Knitting vs Crocheting – Which One Is The Best?

Knitting vs Crocheting – Which One Is The Best?
January 16, 2017 Carly Crochet Coach

Honestly, I don’t like playing into the whole knitting vs crochet rivalry thing. Both crafts have their pros and cons and it’s up to each crafter to find which one they like, or rather which one likes you. If you’re very lucky you might like and be good at both and then you can rule the world with your enviable yarn crafting skills. Having said that, you do need to start somewhere so explaining the differences and pros and cons of knitting vs crocheting will help you to make the right decision for you.

If you’re only just starting out in the yarn craft world and you have no idea whether or not to start with crocheting or knitting, here are a few things you should know.

Knitting vs Crocheting

Tip: I’m a pro-crocheter and a very average knitter so this is information I’ve gathered from personal experience and my yarn craft buddies – both knitters and crocheters. If you’ve had different experiences to the ones outlined below, do let me know!

What is knitting?

Knitting is where the crafter uses two needles to create their fabric. Stitches are transferred from one needle to the other and back again to create the weave of the piece. Knitting is built row by row – like you’re stacking one magazine at a time on top of a pile of magazines.

Knitting vs Crocheting

What is crocheting?

Crocheting is where the crafter uses one hook to create their fabric. Crocheters create one stitch at a time using a series of yarn overs and inserting the hook in different areas of their project. Crocheting is built stitch by stitch – like you’re building a brick wall one stitch at a time.

Knitting vs Crocheting

Knitting – The Good Stuff

Knitted ‘fabric’ is soft, stretchy and light

You can make beautiful draped garments in knitting and the overall look of the fabric is denser (less holes) and thinner than traditional crochet. Knitted fabric works best for items worn close to the body where you don’t wish to have excess bulk like fine sweaters, gloves and socks.

The yarn craft world is set up for you

Most yarn stores will have at least 70% knitting needles, knitting patterns, knitting classes and knitting accessories. There will be a small dusty shelf in the corner where they have a few crochet hooks and discount crocheted patterns. I don’t know why this is but I’ve been to dozens of yarn stores across the world and the crochet section is always less prolific than the knitting section. So if you knit – enjoy!

Knitting vs Crocheting

Everyone knows what it is you do

If you’re holding knitting needles and yarn people will think you’re knitting. Which is great if you’re a knitter. If you’re crocheting, people will think you’re knitting. If you’re embroidering, people will think you’re knitting. If you breathe on a ball of yarn, people will think you’re knitting. If you knit, you won’t have to explain what you’re doing. The world of yarn craft is a knitters wonderland – enjoy it!

There are less knitting stitches than crochet stitches

Which is great if you’re learning – you can get skilled up really quickly. There are many different ways to knit – circular knitting, loom knitting – but there are less actions and stitches to wrap your head around when you’re learning to knit.

Knitting vs Crocheting

Crocheting – The Good Stuff

Crochet fabric is thick, strong and often more intricate

Some people say they think knitting makes a ‘nicer’ fabric but I think crochet fabrics and knit fabrics are just different. Crochet is certainly chunkier but sometimes that’s what you want. Also you can make the most beautiful and intricate lace designs which are very difficult to replicate in knitting. So crochet fabric can be finer and drapier when in lace form and chunkier and sturdier in most other forms than knitting fabric.

You only have one ‘live’ stitch

With crocheting you work one stitch at a time and you will rarely have more than six loops on your hook at a time. It can be easier to keep track of the one live stitch when you first start a yarn craft, rather than trying to keep track of twenty loops of yarn on a long knitting needle.

Knitting vs Crocheting

You can use one hook for multiple projects

You just pull the last loop on your project until it’s really long, place a stitch marker in it with a note of what hook size you were using and you’re good to go. With knitting, you need to keep your project on your needles until the project is finished. You also need less stuff in general – My hook collection is VERY healthy but it’s nothing compared to some of my knitting mates’ needle stashes. I can chuck a hook in my bag and it’s the same size as a pen but knitting needles are bit more cumbersome and it seems harder to transport knitting projects where you need to protect twenty plus loops on your needles, rather than crochet projects that can survive being flung across the room or shoved in a bag with no worries.

