So which came first – chicken or the egg? What has that to do with knitting or crochet, I hear you wonder. Well, literally everything. Since the beginning of time man has been mulling over the chicken and egg question. And crafters have been debating the thorny issue of whether knitting or crochet is the superior art form for an equally long time. So in my mind, the two debates are inter-linked. When one answer is found, the other will magically also be answered. However, in the meanwhile, this is my take on it.
I shan’t try to teach any of you to suck eggs [haha] by stepping you through the obvious technical differences but a neat list of pros and cons I hope will start the yarn rolling nicely.
- There are at least two needles but up to six DPNs if you’re being complicated.
- There are as many live stitches as is required for your project width/length.
- In the main, you really only need to learn two stitches.
- Knitted fabric has v-shaped stitches and is smooth and pliant and stretchy.
- Economic with yarn dependent on gauge.
- Is incredibly versatile to make clothing, accessories like hats/gloves/socks. household items, rugs/throws, toys.
- Knitting is most definitely slower than crochet but usually worth the wait.
- Freeform knitting is harder to achieve – bit difficult being spontaneous when you have to cast off and cast on again/join stitches each time you want to change direction.
- There is one hook.
- There is one live stitch.
- There are half a dozen or so stitches to learn and if you want to get fancy, it’s easy to lose count of how many more you may need.
- Crochet fabric comprises a series of “knots” (pretty ones of course) and on the whole is firm and bulky.
- Eats yarn for breakfast.
- Is incredibly versatile to make accessories, small items like hats, household items, rugs/throws, toys.
- Crochet works up fast.
- Freeform crochet is liberating – just turn the corner with your stitch and start hooking somewhere new.
Well, that’s all very well but a careful examination of the list does not actually ￼throw up a clear winner. And perhaps this is where it gets interesting. Most people I know who can both knit and crochet have a very clear preference and there are large groups of people who can only do one, have tried for years and just can’t get their mind/fingers wrapped round the “rules” of the other or frankly can’t see the point.
Why? I don’t know. But early conditioning, as with everything, must have something to do with it. For instance historically crocheting has had some bad press – if you do a bit of digging, the term “hooker” does in fact originate from crafters using hooks who were so severely underpaid that they turned to other forms of earning to supplement their income. And originally crochet was used by the poor to recreate the eye-wateringly expensive laces of the rich. The art form is still suffering from the rather dowdy image of polyester brown/tan/orange Granny Square kaftans from the 70s. Come on, those of us who are old enough to remember, be honest. You do know someone in your family who had one of those! So some snooty crafters stuck to knitting and this was passed down unconsciously from generation to generation.
Conversely, those zany hookers who create free-form art in multicolours rather ￼pity the more limiting and laborious form of knitting. All that knit, knit, knit, purl, purl, purl in straight lines! What’s that all about? And in case I still have your attention and interest, I can honestly say that I love both and rather rarely for me, sit on the fence of indecision as to which one is better. Because I don’t think that’s how you should look at it. I think each has its own virtues. However I can say that rather inexplicably, I do always feel more light-hearted when I crochet.
What do you think?