Crochet Vs. Knitting: An Underdog Story

With the explosion of interest in knitting over recent years, we avid crocheters are left to wonder why our craft hasn’t quite kept up with the hype. When I visited my local library to find some new crochet patterns, I only managed to pull a few leaflets from between stacks of knitting books and patterns. Several knitting friends of mine playfully scoff at my love of crochet, without really knowing why. The truth is, crochet has been the underdog from the very beginning.

When crochet appeared on the scene, common Europeans were creating lacy imitations of the clothes they couldn’t afford. Some sold their work as a means for providing for their families. Crochet was scoffed at by the wealthy as a commoner’s craft. Worse still, some crochet experts claim that the ladies who worked for one lace manufacturer were supplementing their income on street corners – ever wonder where the term “hooker” came from? It’s a theory put forth in the Encyclopedia of Crochet, by Donna Kooler.

Somehow, this tainted opinion of crochet has persisted through the years, denying an intricate craft the appreciation it deserves. Most recently, crochet enthusiasts have started to defend their craft against the deluge of knitting patterns and weekly knitting circles. More and more crochet magazines are coming into print, and in the yarn aisles of most craft stores, it seems to be a pretty fair fight. Yet maybe some of this is happening because knitters have decided to cross the divide to see just what crocheting has to offer.

Are two needles better than one hook? Crochet does have some advantages over its dignified cousin. It can be more beginner-friendly, since many find it hard to clutch two needles at once. While it’s just as easy to create warm, solid afghans and sweaters, crochet easily lends itself to embellishment, providing lots of ways to dress up finished projects or even other items such as fleece blankets or store-bought blouses. Some might argue that there’s more creative license with crochet, and a wider variety of stitch variations. While this would be hard to prove, it’s still apparent that the patterns created with one little hook can seem endless.

It’s a battle that may never see an end. Crocheters stand, hooks at the ready, to perpetuate their skills amidst the nationwide murmur, “knit one, purl two.” Perhaps one day, crafters will come together and appreciate the finer points of each method, because after all, the fun is not the product, but the process.

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