It’s much easier to recover from a mistake in crochet

In both yarn crafts you have to undo stitches to correct mistakes but in knitting, you have thread all the loops back on your needles which is tiresome and quite difficult depending on what project you’re working on. With crochet you you just pull your working thread back to the mistake you made, pop the one working loop back on your hook and you’re good to go.

Knitting vs Crocheting

Crocheting is quicker than knitting

My mother is a knitter and I’m a crocheter and in one week of staying at her house I made almost an entire lap blanket in the time it took her to knit a baby sweater. There’s no way to prove this definitively but from knitters and crocheters, I’ve heard countless reports about how much faster crocheting is to knitting in general.

Crochet is (probably) more versatile than knitting

It’s difficult to replicate the fine stretchy fabric of knitting in crochet but it’s equally as hard to replicate amigurumi, lace work, and homewares like baskets and the durability of crochet handbags in knitting. You can also create flowers and little motifs very easily with crochet, something that’s very difficult with knitting.

Knitting vs Crocheting

Crocheting DOESN’T use up more yarn than knitting

This is a rumour that’s been flying around for years but it’s actually not true. Bonza.

Knitting – The Bad Stuff

Knitting has more ‘live’ stitches to look after

When you knit, you move a row of stitches from one needle to the other. If you’ve cast on twenty stitches, that’s twenty stitches you need to pay attention to. Over time you do get better at not dropping stitches but the learning curve can be quite steep to begin with.

It’s harder to make homewares with knitting

It’s certainly do-able but all those gorgeous chunky baskets, hanging planters, pretty circular place mats, bathmats and jar covers are really hard to duplicate in knitting. So if you want to make cute homewares – crochet is the yarn craft for you.

http://notsogranny.com/2014/07/does-crochet-really-use-more-yarn-than-knitting.html

It’s harder to make knitted toys

Crocheting is really the king of toys because you can work in the round and get cleaner shapes and lines. Knitted toys are still lovely but they don’t have the traditional amigurumi finish you can achieve with crochet.

You can’t use knitting needles for two projects at once

If you’re half way through a project and you need to use the needle size you’re using for another project, you can’t just pull the needles out and use them. Needles are as good as married to a project until you finish it.

http://notsogranny.com/2014/07/does-crochet-really-use-more-yarn-than-knitting.html

You’re much more likely to lose a needle to airport security than a crochet hook

Depending on where and what airline you’re travelling on, needles are seen as a bigger security threat than crochet hooks. Which makes sense. Crochet hooks aren’t that different to pens but knitting needles are long and pointy and I’ve heard of lots of poor knitters losing their (metal) needles at the scanners. This point doesn’t apply to everyone but if you travel a lot, it’s something you might like to consider.

Crocheting – The Bad Stuff

Colour work isn’t as clean in crochet

There are many different ways to do colour work in crochet but tapestry and intarsia crochet colour work doesn’t look as neat as knitting. You can certainly work with it and there are some incredible artists doing amazing things with crochet colour work but when you see clearly defined colour work yarn sweaters, they’re usually knitted, not crocheted.

Knitting vs Crocheting

Crochet clothing in general is less flattering than knitted clothing

You can create flattering, draped fabrics in crochet but most knitting is flattering and drapey. A crocheted jumper is likely to be bulkier than a knitted one. It’s certainly possible to make flattering crochet clothing but it’s usually in lace form.

