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  • Writer's pictureLucy Duffy

Knitting or Crochet, is one better than the other?

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

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A close up image of knitting in progress.

It's a question that's probably as old as the two crafts but why?

Should we really feel that we "have" to choose one over the other? Don't both have pro's & cons?

Clearly, I'm a fan of both. So, my opinion might be biased which is why I've done a little research on the topic & in this post I'm going to share my unbiased conclusions with you.

A crochet hook, yarn & a "work in progress"

In this post we will look at:

First, what are the benefits?

Knitting & crochet have both been shown to have positive effects on mental and physical health, including reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, but lets look at how.

A sense of accomplishment

The first benefit that you can get from either craft is the sense of accomplishment that you get when you finish a project, boosting your mood & self-esteem. Both knitting & crocheting can be challenging at times, requiring concentration, patience & occasionally frustration. With practice & determination though, you can master the techniques & create beautiful, even delicate items. I mean, you start with a ball of yarn & end up with a usable item - it doesn't matter if it's a coaster or cardigan - you made it! Honestly, I still fell that same boost of confidence every single time I finish a project. That "I made this" feeling is pretty hard to beat!

Another way that you'll get that same feeling of accomplishment is when you hand over something unique, made with your own hands to a friend or loved one. When you see the appreciation they have for that gift, you can't help but glow from the inside. 😊

Creativity & Self-expression

The second benefit that is also gained from either craft is the ability to create unique, handmade items that express your personal style & creativity. There are endless possibilities in terms of color, texture, and design in either craft, making it easy to create unique & personal pieces.

An image of brightly coloured knitting

This doesn't only apply if you're "free-styling" because even if you're following a pattern, it's a pattern that you've chosen, using yarn that you chose, in colours that you like. So either way you are creating the things that you want to wear or surround yourself with.

This also applies when you're making something to gift. You can make something that truly "fits" the person or people that you're making it for in terms of style, colour & even personality, making it a truly unique & extra special gift.

Relaxation & stress relief

Thirdly, both knitting and crochet can help with relaxation and stress relief in several ways.

The repetitive motions & focused attention required in both activities can be meditative & calming, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Additionally, the sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a project can boost mood and self-esteem.

An image showing various yarns in mutined colours, along with knitting needles & crochet hooks.

Knitting and crochet can also provide a way to disconnect from screens and other distractions, allowing for a mindful and soothing activity.

Improved hand-eye coordination & cognitive function

The repetitive movements involved in both crafts can help improve hand-eye coordination and dexterity.

In both knitting & crochet it's important to pay close attention to the placement of your stitches & the tension of the yarn, this requires both visual tracking & hand-eye coordination. This repetition helps to strengthen the connection between the eyes & the hands, improving fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination & dexterity.

Also, the mental focus required for both crafts has been shown to have a positive effect on cognitive function. although more research is needed to fully understand the connection between crafting & cognitive function, many people find that knitting & crocheting can be a fun and beneficial hobby that can help to improve their mental abilities

This makes both crafts particularly beneficial for anyone looking to maintain or improve their hand-eye coordination & cognitive function.

Social connections

Knitting & crocheting can both have a positive impact on social connections in several ways.

Both crafts often have their own communities through knitting or crochet groups both in-person & online, where individuals are able to share their passion for their craft & connect with others who have similar interests. These groups can provide opportunities for socialisation & building connections with others who share your interests.

An image of two men sitting at a table whilst knitting.

Also, both knitting & crocheting can be enjoyed as a shared activity. For instance, getting together with friends or family members to work on a project together, sharing tips, advice, and conversation. This can create a real bond between people & provide a sense of community.

As I've already mentioned, knitting & crocheting can also be used to create handmade gifts for others. This can create an opportunity to connect with others through the process of gifting & appreciation for the effort & love put into a handmade item.

Cost efficiency

Knitting & crocheting can be a cost-effective way to create items such as clothing, accessories, & home decor, as well as offering opportunities to repurpose & upcycle materials.

There are tons of affordable yarns out there, meaning that both knitters & crocheters are able to choose yarns that are suitable for their budget.

Depending on the yarns that you choose, it is possible to save money by making your own knitted / crocheted items compared to shop-bought items.

