Today we talk about knitting vs. crocheting. The big difference is crocheting is done with one hook and knitting is done with two or more needles. Crocheting has many different stitches and knitting has two. Both have many, many patterns you can make from the stitches and sometimes they look alike. Both make dimensional cloth that is flexible and warm.
Knitting is believed to have originated in the Middle East. In the 5th century, wool traders are thought to have brought the craft to Europe. The oldest piece of knitting is from Egypt and made of cotton. Items with Arabic writing or symbols to ward off evil have been found in the middle east. In the 14th century fishermen used wool to make warm and weatherproof sweaters. Knitting machines were invented by the 16th century. They were first used to knit hosiery for the wealthy. You can find more history information here: The Sustainable Fashion Collective
Knitting is a continuously interlinking series of loops using needles. Two, three, or more needles are used to interlock the yarn from one needle to the other. The new row of loops secure the top row of loops hanging from the needles. The stitches used have remained the same over time – knit, purl, increasing, decreasing, casting on, casting off. The creative use of these stitches is what has given us many, many patterns. The needles used can be straight or circular. Straight needle knitting will produce a flat piece – afghans, sweater fronts and backs. Circular needles can produce a tubular piece – stocking hats. Knitting allows the cloth to be elastic and warm.
Today, knitting needles are made from bamboo, metal, and plastic. I prefer bamboo because the yarn doesn’t slip so easily off the points. I am a very novice knitter and my stitches are uneven and too loose or too tight. Talk to Jen if you have knitting questions! Needle sizes describe the thickness of the needle. The larger the number, the thicker the needle. They also come in different lengths.
The flat pieces can be done in squares that are joined, medallion style, or rows across. There are millions of patterns that can be made with these few stitches. I found an awesome online knitting reference library – Open Culture. They have books and patterns from 1849-2012. Many patterns are classics that can still be used. Some not so much. Even their discussions about the patterns available are not always serious.
“Even without step-by-step instructions, the pattern envelopes’ cover images can still provide inspiration…and no small degree of amusement. Some enterprising librarian should get cracking on a sub-collection, Fashion Crimes Against Male Knitwear Models, 1960-1980”
Go have a look here - Open Culture
Other places to learn to knit and for patterns:
All Free Knitting
Crocheting is still pulling yarn through a previously made loop. The difference is that the crocheted piece is not hanging from a needle or the crochet hook. The piece being made is free standing. The crochet hook usually pulls the yarn through the top of the previous row of stitches.
The history of crocheting, unlike knitting, is unknown. The name came from the French word for "hook" – croche. There are examples that show up in Europe of the 1800s. However, where it came from and when is unknown. Speculations are many. It many have come from China, the Middle Ease, South America, who knows where. There is even speculation that in the 1600s it was known as “nun’s work” in Italy. It was the making of lace for church adornments. Some think tambouring was the precursor to crocheting. It was using very fine needles with hooked ends and thread on a tightly, stretched fabric background, and found in China. This resembles crocheting on fabric or embroidery. Some think that crocheting came from taking this and not using the background cloth – air crocheting. In Europe, in the early 1800s, crocheting was given a tremendous boost by Mlle. Riego de la Branchardiere. She was best known for her ability to take old-style needle and bobbin lace designs and turn them into crochet patterns that could easily be duplicated. She is sometimes credited with inventing Irish crocheting. Originally this was a method that resembled Venetian lace but was easier to do. It made its way to Ireland in the late 18th century. Irish crochet is a form of lace making that is also free form. Many Irish farmers were able to survive during the potato famine by making lace collars and cuffs to sell. Many of the rich in the United Stated had these items on their finest clothes.
More about Irish crocheting can be found here.
Patterns for Irish Crochet can be found here.
There are many places to find out more about crocheting:
The Spruce Crafts
Wool and the Gang
Unlike knitting, there are many stitches with crocheting. Chaining, single crochet, double crochet, treble crochet, half-double crochet are a few. These can be put together to make many, many patterns.
Crochet hooks are measured from small to large. They go by mm and by the letters of the alphabet. A G or H hook is a nice size to begin with when learning to crochet. They are made with the same materials as knitting needles - bamboo, metal, and plastic. Any of these work, it depends on what feels the best to you.
Tutorials and Patterns for crocheting can be found many places;
All Free Crochet
Gathered Granny Square Patterns
The Unraveled Mitten (A tutorial on how to read crochet patterns. The recommendations also work for reading knitting patterns.)
A couple of other places to look for tutorials and ideas -
my Pinterest page - Big Needles
Gathered Knitting and Crocheting
New in the store this week:
Beautiful safari prints from Dear Stella
More Surface blenders from Timeless Treasures (come see them in person, the pictures don't show you any color variations)
Some new patterns from QuiltFOX Designs
It's going to rain a lot this week. We need it! So watch your gardens grow and sew. Come see us for your supplies.
Happy sewing everyone,
Phyllis and the QA staff