Knitting and crochet are somewhat similar but are different in many ways. People often mistake the two as the same thing when they are not. Some also mistake one for the other. If you are new to yarn craft and are still contemplating between crochet and knitting, it would help you have an idea which of them is easier to learn.
Knitting and crochet are both pretty easy to learn. However, it will still depend on the person. Several people believe that crochet is easier to learn because you are only using one dominant hand. Some also find that crochet is the one that is easier to pick up. However, many people that have tried both actually find it easier to knit. Some would prefer one over the other, while some enjoy both crafts equally. In the end, it all comes down to which yarn craft suits you better.
Knitting and crochet share lots of similarities and differences.
Knitting Vs. Crochet
- Both use fiber or yarn. You can also do the same projects as shawls, sweaters, blankets, wraps, afghans, mittens, hats, socks, and more.
- Crocheters and knitters both work from patterns. Both also use abbreviations, and some of them are even the same.
- Both require the same skill set: an eye for design and color, hand-eye coordination, ability to plan a certain project from start to completion and see it through, and an affinity for fiber. Knowledge in math can also be helpful but it is not strictly necessary for both techniques.
- Crochet and knitting offer lots of fantastic health benefits.
- Both techniques need the patience to keep working until a project is finished.
Now let us discuss knitting and crochet one by one.
To get started with knitting, you will need the following:
- Knitting needles
- A pair of scissors
- A sewing needle
- A crochet hook
There are all sorts of knitting needles available in the market, and choosing one can make you dizzy. There’s rosewood, aluminum, bamboo, casein, and more.
There are 5 basic types of knitting needles:
- Straight Needles – This is the most common knitting needle used by many. People picture this kind of needle when they think about knitting. Straight needles have a knob at one end and a point at the other end, and they come in sets of two. This type of knitting needle is straightforward to use and can be a great tool for beginners.
The length of a straight needle ranges from nine to fourteen inches, but you can also find longer or shorter needles, as well. The most common materials used for straight needles are aluminum, steel, plastic, wood, and bamboo.
Different kinds of straight needles have their respective ideal yarns. If you notice that your stitches are easily sliding off your needles, or are not sliding enough, you can try another set. You can choose another brand or another finish.
Straight needles are ideal for smaller projects that are worked flat, such as scarves, washcloths, and afghan squares.
- Circular Needles – Circular needles are ideal when you are working on a large knitting project in the round. This type of knitting needle has a flexible cord that serves as a connection between the two needles, so it looks like one long knitting needle. Circular needles can either come with interchangeable pieces or fixed pieces.
The most common circular needles range from sixteen to forty-eight inches long, but you can find needles that are longer or shorter.
The most common materials used for this type of needle are plastic, bamboo, aluminum, steel, and wood.
The cord portion will vary, as well. The most popular materials are coated steel and nylon. Some circular needles have a memory or can hold their shape, which can make it a bit awkward to work with because it seems like it has its own mind. If you want to avoid this dilemma, you can look for memory-free circular needles.
Circular needles are best used for projects worked in the round, like cowls, hats, sweaters, and socks. However, you can also use circular needles for flat projects. What you will do is work back and forth, transferring the work from one end to the other. It is helpful for big projects such as blankets or shawls.
- Interchangeable Needles – If you opt for the flexibility of circular needles in all sorts of sizes, and with the advantage of using them in different ways, interchangeable needles are an excellent choice. Interchangeable needles have a flexible cord and a firm tip, but the pieces can be separated so you can change the needle sizes and length of the cord.
Interchangeable needles can come in individual pieces or sets. Most have a tiny screw that connects the pieces, but some utilize other mechanisms. Each brand will only work with its parts, as well.
If you buy in sets, it will be advantageous for you, because you will have the pieces you will need. However, it can be expensive. If you opt to grow your collection slowly, the best choice for you would be to buy the pieces separately.
- Double-Pointed Needles – Double-pointed needles (DPN) are typically used for smaller projects. They have points at both ends and come in sets of 4 to 6 needles. Some DPNs have either a flexible portion or a bend in the middle. They come in sets of 3 because the bend will allow you to work with fewer needles.
DPNs range in sizes five to six inches long. The shorter needles are ideal for tiny projects like small socks, while longer needles are excellent for tubular shaped projects such as hats.
DPNs are usually used for sock knitting but can also be used for knitting gloves, mittens, and hats. They can also be used for knitting sweater sleeves and small toys.
Using DPNs will take some practice, but it can be worth it if you are into small knitted projects in the round.
- Cable Needles – Cable needles can be short, oddly-shaped double-pointed needles, or rounded, hook-like needles. These needles will hold the stitches when forming knitted cables. It is useful for keeping your active stitches safe while they are moved around.
Cable needles are short and a few inches long. They also come in lesser diameters because they can only hold a few stitches for a shorter time. When you are choosing the needle diameter, pick a smaller one or the same size that the regular needles for that certain project.
Cable needles can be made from bamboo, wood, plastic, metal, and glass.
One of the primary reasons why people are interested in knitting is because there is a wide range of yarns available that they can play with. If you are a knitting novice, you don’t have that love affair with fibers yet. The yarn you will use will depend on the project you will make.
You can start by answering these questions after you have picked a project to work on:
- What weight of yarn does your project require?
- How much yarn does your project need?
- Does your project need a basic or novelty yarn?
- Is there a specific fiber you wish to use? Picking the same fiber used in the pattern is not necessary, but it can be helpful, especially if you are a beginner because you can compare the picture in the pattern easily to your completed project.
Some Common Types of Knitting Yarns
- Wool – This type of yarn is excellent for winter garments because it is warm and can last a long time. Wool is easy to clean and will keep you warm in cold weather. However, it can cause itchiness for people who are allergic to wool.
