Today, we will answer the question of whether knitting is easier than crochet, or the other way around. There are, of course, areas of overlap between the two. They are both needlecrafts, and different ways to work with yarn.
That’s about where it ends, though.
As someone who dabbles in both, the unique properties of each often stand out more to me than the similarities! In fact, it is weirdly exciting to geek out about the pros and cons of knitting vs crochet.
Table of Contents
- Main Differences Between Knitting & Crochet (Overview)
- Crochet Versus Knitting, Round 1: Supplies
- Round 2: Learning Basic Stitches
- Bonus: Fun First Project Ideas
- Round 3: Fixing Mistakes
- Does Knitting Or Crochet Use More Yarn?
- Which one works faster, knitting or crocheting?
- Easy is one thing… How about fun?
- Knitting Versus Crochet, Last Round: Look & Feel
- Summary: Is Crochet Or Knitting Easier?
For the sake of this article, I’m going to assume that you are either:
- a complete beginner, deciding on which one to take up, or
- someone who knows one but not the other and wonders how they compare.
Those are the two potential reasons I can think of.
If there are any other scenarios leading you to look up “is crochet or knitting easier?”, or you have other questions, don’t be shy and tune in!
So let’s get going and take a close look at every possible difference between crochet and knitting. Which one works faster? Which one requires more yarn for a comparable amount of stitches? Is one easier to learn than the other? And how about when you’re further along and have experience doing both – is there still one that is more relaxing, more pleasant, or easier than the other?
Main Differences Between Knitting & Crochet (Overview)
Here’s a quick overview of the main difference between knitting and crochet. Plus a few more things.
|Works with one hook.||Works with two (or more!) pointed needles.|
|Uses one hand more than the other. (The other merely holds the yarn and the work in progress.) This can be either the right hand or the left hand, depending on which is your dominant hand.||Uses both hands more equally, with some light arm movements.|
|Uses more yarn.||Uses less yarn (but not by much).|
|Easier to learn.||Slightly more of a learning curve.|
Crochet Versus Knitting, Round 1: Supplies
Getting together the supplies for knitting or crochet projects is the first step if you’re determined to learn one or both of these crafts!
Depending on the knitting project you’re aiming to tackle, you may need circular needles or regular ones.
A circular knitting needle simply consists of two needles that are connected by a (plastic) thread. They allow for working longer stretches, without the knit stitches bunching up uncomfortably on one side. Or even (oh, horror!) falling off.
Double-pointed needles are a third option. They come with a whole new learning curve, so beginners will want to learn knitting first, before graduation to do so in the round. And yes – that is a statement from personal experience, ha.
Knitting needles are slightly more pricy than crochet hooks but that’s about all there is to it. Both crochet hooks and knitting needles come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and materials.
Metal, bamboo, plastic? Take your pick. As long as you attune the needle or hook size to the yarn weight, the material the tools are made of is a matter of personal preference.
Oh, and do try browsing for a complete set instead of a single hook (crochet) or a pair of needles (knitting). Much cheaper, in the long run, to score a deal on a set of needles in almost any size you could possibly need than to get them separately.
Unless, perhaps, this is the first time trying your hand at yarn crafts and you’re not even certain you’ll like the new skill. The very first time, a single crochet hook or needle pair will do just fine.
Once you have the basic techniques figured out and are ready to move on to different types of projects, a set may be a better choice.
There are a few more gadgets to acquire, such as stitch markers, and a tapestry needle. Or any type of needle, really, that can be used to weave in loose ends of wool.
The latter is nice to have. Stitch markers are rather redundant, as you won’t need them when merely learning new stitches.
Even after you’ve mastered knitting and basic crochet stitches, you can easily make do without. A strand of wool in a contrasting color is the classic makeshift stitch marker. A paperclip works, too.
Round 2: Learning Basic Stitches
When I was a little girl, the internet was also still a baby. Instead of watching a video tutorial to learn, my mom and grandmother showed me how to knit and crochet.
As cozy and “old world” as that sounds, youtube videos are nothing to scoff at. Want to learn a language, repair an appliance, change the car’s oil, or take up a new hobby? Whatever the type of project you wish to learn more about, you bet there will be someone awesome explaining the ropes on youtube.
So, if you’re starting to knit or crochet from scratch, head to youtube. Because few other things can measure up to learning from a moving image of a pair of hands manipulating yarn in close-up.
That said, when working with yarn for me is often the moment to step away from computers, tablets, and phones. We’re so often glued to our screens already. When crafting, I find it a welcome break to not have a screen in front of me for once!
So here’s a strange idea… Try learning from a book.
