If you want to learn how to crochet or knit, perhaps you’re wondering which of the two techniques is better. Should you learn to knit or crochet? What’s the difference between crochet and knitting? Which technique is faster to learn? Which technique is faster to execute? Which is easier? Which is more popular? Let’s explore the answer to these questions by looking at search trends, data, statistics, personal insights shared by crafters who are familiar with both techniques and a variety of other factors.
Is Knitting or Crocheting Easier?
There is no clear-cut consensus regarding which technique is easier. Many crocheters insist that crochet is easier, while many knitters insist that knitting is easier.
After having communicated with thousands of crafters on this topic and having given this question much careful thought, I have formulated an opinion on why it is that some crafters find one of these techniques easier than the other. There are exceptions — but in lots of cases, I’ve noticed that it comes down to a matter of how comfortable a person is with decision-making, and whether the person has a stronger preference for creative freedom or for an orderly creative environment.
There are several questions you can ask yourself that can help you to determine whether you might be likely to find knitting or crochet easier:
Which would you find more satisfying: an orderly and structured creative environment, or unlimited (but perhaps overwhelming) creative freedom?
Knitting and crochet are both techniques that offer unlimited potential for both types of people, both those who prefer boundaries and those who prefer freedom. So either way, there will be success stories. You CAN and ARE LIKELY TO succeed with either technique no matter which type of person you are.
However, crochet is a technique that offers much more freedom, whereas knitting is a technique that offers more order and less potential for chaos (but also more boundaries). So if you have a strong preference for either order or freedom, you are quite likely to find one technique easier than the other.
There are many knitters who find all the choices in crochet perplexing. They wonder where, exactly, should you insert your crochet hook? Under the front loop, the back loops, or both loops? In the row you’re currently working, or the row below? Or the row below that? Or around the corner? While there is logic, order and structure to crochet, each stitch also presents overwhelming numbers of choices.
So here’s another question to ask yourself: Do you enjoy the process of decision-making? Or do you dread it?
Knitting and crochet both require you to make decisions, and lots of them. Which project will you start next? Which yarn will you use? in which colors? What buttons will you put on that garment? And so on.
However, crochet tends to push you into more decision-making than knitting does. So if decision-making is not your idea of fun, then you’re likely to be better off learning knitting first or spending more of your crafting time on knitting.
If you prefer working in an orderly and structured environment, you might find that knitting is the technique that will come easier to you. If you prefer having an environment of complete creative freedom, crochet is the technique that you’re likely to find easier.
Either way, neither technique is rocket science. They’re both easy, satisfying and enjoyable. They both offer you extensive decision-making opportunities. They both offer you an interesting balance between creative freedom and creative boundaries. They are both worth learning.
Crochet vs Knitting: Which Is Faster?
Faster? You’re kidding, right?
When I lived in Florida, during the rainy season I remember complaining to some other crafters that the grass in my backyard was growing faster than my knitting and crochet projects were.
Let’s do a quick reality check here: If speed is the criteria at the top of your priority list, you probably shouldn’t be looking at either hand knitting or crochet as your pastime of choice.
In that case, knitting is the clear-cut winner in the speed department — but that’s only if you get a knitting machine. (And why not get a knitting machine? If you can find an affordable knitting machine, I highly recommend it!)
Be aware that there is no such thing as instant gratification when it comes to either crochet or hand knitting.
You’re going to have to be OK with that to have any hope of finding either technique enjoyable. It’s going to take you hours or days — or maybe even weeks or months — to produce each knitting or crochet project.
Now that that crucially important point is out of the way, let’s discuss whether one or the other of the handwork techniques truly is faster.
As far as I know, there is no clear-cut answer to this question. There are knitters and crocheters on both sides of the debate who insist that their technique is faster.
However, there IS a consensus. More people find crochet to be the faster of the techniques.
It’s worth noting that there are numerous speed knitters, so nobody can definitively say that crochet is always the faster technique. The real question is which technique will be faster for you. You, my friend, are the only person who can answer that question. The only way to find your answer: Try both techniques and see which one you can do fastest.
It’s also worth mentioning that your speed with either technique will rely to a huge degree on the supplies and projects you choose. Knitting a child’s hat with jumbo yarn is going to be faster than crocheting a bedspread made with size 10 crochet thread. So if speed is really an important consideration for you, be sure to choose larger hooks or needles, thicker yarns and smaller projects — and then just work at the fastest rate of speed you’re capable of.
Or, as I mentioned above, if speed really is important to you, consider investing in a knitting machine. Machine knitting is also a great option for people who want to knit but have arthritic hands. Loom knitting is another, faster option you may wish to consider.
