Dawn Ask Martin compared and contrasted crochet and knitting for the Guild’s March program
Growing up with a mom who crocheted, it was natural that Dawn became a crocheter. However, deep down she always had the desire to learn to knit. Dawn now has become adept at both disciplines and was the perfect person to share them with us.
Knit and crochet are both ways to manipulate yarn to make fabric. Crochet stitches are added directly using a hook. Knitting holds live stitches on one of two needles.
As an interesting exercise, Dawn distributed groups of three swatches and challenged us to identify which ones were crocheted and which were knitted. Many of us were surprised to learn it wasn’t that easy. Crochet is much more than the traditional granny squares you may have pictured in your mind!
Knitting is often thought of as being used for clothing or socks that need to be drapey and fitted while crochet is considered more suitable for sturdy afghans and placemats. With the wide variety of yarns and crochet techniques available today, that might not always be the case. Dawn prepared an assortment of samples showing similar results using crochet and knitting.
The history of knitting may be traced back to Egypt in the eleventh century. Crochet is newer, making its appearance in the early 1800s. It was first known as shephard’s knitting and became a popular way to make lace without the use of bobbins.
Predating both crochet and knitting by two thousand years is Nalbinding. It was made using a large needle and single ply wool. The resulting fabric was thick and warm making it perfect for mittens, hats, and socks. We often associate this technique with Scandinavian countries. Dawn’s example of Nalbinding insulates her water bottle.
So which is better: crochet or knitting? If you ask Dawn, she would say it depends upon your personal preference and what outcome you wish to achieve. They can be used to complement each other in the same project. A knitted sweater can have a crocheted edging or embellishment. Crochet can be used for a quick and easy provisional cast on. Both have an important place in your toolbox. Why limit yourself to just one or the other?
Editor’s note: If you find yourself wanting to learn more about crochet, click here to find out how to take a class with Dawn.