The world of yarn crafts is full of exciting possibilities, and among them, knitting and crochet are the most popular choices. At first glance, they (knitting vs crochet) might seem pretty similar especially when you look at the finished product.
However, these two crafts have their own unique qualities that set them apart. Understanding the differences between knitting vs crochet can help you decide which one is perfect for your next project. Or even which new craft hobby to start with!
In this guide, I’ll be unraveling the major differences between knitting and crochet, covering everything from their tools, stitches, different types of yarn, techniques, challenges, to the pros and cons of each – all while keeping it easy to understand.
So grab a cup of tea or coffee, and let’s explore these two (knitting vs crochet) amazing fiber crafts together!
The Basics: Knitting and Crochet Defined
Knitting and crochet are both yarn crafts, but their fundamental differences lie in the tools and techniques used. Standard knitting involves two knitting needles to create interlocking loops of yarn, while standard crochet utilizes a single crochet hook to form knots and chains.
Both crafts are practiced the world over and have deep historical roots. Knitting dates back to ancient Egypt and the first documents about crochet can be traced to 19th-century Europe. Take a deeper dive into the History of Crochet in another fabulous blog post I have available for you.
Knitting and crochet may share resemblances, like similar projects and the use of yarn and stitches to produce a flexible fabric. However, their main differences set them apart as individual crafts, each with its unique set of challenges and rewards.
It’s possible to do both crafts with either your right or left hand being the dominant, but most commonly, both crafts are taught and written for right handers. Frustrating for some, knitting patterns and c2c grids are usually written for the right handed.
While both crafts require a level of hand-eye coordination and motor-skills, there are ways to adapt techniques and tools to make the process more comfortable and accessible.
It’s important to remember that everyone has their own unique strengths and limitations, and finding what works best for you can make all the difference in enjoying and excelling at these fiber arts.
Stitch Differences and Fabric Characteristics
For knitted fabric: knitting stitches form interlocking loops, which result in a stretchy, flexible fabric that drapes well. This makes knitting an excellent choice for garments like socks, jumpers, and other clothing items that need to adapt to the wearer’s body shape.
It’s important to note, however, that both crafts offer a wide variety of stitches, some of which can mimic the effects of the other.
The main stitches for knitting vs crochet are shown in this table.
|Crochet US terms
|Cast on: Creates the foundation stitches for a project
|Chain stitch: The foundation of a crochet project
|Knit and purl stitches: The building blocks of knitting
|Single stitch: The most basic crochet stitch
|Double crochet stitch: A taller stitch that works up faster
|Treble crochet: An even taller stitch, for quick growth
|Half double crochet: Taller than single crochet, but shorter than double crochet
|Binding off: Secures stitches, so they don’t unravel
|Slip stitch: Used to move along the row without adding height, or to join rounds
|Basic Stitch Pattern 1
|Stockinette stitch: Created by alternating rows of knit and purl stitches
|Basic Stitch Pattern 2
|Garter stitch: Created by knitting every row
There are some variations in the names of knitting stitches, depending on the country or region the pattern has been written in.
US and UK terminology for both knitting and crochet techniques.
|Knit and Purl
|Knit and Purl
|Stitch Pattern 1
|Stitch Pattern 2
|Creating a Hole/Increase
|Basic Stitch 1
|Basic Stitch 2
|Basic Stitch 3
|Half Treble Crochet
|Basic Stitch 4
|Double Treble Crochet
|Moving along the row
This table includes the US and UK terms for the basic techniques in knitting and crochet, where there are differences in terminology.
Versatility in Yarn Choices and Project Types
Crochet projects often use lace yarn or crochet thread with a fine hook for intricate and detailed work. The denser stitches in crochet make it perfect for openwork designs and patterns with ample negative space.
Yarns that are prone to felting, such as the natural fibers of 100% wool, are more commonly used in knitting, as the felting process can reduce the elasticity of the stitches and create a firm, dense fabric.
Although felting can also be done with crocheted fabrics, the final result depends heavily on the type of stitches used.
In general, knitters might prefer using 4-ply or sock yarn, while crocheters may find chunkier yarns more appealing for larger projects or better stitch visibility. It’s essential to consider the project type, stitch patterns, and desired outcome when choosing different yarns for either or crochet.
Techniques and Styles: Unique Features of Knitting and Crochet
Double knitting is a technique used to create reversible fabric with two distinct right sides. Circular knitting, or knitting in the round, forms a continuous tube using double-pointed needles or circular knitting needles.
Machine knitting is another aspect of the knitting world, allowing for the creation of knitted fabrics using knitting boards or professional-quality machines. These tools enable faster production of projects and the ability to design and create custom pieces.
While crochet machines exist, they are primarily used for mass production and not on a home hobbyist scale.
It’s a great alternative for people who struggle with traditional knitting or crochet, as it requires less hand dexterity and allows for larger stitches. There are many shapes of knitting loom available. These are often popular with children too.
On the other hand, traditional crochet allows you to work in the round without any extra tools, which means you can create 3D shapes and intricate designs without the fuss. It’s perfect for making cute stuffed animals, hats, or baskets.
Learn to Crochet with my free How to Crochet videos!
Different Types of Knitting and Crochet
Types of Knitting
- Flat Knitting: This is the most basic and common form of knitting, where a piece is worked back and forth in rows using two straight needles. Flat knitting is often used for creating rectangular or square pieces, such as scarves, blankets, and things like sweater panels that are later joined.
- Circular Knitting: Also known as “knitting in the round,” this technique uses circular needles or double-pointed needles (DPNs) to create seamless tubes of fabric. Circular knitting is commonly used for making hats, socks, and seamless sweater bodies.