Fixing Mistakes in Crochet vs Knitting:
The clear-cut winner in the unraveling department is crochet. It is usually much, much, MUCH easier to fix a mistake in crochet than it is to fix a mistake in knitting. With crochet, you’re typically dealing with only one active loop at a time. It’s no big deal to pull out a few rows and go back to the spot where you messed up. Since you work with multiple active loops in knitting, pulling them all out to get back to the spot where your mistake is can get to be a real headache.
You also have to worry about dropping a stitch without noticing it when you’re knitting, which can create a big hole in your project. These holes can be fixed, but it is time consuming and tedious to fix them.
What’s the Difference Between Crochet and Knitting?
There are a couple of major areas in which crochet and knitting differ:
- You use different supplies to knit or crochet, and
- The fabric you produce with the two techniques is structurally different.
Knitting Supplies vs Crochet Supplies:
There are some commonalities as well as differences in knitters’ and crocheters’ supply stashes. Both tend to include yarn, as there is little or no difference between the yarn that people use for knitting and crocheting. They can also include materials such as wire and fabric.
Some knitters — specifically, hand knitters — create their projects using sets of two or more pointy knitting needles. There are pairs of hand knitting needles; there are circular hand-knitting needles, where a cord connects the two needles; and there are sets of 4-5 double-pointed knitting needles.
Hand knitters aren’t the only knitters. There are also machine knitters and loom knitters.
Knitting looms and machines range in size and complexity. You can buy the simplest of knitting looms at most craft stores for affordable prices. There are low-tech, portable round, oval and rectangular looms that work well for knitting hats or similar small projects quickly. There are also small, affordable I-cord knitting machines.
The next level of basic, no-frills knitting machine also tends to be affordable enough for hobby-level knitters to consider investing in; if you search diligently, you can typically find an older used flatbed or punchcard knitting machine for somewhere around a few hundred dollars. These can work well for knitting larger projects like sweaters quickly.
Then there are large, complex, industrial-quality knitting machines that are typically many thousands of dollars to buy and maintain; they’d be an investment to consider if you want to run your own knitting business. There are computerized sweater knitting machines; then there are huge circular knitting machines that can produce rolls of 60″ wide knitted fabrics suitable for use when mass-producing t-shirts, track suits, toys, baby rompers or other sewn products.
The other accessories used for knitting vary greatly depending on which type of knitting you’re performing. Hand knitters also typically use supplies like scissors, stitch markers, cable knitting needles, stitch holders, crochet hooks and tapestry needles at various times. Loom knitters need those types of supplies plus their looms and loom tools.
Crochet enthusiasts use crochet hooks to create their projects; there are no crochet machines capable of producing the crocheted fabrics that a handcrafter is able to create. Crochet hooks come in a variety of sizes and configurations:
- There are basic crochet hooks made of aluminum, steel, wood, bamboo, plastic or bone. These typically are shorter than knitting needles and each have a thumb rest.
- There are ergonomic crochet hooks with fatter handles; these typically do not have thumb rests.
- There are long Tunisian crochet hooks measuring 10″ or more that are extremely similar in design to knitting needles; these typically have the hook at one end, a stopper at the other end, and are smooth with no thumb rest. They’re specifically designed for use with the Tunisian crochet technique.
- There are also Tunisian crochet hooks that feature a long cord at the end; these are useful for making large projects like blankets and sweaters.
- There are short, fat hooks that are used for the slip stitch crochet technique, otherwise known as “Pjoning” or “Bosnian crochet”. These aren’t well known in North America; it’s easier to find them in Europe.
- There are double-ended crochet hooks that are useful for cro-hooking or double-ended crochet.
The one feature that all of these tools have in common: HOOKS.
Crochet enthusiasts also use many of the same accessories that knitters use such as tapestry needles, stitch markers and scissors.
Knitted Fabric Structure vs Crocheted Fabric Structure
Knitters and crocheters both create their projects by manipulating loops of yarn or other material, but there are important structural differences in the fabrics produced by these two techniques.
At this point, I need to mention that there are actually two different major categories of knitting:
- Weft knitting, and
- Warp knitting or Raschel knitting.
Hand knitters, loom knitters and some machine knitters typically use the weft knitting technique. Warp / Raschel knitting is a machine knitting technique that is structurally different than weft knitting. This entire discussion focuses strictly on weft knitting; many of these points do not apply to warp knitting.
The structural differences in knitted vs crocheted fabric types arise from the differences in the way that the crafter manipulates the loops of yarn or material. Weft knitters hold multiple active loops on each needle, with each stitch depending on the support of the stitch below it. When a knitter drops a stitch, the entire column of stitches below it is susceptible to unraveling.
In contrast, crafters working in the traditional crochet technique only typically have one active loop, or perhaps several active loops, at a time. Crocheters do build stitches on top of each other, but the stitches are only susceptible to unraveling from the active loop.
