Sewing, crocheting, and knitting are three different methods of working with fibers and fabrics to make a finished garment, a blanket, hat, and just about anything you can think of that protects and covers everything from people to furniture. Oftentimes, people who sew also knit and/or crochet as all of these activities intersect with one another.
Knitting and crocheting are different from sewing, and you don’t usually sew something that’s been knitted or crocheted with a sewing machine. Each type of fiber artistry is capable of producing something utilitarian or fancy, but they’ll all look different from each other when finished. So, what’s the difference between these three fiber arts?
The primary difference is how an item is brought into existence. All three require the use of a pattern in most cases, but sewing uses material while knitting and crochet use yarn and thread.
Density and stretch are also distinctive features of each type of needlecraft as well. You can sew something from a densely knit fabric or woven material, but you can’t easily achieve that tight knit through the use of needles. A finished crochet piece has very little give and typically looks like delicate lace when finished.
Here’s a look at the differences between sewing, knitting, and crocheting.
Sewing involves the use of a small, sharp needle and thread to bind together two pieces of fabric in a specific progression. That is, you use a hand needle and thread or a sewing machine to stitch together fabric that’s been cut to shape according to a pattern.
A pair of scissors and needles are the primary tools needed for sewing, the same as crocheting and knitting. How you use them for sewing is very different from how they’re used for the other two needlecrafts.
Just about any material can be sewn together with needle and thread to create a finished garment or item. Leather, woven fabric, stretch knits, rubber, and more are all materials commonly used in sewing.
You start the sewing process by picking out a pattern, getting the required yardage that’s indicated by the pattern, then laying out the pattern on top of the material. in a way that saves you material. Once the pattern is laid out, you cut the pieces out and sew them together according to the pattern instructions.
Once you’ve finished putting the pieces together in the proper order, you wind up with a garment or item that can be worn according to its purpose such as a shirt or pair of pants.
The act of knitting involves using needles of a specific diameter and selecting the right type of yarn that can be knit with said specific pair of needles. Knitting needles are typically long pieces of plastic or wood that are blunt at one end and pointed at the other.
Yarn is the most common fiber used in knitting, although you can knit just about anything into a finished product provided it can be turned into strips. Knitting is a form of knotting that uses one needle to cast on the yarn in knots with the length being used to hold the work in progress together.
You begin a knitting project by picking a pattern for a garment, blanket or hat, or anything that suits your fancy, and buy the yarn that’s appropriate for the pattern. Most people start out learning how to knit a scarf to learn the basic knitting stitches and get something that’s useful when it’s finished.
Knitting consists of a back and forth process that’s known as casting on stitches. You hold the needles in both hands and pull the yarn from its skein as you progress. Eventually, you’ll run out of yarn or need to switch colors, but that’s easily done by drawing up another length of yarn from the skein and continuing on with the knitting process.
Sometimes you need to block each section of the item after it’s been knitted to get it into the correct shape for the final step of sewing the pieces together. The act of sewing the pieces together consists of using a type of needle that’s intended for the purpose and using the yarn from the skein as the thread to connect everything.
Crochet is a needle art that is sometimes used for making garments but is more frequently used to create bed covers, doilies, afghans, and other decorative items. A crocheted item resembles lace and is typically more textural due to the fact that crochet consists of making rows of loops, then connecting them together.
The act of crocheting a piece requires the use of a single needle with a hook at the end. Like knitting, the diameter of the crochet needle dictates the size of the loops that are made.
Another difference is the type of thread used for crocheting. It’s a lot thicker than sewing thread, but much thinner than yarn, although you can use yarn for crocheting larger pieces.
A basic crochet loop is very easy to start and turn into a row that is built upon with another row of loops. You can learn how to do the basic crochet stitch with knitting yarn and your fingers before working with a crochet hook and thread.
Begin by making a loop in the yarn and tie it closed, then hold in one hand. Take the other end of the yarn and make another loop, then pull the loop through your initial loop. Keep doing this until you have a row of loops, then stop and return in the opposite direction with the same action of looping through the existing row of loops.
After practicing how to make crochet loops, you can apply what you’ve learned to the use of a crochet hook and thread. Instead of using your fingers to pull the thread through the initial loop, use the crochet hook to draw it through.
Once you get the basic loop down, you can start learning how to read crochet patterns to create beautiful, lacey pieces that you can wear or display in your home.