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What is the Difference Between Knit and Crochet?

By Jane Harmon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Knit and crochet are popular hobbies that were once important home crafts necessary to keeping one's family clad and warm. They are similar processes — loops of yarn or thread are pulled through existing loops to make chains and fabrics — but the two crafts are very different in how they are accomplished.

Knitting and crocheting tools: Knitting uses two or more pointed needles, while crocheting requires only one needle with a hook on the end.

Knitting and crocheting stitches: When crocheting, the crafter works on one loop at a time, making chains by pulling a loop of yarn through the loop on the hook, or by inserting the hook into the existing fabric and pulling a loop through both the fabric and the loop on the hook, leaving only one loop on the hook. When knitting, multiple loops or stitches are worked across the needle, the width of the fabric being dictated by the number of stitches across.

Similar effects can be achieved in both knit and crochet; they are just achieved differently. Cable stitch, the braided pattern that is a standard feature of the fisherman knit sweater, can even been simulated in crochet. Working in the round — that is, crafting a tube of fabric — is possible in both knit and crochet. When knitting, one uses multiple double-sided needles and knits in a circle, while in crochet, one simply connects the foundation chain to its own beginning and crochets over it in a circle.

Many crafters both knit and crochet, but a surprising number can do one but not the other. Many crochetters find the number of stitches on knitting needles confusing and the potential for a dropped stitch stressful, while many knitters find crochet instructions confusing and the need to find the right stitch in which to insert the hook eye-straining. However, either craft can be enjoyable, as well as very relaxing and meditative. Working at knit or crochet while watching your favorite television programs also allows you to claim you are really 'working' and not just 'wasting your time'.

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Discussion Comments

By anon276776 — On Jun 26, 2012

I neither knit nor crochet, but I do sell vintage clothing and other items, and accuracy of description is a priority with me.

I get the 1-needle 2-needle thing, but if I'm not sitting there watching when someone is creating an item, how do I know which is which by simply looking at something? Having visited a lot of web sites in an effort to get an answer, I have come to this basic conclusion: knitting generally creates thicker and heavier items, while crocheting generally creates more delicate items. Is this a fair bottom-line assessment?

By amypollick — On Jun 29, 2011

I have tried to teach myself to knit for years, but have never gotten farther than learning to cast on. For some reason, knitting just doesn't "click" for me.

Crochet, on the other hand, came easily to me. I can crochet up a storm, and I enjoy it. If I make a mistake, it takes 30 seconds to fix, and the projects generally come together quickly. I've done scarves and shawls and have enjoyed the projects. They're great for cold weather, when I don't have anything to do outside, and don't need to stare at the idiot box or the computer half the night.

By momabcd — On Mar 25, 2011

i learned to knit when i was 6 and to crochet at 10, yet, i have been doing crochet for the past more than 50 years and have just taken up knitting in the last four years. Why? because i find crochet easier than knitting. when i missed a crochet stitch or make a mistake in crochet, i can still finish what i am doing. crochet is done stitch by stitch while in knitting, it is done row by row. whenever i make a mistake, it often difficult to correct. it is so easy to lose a whole row or many rows and the whole piece may even unravel.

Until 4 years ago when i discovered the circular needle. With the circular needle, i seldom loose stitches and can now knit quite well and have found knitting to be faster than crochet.

By dill1971 — On Nov 07, 2010

@cmsmith10: In my opinion, crochet is easier. I have been crocheting for several years and I thought I would learn how to knit last year. After many hours and much frustration, I put it away and went back to my crochet.

By cmsmith10 — On Nov 07, 2010

Which is easier, crochet or knitting?

By DinoLeash — On Nov 07, 2010

@alex94: To make a popcorn stitch, start with a double crochet (dc) stitch in your foundation. Once you have your first dc done, make three more dc in the same foundation stitch. You should have 4 dc now.

Drop the stitch that is on your hook. Basically, just pull the loop off of the hook. Push your hook through the beginning of your first dc stitch. (There is a loop to the right of the 1st stitch. That’s where you put your hook through). Then, push the hook through your dropped hook. You should now have two loops on your hook. Wrap the yarn around your hook and pull through both loops. This pulls your stitches together at the top, making them puff out.

That creates your popcorn stitch.

By alex94 — On Nov 07, 2010

I am a beginner crocheter and I'm trying to learn some basic stitches. Can anyone explain to me how to do a popcorn stitch? Thanks a bunch.

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