It does not move but no panic – there are some really great illustrated guides out there. Experience the old-world, pre-tech peaceful sensation of touching paper, flipping pages, and focusing on one thing at a time. It is quite something else.
For the basics of knitting, I recommend knitting basics for beginners by Katrina Gale.
To start with crochet, Crochet for Beginners by Cindy Watson is excellent. It covers the utmost basics, such as how to set up that first loop, then how to do a chain stitch, single crochet stitch, and more.
Do you know a little bit already? Then maybe you are looking to expand your knowledge and tackle different stitches or explore different techniques.
Between the half-double, the double crochet, and the triple crochet stitch, and all the knitting patterns one can make through various combinations of the two most basic knitting stitches (the knit and the purl stitch) – there’s so much fun stuff to learn!
One famous technique that I’ve never really gotten up close with is Tunisian crochet. The end result looks vastly different from regular crochet and it has always fascinated me but somehow I’ve never made it a priority to learn this approach. The Tunisian Crochet Handbook by Toni Lipsey is on my wish list.
As for which one is easier to learn, you’ll have to tell me after trying!
It has honestly been so long since I started, that I can’t remember that well. I think knitting is messier, though. Right along with being less forgiving of mistakes (which is covered in more detail further down) knitting is a tad more of a learning curve.
Personally, I have only used very basic knitting stitches for decades, making the occasional scarf and nothing else. With crochet, it was never much of a challenge to either follow a more intricate pattern or freehand something. With knitting, doing so in the round, as well as diving into knitting patterns has always looked more intimidating.
Considering that I started both around the same age and have dabbled in both for decades, this could just be me… or… it could be an indication that crochet is simply easier to learn.
Bonus: Fun First Project Ideas
Does making a washcloth sound like fun? Nah. There are more riveting ways to explore a new craft. Once you’ve practiced stitches back and forth enough times to be slightly bored, try your hand at these small items to knit or crochet. They take far less time than something larger, which is nice since it means that if you mess up, not much time is lost. And mess up you will – we all do.
Yup, even long-time crocheters, and experienced knitters. I’m perfectly capable of reading and following a knitting pattern for a cute, slouchy hat with a relatively logical pattern. Yet, somehow, I end up missing the knit stitches in a few rows in the beginning, then (again!) further along, and I have one stitch too many during the decrease. It’s just what happens when you make something while also keeping an eye on the kids. And letting the dogs out. And picking up the phone. And getting more coffee. In this case, since it was a random project, I just kept going and the hat turned out fine. Nobody likes to undo their work, but personally, I cordially hate a re-do in knitting more than in crochet.
Granny Squares are alright, I guess. Not the most spectacularly mindblowing creative crochet project. But if you make a lot (in the beginning, it’s called practice; after a while, this becomes the boring part) you’ll end up with a nice cozy throw. And that’s nothing to scoff at. So pick your favorite colors and make it yours!
Which brings us to the next point of comparison: are mistakes in crochet easier to fix than in knitting?
Round 3: Fixing Mistakes
In crochet, it is very easy to see what is missing, or superfluous, and where. Then, you take out your work up until that point and start over. Bummer. But pretty straightforward. There is only one threat to follow. Whatever is off has to do with that thread. Follow it back, take a good, close look, and with a bit of experience, you will find the culprit without getting into further mayhem.
Errors in knitting are stressful. Two needles are more erratic than one. If you have to go back, the mere act of taking out a portion of your work opens up a whole new can of worms… Those pesky little looks tend to weasel their way out of the loops right underneath, and so on. One dropped stitch, noticed after the fact? Well, now you have two problems. Fixing it, and making sure nothing goes awry while trying to fix it.
Does Knitting Or Crochet Use More Yarn?
Crochet uses slightly more yarn than knitting does. And it is not hard to see why. Crochet stitches other than the slip stitch are rather bulky compared to the relatively flat surface you get when you knit. Especially with alternating rows of knit and purl. The result is a nice even plane, consisting of rows and rows of scrumptious stretch that I so love about knitting. When looking up close, it is easy to see how those loops of yarn use less yarn than a thicker and more stiff surface of crocheted stitches.
But let’s not forget that stiffness of crochet is also its advantage. Where knitting up shapes and sizes will lead to a floppy result, with crochet you can build nice, sturdy shapes.
Which one works faster, knitting or crocheting?
The person handling the needles is a crucial factor here, so this very much depends on how fast you are able to work. Honestly, knitting often seems to progress at a slower pace to me, but then suddenly the sheer amount dangling from under those needles is a pleasant surprise. With crochet, it seems to be faster but it really isn’t. While for some reason every single stitch seems to be more impactful, the sheer number of them can feel interminable. In all reality, I would say there is not much difference.