There are 4 types of wool: Wool type double, wool type long, wool type medium, and wool type fine.
Wool is also great for warm climate because it can keep you cool.
- Cashmere – This type of yarn comes from the coat of cashmere goats. They are one of the softest fibers around. Cashmere is quite expensive, but it is not that sturdy as sheep fiber. Cashmere is ideal for knitting clothing such as socks, jumpers, gloves, and more.
- Alpaca – Alpaca is typically used for knitting sweaters because it is warm. The fiber comes from the coat if the South American Alpaca. It is almost silky and quite soft; however, it does not hold shape as well as wool. Alpaca fiber is water repellent, as well.
- Cotton – Cotton is strong, breathable, and light. Some cotton yarns are finer, and some are heavier. Cotton does not hold its shape that well when blocking, and the stitches may not look as uniform. Cotton fiber is ideal for dishcloths, summer garments, and scrubs.
- Silk – Silk is easy to work with; however, it is very slippery. It is shiny, strong, and has a pleasant feel on the skin. It is also the perfect yarn for summer garments because it is relatively cool. Silk is the strongest natural fiber.
- Acrylic – It is a man-made fiber and one of the most affordable yarns. Acrylic is color-fast, washer easily, and is the best choice for novice knitters.
Crochet Hook for Knitting?
You are probably wondering why a crochet hook is included in the tools needed for knitting. Crochet hooks come in handy id the ends of the yard are too short to be knitted with a sewing needle. It can also come in handy when you snag a piece of knitwear.
To be able to crochet, you will be needing:
- A crochet hook
- A pair of scissors
Crochet hooks can be made from plastic, aluminum, steel, bamboo, glass, wood, or bamboo. Each type of hook works best with a certain kind of yarn. For example, when you are using a yarn that is slippery, it would be best to use a wooden hook instead of plastic or glass.
A crochet hook has different parts:
- Head – The head has three parts: lip, point, and groove. The lip is the hook itself, which can be pointy or round. The point is the hook’s tip, which can be blunt (very rounded) or pointy (very sharp. The groove can be straight or round.
- Throat – The throat is different with inline and tapered hooks. With inline hooks, the head and the shaft are the same sizes, and the throat is the same width as the shaft that substantially narrows from back to front.
- Shaft – Shaft is located between the handle and the head. Hooks with large shafts make it easier for crafters to create stitches that require lots of loading. Hooks with short shafts can be a little uncomfortable when making longer stitches or cluster stitches.
- Thumb rest – From the name itself, it is where you will rest your thumb while you are working on your crochet project. Not all hooks have this part.
- Handle – If you use a knife-grip, the handle will rest in your palm. If you use a pencil-grip, the handle will be against your index finger. The handle can either be made with the same material as the shaft or can be made from an entirely different material.
There are different types of crochet hooks:
- Wood and bamboo – They are soft, warm, and comfortable to hold. They will usually mold in your hand. Bamboo and wooden hooks come in limited sizes. You are less likely to find jumbo or tiny wooden or bamboo hook sizes.
- Aluminum – Aluminum is one of the most popular choices because of its affordability, smooth surface, and the ability to easily slide on and off the stitches.
- Steel – Steel is primarily used for more intricate patterns, such as lace. Steel hook sizes are usually small and easy to hold.
- Plastic – Plastic, just like aluminum, is another affordable option. They come in all sizes, so whatever your project is, you can find the hook size that is right for you. Plastic hooks are durable, have a decent grip, and come in fun colors.
- Knook – It is a special tool that has a hook on one end and a hole on the other. If you want to emulate a knit fabric, the knook is the tool to use.
- Ergonomic – Ergonomic hooks are recommended for crafters with arthritis or other hand conditions. People without hand conditions can also use this to prevent having hand problems. Ergonomic hooks will help reduce stress in your hand from repetitious movements of crocheting.
- Light up – A light up hook comes with a light installed in the hook and is ideal for people having a hard time seeing at night. It is also great for traveling.
- Tunisian – A Tunisian hook is a crossover between knitting and crochet. This is also a great pick if you are going for a knit-like fabric for your project. It is long like a knitting needle with a hook at one end.
There is not much difference when it comes to yarns used in knitting and crochet. Yarns used in knitting can also be used for crochet.
Structural Differences in Crochet and Knit Fabrics
Both knitting and crochet include manipulating loops of yarn.
With knitting, the loops that build on each other require multiple active loops that are held on the needles. Every stitch will depend on the support of the corresponding stitch below it. In the event, a knitter drops a stitch, the entire column of stitches below might unravel.
With crochet, there aren’t as many active loops compared to knitting. There is usually one active loop or a few. The stitches are built on top of each other; however, the only part susceptible to unraveling is the spot where the active loop is.
In conclusion, knitting is more prone to unraveling than crochet.
How will I know if crochet or knitting is best for me?
Choose crochet if:
- You like projects that work up faster and have larger stitches
- You wish to be loose with your patterns and be more creative
- You are not into making large mistakes and want easy fixes
- You want to have one set of tools that can work for any project
- You like holding your hook in one hand and your yarn and work in the other
- You don’t want to invest a large amount of money on equipment
- Your mind works spatially, or you prefer going up, down and over or around
Choose knitting if:
- You wish to make mostly fashion projects and garments
- You prefer straightforward directions and logic
- You possess the patience for longer, more relaxing projects
- You like to have all sorts of tools for different knit projects
- You love to work with both hands at once
- You like using less yarn
- You want to enjoy an extensive range of patterns
Whatever yarn craft you choose, whether be it crochet or knitting, you will need patience and determination for both. You have to enjoy what you are doing, as well. I hope this article is able to help you in choosing between crochet and knitting.