There’s less crochet ‘stuff’ out there

I don’t know why this is but as I mentioned earlier, yarn stores cater much more strongly to knitters than crocheters. Same with op shops and thrift stores. I frequently have to sift through boxes of knitting needles to find even one vintage crochet hook. This isn’t a huge issue as you can get everything you want and more online but retail shopping is slightly less fun as a crocheter. Thankfully you can always buy yarn though! Even just searching for images for this post there were hundreds of knitting images and about ten crochet ones. Just something to think about. If we’re arguing over the whole knitting vs crocheting thing, knitting wins the retail category.

Knitting vs Crocheting

Pros of both knitting and crocheting

Yarn craft makes you happy

Hobbies dramatically increase your mood and quality of life. Hobbies create strong relationships, they keep you involved in your community and they give you a sense of purpose. Plus you can make totally useful things while you’re binge watching your favourite TV show. Awesome.

You will always give the best gifts

If you’ve ever given someone a beautiful hand knitted or crocheted scarf you’ll know what I mean. It’s something money can’t always buy and so many people really appreciate the time and effort you put into making something gorgeous.

Yarn crafts are a great way to break a bad habit

If you’re trying to quit smoking, snacking or Facebooking – yarn craft will be your greatest tool. It will keep your hands busy when you’re trying to stop them from doing something else.

As you can see from the pros and cons of knitting vs crocheting, one isn’t better than the other, they’re quite different and I highly recommend you give both a try.

Of course crocheting is my one true yarn craft love so I’m obviously going to suggest you try that one first because I’m totally biased – if you are keen to learn to crochet you can join Crochet Coach here.

Over to you – are you knitter? Or a crocheter? Or both? Which do you prefer?

P.S If you’re not quite ready to sign up to Crochet Coach do sign up for Crochet Coach Mail  – it’s full of awesome tips and tricks for crochet fiends.

 

29 Comments

  1. Emily Furlong 5 years ago

    I’m a crochette 🙂 I tried to teach myself how to knit. I bought yarn and needles and persevered for SIX MONTHS! And no love 🙁

    Within a week of attempting crochet, I felt like I’d found my yarn craft home. I’m now collecting hooks like a mad woman and have some delicious yarn waiting for the perfect project!

    I am sometimes envious of knitters, but I’m happy in my world of hooks. Maybe one day when I’m a pro-crochette I will give knitting another go. Until then yarn over, pull through!

    • Author
      Carly Crochet Coach 5 years ago

      I did the same thing! Knitting just never took with me. I can do it very slowly and very cumbersomely and I have to concentrate very hard. Not fun. Crochet just got me. 🙂

    • Anne 4 years ago

      You should try knitting on a loom instead of on needles. Loom knitting is INCREDIBLY EASY. Just try it. Trust me. You can do it! I love loom knitting AND crochet.

      • Author
        Carly Crochet Coach 4 years ago

        Oh I’ve been wanting to try loom knitting – it’s keeping track of all the stitches that I struggle with – I think the loom would fix me right up!

  2. Jennifer Costin 5 years ago

    I do both, dependent on my mood, or how quickly I want to finish a project. Often have several projects on the go. A bit obsessive with knitted toys at the moment.

    • Author
      Carly Crochet Coach 5 years ago

      I’m so envious of people who are fluent in both. I definitely want to learn knitting one day but I’ll never teach it – I’m a crochet gal through and through! 🙂

  3. Mel M 4 years ago

    I have been a crocheter since I was a little girl (maybe aged 8 or 9). I have always loved it and enjoyed working on projects and never felt a desire to learn to knit until in the last 2 years I suddenly felt I wanted to learn to tat and kit. Initially I struggled with knitting. I would set my hands up in the correct position but they would invariably go into crochet position without me realising. This took some overcoming. Also there seemed to be some block in my understanding the anatomy of a knit stitch. I watched many classes and YouTube videos and although they made sense while I watched, translating it into my own knitting seemed difficult. I eventually watched a Craftsy course by Patty Lyons where she demonstrated differerent knitting techniques. She pointed out that no matter what style of knitting you did you just had to make sure you were always working into the leading leg of the stitch. Suddenly everything fell into place and I was off and running with my knitting. I don’t know why this made all the difference but suddenly it just made sense. I love having an extra skill to practice and although I will always fall back to crocheting as my go to yarn craft a whole new world of craft opportunities has just opened up. I also enjoy Tunisian and broomstick crochet and am expanding my tatting skills which is a beautiful (but dying) art.

