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Knitting Vs. Crochet

DeannaS | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

Hello all,
I’m a regular over on Cooks Talk, but I thought I’d pop over here to ask a quick question.

If I want to learn to knit or crochet, which would be easier to learn first? My mom says crocheting is easier, but I like the way knitted stuff looks better. Is this yet another one of those instances where I have to learn that mom is right? Or, can I buck the parental advice and learn to knit?


  1. SewingWriter | | #1

    Deanna, having bucked my share of parental advice I would say go for the knitting.  You're sure to receive opinions in support of both methods but if it helps any, I can tell you that knit stitches are something I can "see" and readily analyze.  Despite being an expert knitter, crochet always confounds me -- I can never tell what loop they're talking about!  If you have the opportunity to learn both, that's even better.  Some of the finer knitting edge finish techniques call for crochet stitches.


    Edited 11/30/2004 4:41 pm ET by SewingWriter

    1. Jean | | #2

      I've done both since I was a kid. I started with crochet, but that's what my mom could teach. I had to learn knitting on my own. It's really not that difficult, 2 basic stitches with variations. Much easier to keep track of where you are than with crochet, IMO. I'd love to be able to help you.

  2. teacozy | | #3

    Hi, DeannaS,

                    Like Jean I do both, knit and crochet.  I find I like knitting best but for sped of completion crochet is better.  My Mother taught me both methods but I learned knitting first, and like Jean I think the knitting is much easier. Look for a good teacher. I don't really know how good the DIY books are I've heard both good and bad but it is always easier to aee someone actually do it.

                                                    Good luck and have fun whichever you do,


    1. User avater
      ehBeth | | #4

      I knit and occasionally crochet. I don't really like the look of many crocheted things - maybe they bring out the inner fear of the grade 2 potholder or something.Knitting's quite simple to learn, especially if you use the continental method. Fast and easy. About.com has some very good basic instructions if you can't find anyone around you who uses the continental method. (and there are more than a few of us who love to give knitting stitch advice).Knit. Just stop when you find yourself counting stitches in your sleep.

      1. DeannaS | | #5

        Hm... Okay, it does sound like knitting is the winner around here. I happen to have the "teach yourself to crochet" book and the crochet hooks. So, I'll probably twiddle around with it until the weekend when I could find time to go get what I need for basic knitting.So, next question - um, what do I need for basic knitting? :)

        1. Jean | | #6

          Here's a great site with animated instructions in various knitting techniques that  you might find helpful. Check it out. You're gonna love it!


          I'd start with a simple child's scarf or even better yet a cotton dishcloth. Use Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn and around size 6 needles. (The larger the needle the larger the number)

          First learn the knit stitch. When you knit every row it's called garter stitch. Next go on to the purl stitch, which looks exactly the same as the wrong side of the knit stitch. When you alternate knit with purl rows you have the typical sweater look called stockinette stitch.

          Now wait, there's more help on line. Go here and learn just about any needlecraft you are interested in -- including crochet and knit with more video demonstrations. Choose your craft from the drop down menu toward the top of the page.


          Now you can start surfing for patterns - enough to keep you busy for the rest of you life and longer.  If that's not enough...email me.  LOL.

          Oh, and if  you want to learn continental style, which I don't do, but admittedly is much faster, with more even looking stitches,there are videos on this site of both methods. Continental has a pink logo.


          You are going to have soooo much fun!!

          Edited 11/30/2004 11:11 pm ET by Jean

          1. User avater
            ehBeth | | #8

            Jean, ya know those ponchos on the other thread?
            The newest version of them is basically two mid-size scarves. Isn't that brilliant! Two garter stitch rectangles sewn together. Stage 2, other stitches in the same rectangle.
            Step 3, two triangles sewn together.

  3. suesew | | #7

    The nicer thing about crochet is that you can put it down and pick it up easily where as with knitting you really should be at the end of what can be a long row before you put it down. I think I prefer crochet but it does tend to be a little stiffer or heavier if you want a tighter surface.

