Curious about the differences and similarities between knitting and crochet? Both are craft techniques that use yarn to create different types of fabrics. The main distinction is that crochet fabric is made with one crochet hook while knit fabric is created with two knitting needles.
Crochet fabric is made with a crochet hook and the stitches are similar to small knots (while knitting stitches resemble loops). The fabric created is very sturdy and somewhat thick as compared to knitting. There are many different stitches used in crochet, so the craft lends itself to freeform patterns and intricate lace designs. Crochet hooks come in a variety of sizes and materials just like knitting needles. There are some specialty hooks such as the long Tunisian hook or very small steel hooks for crochet thread.
Unlike knitting, most forms of crochet only have one live stitch at a time. Because of this, crochet projects are less likely to have “dropped stitches,” which are a common problem in knitting. The exception would be Tunisian crochet, which uses a longer hook (or hook with attached cable and stopper) to allow for multiple live loops. Crochet fabric is made by inserting your hook into stitches, then wrapping the yarn over and pulling through to create more “knotted” stitches. Fabrics can range from typical garments to intricate lace pieces and small toys.
A knitter uses two knitting needles to work a set of live stitches either back and forth or in the round. The two most common stitches are the knit stitch and the purl stitch, which are used in combination with increase and decrease stitches to create all sorts of different fabric types and shapes. Knit fabric generally has a beautiful drape due to its density and delicacy.
There are several needle options, depending on your project and preferences. Straight needles are a set of two separate needles that each have a pointed end for knitting and a “stopper” end to ensure that your live stitches don’t slip off. Circular needles are two needles connected by a cable that allows for a continuous knit in the round, or simply for larger projects that wouldn’t fit on straight needles. Double-pointed needles are a set of 5 or 6 needles of the same gauge, each with two pointed ends, that are used for smaller tubular fabrics such as socks or small armholes.
For the most part, both crochet and knitting projects can use similar yarns. However, you’ll notice that crochet projects tend to come together a bit faster. You may also get more out of your yarn yardage with a crochet project, due to the many varieties of stitches and freeform options.