Fiber arts and crafts have been rising in popularity recently, and you might be wondering what all the hype is about and whether you should delve into knitting or crocheting too. I’ve been crocheting and knitting daily for over a year, and I’m excited to break down the pros and cons of each craft, as well as give my recommendation for which craft is right for you.
Knitting and crocheting are both methods of creating fabric from yarn. However, crochet is easier for beginners to learn and also much cheaper. For certain projects knitting or crocheting may be more suitable, but the vast majority of projects can be created through either craft.
In the rest of the article, I’ll break down which craft is better for beginners, go through the pros and cons of each, as well as give examples of projects that can only be made through knitting or crocheting.
Which is better for beginners, knitting or crocheting?
Crocheting is easier for beginners to learn than knitting, primarily because it is easier to fix mistakes when crocheting, and also because it requires less coordination with only one live stitch. Further, crocheting requires fewer basic materials to get started than knitting, making it cheaper.
Here’s my breakdown of why crocheting is easier to learn than knitting. Of course, knitting is not insurmountably difficult, but for complete beginners crocheting will be more accessible.
1. Crocheting is easier to undo than knitting.
The primary reason that crocheting is easier than knitting is that undoing your crochet work (called frogging) and fixing mistakes is a simple matter of pulling the yarn a little and then trying a stitch again. On the other hand, in knitting, undoing your work (called tinking) is more difficult and can result in having to redo an entire project.
The beginning stages of starting a new crochet or knitting project always involve some inevitable mistakes, and being able to redo them quickly and easily is vital to success. When I first learned to crochet, I was able to pick it up in a few days because I didn’t have to completely restart the project whenever I skipped a stitch or worked a stitch incorrectly since undoing in crochet is extremely intuitive.
On the other hand, it took me several months to pick up knitting because I didn’t know how to undo knitting without restarting, so it took me several attempts to make each project.
Click here to read my in depth breakdown on how long it takes to learn to crochet amigurumi!
2. Crocheting only uses one loop at a time, while knitting uses many.
Crocheting is also easier for beginners to learn because crocheting involves using a hook to manipulate one loop only, creating a stitch one by one on the project until you finish. When knitting, the two needles hold all the loops that you will work into for the entire row or round, making it easier for loops to slip off the needles or work into.
Because crocheting requires only one hook and uses only one loop, it requires less coordination to work the stitches and hold the hook. Knitting requires both hands to work in concert, juggling two needles and a large number of loops on those needles.
3. Crocheting requires fewer basic materials to get started and overall than knitting.
When getting started with crocheting, you’ll need just two or three hooks (probably 4.0mm, 5.0mm, and 6.0mm) to make most beginner projects, regardless of whether it’s a sweater, blanket, amigurumi, or shawl. The maximum number of crochet hooks you could possibly get would be 10 or 11, to cover most of the sizes from 3.0mm to 10.0mm, including some half sizes in between. This would open up the entire world of crochet patterns, with just five to ten hooks.
The starting cost of crocheting is around $20, and in the future you might only need to get a few more hooks to be able to make all crochet patterns for an additional cost of $50 or so. For a full break down on basic supplies and price ranges of crochet materials from budget to luxury, click here.
However, when knitting, the amount of needles you need to start out as well as in total is significantly more. You can probably get started with 8.0mm 16″ circular needles to practice making beanies, but to make any other projects you’ll need longer circular needles in different sizes, since short circular needles can only be used for small projects.
To be able to make a full range of knitting projects, you’ll end up needing a full set of interchangeable needles (including needles in about 10 sizes, plus 5 different lengths of cable to attach to the needles), double pointed needles in a few common sizes (4.5mm, 5.0mm), perhaps some short circular needles as an alternative to DPNs, and a cable needle.
This means that the starting cost of knitting is probably around $30, with an additional cost later on of upwards of $250 to get a set of interchangeables and other extra needles you need to be able to make most knitting patterns.
If you’re interested in turning your hobby into a side hustle to cover costs of materials or even replace your full time job, read my full blog post here on all the different ways to make a living crocheting!
If cost isn’t a concern for you, this factor may not sway your decision making. But when trying a new hobby, it’s always good to consider which one is more accessible to get into (and out of, if it doesn’t end up clicking with you). For cost, crocheting beats knitting far and away.
For all of the reasons listed above, crocheting is a better option for complete beginners than knitting.
Some caveats from my personal experience!
Honestly, if you ask a hundred people, you’ll get a hundred different answers about which is better. Often, there are small reasons why people prefer one craft or the other, depending on whether a grandma introduced them to one or the other first, whether they had the tools on hand, just liked the look of a particular project, and infinite other reasons.
Although my breakdown above is as objective as I can be and comes down strongly in favor of crocheting, my qualifier is that if there’s a reason — any reason — that you want to try one or the other, then just go with it. Inner motivation will overcome technical problems any day, and often this is why some people will say that crocheting or knitting came to them more naturally than the other.
“Inner motivation will overcome technical problems any day”
For me, amigurumi was what first attracted me to crochet (even though amigurumi is certainly not the easiest crochet project to begin with). Since I absolutely would not rest until I could make a tiny little whale, I blew past all the problems that I encountered. For you, that motivation may come from a particular cable headband, a granny square bag, or an amigurumi teddy bear. Whatever it is, peg it to the fridge as a goal, and no pros and cons list can beat that kind of conviction.
If you’re interested in learning what the basic skills are that will have you on the road to mastering amigurumi, check out my breakdown here!
Is knitting or crocheting easier?
