Does Crochet Use More Yarn Than Knitting?


One of the age-old debates among crocheters and knitters is which craft uses more yarn. It is actually harder to settle than you might think.

There are some cases where crochet uses more yarn. On the other hand, there are also some cases where knitting uses more yarn. In reality, you cannot answer the question with just a simple yes or no, there is more to it than that.

So, which of them uses more yarn? In many cases, crochet will use more yarn. However, there are numerous differences between crocheting and knitting. There is also a multitude of factors that will determine the amount of yarn used in their final products. The quantity of yarn used will have to do with the needle or hook size, gauge, and yarn type rather than it does with whether you are crocheting or knitting.

Crochet Stitches Vs. Knitting Stitches

One of the main factors that will determine the amount of yarn that will be used will have to do with the type of stitch a crocheter or a knitter will use.

Knitting Stitches

There are tons of different stitching techniques created for knitting. The techniques vary from colorwork styles to how the needles are held. Stitches can also be manipulated to create several stitch patterns.

Knitting is based on 2 basic stitches: the purl stitch and the knit stitch. Other types of knitting stitches are a variation or combination of the two stitches.

The purl stitch is done by making a loop in front of your work, while the knit stitch is done by making a loop in the back of your work. They look like they won’t offer much variety, but they do.

Here are the most common stitches used by knitters:

Garter Stitch

When you knit every row, you will have rows and rows of ridges, which is called the garter stitch. It is knitting at its simplest form and is the most basic.

Stockinette Stitch

Stockinette stitch is also called the stocking stitch. It is made by alternating rows of purl and knit stitches, which creates a signature knitting stitch that most are familiar with – the smooth little letter V’s on the front and ridges on the back.

Reverse Stockinette Stitch

It is the same as the stockinette stitch with alternating rows of purl and knit stitches. Their difference is the V stitches are considered as the back of your piece, and the ridges are considered the front of your piece.

Rib Stitch

Rib stitch is done when you alternate knit and purls across the row, so it creates columns of purls and knits. This method will create a highly stretchable fabric. It is usually used for cuffs, collars, and sweater bands.

Seed Stitch

Seed stitch is done when you alternate the stitches – the pattern will be knit one, then purl one, and then reverse it on the next row. It is a highly textured pattern and is not springy like a rib stitch is.

Cable Stitch

Cable stitch seems difficult; however, once you get to see how it is done, you know it is something that you can do. Cable stitch is made by knitting and purling, as well. The only difference is you will be twisting one row of the stitches.

Fair Isle

Fair Isle or colorwork knitting is made by knitting colorful pattern repeats. This stitch uses the same knits and purls but in alternating colors to make beautiful and interesting patterns. It typically consists of two colors each row. With fair isle, the colors are carried along, thus making floats along the back of the piece. What you need to know about this type of stitch is that the color changes must happen over a few stitches.

Fair isle is used to make color patterns.

Intarsia Knitting

Intarsia knitting is similar to fair isle, but there is one difference – the colors here are worked in sections. You will work to the color change, then drop the old color, and then pick up the new color. This type of stitch is often used for motifs.

Crochet Stitches

Crochet is pretty easy to learn. There are only a few stitches you need to know to be able to create a broad array of projects.

Crochet Chain Stitch

This is the most basic among all the crochet stitches. Chain stitches start most crochet projects. If you use a group of chain stitches when starting a project, it is referred to as the base chain, starting chain, or the foundation chain.

The “turning chain” begins each new row in a project. The turning chain’s height will depend on the stitches you used in that row. For instance, you will start with three chains for a double crochet row.

Crochet chains usually connect other stitches in a pattern, especially when you’re working on the round.

Slip Stitch

Slip stitches do not get much attention because they’re simple and small. However, they are the foundation of crochets.

The most common use of slip stitch is when you are working on the round. A crochet instruction will usually say “join with a slip stitch so you can form a ring,” or “slip stitch to close the round.”

Slip stitches are also useful for joining one crocheted item to another. For instance, you can join a pair of granny squares by using a slip stitch.

Single Crochet Stitch

Learning the slip stitch and crochet chain will set the stage for creating crochet projects. However, you must learn at least one more so you can crochet a wide variety of projects. Most people start by learning the single crochet stitch. It is a short stitch that is shown in several different patterns.