- Cable Knitting: This type of knitting involves crossing stitches over each other to create intricate, textured patterns that resemble twisted ropes or cables. Cable knitting requires the use of a cable needle in addition to regular knitting needles.
- Lace Knitting: Lace knitting focuses on creating delicate, openwork patterns by combining yarn-overs and various decreases. Lace knitting often requires a chart or written pattern to follow and can be worked flat or in the round.
- Double Knitting: This technique creates a reversible, two-layer fabric by knitting two strands of yarn simultaneously, with one color on each side. Double knitting results in a thick, warm fabric that’s perfect for winter accessories.
Types of Crochet
- Standard Crochet: Also known as ‘classic crochet‘ and ‘traditional crochet‘ this is the most common form of crochet, using a single hook to create a variety of stitch patterns. Standard crochet can be worked flat or in the round and is used for a wide range of projects.
- Tunisian Crochet: This hybrid of knitting and crochet uses a long crochet hook with a stopper at the end, called a Tunisian crochet hook. Stitches are worked onto the hook in a forward pass, then worked off the hook in a return pass. Tunisian crochet creates a dense, textured fabric with a unique appearance.
- Filet Crochet: Filet crochet involves creating openwork designs using a combination of basic crochet stitches and chain spaces, often following a chart or grid. This technique is popular for creating lacy curtains, tablecloths, and decorative items.
- Broomstick Lace Crochet: This technique combines a crochet hook with a large knitting needle or dowel (the “broomstick“) to create an open, lacy fabric. Broomstick lace crochet involves pulling up loops onto the broomstick, then working them off with a crochet hook.
- Amigurumi: Amigurumi is the Japanese art of crocheting small, stuffed animals, characters, or objects using a tight stitch pattern to create a firm fabric. Amigurumi is typically worked in the round with a smaller hook than recommended for the yarn, resulting in a tight gauge that keeps stuffing from showing through.
Corner-to-Corner Similarities in Crochet and Knitting Patterns
I couldn’t write this blog post with mentioning my favorite style of Crochet!
Learn how to Corner to Corner crochet with my C2C Course!
Corner-to-corner (c2c) techniques are popular in both crochet and knitting for creating diagonal patterns and designs. Even though the way each craft does it is different, there are some things they both share in how they make these c2c patterns. C2C crochet is quite different from regular crochet.
In both crochet and knitting, C2C patterns are worked on the diagonal, starting from one corner of the project and working towards the opposite corner. This technique creates a unique fabric with a distinctive bias that sets it apart from traditional row-by-row or round-by-round construction.
Increasing and Decreasing
When making a C2C project, you start by increasing the number of stitches to make the fabric bigger and then decreasing stitches to get the right shape. Both knitting and crochet c2c patterns share similar increase and decrease techniques, to get the final size and shape that you want.
C2C patterns are often designed using a grid, where each cell represents a block or stitch in the finished item. This allows for easy visualization of the design and can be used for creating intricate colorwork patterns, such as pixel art or mosaic designs.
The diagonal construction gives your finished project a cool look that can be customized to fit any different sizes, shapes, and designs you want.
Remember, the more you practice, the more you will improve your C2C crochet skills!
Check out this Incredibly Popular c2c free crochet pattern!
Knitting vs Crochet: Which is Easier?
Deciding whether knitting or crochet is easier to learn is different for everyone. Some people might think knitting is harder because you have to coordinate two needles, while others might find it tough to control tension when they crochet.
For both knitting and crochet, there’s a learning curve that requires patience and practice to master. It’s important to give yourself time to get the hang of either craft if you’re new to them. You might even try both and see which one you like better!
Pros and Cons: Knitting vs Crochet
Each craft has its unique set of pros and cons, which can help you decide which one is right for you.
|Drape & Fit
|Excellent drape; garments fit better
|Good drape with proper yarn & stitches
|Shapes & Construction
|Flat fabrics; 3D shapes with panels
|Flat & 3D shapes; worked in the round
|Home & industrial knitting machines
|Limited to industrial use
|Requires at least two needles
|Requires one hook; highly portable
|Can be challenging; especially with a dropped stitch
|Easier to undo & correct mistakes
|Sometimes considered less comfortable
|Generally more comfortable
|Strength & Sturdiness
|Less sturdy; more flexible fabric
|Strong, sturdy fabric; retains shape
|Use of Negative Space
|Limited use of negative space
|More open designs & patterns possible
|More commonly used in knitting
|Less common; relies on stitch type
|Needle/Hook Size Range
|More limited with chunky yarns
|Larger range; suitable for fine to chunky yarns
Try this crochet pattern, perfect for complete beginners!
Conclusion for Knitting vs Crochet
In conclusion, as we’ve explored the world of knit stitches and crochet patterns, we’ve uncovered the fascinating differences between these two popular crafts.
From the multiple loop stitches in knitting to the unique construction of crocheted fabric, we’ve seen that each craft has its own strengths and challenges.
There are different ways to approach both crafts, and the best way to find out which one suits you is by trying out beginner projects like granny squares for crochet or simple knitting patterns for knitting.
It’s important to consider factors like the type of yarn, new skill requirements, and the amount of yarn needed when choosing between knitting and crochet. Stitch markers, circular knitting needles, and other tools can all help you refine your skills in either craft.
Remember, the fundamental difference between knitting and crochet lies in the primary tool used. Also the structure of the stitches, so that the end results can vary depending on your skill level and chosen techniques.
Whether you’re a visual learner seeking tutorials or someone interested in private lessons, there’s a wealth of knowledge to help you master both crafts. From basic skills to troubleshooting and short cuts, there’s a lot to learn, but the journey is rewarding.
In the end, the great thing about these two crafts is that they both provide endless opportunities for relaxation, creativity and self-expression.