The Tunisian crochet technique fuses elements from both knitting and crochet. There are multiple active loops in Tunisian crochet, but they are bound off frequently; this makes it almost as simple to correct mistakes in Tunisian crochet as it is in traditional crochet, despite the multiple active loops.
Which Is Trendier: Knitting or Crocheting?
The answer to this question depends on how you define “trendy”. There are multiple ways you could look at it.
Are you wondering whether more people are currently learning how to knit or learning how to crochet? The answer to that question: On a global basis, more people are learning how to crochet. Check out this graph from Google Trends:
The data here clearly indicates that, in the recent past, more people have been searching for information about crochet than knitting — by a wide margin.
For 5 years, I managed a crochet site that ranked at the top of Google, Bing and Yahoo search results for the term “crochet”. What I learned during that time period: Someone who is searching for the word “crochet” most likely does not yet know how to crochet well, or at all; s/he is looking for basic information about the craft.
In contrast, more experienced crocheters know more about what it is they want to learn next and tend to do more specific searches. They tend to search for information using more complex search queries such as “front post double crochet tutorial” or “free patterns for tapestry crochet cowls”.
The main takeaway here: Right now, crochet is the trendier technique if you view it from the standpoint that more people are currently searching for basic information about crocheting.
Are you wondering whether people wear more knitted garments or more crocheted garments? In that case, knitting is the clear-cut winner, but this is mainly because of the economics involved. Most store-bought knits are made by machine. It is impossible to crochet sweaters or other garments by machine; crocheted items can only be made by hand. So you’ll find that many more people are wearing knitted garments than crocheted garments, because mass-producing crocheted items tends to be prohibitively expensive and difficult.
Crochet vs Knit Projects
Crochet vs Knit Blankets
It’s possible to make spectacular blankets with both knitting and crochet. There are outstanding blanket patterns available for both knitting and crocheting. One of these techniques is not clearly superior than the other; it is a matter of personal preference which is better.
However, crochet is CLEARLY the more popular technique for hand-crafting blankets right now. Take a look at this Google Trends graph and see for yourself what some of the most popular current search terms reveal:
Crochet vs Knit Socks
There are fantastic sock patterns for both knitting and crocheting, and you can craft amazing socks using both techniques. However, the general consensus is that knitted socks are superior to crocheted socks. This is totally subjective, and there are exceptions. If you want to make a warm pair of slipper socks, crochet just might be the preferable technique to use. If you want to make a sexy, lacy pair of knee socks or thigh highs, my opinion is that crochet and knitting are equally great choices.
The following Google Trends graph clearly indicates that more people searched for knitted sock patterns than crocheted sock patterns in 2017:
Crochet vs Knit Sweaters
Again, it’s a matter of personal preference whether knitting or crocheting is better for making sweaters. There are people who insist that knitted sweaters are far superior to crocheted sweaters. Then there are people who insist that the only people who believe this are people who are not skilled enough with crochet to make nice crocheted sweaters. Neither technique is essentially better for making sweaters; you can create lovely, wearable sweaters using either technique. However, the consensus amongst crafters is that knitting tends to be the preferred technique for making sweaters.
The Look of Knitting vs Crochet
Knitting and crochet both produce lovely, visually appealing surfaces.
You can use either technique to create magnificently textured fabrics. Crochet is always richly textured, whereas knitting tends to result in a flatter surface unless you specifically work at creating more texture.
If a sleek, flat surface is what you want; or if you want the option to create either flat or textured projects, knitting is the technique you’ll want to turn to; whereas, if you know that you’ll always want to create surfaces with interesting textures, crochet is more likely to be the right technique to satisfy that particular creative urge. When you crochet, all your projects will be textured, even if you start with the smoothest of yarns and a basic stitch such as single crochet.
Should You Learn to Knit or Crochet? The Verdict on Crochet vs Knitting: Which Is Better Overall?
Neither technique is better than the other, but one or the other might be better for you. If it’s an option for you, learn both techniques! But if you’re going to stick with one or the other…
Choose Crochet If…
- You crave unlimited creative freedom and find the decision-making process satisfying.
- You enjoy the look of beautifully textured projects.
- Being able to fix mistakes in your work quickly and easily is important to you.
- You want to produce unique projects that can only be done by hand, never by machine.
- You want to make projects such as blankets, rugs, baskets, and cat / dog beds in addition to the usual hats and scarves.
Choose Knitting If…
- You have a strong preference for order, structure and boundaries over unlimited creative freedom.
- You want the option to create both sleek, flat surfaces and highly textured surfaces in your projects.
- You’d rather prevent mistakes in the first place than correct them after the fact.
- The option of producing projects quickly on a loom or machine appeals to you.
- You want to make projects such as socks, mittens, gloves and sweaters in addition to the usual hats and scarves.
When it comes to knitting vs crochet, which technique do you prefer? Which do you find faster, easier, or better overall? You’re invited to share your thoughts in the comments section.