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Crochet vs. Knitting

Unraveling History

Recently, knitting and crocheting hobbies have been put back in the limelight not only in the arts and crafts world but by the fashion world as well. Materials used for this revived style of clothing have expanded to include modern options such as hemp, banana stalks and even very fine stainless steel thread for high fashion clothing. There is a belief that crochet is more free-form, allowing the crafter to take more liberties with their crochet patterns. Although, many will say that knitting can be worked the same. Experienced crafters can alternate back and forth between crocheting and knitting while appreciating the different textural qualities each technique offers.

Crochet & Pintuck Bed Skirt
Crochet Table Runner

Crochet

It is unknown exactly where crochet first originated, though we see a height in its popularity in Europe during the 19th century (the word crochet is derived from the French word for hook). Intricate patterns and details could be added to clothing and other garments, giving these items higher appeal when sold or traded. 

At the end of the 19th century and through the beginning of the 20th century, we begin to see elaborate Victorian textures created with crochet patterns. Many of the published patterns in circulation only included a drawing or image - no instructions - so you either faked it until you made it or created something new out of the inspirational pattern!

Hanging Crocheted Baskets

As the 20th century went on, crochet fell out of popularity because of global events - crochet was seen as frivolous and unnecessary as it was up against knitting, darning and practical repairs. Post-war, however, brought on an increase of leisure time in many households and crochet entered the fashion industry.

Today, because of the rise of  DIY projects and the interest in learning new hobbies, crocheting is still quite admired and widely practiced. Crafters use crochet hooks to create loops and patterns, which can turn into some great home accents or wearable accessories. 

Crochet Wire Basket

America's Lighthouses Coverlet Chebeague Lace Tier

Knitting

The oldest knitted artifacts known to humankind date back to 11th century Egypt, and through studying those and other knitted items it is believed that the origins of knitting are rooted in necessity - knitted fabrics help protect from exterior and outdoor elements. Knitting was an important skill throughout many cultures and locations, for example, the Scottish Isles, where knitted sweaters helped keep the fisherman warm and protected from the sea. 

Knitware has almost always been as fashionable as it has been practical, and the practice of knitting has been quite useful during times of war (clothing and accessories needed by soldiers and citizens) and hardship (the Great Depression). Like crochet, knitting has seen a surge of popularity due to DIY projects and the increased (resurfaced) desire to be less wasteful. 

When knitting intricate cable patterns, [two] cable needles often make the work easier to complete. A garter stitch creates a wavy appearance on both sides of the fabric, while a stockinette stitch can be used to create a fabric with one smooth side and one bumpy side. The smooth side features v-shaped knit stitches while the bumpy side features u-shaped purl stitches. In stockinette, the smooth side is often referred to as the "right side." Knitting can be a bit more difficult when you make a mistake or "drop a stitch," because it is not as easy to fix as the loops created in crochet patterns. Experienced knitters are able to use a crochet hook to pick up dropped stitches and work them back in.

What I Love Canvas Tote Potholder Loom Craft Kit