Single crochet stitch makes a dense fabric. It can open up more, as well, with different hook sizes or yarn, and altering the stitch. When you have mastered the single crochet stitch, you can make your stitches look different depending on the loops you are working through.

Single crochet stitch is also the foundation or base stitch in amigurumi crochet patterns. If you plan to do amigurumi, you have to know how to do single crochet.

Half Double Crochet

Half double crochet uses the method of basic crochet stitch but with an extra step. It would be best to learn first single crochet, then learn the half double crochet stitch.

The height of this type of crochet stitch is halfway between the single and the double crochet. It is a nice stitch and can be used in different types of projects, so it’s also a good stitch to know if you wish to master the basic crochet stitches.

It is a bit more open than the single crochet but still provides density for warm crochet projects. It builds fabric faster than single crochet – an advantage when you want to finish your crochet project quicker.

Double Crochet Stitch

The double crochet stitch is the foundation of filet crochet, granny square crochet, v-stitch crochet, and other popular patterns. Double crochet stitch changes a basic stitch into something more amazing. When you’ve learned how to do the double crochet stitch, you can manipulate it to make the stitch look different depending on the loops you work through.

Treble Crochet or Triple Crochet Stitch

The triple or treble crochet stitch is taller than the double crochet but also follows the same steps. When you already know how to double crochet, you can create a variety of taller crochet stitches, such as the double or triple treble, and even taller stitches.

This stitch will allow you to add height to your project quickly. Taller stitches create a fabric that is looser and has more breathability.

Crochet Hooks Vs. Knitting Needles

The size of the knitting needle or crochet hook you will use will also have an effect on the amount of yarn you will use. These tools are crucial if you want precision in replicating a pattern you wish to do. The gauge is altered by decreasing or increasing the size of the hook or needles.

Knitting Needle Sizes

Metric US
2.0 mm 0
2.25 mm 1
2.75 mm 2
3.25 mm 3
3.5 mm 4
3.75 mm 5
4.0 mm 6
4.5 mm 7
5.0 mm 8
5.5 mm 9
6.0 mm 10
6.5 mm 10 ½
8.0 mm 11
9.0 mm 13
10.0 mm 15
12.75 mm 17
15 mm 19
19 mm 35

Crochet Hook Sizes

Metric US
2.25 mm B/1
2.75 mm C/2
3.25 mm D/3
3.5 mm E/4
3.75 mm F/5
4.0 mm G/6
4.5 mm 7
5.0 mm H/8
5.5 mm I/9
6.0 mm J/10
6.5 mm K/10 ½
8.0 mm L/11
9.0 mm M/13
10.0 mm N/15
  P
  Q

Yarn Weights

The weight of yarn used can also have an effect on the amount of yarn used for crocheting or knitting. Yarn weight refers to the thickness of the yarn and determines how many stitches it would take to knit or crochet 1 inch.

Common Yarn Weights Used in Knitting and Crochet

Lace: #0

Lace is usually used for doilies, lace shawls, and other delicate projects.

Lace has two sub-categories: Crochet thread and fingering.

  • Crochet thread – It is usually cotton and is sold in balls rather than skeins or hanks.
  • Fingering – Fingering can be teeny tiny. However, you have to be aware that there are yarns that are labeled “fingering” that fall into the number 1 weight, as well.

Super Fine: #1

Super fine yarn is great for baby items, socks, airy shawls, lightweight sweaters, and scarves.

Super fine has three sub-categories: Sock, fingering, and baby.

  • Sock – When you are planning on making socks, they have their own special yarn. They are usually made with nylon or other strong fiber that is worked in with wool, so they are more durable.
  • Fingering – Lots of yarn are labeled as fingering. It can run the range in terms of how it is spun, the fiber content, and yarn weight.
  • Baby – Baby yarns have a wide variety of thicknesses. The thinnest can end up in the super-fine category. These yarns are super soft, no matter what their weight is.

Fine: #2

Fine yarns are excellent for colorwork sweaters, socks, and other accessories.

Fine has two sub-categories: Sport and Baby.

