might like to try ‘knitting in the round’ where stitches are joined together at the cast on stage to create a tubular shape without any seams. This uses a circular needle so stitches are moved around the cable from one needle to the other as they are worked. Many knitters prefer this method as it saves time on seaming when they’ve finished their projects.
There are a few knitting techniques for holding your yarn. These are usually known as
- English knitting, where the working yarn is held in your right hand
- German or continental knitting, where the yarn is held in the left hand. If you already crochet you may find this method slightly easier.
If you want to know more there are loads of tutorials and ideas on my Learn To Knit Page
What is Crochet?
Crocheting uses one hook and a ball of yarn to create stitches. Crocheters use different techniques to create a whole range of stitches, which include chain stitch, slip stitch, double crochet, treble crochet, and so on. Each of these stitches is a different height and shape which allows crocheters to create an infinite variety of stitch combinations.
I have a video here that talks you through the essential crochet tools you might need
Unlike knitting, crochet projects start with a chain of stitches that are not held on the hook (except for Tunisian Crochet). The first row of the project involves inserting your hook into the loop of the chain and working whichever stitch your pattern suggests.
I find that crochet is slightly more forgiving if you go wrong and have to pull some of your work back as it is not all held on one needle.
It’s also easier if you have a few projects on the go – known as ‘WIPs’ or Work In Progress (because we can’t help ourselves when there are SO MANY gorgeous patterns out there) as you can remove the hook to work on another piece.
In knitting the stitches are held on a needle so would have to be transferred to another, or to a length of yarn if you need to grab your needles for another project – trust me this can be really frustrating!! (or you could just buy more needles in another material :o)
You can learn to crochet with loads of beginner tutorials on my Learn To Crochet Page
What’s The Difference Between Crochet And Knitting?
Both crochet and knitting require patience, practice, and skill to master. However, there are some differences between the two crafts.
If you check one of your knit sweaters in your wardrobe, you’ll see that it has ‘V’ shaped stitches which drape well. It is often used to create garments, many of my knitting patterns are for cardigans and sweaters.
In crochet, the stitches are more like knots and new stitches are creating by inserting your hook through the two layers of the stitch (there is a front and a back loop), so the fabric is a little denser – good for someone like me who is always cold!
Crochet is useful for denser fabrics such as homewares or for cosy hats and scarves, although many of my crochet designs are for sweaters and cardigans too.
While both crochet and knitting don’t require much specialist equipment they are both slightly different.
As knitting generally uses combinations of the knit and purl stitches it can be very easy to learn but more complex projects that involve shaping require a lot of concentration and may need more tools for holding stitches and picking up new stitches.
Crochet on the other hand can be easier to create 3D shapes using a range of stitches and as a beginner you can get away with just the hook and yarn to create some stunning shapes.
A knitter needs at least one set of knitting needles, they come in various shapes, sizes and materials, you can find out more about which knitting needles might suit you better in this beginners tutorial.
When you first start knitting it is best to begin with a simple straight set of needles, the type of yarn you are working with will tell you on the label which size you will need to create the most satisfying look. Although once you get the hang of it you might want to try different effects with larger needles which will give you larger stitches and therefore a looser more drapey fabric.
Crocheters will also need a few hooks in various diameters. The yarn label will tell you which size is best for that yarn. Usually I would recommend purchasing a set covering the medium weight yarn range so 4-6mm, you can see some of my favourites in my amazon shop
Now the fun bit, yarn shopping! Both crochet vs knitting projects need an amount of yarn to get going.
If you have found a patttern that you like, then it will tell you how many metres/yards of yarn, the size or diameter of yarn you will need and what size needles/hook will be best.
Most knitters and crocheters find this to be the trickiest part of the craft, because it’s far too easy to buy more and more yarn once you start. Any excess yarn you have to find a home for is called your stash (or if you are having to hide it from your partner because you spent too much, it’s known as your secret stash (don’t worry, any self repecting crafter has sizable secret stash!)
Crochet vs Knitting: Which is Faster?
Click on instagram and you’ll be bombarded with videos of super fast crafters who can whizz through their projects in a few hours. For the rest of us though, it’s more about the mindful process of lovingly creating a perfect stitch.
Crochet stitches are generally larger than their knit partners so often a crochet project will grow more quickly. Remember though that as crochet stitches are formed from knots rather than loops, they will eat up you yarn much more quickly so save your super expensive yarns for knit projects if you have a limited budget!
Why Should I Try Crochet or Knit?
- There are several reasons why we need to knit and crochet.
- First, these activities help people relax and unwind after a stressful day.
- Second, they provide an opportunity to spend quality time with family members.
- Third, they allow us to express our creativity.
- Fourth, they teach us how to work with different materials.
- Finally, they give us something to do when we’re bored.
How Do I Start Knitting Or Crocheting?
If you’ve never tried either activity before, start by picking up some yarn and needles or a hook if you have any lying around the house, or you can probably have some delivered within 24 hours if you order online and are desperate to get going.
You can find instructions and video tutorials on my learn to knit and crochet page for both crafts then try some of my free patterns on the blog for making simple projects like scarves and hats (just search for easy or beginner).
Once you feel comfortable with those basics you can learn new skills with more complicated patterns.
Where Can I Find Easy Knitting & Crochet Patterns For Beginners?
There are lots of places where you can find free patterns online. Obviously I have a stash of knitting and crochet patterns here for you (most have video or photo tutorials to talk you through each stage).
Pinterest has a range of patterns to help you find something that is perfect for your style, so you can search through thousands of patterns at once.
Crochet vs Knitting: A Summary
- Knitting uses two needles and involves pulling loops of yarn through each other. The stitches are held on one of the needles.
- Crochet uses one hook and involves knotting the yarn to create stitches. The stitches are not held on the hook.
- Knitting involves moving the stitches from one needle to the other, crochet is worked into one stitch at a time so you can use your hook for several projects at the same time.
- Knitting produces a lighter more drapey fabric, perfect for garments. Crochet creates a thicker project, great for homewares, toys and extra cosy hats & scarves.
- Crochet uses around 30% more yarn than knitting.
- Which is faster? Crochet stitches are generally taller so they work up more quickly than knit stitches.
- Which is easier? There are only two stitches to learn in knitting (knit and purl stitch). There are several stitches of different heights to learn in crochet.
- It’s easier to correct mistakes in crochet than in knitting as the stitches have to be removed from the needle!
What Type Of Crochet vs Knitting Project Should I Try As a Beginner?
Once you’ve spent some time practising how to cast on and knit / purl stitches, or you’ve had a go at chaining and creating a few types of crochet stitch then the possibilites are endless!
Once you’ve created your first project you’ll feel so much more confident to try something new and master your chosen skills.
I hope this post has given you the nudge to find your inner knitting ninja or that you have been a cro -pro all along!
let me know how you get on and what you’re going to try next, I’d love to know. You can find me at all of these channels below: