Category Archives: Knitting

Crochet vs. Knitting Differences

If you’ve found yourself inexplicably drawn to the yarn section of craft stores, you may be looking to learn the differences between crocheting vs. knitting.

crochet vs knitting

Some crocheters also knit and knitters have been known to crochet. There’s a benefit to being able to do both, though some crafters prefer to just do one. I’ve been crocheting for 18 years and knitting for 14. Over the years, I’ve found benefits for each.

Knitting and crocheting are different, though are the same at their core: You’re creating something from yarn and a needle or hooks by following a pattern. Learning both will allow you to choose which is better for your particular project whether you’re making a dog sweater or a tea cozy.

The table below outlines basic differences I’ve found between knitting and crocheting. You may have found the opposite, this is what I’ve experienced over the years. Review to learn if you’d make a coordinated crocheter or knowledgeable knitter.

Crochet vs. Knitting: A Comparison
Crocheting Knitting
Tools One Hook & Yarn Two Needles & Yarn
Basic Stitch Motion Loops & Knots Loops
Active Stitches at Any Time 1 All
Number of Basic Stitches 10 2
Fabric Texture Coarse & Thick Smooth & Flat
Construction Method Spacial: Turns or Irregular Shapes Linear:Limited by Loops on Needles
Correcting Mistakes Easy: Rip Out Stitches Medium: Unknit without Dropping Stitches
Flexibility in Patterns High: Easy to Free-Form Medium: Harder to Free-Form
Average Project Time Medium: Stitches are Bigger & Projects Work up Faster High
Yarn Needed More: Crocheting Takes 1/3 more Yarn Less
Availability of Patterns Medium High
Best Used For Wearable Accessories (Hats or Scarves) & Afghans Sweaters & Wearables
Ease of Learning Depends on you! Depends on you!

Leave a comment of what you think. What have you found to be better for your crafting: knitting or crocheting?

Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival: 2014

Last weekend (March 14 – 16th), I attended the 10th annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival in Cranberry, PA. I’d heard of the festival before, but was never in town to attend. The festival attracted over 70 different booths and some big name teachers. I talked to the coordinator, Barb, and she said there were well over 3,000 attendees. Not too shabby for a knitting festival!

Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival

From my perspective, the festival was largely geared towards knitters, but I didn’t mind – it seems to be the preferred craft among fiber artists (don’t worry, crochet, you’ll always be my first love). I’d say about 90% of the classes offered were knitting; only a few were crochet. Vendors also offered knitting patterns and had knitted samples of sweaters, blankets and accessories, but only a few crochet items.

I purchased a two day pass for Friday and Sunday and zipped up to the festival after work on Friday to check things out. I got there for the last two hours and spent the time looking at vendor booths and talking with other crafters.

Neutral Yarn

On Sunday, however, the real fun began.

I’d purposefully signed up for “Borderline Personalities: Knitting on the Edge” for the sole reason that it was taught by my all-time crochet hero, Lily Chin. While Lily is a master crocheter, she’s probably better known for her skills with knitting needles. Meeting her was a DREAM COME TRUE. She’s a feisty 5-foot tall woman who doesn’t take crap from anyone. She kept the class moving, called out students who were knitting the wrong thing, yet was personable and talked with me at the end.

An exclusive, inside look at what a knitting class looks like (I know you’ve wondered).

Lily doing what Lily does best - teachin' knittin' class.

Lily doing what Lily does best – teachin’ knittin’ class.

The class was 3 hours long and the best $50 I’ve spent in a while.

Lily Chin and Me. I know, RIGHT?! Lily the crochet master Chin.

Selfie with Lily Chin. I know, RIGHT?! Lily ‘the crochet master’ Chin.

I didn’t end up purchasing anything at the festival (I’m on a yarn sanction), though I did pick up a mannequin bust for $55. I envision using it to 1. display scarves rather than begging my roommate to model and 2. taking it to craft shows as part of my display.

