Crochet: the new trend giving knitting a run for its money
Crochet seems to be everywhere in 2013/4, from catwalks to second-hand vintage shops.
Whether it’s a crochet white cardigan or a blue crochet hat, this trend has stuck and it’s accelerating.
However, many people are unsure of what crochet actually is – and yet others can’t tell the difference between crochet and its more established cousin, knitting. So what exactly makes crochet different from knitting?
What’s the difference between crochet and knitting?
This great guide from About.com sheds some light on the relationship between crochet and knitting. Essentially, there are many similarities between these two skills. They both use wool, and you can use both techniques to make hats, jumpers, scarves, blankets and other woollen garments. They also require patience, hand-eye coordination and precision. However, while knitters use pointed knitting needles, crocheters need a crochet hook. Additionally, knitting can be done by machine – especially when very fine woollen threads are required – but crochet is always done by hand.
Many people find crochet easier than knitting. That’s because, if you drop a stitch while knitting, the stitches below could unravel easily. However, crochet usually relies on one active loop. This is the only point at which stitches may unravel.
Often, people who knit and crochet both work from patterns. While these patterns differ in their structure, they are often for the same sort of garments. So whether you choose to crochet or knit a new hand is entirely down to you and your preferred technique. If you have been knitting for many years, you may find it difficult to switch to crochet. Similarly, if you have found knitting difficult to take up in the past, crochet could be the ideal alternative. You simply need to play around with both forms to decide which suits you best.
Learning how to crochet
If you’re trying to learn how to crochet, there is a wealth of online resources at your disposal. Vogue Knitting’s crochet guides are detailed and comprehensive, and a great place to start if you’re a beginner. Crafty blog The Making Spot has a great how-to crochet article with illustrative pictures. And if you’d rather learn by reading a book, How to Crochet by Sally Harding is a handy starting point.
Once you’ve got the basics right, make sure you look up the fantastic tutorials at Simply Crochet magazine’s online home. There’s a range of great advice here, including tips for left-handed crocheters and a guide to Tunisian crochet, which contains aspects of both conventional crochet and knitting. There’s also a US and UK conversion chart, so you can decipher abbreviations on crochet patterns from either side of the Atlantic.
If you’d prefer to learn with people around you, why not look for a crochet club in your local area or start your own? Sometimes it’s easier to pick up a skill in a group, when you can each assess each other’s creations and share tips and advice. If you have a friend, family member who is already a crocheter, ask them to take the lead and act as instructor until you’ve all got the hang of this neat little craft.
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