As for the number of stitches needed to fill a given space?
Crochet stitches can vary a lot in height, whereas with knitting you’re mostly piling up rows and rows of same-sized smaller stitches. If you only work in single crochet stitches, it should be about the same.
Double crochet or even triple crochet stitches are longer, hence the size of the rows will be taller. Progressing a tad slower, perhaps, but gaining all that height at once.
|Tip: Not sure about which type of yarn to choose? Whether you are just starting out, or a more experienced crafter who likes to see results fast, use yarn that makes an impact! That’s right: I just can’t help but share my love of thicker yarns here. Known as either chunky yarn or bulky yarn, these big and fluffy balls of cozy are an impatient crafter’s best friend. Even when short on time, you can make some good progress – visible progress, which is the best way to keep up morale – with the chunkiest yarn. And it is perfect for scarves, cowls, hats, blankets, throws, and many other cozy wearables or accessories. If you take a stuffed animal pattern and make it with bulky yarn, you’ll end up with a BIG stuffed animal. Check out these beautiful Christmas stocking patterns in different sizes. Chunky yarn rocks.|
Easy is one thing… How about fun?
Alright, so in the case of crochet vs knitting, where is the most fun to be had?
It all depends on what you find engaging.
What is more important? The sense of ease and relaxation while working on something, or the look and feel of the finished project? If you say the latter, then having fun while making it is relative. If you value the time spent (and depending on the size of the entire project, this could be a long time!) and how you feel while making something, then you’ll obviously prefer the craft that brings you more pleasure.
Crocheting slouched on the couch is not a problem, since there’s only one hand to worry about. The angle is not crucial and not much can go wrong.
Knitting requires a more attentive physical posture. Those needles need to be monitored constantly. They are moved with both hands, for which the forearms need to have a range of movement as well. It’s more of a thing. Especially since inattention can lead to dreadful results.
When it comes to relaxation, both can be perceived as somewhat meditative. If the pattern or project calls for long stretches of repeating the same stitches without counting, this can apply to either.
Knitting Versus Crochet, Last Round: Look & Feel
Perhaps by now, you’re wondering why anyone would knit at all if crochet is easier to learn and easier to fix when things get messy. Or maybe you aren’t wondering that at all because you know just how pretty a knitted piece can be!
That lovely stretch, the rhythm of those fine patterns of endless v’s, not to mention the many other stunning patterns you can make in knitted fabric. Knitting is worth that little extra hassle and effort. Knitted cozy sweaters are where it’s at.
Not to forget the advantages of knitting: it uses slightly less yarn and may be less prone to straining your “good” hand during lengthy sessions.
However, despite having a soft spot for knitwear, I keep coming back to crochet, which has its very own perks.
As far as the look and feel go, maybe crochet is slightly less ‘hygge’. But for shapes that can hold their own, crochet is superb. (Hello, amigurumi! Check out the cutest crochet cat patterns and these crochet mushroom patterns.) For household items that catch a beating on a daily basis, that sturdier feel of crochet sure is a plus.
The type of yarn, of course, has a big impact on the look and feel of crochet. You’ve probably seen those traditional crochet doilies around. Crocheted fabric doesn’t have to be sturdy per se. With very fine crochet thread, you can make the most dainty, delicate items, too.
|Tip: Did you know that if you prefer to do crochet, but like the look and feel of knitwear, there are some very similar projects you can make? This hat, for example, totally has a knit vibe, but it’s a crochet pattern!|
Summary: Is Crochet Or Knitting Easier?
As a general rule, and as is the case with so many things in life, it is a matter of personal preference.
Crochet is easier to take with you on the go. There is more room for error.
Knitting gone wrong is definitely more of a kerfuffle. Those beautifully stretchy pieces of knit fabric can unravel at the speed of light. Picking up the pieces of such a debacle often requires more effort and expertise than starting over. Both have a small-ish learning curve.
The single-needle approach of crochet may have you get comfortable a little faster. Basic knitting stitches are not much harder, though. None of this is rocket science. All you need is the desire to become fluent and the determination to keep practicing.
Hopefully, this breakdown has given you a sense of the big differences between knitting and crochet.
Remember, nobody makes a knit sweater on their first (or second) try.
Scarves, pot holders, or even a baby blanket are super cute beginner projects. Small crochet amigurumi animals are a blast to make and an easy way to get the hang of working up round shapes and counting stitches. As an added benefit, they don’t use much yarn.