  • Sport – These works up a little quicker than super-fine yarns such as fingering, but it is still lightweight enough to create amazing garments.
  • Baby – Baby yarns are also found in this category. Fine baby yarn is a bit heavier than the super fine baby yarn but still soft as a baby’s bum.

Light: #3

Light yarns are great for oversized shawls. There are also patterns available for almost everything using DK.

Light has two sub-categories: DK (double-knitting) yarn and Light Worsted.

  • DK (Double-Knitting) – It is a mid-weight yarn that is veering into the light category. DK yarns fall in the middle of the spectrum, which can be “just right” for numerous projects.
  • Light Worsted –  It is another term for DK weight.

Medium: #4

Medium weight yarn is excellent for basically everything, such as sweaters, slipper socks, hats, and more.

Medium has two sub-categories: Worsted and Aran

  • Worsted – Several beginners use this yarn because it is just the right size for you to be able to see what you are doing, and not too big that it is hard to wrangle.
  • Aran – It is like worsted, but a bit heavier.

Bulky: #5

Bulky is great for anything you want to do fast, such as scarves, hats, home décor projects, and sweaters.

Bulky has two sub-categories: Chunky and Rug.

  • Chunky – The terms “bulky” and “chunky” are commonly used interchangeably, and it makes substituting yarns tricky. You have to pay attention to gauge so you are sure to get what you really need.
  • Rug – This is used for rug hooking and is a sturdy yarn.

Super Bulky: #6

Super Bulky is great for textured cowls and hats, heavy scarves, home décor projects, and more. You can also make sweaters. However, they will be incredibly warm.

Super bulky has two sub-categories: Super bulky and Roving.

  • Super Bulky – This is also referred to as super chunky. This yarn is thick, and working with it can be rough on your hands. One useful tip is to do your stretches first.
  • Roving – It is a single-ply and loosely spun wool that has a rustic feel to it.

An Experiment: 5 Popular Crochet and Knitting Stitches and the Quantity of Yarn Used

Some yarn crafters did experiments to answer the age-old debate of whether crochet or knitting uses more yarn.

One experiment made five 10 square swatches from acrylic worsted yarn. Each swatch was made using single crochet, double crochet, knitted stockinette stitch, knitted garter stitch, and plain Tunisian crochet. Metal crochet hooks and metal knitting needles measuring 6mm were used.

Results

  • Single crochet weighed 7 grams and used 12.33 meters of yarn.
  • Double crochet weighed 6 grams and used 10.92 meters of yarn.
  • Knitted stockinette weighed 4 grams and used 9.10 meters of yarn.
  • Knitted garter weighed 7 grams and used 12.32 meters of yarn.
  • Tunisian crochet weight 7 grams and used 13.10 meters of yarn.

Based on the results, the knitted stockinette used the least amount of yarn, and the Tunisian crochet used the most yarn out of the five samples. Knitted garter and single crochet used around the same amount of yarn. Double crochet used less yarn than single crochet.

Why Is It Being Debated?

They say it all comes down to practicality. However, the differences are small that you won’t even notice if you are not looking for it.

The debate probably came from a simple exaggeration of the differences between knitting and crochet. A friendly rivalry once in a while doesn’t hurt. Another probable reason is that crochet uses yarn a lot quicker than knitting does, and when you are working through a yarn faster, it will feel like you are using more yarn even though it’s not the case.

Figuring Out How Much Yarn You Will Need for a Project

The amount of yarn you will need for a project is usually already indicated in the pattern you’ve chosen. There is also an excellent app for knitters that will calculate the quantity of yawn you will need with excellent precision. On the other hand, there are available yarn calculators on the internet for crocheters.

Related Question

Why is crocheting faster than knitting?

Crocheting only uses one hook, while knitting uses two needles, and it is easier to hold just one tool. There is more freedom in crocheting, as well. For instance, you will have no problem with crocheting if you want to go over the side suddenly.

Final Thoughts

It has always been knitting vs. crocheting for a long time. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. However, there is no better yarn craft – both are equally great and can create wonderful pieces. If you are particular about the amount of yarn being used, it’s not dependent on whether you choose to crochet or knit. As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of other factors that will determine the quantity of yarn to be used. So, don’t worry about it that much. If you want to save on yarn, choose a particular project that uses less yarn, whether it’s crocheting or knitting.

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