The other notable part of the weekend was getting to see two Olympic sweaters from Sochi. One of the few things I love more than the Olympics is knitting, so to see both combined in the sweaters for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies was a dream come true. (I hope my true excitement is coming through – If not, maybe this picture will convey my love for the games.)

20140314_173259

 Opening & Closing Ceremony Knit Sweaters from the 2014 Sochi Olympics

Opening & Closing Ceremony Knit Sweaters from the 2014 Sochi Olympics

Overall, great weekend, even though I didn’t spend much time at the festival. Next year, I’d like to go with other people who knit/crochet because you can only walk around a large hall filled with yarn so many times by yourself before you look creepy. If you get the chance and are in town for next year’s Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Fest, definitely make it a priority to go!

Trying Our Hand at Arm Knitting #Pun

About once a month, my coworkers get together for “Craft Night”. Each girl takes a turn hosting and all from the office are invited. We’ll sometimes work on a joint craft like glitter pumpkins, or sometimes we’ll bring individual projects to make. Wine and cheese are necessities. 

This month, we chose to test our hands (literally) at arm knitting.

Arm Knitting

The inspiration came from Vickie Howell’s project.  The week leading up to Craft Night, Pinterest links were shared and talks of yarn combinations took place on the way to (and sometimes during) meetings.

Arm knitting is relatively new to the craft world and pretty simple to pick up. It’s gained popularity through its instant gratification and short supply list – all you need are your hands and some yarn. The craft uses similar principles as ‘real knitting’, so those familiar with needles will have an easy time grasping the concept. The entire group (Jenna and Dani, we’re looking at you…) made great scarves.

The group learned by watching Vickie’s how-to arm knit video (highly recommended) and by the end of the night (about 45 mins?), each of us had a lovely, hand-knit scarf.

The rockiest parts of the project were getting started, though once we learned how and what to loop and over which hand and when, it all came together. The key, we learned, was all in the yarn. A few strands of super chunky strands made the best scarves.

If you’re thinking about arm knitting, go for it! Call up a couple of friends and learn together. It’s a great wintery night activity to do with a group.

The following day, we wore our scarves to the office after making feeble, though sincere promises the night before, “Of course I’ll wear mine if you wear yours!” Coworkers complimented and boys belittled and we were proud. We, the women of DSG, had conquered arm knitting!

What’s next on the list?

Katniss Vest/Cowl from Catching Fire

They say books are better than movies, and I’d agree. But I’ll be the first to admit:  when reading the Hunger Games trilogy, I never would have dreampt up this knit vest deign Katniss wears in Catching Fire.

katniss-cowl-vest


I was recently commissioned by a friend to make the “Huntress Vest” Katniss wore for a brief second. The part-cowl, part-vest was only in one scene, but crocheters and knitters were quick to draft patterns to replicate the design. Depending on the look you want, you can find free and paid patterns for Katniss’ vest on Etsy and Ravelry,

My friend thought his wife would like this chunky version of the cowl by TwoOfWands.  It was made in my favorite yarn (Lionbrand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick) so I was looking forward to the project. I mean let’s be real, who wouldn’t want to look like Katniss?

Crochet Katniss Vest

Channeling Katniss with a side-braid… Not my best look.

Katniss Cowl Back

Open on the left side; arm hole on the right.

Crochet Katniss Vest

Knit panel over the right shoulder; the rest of the cowl is crocheted.

This pattern is clearly written and was a fun project amidst the many Christmas projects I had going on. It’s 4 parts crochet and 1 part knit; the chunky yarn helps it work up quickly. It’s made in 5 separate pieces which makes the construction a little tricky and since it’s not a normal sweater or vest, I needed a couple tries to piece it together. Does it swoop left then right or right then left?

