Most people experienced in both knitting and crochet will tell you crochet is much faster than knitting. In fact, one of the things beginners love most about crochet is how quickly you can complete projects.
So why is crochet faster than knitting? Crochet is generally faster than knitting because the stitches are larger. Crochet is also easier to learn and we all tend to be better (and faster) at easier tasks. Finally, fixing mistakes in crochet can be faster than with knitted projects.
The biggest difference in speed comes down to the stitches themselves. In crochet, you use one hook to tie a series of connected knots. In knitting, you use two needles to create rows of stitches. The two processes are similar, but the basic stitches of crochet are larger than in knitting. Once you learn the basic stitches, there are ways to speed up your crochet projects even faster.
Crochet Stitches Are Larger
Crochet projects tend to work faster because the stitches are a bit larger than in knitting. There are lots of resources online to learn about “gauge” or the number of stitches per inch. But in general, if you’re using the same yarn to both knit or crochet a project, you will need to make more individual knit stitches than crochet stitches to cover the same space. Fewer stitches equal faster speed to make a project.
Measuring Your Speed
Measuring the speed of knitting and crochet can be done in a few ways. Some people measure speed by how long it takes to create a four by four square of stitches, called a swatch. Using the same yarn, time yourself how long it takes to knit a swatch and then how long it takes to crochet a swatch.
Another and maybe more practical way to measure the speed of knitting vs. crochet is by how long it takes to make a completed project. For example, using the same yarn it may take 4.5 hours to crochet vs. 10 hours to knit a similarly-sized blanket. This can be helpful to know if you’re completing a project on a deadline, like for a gift or a special holiday.
In general, the longer you crochet and the more practice you have over time, the faster you’ll get.
Why Crocheting is Faster To Learn than Knitting
Another reason crochet is faster than knitting is that many people find it is easier to learn. When knitting, two needles are used to form one of two types of stitches (the knit stitch and the purl stitch) from which all knitting patterns are made. It can take more time to learn the placement of the yarn and with double the equipment, it can take more hand coordination to make stitches appear even.
In crochet, basic stitches like the chain stitch or the slip stitch can be learned in just a few minutes. Some people find it takes less coordination to master these stitches than knitting. There are five or six basic crochet stitches from which hundreds of different combinations of crocheted fabrics can be made.
Another difference in the method of crochet vs. knitting is how new stitches are added. When knitting, all the stitches in a row are held on the needle and considered “active” stitches. Each new loop is added to an existing loop, hanging like a “shower curtain” off the needle. For large projects like afghans and blankets, knitting requires special stitch counters or circular needles. These can hold lots of individual stitches; the bigger the project the more stitches it takes. Knitting requires counting the exact number of stitches, too many or too few and the project may become distorted.
Beginners may find crochet easier in that there’s less need to keep track of stitches. Once a stitch is added to the project it is dropped from the hook. There are only one or two “active” stitches to keep track of at a time. You simply add on to the project from the last existing stitch, “chaining” the stitches together.
Pausing Crochet Projects is Easier
Crochet projects can also be faster in that they require less planning if you have to set a project aside. With only one “active” stitch, all that is required to set a project aside is to leave a stitch counter in the last stitch. The crochet hook is then free to be used for any other project.
Knitting requires all the stitches to be held on the needle you are using. This means that a stitch stopper is needed to prevent the stitches from dropping off the needle, and a stitch counter is needed to ensure the project can be started back up in the same place. Because the stitches remain on the needle, it cannot be used for another project without risk of it unraveling. Taking stitches off to free up a needle is risky; when you pick the project back up later, you need to carry on in the exact same way. For a beginner, it can take more time to start and stop a knitting project than a crochet project.
Crochet is More Forgiving of Mistakes
Another reason crochet is faster than knitting for beginners is how you handle mistakes. In either type of project, mistakes are inevitable. How much they impact a project and how quickly you can correct them is very different in knitting than in crochet.
When making knitted fabrics, mistakes can show up more clearly or be more harmful to the finished product. A dropped stitch (one that came off the needle without being stitched) can leave a hole in the middle of a project or worse, cause distortion or shrinking in a project. The same can be said for accidentally adding a stitch or using the wrong stitch in the middle of a row. We’ve all seen those handmade sweaters that bulge in the wrong spots or seem lop-sided. That’s a product of mistakes multiplying in the finished product.
In crochet, if you miss a stitch or drop one, it is oftentimes less obvious in a completed project. In some cases, you can keep on crocheting without any issues in the integrity of the fabric. If you pick up a stitch in the wrong spot, depending on the pattern you might not notice it as a mistake at all.
It is Faster to Fix Mistakes in Crochet
When you do have to correct a mistake, it requires much more time and attention in knitting than in crochet to correct. In knitting, you have to remove all of the loops back onto the other needle. “Backtracking” as it’s called, requires a lot of care in order not to create more mistakes while you’re trying to correct the first one.
Correcting mistakes while crocheting is quicker. Remove the hook and pull the yarn out until you reach the mistake. Rewind the loose yarn back onto the ball, and then go right back to creating stitches.
What is the fastest crochet stitch?
The fastest crochet stitch is generally thought to be the one you’ve practiced the most. After several minutes of repeating the same stitch, your brain commits movements to “motor memory,” allowing you to crochet faster. The easier the crochet stitch, the easier it will be to commit to motor memory.
Then consider the height of the stitch. Some crochet stitches are taller than others. Taller stitches will add more length to your finished project faster than a shorter, or textured stitch might (popcorn, bobbles, etc.)
Among experienced crocheters, the fastest stitches thought to be the double crochet stitch and the half double crochet stitch. When crocheted using all different types of yarn, these two stitches are both tall and easy to crochet.
What crochet projects are the fastest to make?
Similar to using the fastest crochet stitch for a project, selecting a pattern with easy stitches and fewer steps will make the project faster to create. So will selecting yarns that “work up” quickly into a finished project.
While the type of stitch is most important, choosing a project that uses thicker yarn will generally be faster than projects with delicate yarns or crochet threads. Beginners may want to start with bulky or super-weight yarns. At a minimum, read the label and choose at least the thickness of “worsted weight” yarn to learn.
Why is speed so important?
As you learn a new craft, much of the enjoyment comes from completing the first few projects. Crochet has the benefits of being easy to learn and forgiving of mistakes. That means the first few projects you create can come quickly and it’s easier to advance into more complicated projects. Knitting moves more slowly, giving beginners more opportunities for failure and frustration before early projects are completed.
That being said, most people choose yarn crafts because they find them relaxing. Placing pressure on the amount of time it takes or needing to be “the fastest” can take the enjoyment out of the process. Relax and enjoy the process. Enjoy the quality of the final product, no matter how long that takes.