So … Crochet or Knitting?

Our good friend Judit from MonsterYarns.co.uk is going to start you off:

So which came first – chicken or the egg? What has that to do with knitting or

Image From Kat Goldin Designs

crochet, I hear you wonder. Well, literally everything. Since the beginning of time man has been mulling over the chicken and egg question. And crafters have been debating the thorny issue of whether crochet or knitting is the superior art form for an equally long time. So in my mind, the two debates are inter-linked. When one answer is found, the other will magically also be answered. However, in the meanwhile, this is my take on it.

I shan’t try to teach any of you to suck eggs [haha] by stepping you through the obvious technical differences but a neat list of pros and cons I hope will start the yarn rolling nicely.

Crochet

  • There is one hook.
  • There is one live stitch.
  • There are half a dozen or so stitches to learn and if you want to get fancy, it’s easy to lose count of how many more you may need.
  • Crochet fabric comprises a series of “knots” (pretty ones of course) and on the whole is firm and bulky.
  • Eats yarn for breakfast.
  • Is incredibly versatile to make accessories, small items like hats, household items, rugs/throws, toys.
  • Crochet works up fast.
  • Freeform crochet is liberating – just turn the corner with your stitch and start hooking somewhere new.

Knitting

  • There are at least two needles but up to five DPNs if you’re being complicated.
  • There are as many live stitches as is required for your project width/length.
  • In the main, you really only need to learn two stitches.
  • Knitted fabric has v-shaped stitches and is smooth and pliant and stretchy.
  • Economic with yarn dependent on gauge.
  • Is incredibly versatile to make clothing, accessories like hats/gloves/socks. household items, rugs/throws, toys.
  • Knitting is most definitely slower than crochet but usually worth the wait.
  • Freeform knitting is harder to achieve – bit difficult being spontaneous when you have to cast off and cast on again/join stitches each time you want to change direction.

Well, that’s all very well but a careful examination of the list does not actually throw up a clear winner. And perhaps this is where it gets interesting. Most people I know who can both knit and crochet have a very clear preference and there are large groups of people who can only do one,  have tried for years and just can’t get their mind/fingers wrapped round the “rules” of the other or frankly can’t see the point.

Why? I don’t know. But early conditioning, as with everything, must have something to do with it. For instance historically crocheting has had some bad press – if you do a bit of digging, the term “hooker” does in fact originate from crafters using hooks who were so severely underpaid that they turned to other forms of earning to supplement their income. And originally crochet was used by the poor to recreate the eye-wateringly expensive laces of the rich. The art form is still suffering from the rather dowdy image of polyester brown/tan/orange Granny Square kaftans from the 70s. Come on, those of us who are old enough to remember, be honest. You do know someone in your family who had one of those! So some snooty crafters stuck to knitting and this was passed down unconsciously from generation to generation.

Conversely, those zany hookers who create freeform art in multicolours rather pity the more  limiting and laborious form of knitting. All that knit, knit, knit, purl, purl, purl in straight lines! What’s that all about?

And in case I still have your attention and interest, I can honestly say that I love both and rather rarely for me, sit on the fence of indecision as to which one is better. Because I don’t think that’s how you should look at it. I think each has its own virtues. However I can say that rather inexplicably, I do always feel more light-hearted when I crochet.

What do you think?

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28 thoughts on “So … Crochet or Knitting?

  1. I can knit but very basic, think I could only do a blanket….I prefer crochet as its easier for me to see and more importantly feel what I am doing.
    But I can appreciate both 🙂

    Reply
  2. I crochet but I want to learn to knit as well. I follow some knitting blogs here and what they do is simply beautiful! Plus, when I get tired with one, I can start on the other 😀

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  3. Interesting! I didn’t know the origins of the word “hooker”! I used to knit a little, but crochet is definitely my thing. I make crocheted dolls, and I wouldn’t even know where to start if I had to knit them instead. Like you said, each has its own virtues, and even though I rather use crochet, I think knitting is a lovely craft. Some people tell me that they are more comfortable with knitting, others are more comfortable with crochet.

    Reply
  4. I am all for crochet and at one point was attempting to teach myself to knit….. Now that I have the web and YouTube I am considering trying again… but I think crocheting will always be my goto activity. 🙂

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  5. I do both, and I like both. I don’t feel that one is better than the other generally, although for some of my projects I feel that one is a better choice than the other. For example, I’d rather knit with fancy yarn than crochet because I can see all the stitches and don’t have to guess where they are. But if I’m making something that needs to be thick, like a baby blanket, I prefer crochet. And sometimes if I’ve been making things one way for a while – for example, knitting – I have to change and use the other way – crocheting. Doing both keeps me from getting bored (something that can happen easily 🙂 ).