    • Author
      Carly Crochet Coach 4 years ago

      Maybe that’s what I need to do! My hands just don’t go into the correct position. I’m LOVING Tunisian crochet right now – the next pattern release for Crochet Coach is a Tunisian scarf which I’m super excited about. It’s so therapeutic – I feel like I will understand knitting better after having mastered Tunisian. I’d love to see some of your tatting work! If you take photos post some here. 🙂

  4. Mel Davis 4 years ago

    I do both…. I teach BOTH ….. You can use a machine to knit crochet you cannot…. I like them both .. it depends on your project which is better as ND how much yarn you have… crochet does use more yarn…but you cannot duplicate crochet on a machine…..

    • Author
      Carly Crochet Coach 4 years ago

      I love machine knitting – I’ve been following a lovely lady who does machine knitting in Australia and I’m so keen to go to one of her classes.

  5. Maryanne 4 years ago

    I have knitted and crochet for most of my life. And I agree with all the points made. The last 20 years I have mostly knitted and design my own knits simply because there was more material I can get inspiration from. however in the last few years, I have noticed there is now a shift back towards crochet and I am in the middle of designing a coat which is a combination of granny square style lace with waist paneling and ribbon lace, from being inspired by what is now being shown on fashion magazines and sites like pinterest ( There are some amazing examples from the Russian crafters! ). I will have to say though, for sweaters I will probably stick to knitting simply because the shape & drape is more flattering, however with lace work, there are definitely things that knitting just cannot do. Bring on the rebirth of the crochet! 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Crochet Coach 4 years ago

      Oh wow that sounds amazing I can’t wait to see it! Loving the rebirth of crochet. I love how modern and stylish the next wave of crochet is.

      • Maryanne 4 years ago

        I am not as fluent in crochet as knitting these days but I’ve been getting back into it recently making baby blankets for friends and shawls. Let’s see how the coat turns out. I’ll post a picture here if I’m not too embarrassed by the results. 😊

        • Tamia 3 years ago

          cool , keep up the great work ! 😉

  6. Tamia 3 years ago

    i love crochet , i learned 1 few moths ago . i totes wanted to learn knittin’ , …with pencils lol . so i tired and i just stop , it was real anoyyin’ anyways bye im just talkin’ away with nothin’ to say lol , BYE 😀

    • Author
      Carly Crochet Coach 3 years ago

      I’d love to give knitting another try but I’m totally in the land of crochet now. Maybe once I’m retired.

  7. Clarice Shay 3 years ago

    I do both, but many years ago changed from the English to Continental (German) technique of knitting. If you’re a lefty, it’s a natural fit, because you can fling the yarn with your left hand vs. hooking the yarn with your right.
    So, if you’re a gifted crocheter, the Continental method is going to seem much more “natural” to you, since yarn is in left hand and working needle is in right hand.

    As for correcting mistakes – I’d rather do it in knitting. Get my needles positioned over the bad spot, drop 1 or 2 stitches, let it run down to the mistake and then either take a 2nd set of needles and knit your way back up. Or just use a crochet hook and hook your way back up that run. I usually do the crochet hook.

    But, the main reason I knit more than crochet is because I can knit for 10-15 minutes without ever looking at my hands to see what’s happening…. 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Crochet Coach 3 years ago

      I never knew about the continental method until recently – when I get back into knitting, I’m going continental all the way!

