This is one of the questions many beginners ask who are keen to learn a yarn craft. Unfortunately, there is no simple yes or no, nor an easy answer either. Both knitting and crocheting are needlecrafts that can be learnt in a few minutes, and both work with the same yarn. Once you master the basic stitches and have gained a bit of insight, you can get awesome rewards in both skills.
Are there differences in knitting and crocheting?
While they are both yarn crafts, crocheting and knitting are fundamentally different, – as different and unique as apples vs. oranges. Knitters work on a number of stitches on a needle, but when you crochet you only have one loop and one knot at a time. You build your crocheted work stitch by stitch like a brick wall. This does not mean, the result has to look like a brick wall!
The tools you use are different, too. Knitters have two, sometimes even three or four different knitting needles they work on at the same time. When knitting a seamless round on double pointed needles, for example. Crochet requires one single-ended hook in different sizes only. With your hook you grab the yarn, insert it into different areas of the project, pull, and that’s it.
While knitting creates a more stretchy and flexible fabric, crochet stitches provide a somewhat bumpier and solid result. As a general rule of thumb that is, because left and right of that road, awaits a huge playground for creativity.
And that being said, here are a number of reasons why you should start crocheting today.
Crocheting is hugely “en vogue”
Ever since Kamala Harris´ stepdaughter Ella Emhoff walked across the White House lawn in a crocheted Batsheva top, crochet designs have experienced a huge revival. Top designers are falling over themselves, sending jaw-dropping designs down the runways.
Even the old “granny square” is celebrating a huge comeback and has never looked sexier. The multi-coloured square was basically an invention made during the early 1900s, so women could crochet blankets and scarves from scrap yarn faster to support soldiers during the war.
You can crochet anything
Think of any item, and you will probably find a crocheted version someone has already made and published on his social media or Etsy. While you can learn how to crochet really fast, there is a mind-blowing number of crochet stitches and techniques which can be combined. Depending on the consistency of your yarn and the thickness of your crochet hooks you can crochet anything, from simple accessories, such as makeup bags to whole afghans, curtains, cushions and solid baskets.
If you go down the amigurumi rabbit hole of awesome 3d-creation you may get stuck there for the rest of your life. You start with a simple flower and end up crocheting a unicorn, or a dragon, or little baby Yoda – don’t even get me started on mosaic and lace crocheting.
You will get amazing results, fast!
Chain, simple crochet and double crochet are your foundation. Once you master these stitches, all new stitches will come easy, because they all build on the same principle. Yarn over (or not), pierce your project and pull the loop through. You can crochet a hat or a cute top during an evening while watching your favourite TV-show. A summer dress can be made during a weekend.
Why not start with a “granny square”? This simple design comes in many variations and can be creatively used in sweaters, blankets or even slippers. You can create almost anything by combining the versatile squares. It is an easy-to-grasp technique which will give you immediate rewards. And don’t we all love to accomplish things fast?
Do not be afraid to make mistakes
Contrary to knitting, where you have your needle full of stitches and might quite easily lose one if you do not pay attention, crochet items pardon your mistakes. You do not have to transfer any stitches from one needle to another, you just work on one loop at a time. When you find a mistake or have made your garment the wrong size it is much easier to unravel or even rip out little pieces of your work and repair the remaining stitches.
Even if you find stitches missing a few rows below your current one, you can quickly add them without having to unravel anything.
One set of hooks in different sizes is enough for most of your crochet projects. You can have multiple projects going and use the same hook without having to worry about holding the stitches, because you only have to protect one loop.
Crocheting is a life skill
At Waldorf and Montessori schools children are taught the art of crocheting before they learn to read and write. Crocheting not only activates the creative side of children’s minds, it also teaches them fine motoric skills which are required for handwriting later.
It also helps with other, important cognitive skills, like spatial thinking or enhancing the capacity to visualize, as you will constantly have to check the size of your crocheted item. And finally, crocheting helps anybody who is struggling with focus. Focussing on a task until you have finished it, certainly is a powerful experience for anybody.
Crocheting makes you better at multi-tasking
Most crocheters agree that their hobby can be addictive, but in a good way.
When you crochet a chain of hormonal reactions occur in your brain. A combination of serotonin and dopamin is released, which not only makes you feel relaxed, it also turns you into a happier, calmer person. The constant, hormonal trickle makes it hard to put your crochet work down. (Here is a secret, you do not have to, because you can literally crochet anywhere and anytime, also while walking).
During crocheting, both the left and right sides of our brain are stimulated at the same time. The same happens when you are, for example, solving math problems or puzzles. I think everyone can agree that crocheting is much more fun than solving math problems, – plus, you are creating a work of love. When you crochet a lot, you will automatically become better at multi-tasking, too.
Crocheted items cannot be machine-produced
Whereas knitting and some types of lace can be machine-made, the only way to create any crocheted product is by hand. There is no such thing as a crochet machine. Which does not mean, crocheted items cannot be mass-produced. When buying any readymade, crocheted garment or accessory make sure it has been produced under fair social circumstances for the workers.
It is much better and rewarding, though, to create the crochetwork yourself. When working with the yarn, you can really connect with the texture, the colour and the pattern for your project. The result will always be a unique labour of love.