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  6. I learned how to knit and crochet at primary school and at home as a young child. I have only just re-started crochet after 20 years of not doing it. So for the moment, it’s crochet for me. But who knows, maybe I’ll re-start knitting too!

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  7. I do both, but knitting is my preference, unless I need something in a hurry, like a baby present. I have knit blankets and crocheted them, and I much prefer crochet for that project, but most everythign else, I would rather knit – be it lace, scarves, plain yarn or fancy. And it isn’t the granny square caftan that frightens me, but the barbie doll cover for the toilet paper. shudder….

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  8. Fantastic blog! I love the bit of history about hookers. Did not know that. I use both and find I use them equally in designing. It depends on what I am doing. The knitting often becomes the base of my wearable art and then I will use crochet to embellish a piece as it is so flexible and I can make it as structural and moveable as I like. I love crochet for the freedom it brings in designing and it does bring a certain joy with this freedom, but I also love knitting, it was my first love. Knitting is my go to when I need to relax, it is so calming and exhilarating at the same time. Just another row and I will stop, then repeat….. Basically, I love them both and love using them together on a design, they can really compliment each other.

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  9. I do both and while I love both, I have to admit I am MUCH better at crochet. I truly think knit vs. crochet is an unfair fight. They are two different things that happen to use the same medium… yarn. I think it depends on the look and function you are trying to accomplish and that should determine whether you need a hook or a pair of needles. Besides we fiber artists should stick together 🙂 we are all a talented bunch if you ask me. Doesn’t matter if you use hooks or needles!

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  10. I’ve just started to crochet and I find it so much easier than knitting. I think they are a bit like yoga and pilates – most people have a clear preference! Had no idea about the hookers, etc, very interesting!

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  11. Great discussion topic! I absolutely adore crochet and cannot get the hang of knitting -or enjoy it- for the life of me! I think it definitely has to do with what I learned on. However, I love the look of both for sure. Thanks for a great post. And also thank you for your encouraging “likes” on my blog. 🙂 Blessings from Alaska, Jackie

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  12. While I do love the way knit garments come out, I am much more comfortable with crocheting myself. I found it very interesting that so many people favored crochet. When I crochet in public it seems that people are always telling me that knitting is more popular and that crocheting is a dying art. Which I have to laugh at because crocheting will never die, it’s way to awesome an art.

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  13. Excellent blog!
    I knit with my eyes closed- I can feel the next stitch coming up with my fingertips. I crochet very fast. Since I have a crochet business I do a lot more crochet. It is more fascinating than knitting, since you have only 5 stitches available to create something.
    AND one can crochet ANYTHING: from rocks to socks, from coats to sailboats, from tips to tops, from soup to nuts. ANYTHING!
    Another thing about crochet: It has to be human made, since nobody invented a crochet maschine yet.

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  14. As I’ve said elsewhere, I swing both ways and genuinely don’t have a preference. I usually have at least one of each on the go at any one time. I did prefer taking crochet when visiting family in Spain as I only travel with hand luggage and my plastic crochet hook passes through security with no problem – but I’ve discovered places near my relatives that sell cheap needles and nice yarn so now I’ll just buy what I want when I get there.

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  15. I have to vote crochet as, although I do both knitting and crochet, I definitely get much more joy, and satisfaction in the end product, when I crochet – plus, I just can’t do the knitting any more, due to arthritic hands, but am still able to wield my crochet hook 🙂

    Reply
  16. Thank you for posting this. I so share your dilemma. I learned to knit at the age of 4 and never stopped. I learned to crochet only this year, so that I could embellish the neck and armholes of a knitted garment (!). Then I got ‘hooked’ (sorry!) and I can’t stop making granny square blankets. I’m still knitting in my ‘spare’ time, though!

    Reply
  17. Thoughtful post! I love them both! I just learn to knit a few years ago and it re-sparked my interest in crochet and fueled my love of yarn. I like the comment Beate made that there isn’t a crochet machine, how interesting is that! And I most definitely supplement my income hehe with my fiber projects.

    Reply
  18. Pingback: MIA For Awhile… | DragonMommie's World

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