  8. Donna Cordero 3 years ago

    I am also an avid crocheter, designer and book author. DonnaCo Designs and Tennisball Babies. I LOVE to crochet. I can do basic knitting, but find crocheting much more versatile. Give it a try. You won’t be sorry. 😂

  9. Moonsglow 3 years ago

    I like all forms of the needle arts. I knit, crochet, tat, and cross-stitch. I knit the Continental way and seem to be able to knit faster than the using the American method. However, those are not the only two knitting methods… there are variations around the globe. One of these days, I would like to find someone who has done nalbinding which I think was a precursor to knitting with evidence of socks and hats made by the Egyptians using this method..
    I like the intricacy and delicacy of fine crocheting but find it tires my hands more quickly. That’s why most of my crocheting used worsted or sport weight yarn. I also find my hands tire a bit more quickly when tatting… once I realized how to flip the stitch (when I was tying the cord on my sweatpants), it was amazing how simplistic tatting can be while creating incredibly artistic designs.
    I’ve also played around a bit with cord making. And I think I would also like to try using an inkle look to create patterned cords (I just saw it online last night and I think I’m going to have to go back to the site and purchase the book.)

  10. Anonymous 3 years ago

    I tried knitting once but I just couldn’t get the hang of it no matter how hard I tried, but my grandma taught me to crochet and I caught onto it very fast. I find crocheting very addictive and it also works as a stress reliever for me. I love crochet and you could say that I’m “hooked” (get it?). I think crocheting is definitely also much easier to learn than knitting and I have made many beautiful projects crocheting. I’ll always be a crochet girl!

  11. Angela Bury 3 years ago

    As a member of the S.C.A. (look up sca.org) which is a group that revels in recreating medieval times. I learned nulbinding, card weaving, and the lucet before I discovered the pure joy and stress release that I get from crochet. I also knit, but have found it awkward trying to hold the yarn and manage those crazy long sticks…until I was told to try circular needles. They are fabulous! Crochet is my true love though. I feel a connection with every stitch that most other yarn crafts do not provide. If you love yarn I highly recommend learning both (even if it’s just for the bragging rights lol) you won’t regret it.

  12. Bev 2 years ago

    I’ve crochet for most of my life, but two years ago I learned how to knit. I love doing both as it’s nice to be able to do different things. YouTube is another great way to learn how to do different stitchings. If you’re new to knitting, don’t give up keep trying and refer to video sites.

  13. Lisa Lee 2 years ago

    I have one sister who crochets and one who knits. I learned to crochet from my sister after I saw the beautiful blankets that she made. I mean, she could sell them easily in any craft show. And for me, it was easier to learn crochet, even though I am left handed. I caught on after lots of practice. I occasionally try knitting, but it seems so much faster to crochet and it’s more. comfortable. I love tunisian too, because you can create projects that appear to be knitted.

  14. Ronangelojr 2 years ago

    I’m a crocheter. A male crccheter and we are building in numbers! I don’t like knitting because it takes too long.

  15. knitknack 2 years ago

    if your using 14″ straight needles to knit, tuck the right needle under your armpit. it will hold it steady. it’s something the dutch do, it works.

  16. Tolly 2 years ago

    if your using 14″ straight needles to knit, tuck the right needle under your armpit. it will hold it steady. it’s something the dutch do, it works.

  17. Belle 2 years ago

    I just taught myself to crochet two days ago and made a basket for a plant in no time at all. That was super rewarding but I’d rather cuddle up under my knitted blanket any day!
    As for crocheting traveling easier and not being able to work two projects at a time with knitting, switch to interchangeable needles, it’s a game-changer.

  18. Charlie 2 years ago

    I taught myself to crochet when I was pregnant with first born. I was the youngest so had been around it all my life but no one taught me. Made a sweater and hat for our son. First project. It was 50+ years ago since then I do more crocheting because I can do it faster. Many years ago I taught myself to knit. I have taught both at Ben Franklin stores for many year. Found there are certain things I want to crochet and certain things I want to knit. So me it is even Steven. I am a female.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*