  4. jyang949 | | #9

    If you can find somebody to teach you to knit "Continental" style, you'll knit faster. The motions are more efficient.

    I had to stop knitting regular "American" style because the yarn put sideways tension on my index finger and the joint would hurt. The continental method doesn't cause joint pain (not for me, at least) and is less tiring.

    If you can't find somebody who knows Continental, I may be able show you via upload. Let me know.


  5. softfurn | | #10

    I would reccommend Not using a cotton yarn to learn to knit. Cotton does not have a stretch and recovery factor so the stitches can appear even more uneven than usual. Find something in a light color with some wool blend ... the stretch is less tiring on your fingers and you will have a better feel for tension...much more forgiving IMO. I also reccommend you pay a little more for your yarn(if you have no one to show you how to knit) and purchase through a yarn shop. Most yarn shops offer free help and it usually is such a friendly group of people that even other customers will offer to help. If you learn knitting first, crochet will be a piece of cake to learn.

    1. DeannaS | | #11

      Thanks for all the valuable feedback. My neighbor is going to lend me the "Stitch and B*tch" book and is going to teach me how to cast-on. Meanwhile, I'm about halfway done with a crocheted scarf. So, I'm on the way. I've decided crocheting is pretty meditative stuff, and once I get in the rhythm, it's not bad. Of course, I have a feeling I'm going to need to develop some callouses on my hand. ;)

  6. PatricaA | | #12

    Hi Deanna,

    I can understand your dilemma. Knitting does look nicer than crochet. I also understand what your mother is saying. How about a compromise?

    Ask to be taught how to knit but finish the edge/s with crochet.

    Your first item could be a cotton face cloth and then you could learn to do a simple edge on it, that would look fabulous. You would then have your first finished item - which is something every teacher aims at having their students do - finish something:-)

    I tried to teach my daughter both these skills and failed. Her tension (the tightness of how you hold the needles and yarn) was soooo tight that she bent a crochet hook, most unusual. She finally learnt how to knit from someone else.

    My advice is go for knitting first then add crochet to your skills list.

    You will be knitting jumpers and crocheting granny squares in next to no time.

    1. DeannaS | | #15

      Interesting. I was having a problem with too much tension when knitting continental style. I switched to English to get started, and I seem to be able to do either, now. (Not that I do either, well, mind you.)I definitely like the way knitting looks better. But, it does seem harder for me. But, I'll keep plugging away at it. Winters are long and dark in Wisconsin. I've got to have something to do to pass the time, eh?

      1. Jean | | #16

        Well, you could always cook something. ;-)

        Keep at it, it gets easier.

        1. rjf | | #17

          Isn't it good that people seem to be getting interested in knitting again?  I went to a town meeting recently and took my knitting since it was going to be a long tedious meeting and several other women did the same.  The next day, the newspaper mentioned all the women who were knitting!  But the funny thing was that my husband commented on the lady in front of us....he thought she was knitting very laboriously and slowly.  I took that to be a compliment on how I knit because I'm the only one he has to compare other knitters to.  She was knitting a very intricate pattern with lots of yarn overs and knit two togethers, a version of the ripple stitch, I think, but it looked like it was going to be a sweater.  Pretty yarn!  Offwhite, kind of bumpy and a little shiny.  The bond issue we were debating got defeated.  Oh well.            rjf

          I wanted to add that the double needle cast on sounds very interesting.  Isn't that something you might do on a sideways knitted sleeve, do you think?  There's a vague memory in my head about that.  I look in some of my books.     rjf

          Edited 12/8/2004 8:42 am ET by rjf

          1. Jean | | #18

            Yes indeed! I'm thrilled to see people getting interested in knitting again. There was an article in our paper about several boys who were knitting during lunch breaks! These were football types too! Love it.

            I'm getting excited about machine knitting again. I have sooo much yarn! I should use it up. I did donate a few items (sweaters) to the school bazaar this year and was told that they all sold except a baptismal gown, so I'll be sure to do some more things for next year. I can't stand production work, so I don't do hats on order, but I do have some cute patterns that I could use my imagination on.

