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Knit vs. Crochet: Differences and Pros & Cons

Katy has been knitting and crocheting for 10 years and selling her items at local craft shows in Colorado for 3 years.

Learning to crochet or knit? Or just trying to understand the difference?

Both yarn crafts are very similar. But there are some big differences. Learn about the differences between knitting and crochet, and explore the pros and cons of each method.

Knit vs Crochet: Stockinette knitting stitch and double crochet stitch comparison.

Knit vs Crochet: Stockinette knitting stitch and double crochet stitch comparison.

Knit vs. Crochet: How to Tell Them Apart

How can you tell if a garment or accessory was knitted or crocheted? Usually, unless the creator is very sneaky, it's easy to tell whether something was knitted or crocheted.

One way is to recognize the difference between the stitches. Look at the image above again.

Knitting: The purple knitting on the left was done in stockinette stitch.
Crochet: The pink crochet work on the right was done in double crochet stitch.

Typical Knitting Motifs

Another way to tell whether something was crocheted or knit is to know the common motifs.

Motifs are elements of the garment that repeat. Some are much easier to create with knitting and can give you a good clue that the item was knit:

  • Cables
  • Fair Isle
  • Ribbed Knitting

Let's look at each variety:

Cables

A chunky cable sweater is a typical knit. Knitters crate cables by changing the order of the stitches.

Fair Isle

Fair Isle (or any color work within a single row) is almost impossible to crochet. You'll find fair isle most commonly on the tops of sweaters.

Ribbed Knitting

Ribbing is the stitching you see on the wrists or necks of knit garments. It's a naturally stretchy stitch, and an easy way to tell something is knit.

Knit Fair Isle Sweater

Knit Fair Isle Sweater

Typical Crochet Motifs

Crochet also has some repeated motifs you can expect:

  • Granny Squares
  • Circular Items
  • "Open" or Lace Work

Granny squares make up the typical crochet blanket. Each square is made by working outwards, usually with multiple colors.

As with Granny Squares, circular items are more likely to be crocheted. If the circular, lacy look appeals to you, then you should learn to crochet!

Should You Knit or Crochet?

If you want to take up a craft, which one should you learn?

Which One is Better?

Since both methods take patience and practice, it's not really about which is better. Crocheting vs. knitting comes down to personal preference. Each method lends itself to different products.

You can decide which method to learn by checking out the pros and cons.

Knitting Pros / Crochet Cons

There are some areas where knitting unanimously beats crocheting.

Better Drape

Crocheters will always be envious of a fine-knit shawl or scarf!

Why?

Even with light yarn, crochet is bulkier than knitting. To crochet something with nice drape, you have one option: make it very lacy.

Crochet clothing items can still be very pretty. But anything warm will be stiffer.

Color Work

You can achieve color work like Fair Isle so much easier with knitting.

Think of the cozy hats and sweaters with colorful Fair Isle designs. If you want to make these, pick up knitting.

That's not to say you can't add color into crocheting. Stripes of color are easy in either method.

Crocheting with crochet hook.

Crocheting with crochet hook.

Crochet Pros / Knitting Cons

Now let's see when crocheting is better.

Only 1 Hook

To crochet an item you only need a single hook. Compare this to knitting, which requires you to keep track of at least two needles.

Many knit items need both double pointed needles and circular needles. This is true for anything that changes shape or needs shaping like sweaters, socks or hats.
If you knit your first sock on double pointed needles, you know the learning curve for using 3+ needles is steep.

Crocheting Is Faster (Maybe)

All other things equal, crochet tends to be faster. Actual speed will vary depending on the knitter or crocheter's experience.

You can create more of the garment in less time. Choosing to crochet a blanket instead of knitting it can be a big time saver.

Fun Shapes

Take it from someone who has tried: it's hard to knit a flower. But the same item is totally natural in crochet.

Crocheting lends itself to creating shapes. Since you build the item one stitch at a time, it's easier to build into what you want. Stuffed animals and toys are usually crocheted, not knit.

Knitting is restricted to flat or tube shapes. Hats and scarves are the easiest shapes in knitting.

Knit and Crochet Combinations

We learned that crocheting and knitting have different applications. They shine in different areas. That's why crafters who master both sometimes use both in their creations!

Add-ons like flowers or hearts are so much easier to crochet. Often the main garment is knit, and the pattern will have you crochet items to pin on.

A knit garment that came out beautiful except for a ragged edge can be fixed with a crochet border.

© 2018 Katy Medium

Comments

Annonomys on March 02, 2020:

I am still learning, but I am learning knitting

Bob on December 13, 2019:

I like both

dumdo on December 01, 2018:

I like to crochet