Project Details: 

  • Pattern ($5): Katniss Cowl by TwoOfWands on Etsy
  • Yarn: 4 skeins of Lionbrand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in Grey Marble
  • Needles/Hooks: Size US 19 knitting needles and P and J crochet hooks
  • Size: One size fits all; larger than Katniss’ original cowl
  • Modifications: Used seed stitch for the knit panel instead of the pattern instructions; found I liked it better than the chevron pattern that was called for
  • Favorite part: The wonderfully big cowl neck
  • Odd elements: Working two separate panels for the main “swoop” piece when I thought one would have worked. Also using single crochet to seam the pieces together rather than stitching them with a darning needle. It makes the seams visible which is a ‘look’, but I’m not sure it would have been my first choice.
  • Make again: For sure! Like the pattern and the detailed instructions

Knit Katniss Vest Cowl

During the brief time I had the cowl/vest on to take pictures, I realized just how warm it was. I’m sure my friend’s wife will like it. Down with the Capital… Katniss and Peeta forever.

Knit Baby Sweater – Baby Sophisticate II

It’s been 3 years since I’ve made the “Baby Sophisticate” knit sweater, a free pattern on Ravelry that has over 5,600 projects. People like this design because it’s easy yet interesting, classic yet works up quickly.

knitnewbornsweater

I especially like the button and roll-collar details. You knit using size 8 needles so it’s warm without having painstakingly small stitches (goodbye size 3’s).

My college friend, Blake Imeson, runs a web design business called Lime Cuda, and we keep in touch. He and his wife recently gave birth to a beautiful little boy, Wesley, and I’ve been meaning to make them something. Wesley is just about 5 months old so I sized up for this sweater and made it to fit 6 months – 1 year (pattern is also available in newborn size). Hopefully he’ll be able to get some good use out of it.

Blake, I’m sorry if you’re seeing this post before the sweater’s shipped. Act surprised 🙂

knitbabysweater

Project Details: 

  • Free Pattern: Baby Sophisticate
  • Knitting Needles: size 8
  • Yarn: 1 skein (about 200 yards) of Red Heart Soft
  • Time: Mmmm… maybe 5-6 hours?

knittedbabysweater

Sweater Yarn

Baby Things: Crochet Hat & Knit Sweater

Two of my coworkers are having little baby boys!  They’re not due til the fall, but I figured I’d get a head start on things.  First up is a little guy’s crochet hat that’s modeled after the bigger men’s free crochet hat pattern I posted a few weeks ago.

Crochet a Hat

I got this yarn from Jo-Ann Fabrics and was planning to use it to knit something.  It’s one of those self-striping yarns, but it is painfully, painfully thin.  After spending 30 minutes trying to make something using double pointed needles, I just wasn’t feeling it.  So I got out my crochet hook and made this hat.

While watching a Netflix documentary.

On a Saturday night.

My life is riveting, I know.

Baby Crochet Hat

Baby Crochet Hat

Size G Crochet Hook

FPDC: Front Post Double Crochet

Pattern has a few small adaptations from the original hat, but I’d be more than happy to write a specific pattern for this baby-sized hat if you’d like.   Let me know.

Next up is a half-made baby sweater, modeled after this knitted baby sweater I made two years ago.  It’s a free pattern on Ravelry called “Baby Sophisticate” and has become my go-to baby sweater (the 3,359 people on Ravelry that have made it agree). It’s a classic.

Knit Baby Cardigan

I realized I never posted WIP (work-in-progress) photos of things I make since I am an impatient crocheter/ knitter and tend to whip things out, but I thought I would share my mid-project progress.  Yesterday, I finished the body and have the sleeves and collar left to complete.  Should be a good project for later this week.

Knit Baby Sweater

Knitting

Oh, and just to prove that I’m not being completely lazy this weekend, just know that I’m going to Cedar Point today.  And using my SEASON PASS.  So no pity for the sad, Saturday-night crocheter here!

What have you made this weekend?  I’d love to see what you’re working on.  Do you have any good baby patterns?  I’m thinking maybe some booties to go with the hat or even some to match the sweater.  Hmmm… new projects brewing already…