While knitting and crocheting are both popular crafts that use similar tools and materials, and both techniques can help you make warm and cozy sweaters, the results can be vastly different depending on the technique and pattern that you use.
Most non-crafters often confuse knitting and crocheting, because they both involve yarn and needles (although technically speaking, the tool used in crochet is called a hook, which is shaped differently than a knitting needle).
It’s no wonder when people see “knit” goods, they can’t tell if it was actually knitted – or crocheted – let alone what the difference between them is. And for those looking to pick up a new craft – and perhaps work their way up to fashioning some handmade goods, the differences really matter!
So what’s the difference between a crochet and a knit sweater? Crochet and knit sweaters are made differently, using different tools, techniques and stitches and result in distinct looks. Most prefer to knit sweaters because the resulting fabric is comparably lighter. Crochet tends to yield stiffer and bulkier results and uses more yarn.
If you’re curious about the differences between knitting and crocheting and more differences between a knitted and crocheted sweaters, this article is the ultimate guide to help you learn those differences. It’s perfect if you need to figure out how to make the most comfortable and cozy sweater this winter.
What is Knitting?
The most basic thing you should know about knitting is that it involves a pair of needles that will hold a number of “live” stitches.
The number of stitches will depend on how big or small you want the final garment to be, and when you cast off live stitches, you won’t be able to continue knitting that same stitch on the next row.
With knitting, you can use the traditional straight needles, which will allow you to work back and forth to lengthen your piece – perfect for flat pieces like scarves or blankets, or for flat pieces you plan to sew together.
Alternatively, you can use double-pointed or circular needles, which will help you knit in the round to create hats, socks, or sweaters. Circular needles are also great for large blankets, making it easier to hold a large number of stitches.
The needles will vary in size, depending on how light or chunky you want your project to be. You can use needles that are very small (US size 0 or 2mm) or very big (US size 50 or 25mm).
Most sweater knitting patterns will provide instructions on which size to use, but you’ll find that needles size 2.5 (3 mm) to 10 (6 mm) are the most comfortable to use.
What is Crocheting?
Compared to knitting, crocheting is much easier to learn because it only involves one hook and one live stitch at a time. It’s more forgiving when you make mistakes.
As you crochet, you’ll basically need to create small knots by inserting the needle through the stitch in the row beneath, and “seal off” each stitch as you go. You will pick up those sealed stitches in the next row.
It takes some practice to create even stitches with crocheting (as with knitting), but it’s still relatively easy to learn and fix any mistakes if needed. It’s also much harder to “drop” stitches – and risk a big hole – in crochet, something many beginner knitters struggle with.
Similar to knitting, you can use different yarn weights and different needle sizes to customize how light or bulky your work to be.
Whether you’re working in the round or back and forth, you’ll be using the same crochet hook, so you don’t have to invest too much money in tools. You can even have multiple projects going using the same crochet hook, which you cannot do with knitting.
Since there’s only one live stitch in an entire crochet project, you don’t have to worry about holding the stitch too much. A normal safety pin solves the problem without the need for a stitch holder.
Crochet Vs Knit Sweaters – Differences
Now that we’ve discussed the very basics of knitting and crocheting, let’s get back to sweaters.
You probably understand already how crochet and knit sweaters are made differently and you can probably guess that the fabric will look different (because the types of stitches are made in distinct ways), but what are some of the other distinguishing differences?
Does One Use More Yarn Than the Other?
Most people prefer knitting sweaters rather than crocheting because the knitted fabric is much lighter compared to crocheted fabric using the same yarn weight and needle size.
Crocheting tends to yield stiffer and bulkier results, partly because the average stitch requires more yarn.
So if you want a crochet sweater to hang and wear like a typical knit sweater, you’ll need to use lace-weight yarn and a smaller crochet hook. This will take much longer to make. This result is easy to understand because crocheting a sweater requires up to 30 percent more yarn than a similarly sized knitted sweater.
However, if you are looking for a bulky, warm cardigan or pullover, crochet can be a great choice! Instead of knitting with a bulky wool yarn, you can crochet with a medium weight (or medium thick) yarn in a softer material and still have a warm result.
Are the Stitches Different?
Both knitting and crocheting can create a wide range of beautiful stitches and patterns that are suitable for different types of garments. However, there are fundamental differences in how stitches in knitting and stitches in crocheting are created.
When you start a knitting project, you will need to cast on however many stitches that your pattern requires, which will generate the width of the knitted piece. You can always pick up more stitches using various methods, but generally, the number of live stitches you have on the needle will indicate how wide your piece will be. In unusual cases, you might make the length instead.
Stitches in knitting are created by looping the yarn through the loop in the previously knitted below to create a new loop (stitch). It’s more difficult to fix mistakes in knitting until you are fairly experienced. If you drop a stitch, you may need to unravel the entire row to fix that mistake.
In comparison, crocheting only works with one stitch. Each new stitch is created by inserting the crochet hook through the “sealed off” stitch below it and pulling the yarn through.
You can add extra loops and pull through the yarn extra times and in a certain order to create different stitch types, but ultimately, you normally deal with only a few stitches at a time. Even if you drop the live stitch, your entire work won’t unravel and it is much easier to correct.
Which is Faster?
If you are using similar weight yarn and similar sized needles, crocheting tends to be much faster than knitting, especially when it comes to casting on, picking up, or binding off stitches.
However, depending on the type of garment, speed is not the only deciding factor to help you choose which technique to use.
For example, since crocheting tends to be bulkier and stiffer, it is most often used for blankets or lace-weight afghan. For cozy sweaters and socks, it’s best to go with knitting since the result will hug your body more comfortably.
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