Knitting and crochet are both crafts that use yarn and a tool or two to create fabric. If you aren’t familiar with either craft, then you might wonder what the differences is. In terms of crochet vs. knitting, is one better than the other? Not necessarily. But, although they have lots of similarities, they also have some important differences. As a result, you might discover that you want to try them both. Even if you end up preferring one to the other, you’ll gain a lot from knowing how to both knit and crochet.
Knitting and Crochet Both Make Fabric With Yarn and 1-2 Tools
The biggest similarity of knitting and crochet is that you use simple tools and yarn to create fabric. You can shape this fabric into clothing, accessories, home decor, art, and more. Moreover, you can use different types of yarn (different weights, different fabrics) to create different styles in both crafts. Additionally, each craft uses a variety of different stitches and techniques to further open up your options when it comes to the fabric and products that you create.
So, why crochet or knit? First and foremost because you want to use simple, portable, affordable materials to create your own fabric-based items.
Crochet vs. Knitting: Hooks and Needles
The main difference between crochet and knitting is the tool that they use to turn yarn into fabric. Generally speaking, in crochet, you use one crochet hook. In contrast, knitting uses two knitting needles. There’s a lot more to learn about all of the options available for hooks and needles. As you begin to explore the crafts, you’ll learn those things. But basically, this is the biggest difference between knitting and crochet.
Ready to learn more about the tools in each craft. These articles will help:
Myth: You Use One Hand in Crochet, Two in Knitting
You’ll hold one crochet hook in your dominant hand while you crochet. In contrast, you’ll handle one needle in each hand when you knit. However, you don’t crochet with one hand. You’re constantly using your other hand to work with the yarn. Many people think crochet is easier because you don’t have to use both hands like you do in knitting. However, you can see that this might not be true at all.
Important Difference In Knitting vs Crochet: Loops on Needles vs Hooks
The fact that you’re using knitting needles vs a crochet hook is a really major difference, though. Why? It has everything to do with how you build the fabric that you’re creating.
In both crafts, you use a tool to pull up loops of yarn. However, in knitting, you pull a a bunch of loops up onto a needle at once, and you don’t finish those loops until later. In contrast, in crochet, you pull up one loop, finish it, and pull up the next loop.
Why does this matter? There are a few reasons:
- Loops are “live” until you finish them. Therefore, in knitting, they can more easily fall off the needles and you have to go back to fix those mistakes.
- For the same reason, it’s not quite as easy to pause in the middle of a knit row as it is in crochet.
- Crochet can build loop upon loop in many different directions, allowing you to create hyperbolic pieces and other shapes that you can’t achieve as easily in knitting.
This doesn’t make crochet inherently better or easier than knitting. However, it’s a difference to notice.
The History of Crochet and Knitting
Both crochet and knitting have been around for centuries. However, they each have their own unique histories in terms of how they developed, who the crafters were historically, how they’re used and viewed in society, etc. If you’re interested in this type of stuff, it’s worth reading up on the history of yarn crafting. It’s interesting stuff.
If you’re not, the important thing to know is that sometimes this affects how the crafts are viewed today. For a long time, for example, crochet was seen as the “red headed stepchild” of the yarncraft world. It wasn’t as easy to find crochet help in local yarn stores as it was for knitters, for example. Also, knitting was seen as the finer of the two crafts for creating socks, sweaters, and colorwork designs.
Today, you can crochet socks, bold colorwork, and even fabrics that look like they’ve been knit thanks to the different yarns, tools, and techniques we’ve developed over time. So it’s a myth to believe that you can’t. But be aware that the history of the crafts sometimes leads to biases that you might want to look out for.
Benefits of Knitting and Crochet
Over the past decade or so, we’ve begun to hear a lot about the health benefits of knitting and crochet. Is one better than the other for achieving these benefits? It doesn’t seem like it. Both offer the potential for:
- Stress reduction and relaxation
- Mindfulness practice, “flow state” and being in the moment
- Build self-esteem, increase feelings of productivity
- Reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions
- Potential for distraction from and even ease of chronic pain
Just to name a few. In terms of the two crafts, neither is healthier than the other. However, you personally might experience one as more beneficial than the other. If you find one easier, for example, then it might be more conducive to a relaxing, meditative state.
Why Become BiCrafty?
Here at Marly Bird, we like both crafts equally. That’s why whenever we do make-alongs, we include both knitting and crochet patterns. We want to welcome everyone! (And recently, we’ve started offering a lot more Tunisian crochet. This is its own craft that’s actually almost like a blend of the two other crafts!)
Some people enjoy both crafts equally. Others strongly prefer one over the other. If you only know one of the crafts, you might want to consider learning the other. Benefits of becoming BiCrafty include:
- Learning a new skill is good for your brain and your self-esteem.
- You’ll have more options available to you for patterns when you want to make something new.
- You get to have conversations with a whole new community of crafters.
- What you learn in one craft can actually improve your understanding and skills in the other craft.
- You can trade one craft for the other when your muscles are tired. You use slightly different muscle movements in knitting vs. crochet.
If you’re interested in becoming BiCrafty, check out these helpful lessons: