I often receive warm complements on my knitting. I love getting compliments! However
I don't knit. I crochet.
There are some crocheters who get in a bit of a huff when someone assumes they're knitting (and I'm sure there are knitters who get in a similar huff when someone assumes they're crocheting!). I am not one of them. I'm sure that to someone not familiar with needlecraft, crochet and knitting seem very similar, if not identical. Some may even think they're interchangeable words for the same thing. So I am never offended, and just gently correct people. But since it does happen on a somewhat frequent basis, I thought I would take a moment to explain the basic differences between the two crafts.
(Please note: this article is not intended to be a tutorial on how to crochet and/or knit. There are a number of tutorials here on dA, as well as tons of websites and online videos that can help you learn. You can also usually buy an instructional kit at any craft store for $15 or less. I also make the disclaimer that I just barely know how to knit, so if I have made any mistakes in my knitting research, please correct me privately and I will make amends in a public comment.)
The primary reason people confuse crochet and knitting is that their end product is essentially the same a piece of fabric created from interlocking loops of thread or yarn. As always, the devil is in the details, and that's where the differences lie!
Crochet is done using a single tool called a crochet hook. No matter what you are making you only need one hook. Hooks sized for working with yarn are typically made from aluminum, plastic, bamboo, or wood; smaller hooks sized for working with thread are usually made from steel. The sizes range from just 0.60 mm in diameter for working with very fine thread, to 19 or 20 mm in diameter for hooking rugs out of strips of fabric or many strands of yarn held together.
Knitting is done using a minimum of two tools called knitting needles. Socks and other round or tubular (non-seamed) objects require either circular needles (two needles connected by a cord) or a set of four or five double-pointed needles. Needles are typically made from aluminum, plastic, bamboo, or wood. Sizes range from 2 mm in diameter to 25 mm in diameter.
To start a crochet project, you attach the yarn or thread to the hook with a slip knot. You then pull the yarn through the loop on the hook to create what is called a chain stitch. You continue making chains until you have enough for your foundation chain, which you will work your first row of stitches into. Note that the chains are all hanging off the hook the loop on the hook does not count as a chain.
Knitting projects are started by a process called casting on (sometimes it's also called binding on, and there are a number of different ways to do it). There is no foundation to work into as there is in crochet; those first stitches you cast onto the needle are the first row of your project, and they're all in play.
This is about as far as I can get in knitting and still have it look decent, but I'm sure you can see already just from how the two processes start that they're very different.
When you crochet, you usually have only one stitch active (on the hook) at any given time. Make a stitch, move on to the next one, no worries. When you knit, you have an entire row of stitches active (transferring them from on needle to the other as you make each stitch in a new row). If you drop a stitch off one needle and don't get it transferred to the other, that dropped stitch will cause a run in your fabric, just like on snagged pantyhose, and all your hard work is ruined. In crochet, there's no way to drop a stitch. You can easily miss one, and that can mess you up later down the road (what makes you think I speak from experience?!), but you can usually find a way to fudge and recover that lost stitch and no one's the wiser plus the fabric won't run!
When you're finished with your project, finishing a crochet project is very simple you cut the yarn, draw it through the final loop on the hook and pull snugly to form a knot. Done! In knitting, you have to bind off all the stitches on the hook one by one before making that final cut and pulling the yarn snug.
The processes of knitting and crocheting make for structurally different fabrics. If you've ever snagged a knit sweater on, say, the wire spiral of your notebook (what makes you think I speak from experience?!), that one snagged stitch will often pull and pucker the fabric. If the stitch actually breaks, your sweater could develop a run. Snag a stitch in a crocheted item, and while it won't be pretty, odds are that only that stitch will be affected by the snag and if it breaks, the rest of the item will usually hold together (at the least it will hold together enough to give you time to fix it). I have a crocheted afghan on my bed made by my husband's late great-grandmother there are a few broken stitches, but the afghan is tough enough to withstand our tossing and turning and kicking it to the floor every night. This is not to say that crochet is better that same structure that makes the resulting fabric so sturdy can sometimes make it stiffer and denser than knitted fabric, which may be a bad thing depending on what you want to make. Knitted fabric typically has more stretch and give.
One of the greatest differences between crochet and knitting is that knitting can be done by machine, but crochet can't. True crochet stitches cannot be duplicated by a machine, making it a unique craft that can only be done by hand.
There really aren't many projects that are exclusive to either crochet or knitting. However, you are much more likely to find fine thread work done in crochet. In its early days, the craft of crochet was done in only in fine threads to produce lace, with tiny hooks. Since knitting needles simply don't run as small as crochet hooks do, lacey knitted pieces are usually made from very lightweight yarns as opposed to threads. And because crochet tends to produce a 'bumpier' fabric than knitting does, you see a lot more knitted socks than crocheted ones.
So which craft is better? NEITHER. Crochet and knitting are both wonderful needlecrafts that produce beautiful things. They both start with just some yarn and a little imagination, and the end result is something amazing they're just different paths to get to the finish line. It's all a matter of personal preference. It's up to you to decide which one you prefer, or if you even have a preference now that you know the difference.
Here's a selection of some fantastic deviations in both knit and crochet.
and crocheted teddy blankie
Crochet scarf and wrist warmers
Crochet fuzzy monster bag
Knit dice bag
Crochet Molly Weasley sweater :thumb95035994: by
Knit Jayne Cobb hat (it's cunning!)
Crochet Faberge egg
Knit sheep plushie
Crochet Care Bear
Crochet drider plushie