I’m a Knitter

I’m a knitter. Even close friends forget this. Primarily because I also crochet and am a crochet instructor at my local yarn shop. Knowing how to knit does not preclude knowing how to crochet and knowing how to crochet does not preclude knowing how to knit.

The other evening a lady in my social knitting group looked up, saw me knitting a sock, and asked, “When did you learn to knit?”  More often than not I’m knitting, not crocheting with the group. Just like at Crochet Club you’ll find me, well, um, crocheting.

When did handcrafters adopt this knitters vs. crocheters mentality? Why must one be better/easier/more acceptable than the other? Why is it assumed you do either one or the other?

Common questions I’m often asked at the shop:

  • Which is easier, knitting or crochet? Neither is easier. It’s all in perception. In general if you learn to knit first crochet seems more difficult. If you learn to crochet first knitting seems more difficult. I learned the basics of knitting at about age 7 from Crissie McBride, a dear friend of our family. Think of the stereotypical grandma – short, stout, grey hair in braids atop the head. Add to that a rich Scottish brogue and you have the picture of Crissie McBride. I knit rectangles for years until I discovered increases, decreases, and written patterns. I didn’t learn to crochet until I was about 13 years old. To say I was a tense crocheter would be an understatement. My first pair of baby booties would fit a doll. I made tiny little doilies; tiny, tiny, tiny little doilies. I never thought my crochet skills would equal my knitting skills. But now, with practice, I’m equally adept at both.
  • The followup question inevitably is, “Well, I’ve heard crochet is easier because it’s easier to take out if you’ve made a mistake.  Is this true?”  Again, it’s all about perception.  With crochet you only have one stitch at a time on your hook.  You also can pull out your work one stitch at a time.  You therefore have only one stitch to pick up when you’re ready to start again.  Seems pretty easy to correct a mistake especially when you compare it to knitting where you have many stitches on your needle at one time, have many stitches to take out, and many stitches to pick up to begin again.  Ah, but where is your mistake?  If it’s several rows down in your work while crocheting you have to take all of your work out down to the mistake to correct it.  Often in knitting you just have to drop the stitch off your needle directly above the mistake, allow it to run down to the mistake, make the correction, and repick up just that one stitch leaving the rest of your work intact.

I think it’s valuable to know how to do both.  It opens up your options.  There are more patterns for you to select from.  Want a drapier fabric?  Go with a knitting pattern.  Want a more structured fabric?  Go with a crochet pattern.  Want the best of both worlds?  Combine  knitting and crocheting in a project.    Check out these great sweaters from Finland that combine crocheted yokes and cuffs with knitted bodies and sleeves, gorgeous! http://www.tapestrycrochet.com/blog/?p=23

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