            But right now, I have to get back to sewing. I finally figured out how to thread my serger! Hadn't used it for a long time.  Last night I sat down and read the instruction book cover to cover and discovered a few things that I had forgotten. My DGDs Jammies are going together really fast. What fun. I love quick results.

            Her 18" doll is getting a matching pair, plus a couple of dresses. I'll have to narrow the stitch width for that. Hope that goes OK.The machine is computerized and I'm not sure whether that's good or bad. It's capable of doing a cover stitch too, but I'm wondering if I'm up to that!

            I guess challenges are good for my old brain. ;)

            BTW, I have been making a few snowflakes. Our real ones have all melted. :(

          2. FitnessNut | | #20

            "Our real ones have all melted. :("Wish I could say the same.....several hours of shovelling in -30°C on Monday. Crisp.Glad to hear you're getting back to sewing. Sounds as if you've been knitting up a storm, though. One of these days, when I have some "spare" time, I'd really like to pick up the knitting needles again. I'm not speedy, but I do enjoy it.

          3. user-625073 | | #33

            My son decided to learn to knit two years ago. He was in Navy ROTC at the time, and all the girls loved the fact that he started knitting there. That gave them the courage to bring their knitting out. Personally, I've learned to knit several times, and would have to learn yet again to do any. I love to crochet (when not doing any of several other crafts.) Mom and my sisters knit, and wouldn't be caught dead with a crochet hook. I think it's a personal thing. You have to try both and decide which suits you better. Wish I liked to knit. But I know better than to think that I'll ever be able to do it.

          4. carolfresia | | #19

            This makes me think of the discussion that's going on in "Novice Sewers." Wouldn't it be great to donate knitting lessons to a local charity auction? I'm thinking an afternoon in which you get someone started on one of those super-quick garter-stitch scarves that are so popular. All you'd need are large knitting needles, some funky, fluffy yarn, and maybe some plain cheapo yarn for teaching the basic stitch. This could be a one-on-one lesson, or a small class with 3-5 students, and age really wouldn't matter. Hmmm....maybe I'll look into this. I'm not a great knitter, but I can certainly teach someone to do the garter stitch.


          5. User avater
            ehBeth | | #21

            That's a great idea.  I often buy bags of yarn and needles at Goodwill (obviously abandoned projects and all the left over yarn) for a coupla bucks.  I could put together sets of big needles, yarn, and a couple of lessons as a donation.


          6. rjf | | #22

            Well, the knitting group offers to do that but the people who come are long time good knitters and they're there for the companionship, I think.  We call it therapy.  And we have so much yarn donated that our leader can't get it all in the 8' X 6' closet.  That's nice, but what she can't get in, she sends home with us whether or not.  You certainly are a good knitter and have access to so much information on knitting that it might be fun you.  I'm just wondering where you will find the time.  Too bad they don't sell that at Walmart.     rjf

          7. carolfresia | | #23

            I can knit just fine, but I can't unknit very well. I think you have to be able to do that if you're teaching new knitters. If someone came to me with 3 dropped stitches, I wouldn't really know how to find them (esp. in the fuzzy yarns everyone's using for scarves these days). Maybe that's my goal--to learn to correct knitting mistakes.

            I had imagined doing this in an afternoon--sort of tea-party and knit for 3-4 hours, which ought to be long enough to learn the basic knit stitch and make some headway on a scarf. And eat cookies.


          8. DeannaS | | #25

            Yep - that unkitting is the hardest part - I don't really have a clue how to do it. For this scarf (which is for a great aunt for Xmas) I'm honestly not worrying about it. She'll be psyched that I tried, and the yarn is fuzzy enough that if you're wearing it, all my mistakes aren't going to be super noticable.The other thing that I've figured out that I do occassionally is to pick up extra yarn as I'm coming back through, so that I then end up with a really fat loop. Oops. I haven't gone back and fixed those either, for this project.(So far crochet is still winning for both speed and ease - but I still like the way knitting looks better, so I'll perservere.)

