You’re standing in the craft store and all you see is different types of yarn, needles and hooks. You begin to wonder, what's the difference between knitting and crocheting? But the threat of the stink-eye from knitting nerds and crochet hotshots keeps you from asking the question out loud.
Fear not. This is a judgment-free zone. (And most of us wouldn't even think about giving a novice the stink-eye.) Before you set out into the world with set out into the world with your needles and hooks, though, you'll have to learn the basics. Keep reading. After you've wrapped your mind around all that, check out these beginner-friendly crochet projects. More of a knitting fan? Start with this super cute free knitting pattern for an iPad sleeve.
The Basics of Crochet
First, let’s start with the basic differences between the two. When you are crocheting you use a single hook with the yarn being fed through the hand and over one index finger. When beginning to crochet you will use a chain stitch for the foundation row, then from this row you will then make different stitches to build the item. Unlike knitting, crochet uses a wide variety of stitches, which include four basic stitches, along with two additional, taller stitches. By having a wide variety of stitches you have the opportunity to use a wide range of items and make them all have a different and unique look to them. Crocheting involves learning to properly use a variety of different stitches.
Compare the unique crochet stitch styles at this CraftFoxes article.
Some other important things to know before you begin to crochet are the different tools that you will be using. Crochet hooks come in many different sizes and materials, such as bamboo, aluminum, plastic and steel. There are a lot of choices when it comes to picking out a crochet hook, so depending on what you are making you may need different types of hooks.
The next material that you will need is yarn. Each type of yarn has different characteristics so you have to learn which ones are better for what you are making. For example, you would want to use a yarn with thicker acrylic or one that contains wool if you were making a hat.
Check out this unique crochet newsboy hat.
The Basics of Knitting
Now it’s time to learn the basics of knitting and what sets it apart from the concept of crochet. The biggest difference between these two is that when you are knitting you are using two long needles to create a stitch. Unlike crocheting, there are only two basic stitches when it comes to knitting. Variations of the knit and purl stitch are used to build all knit items. When using these kinds of stitches you can use different colors of yarn and stitches to create different patterns that can’t be done by crocheting.
Check out the patchwork knit blanket, which uses a variety of textures to create a quilt-like design.
Knitting is done more often to make clothing than crocheting, since when you crochet your items may tend to be bulkier than knit ones, like these knit shaws verses the crochet boot cuffs. You can make a variety of different types of apparel while knitting such as sweaters, socks and scarves. Picking the yarn that you are going to make your garment with is a very important decision. Depending on what kind of yarn you decide to go with, it will determine how well your piece comes out like these knit sockinettes. Another important thing to note is that knitting uses less yarn than crocheting, which in turn costs you less. When purchasing yarn, read labels because yarn is split into categories by weight (i.e., how fine or thick it is). When choosing yarn, consider shrinkage. The Seinfeld jokes aside, yarn can shrink when it's washed, and if you are creating a garment may need to make allowances so that it still fits who it was created for.
Once you learn the basics of each it will be easy for you to decide which kind of handiwork best suits you. Like anything else, all you need is some practice and in no time you will be knitting or crocheting items for your whole family.
Explore the differences between crochet and knit craft projects via our CraftFoxes article to decide which craft is right for you.
All images from: Jupiterimages, Getty Images
Do you do knitting and crochet: What do you think are the notable differences between to two? Tell us in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.