Crocheting is easier than knitting because knitting involves working with two needles and many live stitches, while crocheting only uses one hook and one live stitch. Correcting mistakes when crocheting is also simpler, and the cost to get started is cheaper than knitting.
Is knitting or crochet faster?
Crocheting is faster than knitting because on average, knit stitches are smaller than crochet stitches. For the same amount of time, crocheting will create a larger project than knitting will since it covers a larger surface area with the same amount of stitches.
What are the pros and cons of knitting vs. crocheting?
For anyone who isn’t a complete beginner, I’ve created a table of pros and cons so that you can consider more factors than just the three above. This table can help you if you feel confident about both crafts, do not need to consider cost, or already have some experience from long ago.
|Cost||$30 to start, $250+ later on for needles (+yarn)||$20 to start, up to $50 later for hooks (+yarn)|
|Speed to finish a project||Slower (the basic stitches, knit and purl, are smaller)||Faster (half double crochet and double crochet stitches are most common for garments and are much faster)|
|Amount of yarn needed to finish a project||Less yarn needed||Crocheting uses 30% more yarn than knitting does, because each stitch is a knot rather than a loop|
|How easy it is to fix mistakes||Advanced beginner level technique||Intuitive for beginners|
|Most common projects||Hats, sweaters, shawls, cardigans, socks||Shawls, sweaters, hats, cardigans, home decor items (pillows, baskets), toys|
|Elements that are easier in one craft than the other||Cables, delicate lace, fair isle colorwork, i-cord, socks||Circular elements, 3D projects, granny squares, amigurumi|
|Projects that are more difficult in one craft than the other||Toys are possible, but much more difficult for knitters. Working in 3D is almost impossible.||Colorwork and lace are possible, but are less even and delicate than knitted work.|
|Density of fabric created||Thin fabric, very drapey (perfect for garments)||Thicker fabric, less drape|
|Amount of patterns available||Relatively larger library of patterns||Fewer patterns, but still plentiful|
From the table, you can see that crocheting and knitting are very similar in many respects, enough that it does not clearly lean one way or the other. As a result, the choice is largely up to personal preference, and what kinds of projects you want to make (knowing that most projects are possible for both crafts).
The general trend is the knitting is more suitable for garments since it has a better drape, thinner fabric, and can create delicate lace and colorwork patterns.
Although it’s possible to create garments through knitting, crochet’s strong point is thicker home decor projects, toys, and in being more versatile.
Knit vs. Crochet Project Showdown!
Here’s the fun part! I’ll break down a few different project types and show you what you might be able to expect from each craft. Hopefully, you’ll be able to get a sense for what you can make with each, and what style you are more drawn to.
If any of the projects are particularly inspiring, you can use it as motivation for yourself to learn how to knit or crochet!
What’s the Difference Between Knit vs. Crochet Sweaters?
Knit sweaters are thinner, have more drape, and often feature fair isle colorwork or delicate lace. Crochet sweaters tend to be thicker and denser because the stitches are made of knots rather than loops.
Here are a few examples of knit sweaters. You can see the characteristic fair isle colorwork in the beautiful patterns, as well as knit lace and cables.
Crochet sweaters are usually a little thicker and feature details created by granny squares or other shaping to create interest.
What’s the Difference Between Knit vs. Crochet Home Decor?
Knit home decor items tend to be less sturdy because the fabric is thinner. Dense crochet fabric lends itself well to sturdy home decor items from baskets to dishclothes.
Here are some knit home decor items — knit fabric is not as conducive to working in 3D as is often necessary for home decor, but you can still whip up some nice pieces for your home!
Crochet home decor items abound, as it is especially well suited to making baskets (to house more yarn) and all sorts of varieties of pillows, dishclothes, coozies, coasters, and more!
What’s the Difference Between Knit vs. Crochet Blankets?
Knit blankets are thinner and more drapey than crochet blankets, which tend to be thicker and bulkier. Both knit and crochet blankets can have cables and ribbing, but crochet blankets uniquely can form chevron patterns as well as granny square and hexagon motifs.
Here are a few of my favorite knit blankets:
There are so many varieties of crochet blankets, from traditional chevron blankets to granny square blankets and those that look almost quilted, but here are some of my favorites:
What’s the Difference Between Knit vs. Crochet Bags?
Knit bags are less sturdy than crocheted bags, and tend to take the shape of tote bags rather than other types, given the restrictions of knit stitches. Crochet bags can be commonly found in the form of backpacks, totes, market bags, bucket bags, and more, because it’s much easier to crochet in 3D.
Here are some beautiful knit bags! You can see that the fabric is light and delicate, with rolled handles and lace and cable details.
Crochet bags tend to be sturdier with thick, durable sides. Here are a few from designers I love!
What’s the Difference Between Knit vs. Crochet Amigurumi Toys?
Crocheted amigurumi toys are much easier to make and are more durable, while knit toys are more fragile and require more skill. There are significantly more crochet amigurumi patterns than knit ones since crochet toys are much more beginner friendly and popular.
Here are a few knit amigurumi toys that I love! They mostly rely on color changes to create details, but have an amazing polished look that I adore because of the smaller stitches.
Crocheted amigurumi have more defined stitches, and there is a huge array of crochet patterns out there (including those on this blog!). Crochet amigurumi are significantly more accessible to beginners — as I mentioned before, these were my very first projects! Here’s a sampler of what you could expect from crochet amigurumi:
I hope this article helped you get a better idea of the differences between knit and crochet projects! There’s so much to explore out there, and I think the real answer is to learn both knitting and crochet, as I have done. Learn whichever you want, and it will make it that much easier to pick up the other craft once you have one down. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments or email me at email@example.com. I’d love to help!