          9. Jean | | #28

            The fuzzy yarns the scarves are made of today are some of the most difficult yarns for a beginner to work with IMO. Some of them can be impossible to pull out and re-knit if you make a mistake. But I understand the urge is to make something rather than just to learn to knit. So, a couple of mistakes won't matter a bit in the cosmic scheme of things. Enjoy the process.

          10. rjf | | #27

             If you drop one and it unravels down but you haven't knit any further, you can use a crochet hook and pick it up stitch by stitch going up the column.  If you lose a stitch and keep knitting, you probably would have to unravel back to where you lost it.   That's because there wouldn't be enough yarn between the columns to make the right size stitch.  Use a yarn needle threaded to hold the stitches you don't need to change while you're picking up.  Of course, the yarn you're using will affect how this turns out.  The "worser" problem is adding stitches but that seems to happen in crochet more than in knitting.    rjf 

          11. carolfresia | | #29

            I understand the process, hypothetically, but actually doing it is another story. I usually use Deanna's guidelines: If the yarn is fluffy enough, no one's going to notice a dropped stitch, even if it unravels for several rows. I've accidentally knitted two stitches together on occasion, and have simply done an increase randomly in the middle of a row, and again, with highly textured yarns, it makes no noticeable difference.

            How's that for cheating?! This is all about following the "Done is better than perfect" principle.


          12. rjf | | #30

            ".....following the "Done is better than perfect" principle."

            All these years, I've been following the wrong rule.  That's why there's so much stuff in the attic.        rjf

          13. carolfresia | | #31

            You do have to choose which rule to follow when! Sometimes perfect is called for, and sometimes done IS perfect. Whatever works, as long as it doesn't make you crazy.


          14. rjf | | #32

            I checked out the site Elizabeth mentioned in the other thread we've been reading and found a very cute poncho.  It's at http://www.knitlist.com/2004/poncho.htm   It says 6 to 8 but the measurements sound as if it would fit a smaller child.  Have a look.      rjf

          15. carolfresia | | #34

            That's very cute! It looks like just the sort of thing she'd love. You could probably shorten it by a fair amount--I'm guessing her back waist length isn't much more than 9 inches or so.


          16. rjf | | #35

            Well, I still haven't gotten to store with the right yarn, so it's okay.  I thought I measured 30" from wrist to wrist across her shoulders so the 16" length sounded alright.  Don't you want her sit-upon covered?          rjf

          17. carolfresia | | #36

            You're right--she's about 38 inches tall, so 30 inches across does sound good. I was thinking only about the back waist length, which is always surprisingly short on a little kid.

            Is it Monday? Because it sure feels like it!


          18. DeannaS | | #24

            Oooo! As a beginner, I would be excited to get that kind of lesson. That basic garter stitch scarf with fluffy yarn and biggish (9) needles is exactly what I'm working on. :)

        2. DeannaS | | #26

          Yes, I could cook something. But, the other good thing about knitting and crochet is that it doesn't add any weight to the belly. ;)Believe me, I cook up a storm all winter long.

  7. ElonaM | | #13

    I also favor knitting. For one thing, there are simply many more knitting patterns in print than there are crochet patterns. To my way of thinking, that's a significant factor, because although I can convert crochet patterns to knitting, and vice-versa, it's far from my favorite task. For another, the same garment done up in knitting takes about 30% less yarn than it does in crochet. For yet another, crochet (with the exception of tunisian crochet) is by nature more open or "holey," while at the same time being heavier.

    Once you've got a firm grip on knitting, it's easy enough to learn crochet. I did it that way. No problem.

    1. DeannaS | | #14

      Well, so far I have one successfully crocheted scarf (very simple double crochet stitch all the way).And, I have one not so successful part of a knitted scarf. ;)I'm finding that when I crochet, I can pretty easily back-track if I mess up. With knitting, I don't really know what to do when I screw up. I somehow have managed to add several stitches, even though I've been very careful not to pick up an extra stitch on the ends. I think it's because I'm using fuzzy yarn, and must be splitting it. I should probably go get some smoother yarn for learning.

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