A couple of blog posts ago I started the discussion around crochet vs knitting: which is easier? Let's have a look.
I asked if crochet was easier than knitting. The results, as expected were very mixed. As expected, the knitters said that crochet was harder and the crocheters said that the opposite was true. There were a few balanced responses and even fewer responses from those who equally spent time on both crafts, like myself.
The question prompted a brilliant discussion covering all aspects of knitting and crochet when it came to
The main reason for asking the question "Is crochet easier than knitting?" was to make us think about how beginners would view it if approaching either craft for the first time. if someone was looking at taking up either craft, with absolutely no prior knowledge of either, what would they need to know for the sake of basic comparison?
Here's a summary.
1. They're different. They're so different that one cannot be 'easier' or 'better' than the other.
Yes, yes and yes. As I explained in A Brief History of Crochet crochet was never intended to replace knitting, imitate knitting or be similar. Thanks to modern ingenuity we have plenty of designs that are made to look like knitting but it will never be knitting.
They're different in their origin, purposes and usage but don't let comments like "crochet is only good for blankets" stop you from exploring. In Crochet Myths I explore all the things non crocheters and crochet beginners may believe before they get started.
2. Proficiency depends on when the craft was learned.
Yes and no. I know some makers who came to crochet later than they did with knitting and love to crochet more than knit. Some never choose one over the other. You can love both and practice both equally. You can love knitting and never take to crochet. I don't believe it depends on when it was learned. I think it depends on how much time can be dedicated to it. A knitter of 10 years is far more likely to stick to their comfort zone and spend their limited free time knitting than they are learning a new craft in my opinion. Humans are creatures of habit and even the most enthusiastic of crafters will stay within their comfort zone when it comes to certain hobbies.
In Not got crochet game? I've explored the reasons why some people have such a hard time with crochet. I have taught a lot of knitters how to crochet. It's about attitude and time.
I learned both at the same time and both bring different qualities to the table. Crochet for me is something that requires minimal concentration. I have to focus on knitting if it has an intricate lace pattern or colour work for example. If I am knitting a sock I can do it while watching something on the TV. It's the same for crochet. If I'm working on knitted lace, I have to focus because a. I have small children who could require me to drop my project at any moment and b. If I mess up even two stitches and don't notice for a few rows, the whole thing is ruined.
I also think that because big crochet projects are usually made in small parts e.g. a granny square blanket, it is more portable and can be worked on in smaller periods of time. This would therefore allow for more time to be dedicated to it as you can do it alongside other things. Don't get me wrong, you can knit effortlessly in front of the TV but I'm saying if the stitches are complex, it will be difficult.
Even if I was making a shawl in the style of Irish crochet lace, I would still be working on it in small sections before joining to make a bigger item.
3. Crochet is more of a yarn eater.
As the stitches are made of 'layers' e.g. double (treble) crochet, you can see how crochet would demand more yardage than knitting. Knitted fabric is flatter and thinner, using less yarn. Single crochet (UK double) uses the least amount of yarn of the crochet stitches but it still uses more than garter stitch, for example.
Crochet being a yarn eater does not have to be a bad thing. When I was learning both, crochet seemed to be what i did to get through my stash quicker. It still is. 6 balls of yarn will be gone in a day or two if I'm doing crochet.
This really is a problem with budgets. If a crocheter wanted to support an indie yarn dyer and make a shawl, they may need to buy 1/3 more yarn than a knitter will. A knitter can make a decent size shawl with only 400m of 4ply yarn but a crocheter will have a challenge on their hands keeping it under 600m. For my latest design, I had to use 2.5 skeins of yarn to get the length and the depth that I wanted. That was 1000m! I paid for my yarn in weekly instalments but this isn't an option for everyone.
However, there are other gorgeous options out there that are more economical. I am particularly fond of Sheepjes whirl. It's around £21 for 1000m. Compared with the average hank of indie dyed yarn at £18-24 per 400m, this is a suitable, cheaper alternative.
If you do crochet and want to buy indie dyed yarn, consider sticking with 4ply or lace as you get more bang for your buck.
4. Crochet is quicker.
This is true but only when we consider the skill level of the maker. A beginner crocheter might complete a crochet garment in 8 weeks but an advanced knitter could complete a garment of the same size in 4-6 weeks. If we were to compare like for like, it might take less time for an advanced crocheter to work up a garment compared to an advanced knitter making a garment. It seems to be quicker but I think this depends on the ease of the pattern, yarn and the skills of the maker.
5. Knitted fabric looks nicer.
This opinion appeared a lot. Entirely subjective and depends on that person's preferences. Knitted fabric tends to be softer and drape more than crochet does but it is still perfectly possible to have finer, draping crochet garments as explained in How to create crochet that drapes.
It may well be the case that when you look at crochet fabric, all you see is fishnets and that is fine. We don't all have to like the same thing.
6. Crochet is only good for thicker projects like blankets and hats.
Yes, I can see that but I love a thick knitted beanie too. I hate crochet socks (sorry if you love them- I just don't) as they never seem to look or feel as good as knitted socks do. Crochet makes beautiful shawls, garments and accessories. If you've ever seen Moorit Mag, you'd see why I think this.
If you're thinking of trying knitting, crochet or both, I implore you to go in with your eyes wide open and your mind wide open. There is so much to learn and so much to make. You will experience other people's opinions. They are just opinions, they are not gospel. Go and find out for yourself and love what you do.
Thanks for reading!