Differences between Crochet and Knitting

I often heard people asking the above question, “What are the differences between crocheting and knitting?”

For a novice, you may not know the difference between the two and wonder which one is good to start with.

The simplest answer to this would be: one using a hooked needle and the other uses two needles without hook. That is as far as from the appearance point of view. In terms of product, you could see the difference between the two if you have worked on any of them before.

My History with Crochet

I started learning crochet since I was very young, at the age of around 10. I vaguely recalled learning the basic crochet technique from aunt: the simple chain, single crochet and double crochet, fan shape, etc. And thereafter, improvise my own design by combining the different techniques to make various products like: my own scarf, water bottle cover, motif, cushion cover, scarf and many other products. I cannot remember why I like this skill so much. When I first started work, I learn knitting from a yarn shop owner. I was amazed by the sweater produced by knitting and got myself hooked onto it. At that time, I thought knitting was for sweater and crocheting was for motifs. If you want products that comes with flowery ’ holes’,  lots of see through in between yarns, you would rather choose crocheting than knitting. If you want tighter texture with little see through, you rather choose knitting than crocheting. This only falls true if you are limited to only knowing a few patterns for knitting and crochet.

My Likes & Dislikes

Throughout the years, I have dropped off the passion of knitting and crocheting on and off. I have picked up other interest like cross stitching, hardanger and paper clay making, etc. For the past few years, I restarted aggressively back to crocheting. I did lots of products: from motifs, scarves, dolls, cushion covers, handbags to big project s like blouses, shrug, sweaters, skirts, afghan, curtain etc. It was during this period I realized that crochet could really do all kinds of wonders. Most of the thing that knitting could do crocheting could follow too. I’ve discovered lots of crochet pattern made for sweater, scarf, socks etc that looks very much like knitting.

I always find that using one hooked needle is much easier to handle than working with two unhooked needles. This is because at any one time I only need to care about one open loop rather than a row of open loops. I’m sure most of the knitters experienced the occasion of dropping one of the stitches in a row. Re-hook back the dropped stitch to me is a terrible nightmare, especially if you are dealing with yarn that has difficulty showing a clear pattern. Although they said knitting would be much faster than crocheting, especially come to make large projects like a sweater, I rather stick to crocheting. I could concentrate on one open stitch at a time.

The Future

Throughout the years, I have sourced many books on crochet patterns. Found that the fundamental patterns have been around for many years and crochet designers keep revamping new design out of old patterns. However, crochet has been recently put on runway and became part of fashion icons these days. You could see different kinds of fashionable wears that ladies love to wear. Hand knitted products no longer only belongs to old folks sitting on armchairs making for their grandchildren, children, friends and relatives. It became more commercialize and you could see more people willing to buy handmade products online.

I hope these hobbies could be more appreciated in future. Long live crochet and knit!

Sourcing for Yarn in the Tropical Country

I came across a few people asking what kind of yarn to use for my crochet doll and decided to write down my point of view on yarn selection.

In the tropical country that I stayed, we seldom has the need to wear thick clothing that made from pure wool or fur. So when I select yarn for wearing purposes, I will try to avoid such thick yarn and choose more cooling yarn that made from cotton or bamboo material. This types of yarns are quite hard to come by in the context of my small country, Singapore, whereby it is hard to find the group of knitters and crocheters who are willing to spend time to knit a cotton made blouse or skirt to be wear under the bright Sun. However, there are still people willing to make a pure wool scarf, pullover or sweater only to be used in an air-conditioned room, when travel overseas or send it overseas as presents.

As for me to find a better source to find cooling yarn for me will be via internet. Usually yarns sold on internet could be in quite a reasonable price, provided the currency conversion is acceptable and the shipment cost is low. However, to ship yarn that sold in US or Canada to Asia is still pretty expensive and may easily cost double or triple its original price. I have also tried to buy yarn from countries that were closer to me like China, Japan or Australia. For Australia, we have a great store here, Spotlight, which provides the supplies. I hope we have more locals here who love this hobby and so increase the yarn sale which in turns trigger Spotlight to ship more varieties of yarn here. As for China I may not want to venture into it due to its quality. I heard some purchase cases that state what you see on internet may not be what you get at times. Good yarn from Japan is pretty expensive. We do have a crafty shop over in Singapore that sell Japanese yarn, called Golden Dragon. Some of the yarn price as compare to overseas is better and some could be pretty expensive.

Once a while I would pamper myself to buy some ‘expensive’ yarn over the internet. The price stated on internet is not that expensive. However after taking into account of the shipment cost, it becomes. But still I prefer to get some yarn over the internet to explore other types of yarn. Sometimes I really envy people who stay in seasoned countries who could make all kinds of products from different types of yarn. You won’t have the problem of not finding any occasion to wear them.

Back to choosing yarn material for making amigurumi dolls. Usually you don’t want to spend too much on doll materials unless you are make a doll for a person with sensitive condition like asthma or similar. So I choose 100% acrylic yarn. As for size of the yarn, I usually choose 8 ply yarn that uses 4 to 4.5mm crochet hook sizes to make dolls that are taller than 10cm. At times I would need to double up the yarn to make something bigger. My 16 inches tall hobbes are made from two strand of 8 ply yarn.

So no matter what type of yarns you used, it is worth to take the risk to try it out. It may not be suitable to a project you choose in the first place. Then try it on other projects. The more you try out the more experience you will get and who knows the outcome may be something out of a surprise and a fulfilling one.