You’re considering picking up a new skill, maybe knitting, maybe crochet, but you really want to know which method is better for beginners – and we want to help you decide between knitting vs crochet and get you on your way to developing that new skill. In our article below we will take you through what most experts consider the challenges for each and help you wade through what is going to be the best fit for you.
Are you thinking of taking up a new craft? Two of the most popular needlecrafts are knitting and crochet. And they’re also the two that cause the most confusion between them because they are so similar. Although they have similarities, their differences make them two distinctly separate crafts.
No matter which one you choose to learn, both knitting and crochet are creative and relaxing and yield beautiful finished products!
Knitting vs Crochet: Which Is Better?
As with any new skill, both of these needle crafts take time, practice, and patience to learn. Thanks to their similarities and differences, it’s not as much a matter of which one is better because it really comes down to personal preference.
Some people will prefer knitting over crochet while others will feel the opposite way. And of course, there will be some that love both nearly equally.
Evaluating the pros and cons may help you decide which one to start learning (first).
Pros And Cons For Knitting vs. Crochet
- Product drape – this is a pro for knitting which generally provides a better drape due to not being stitched as stiff.
- Colorful patterns – this is a pro for knitting. Since knitting requires multiple strands of yarn in active use at any one time, it naturally lends itself better to colorful, intricate patterns. Crochet can use multiple colors as well, but in a chunkier way than knitting.
- Fun shapes – this is a pro for crochet. The naturally stiffer stitches and stitch structure (only working on one stitch at a time) make it possible to create items such as flowers and other items to attach as decoration or amigurumi. Knitting isn’t able to make these items.
- Coordination – this is a pro for crochet. With fewer needles and active strands of yarn, it’s just naturally simpler.
- Speed to complete – this is a pro for both. Both crafts take about the same amount of time for comparable items.
- Comfort – this is a slight pro for crochet. I think that sometimes comfort is overlooked. However, both crafts are meant to be relaxing which means they also need to be comfortable. For anyone that has arthritis or wrist problems, knitting can be problematic since you’re holding two needles at a time.
- Fixing mistakes – this is a pro for crochet. Mistakes are inevitable, but if they aren’t caught soon enough in knitting, they can ruin a project. Crochet makes it easier to fix stitches if it isn’t caught right away. You can always fix your knit stiches, but fixing crochet stitches is far less complicated.
As I mentioned above, knitting and crochet are similar crafts. Both methods are essentially different ways of looping yarn by using needles. Even though they aren’t the same, they are similar enough to cause confusion for people who aren’t familiar with these crafting methods.
Here are some similarities between them to help explain the confusion.
Both knitting and crocheting use yarn. Generally speaking, they both use the same type of yarn and the same amount of yarn for similar projects.
Both of these crafts use similar skill sets, including:
- Eye for design
- Hand-eye coordination
- Ability to plan
- Dedication to see a project through to the end
Although the needles are shaped differently, both crafts use needles to loop and stitch the yarn.
These crafts yield similar benefits, including relaxation, creativity, and a beautiful (practical) finished product.
Now that we’ve gone over how these crafting methods are alike, it’s time to go over the differences to dispel any confusion between knitting and crochet.
While the same types of yarn can be used for most projects, there are some different styles of yarn that will be better suited for one type of craft or the other. Very chunky knit project yarns typically do better with crochet, for example.
Crochet thread is a thin yarn usually used only with thin crochet needles to create delicate, lacy-looking items.
Both knitting and crochet use needles to manipulate the yarn.
However, knitting uses knitting needles, a pair of straight needles with pointy tips on one end and a button-shaped cap on the other. They can be made from plastic, wood, or metal. Additionally, they can be completely separate or connected by a cord (a.k.a. circular knitting needle).
Crochet uses a single needle with a small hook on one end. A crochet needle is often called a “hook” due to the hook shape. They come in many different crochet needle sizes, from very small to quite large, and are typically made of aluminum, plastic, wood, bamboo, or bone.
If you’re looking at a finished product, a simple glance will determine whether it is knitting vs crochet. That’s because the stitches of each are structured differently in several ways.
Loops vs Knots
Knitting uses interlocking loops, which allow individual stitches to stretch (one reason why knitting is so popular for sweaters or socks!).
In contrast, crochet stitches resemble knots so they are sturdier but limit how much stretch there will be (one reason why crochet is preferred for blankets).
Number Of Active Yarn Strands
Further, knitting usually uses at least two strands of yarn at a time. Crochet, on the other hand, usually only uses one strand of yarn at a time.
Number Of Stitches Created At A Time
With knitting, all your stitches stay on your needles until you complete the entire row. This means that dropping a stitch in the row can cause an entire column of stitches to unravel.
With crochet, you only complete one stitch at a time. So, if you drop a stitch, your item may look a little off, but as a whole, it will still maintain a strong structure without the risk of unraveling.
All that said, these are just general differences. Both crafts have a variety of stitches, some of which mimic those of the other craft!
The general rule of thumb is that knitted products will be softer and have more drape, while crocheted items will be stiffer. While that used to be almost universally true, now an even greater variety of yarns muddy this distinction between the two crafts.
Expert Tips to Get Started
Getting Started: Here’s what you’ll need to get started with EITHER knitting or crochet for the first time: needles, yarn, and scissors. That’s it! As a brand-spankin’ new beginner, having some sort of stitch guide or tutorial to teach you the basic stitches is a helpful bonus.
Great Beginner Project Ideas: Ok, now that you’ve decided to try knitting or crochet what can you make? Here are some great ideas for projects that are perfect for beginners.
- Baby blanket
- Infinity Scarf
- Knit hat
Grab a beginner kit that includes everything you need: We also have a list of the best crochet kits for beginners that include everything you need to complete your first projects, or help to advance your skills. They also make great gifts!
Frequently Asked Questions
Due to the confusion between these two craft styles, I see lots of questions asked by readers again and again. Here are a few of the most common ones I see.
I think that both are challenging to learn right at the beginning. But all in all, I think that crochet is easier for a brand new beginner to learn. There’s just less to manipulate and keep track of at the same time.
They both have their advantages, which makes this question tricky to answer. I think that instead of asking which one is better (in general), a better question is to ask which style is better for each individual project.
In the end, though, the final answer will usually come down to personal preference. Some people will naturally prefer one style over the other.
Crochet is often considered to be faster than knitting for producing similar sized items because it uses fewer, more concise movements and typically uses more yarn per stitch, which can make the work grow quicker.
Knitting is ideal for garments that benefit from a softer drape and elasticity, such as sweaters and socks, due to its ability to create finer, more detailed fabric. Crochet, on the other hand, is better for sturdier, more structured items like coats and summer tops, as it easily incorporates intricate textures and patterns.
If you are considering learning knitting or crochet, it is essential to understand that the choice between these two crafts depends on your personal style, project goals, and comfort. By understanding the differences between the two, you’ll be able to choose the craft that not only suits your skill level as a beginner but also brings joy to your creative pursuits. May your crafting journey bring you relaxation, fulfillment, and a proud collection of handmade treasures
Author: Laura Kennedy
Writer & Owner of Little Yellow Wheelbarrow
Editors Note: This article first appeared on August 7th, 2021 and was updated on February 1st, 2024. The post was updated to improve structure, remove uneccesary information, and rearrange content to give the article a better reading flow for readers.