Fibre Feud: Knit vs Crochet (and their big comeback)
Bhakti Rupika Anand
In a world where artistry meets yarn, two contenders have emerged, knitting and crochet, with a rivalry more intense than a heated debate over the last skein of hand-dyed yarn. Let’s unravel this yarn-tangled tale and see what makes these seemingly similar crafts so different from each other.
Knitting is like that meticulous friend who plans every detail of a trip, from the flight to the color-coded itinerary. Just like any older sibling, it requires a lot of patience to get through (speaking from personal experience). Its smooth, V-shaped stitches create elegant, stretchy fabrics, perfect for everything; from comfy sweaters to intricate lacework. Knitters revel in the soothing rhythm of needles clicking away, like a knitting meditation retreat (with fewer mosquitos).
Crochet is the younger sibling: the wild child of the fibre arts world. With a single hook in hand, crocheters create textured, sculptural pieces that scream, “Look at me!”
While knitting quietly sips tea in the corner, crochet dances on tables and laughs too loudly. It’s like the rockstar of yarn crafts, and it knows it.
In recent years, crochet has become the darling of the DIY movement, with makers creating funky garments, adorable amigurumi, and even lifelike food (yes, you can crochet a burger, and it’s glorious). The charm of crochet? It’s an art form with an edge, perfect for anyone looking to express their individuality, one quirky stitch at a time.
How to piss-off a crocheter 1o1? Ask what they are knitting.
The basic supplies and the end products might be hard to differentiate between, that is really where the similarities end. The term Crochet comes from the word croc/croche, which means hook in french. Just like the name, crochet is done with one hook creating stitches one at a time, in both horizontal and vertical directions. Whereas knitting is done with two long straight needles, working with open stitches (loops) in the vertical direction.
While knitters argue that their two-needle technique creates a smoother, more elegant fabric, perfect for a cozy cardigan, crocheters do believe in ‘one hook to rule them all’- one hook for a small stuffed toy to a weighted blanket. As a crocheter myself, I might be slightly biased towards a hook, but knot really opposed knitting once in a while.
Let’s take a trip down the memory lane. Long before the age of smartphones and Netflix, people needed something to keep their hands busy. Enter knitting, which historians trace back to the Middle East around 1000 AD. Knitting needles made their debut, and the world was forever changed—or at least, much cozier.
Knitting dates back to the 11th century. The earliest evidence of knitting was found as fragments of hats, scarves and gloves in Egypt, then spreading to Europe via Spain and Italy. Before knitting, there was a needle technique called Nalbinding, which seems to be where knitting came from. Having always been associated with Grandmothers, many don’t know that knitting was actually done and commercialized by male guilds to make religious garments.
Crochet made its entry a couple of centuries later. The history of crochet is a bit like a tangled skein of yarn- unclear and endlessly fascinating. Many cultures have claimed their history with this craft but the true homeland is lost to time. Evidence of modern crochet can be traced as far back as the 17th century with solid evidence as a crochet pattern written in 1829 by Mademoiselle Riego de la Branchardiere.
But why has the world suddenly gone fibre arts-crazy?
Well, this isn’t the first time. During the world wars the ‘knitting craze’ swept across America being a symbol of patriotism and a way to support troops. Women knitted socks, sweaters, hats and scarves for soldiers and refugees. The crochet revival occurred in the 1960s and 1970s as part of the hippie movement, embraced as a form of self-expression and creativity. Colorful patterns and kaleidoscopic motifs became all the hype. Crochet also served as a platform for expressing political and social perspectives, including opposition to war and the promotion of feminist ideals.
In the 21st century, we have entered a world where screens have taken over our lives, there’s something undeniably satisfying about creating something tangible. It’s therapy without the couch, a Zen moment without the chanting, and the chance to turn a pile of yarn into a masterpiece.Everyone’s grandmother’s knitting club is now a hipster hangout, crafting wooly wonders that Instagrammers can’t resist sharing. Why the resurgence? Maybe it’s because in a world of chaos, we all need to be a little more cozy. As we all seek ways to reduce our carbon footprint, creating handmade, reusable items is not just trendy but also planet-friendly. Plus, if you’re going to wear a scarf, why not make it yourself and have a story to tell along with it?
Knitting and crochet are more than just hobbies. They are forms of art that have a rich history, a vibrant present, and a promising future. So, whether you choose to knit or crochet (or both, because why not?), you’re part of a wooly revolution that’s taking the world by storm, one stitch at a time. So, grab your needles or hooks and let’s keep the fibre arts party going!