The ability to make handmade gifts for friends and family can also potentially be more affordable than buying ready made gifts.

An image of lilac knitted coaster, wrapped in a ribbon which says "handmade with love".

Handmade items often last longer than mass manufactured, shop bought items making them more cost-effective long term.

As has already been mentioned, both knitting & crocheting can be a real source of stress relief, potentially saving you money by not having to buy the traditional medications used to treat stress-related illnesses. NOT that I'm suggesting you ditch any medicines that you might be taking & just take up craft instead!

Of course, the cost-effectiveness of knitting or crochet can vary depending on each individual's spending habits & the kind of projects they decide to tackle.

So, are there any benefits to knitting that crochet doesn't have & vice versa?

As I've already mentioned, I believe that both knitting & crochet are wonderful crafts, but are there any areas in which one has the edge over the other?

Tension control

It's generally believed that it is easier to maintain your tension (which is important if you need to match the gauge in a pattern) with knitting, compared to crochet. This is for a number of reasons.

Firstly, knitting stitches tend to be consistent in size, as opposed to crochet stitches which can vary in height within a given row.

Secondly, the very fact that you are using 2 needles instead of one can give you more control over the tension of your yarn.

Thirdly, due to the way that knitting stitches are constructed it can sometimes be easier to undo mistakes (if I'm working on a large project, after a few rows I will thread a strand of different coloured yarn along the row that I just worked & then move it up after every 4-6 rows. That way, if you do go wrong, you can undo your wok to that point & carry on). This means that it can be less stressful to adjust your tension if needed.

Easier to learn

Many people feel that crochet is easier to learn & faster to work up than knitting. This is definitely controversial though.

Knitting really only requires you to learn 2 basic stitches, knit & purl. Once, you've mastered them it is simply a case of combining them in different ways to form different stitch patterns.

Crochet however, has a larger number of basic stitches to learn. Once you get used to them though, there are many variations & combinations that they can be used in to create a wide range of stitch patterns. It could be argued that this makes crochet far more versatile.


This is another controversial one, some people find crocheting faster & some people find they can knit faster. It comes down to a number of different factors such as:

  1. What weight yarn you are using.

  2. What size hook / needles you are using.

  3. Your level of skill & experience in each craft.

  4. Whether you find it easier to hold a hook or needles.

  5. The type of hook or needles you are using - ie; wood, aluminium etc.

Are there any negatives to either craft?

As with most activities, both knitting & crochet can have potential downsides. So lets have a look at them in more detail.

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Knitting & crochet both involve repetitive motions of the hands, wrists & arms, so if you spend long hours either knitting or crocheting, there is the potential that you could develop repetitive strain injury, such as carpal tunnel, tendinitis, trigger finger, or tennis elbow.

To reduce the likelihood of developing an RSI, it's important to make sure that you take regular breaks & stretch your hands & wrists. Using good quality, ergonomic hooks, Knitting needles & techniques will also help.

You should also try to vary the types of projects & stitches that you work on to avoid overusing the same muscles & tendons.

Cost of supplies

Depending on the type of yarn & supplies that you choose, the cost of starting & continuing to knit or crochet can add up.

An image of lots of bank notes laid out.

The cost of the yarn you use for knitting or crochet can vary widely. High quality fibres like wool, alpaca & silk can be pretty expensive. Also, if you are wanting to purchase yarns that have been sustainably sourced, these can have a higher price tag due to the extra expenses incurred. Even synthetic yarns can be expensive, depending on the quality. Initially though, you don't have to purchase an expensive yarn to "have a go".

There are however, a good range of inexpensive yarns available in local yarn shops & also online. If you really want to use high quality yarns though, look our for sales & special offers to bring down the cost.

If you want to learn to knit or crochet, there are some specific tools that you will need. Again, these vary widely in cost, with specialty hooks & needles sometimes needing serious money. Basic tools can be pretty inexpensive though & perhaps you could even loan the basics from a friend to start with.

Patterns also vary widely in cost, but many designers & yarn companies offer free patterns in the form of blog posts & often even as PDF downloads during special campaigns.

Ultimately, the cost of knitting & crochet can be high, but it doesn't have to be.

Yarn addiction

An image of a woman selecting yarn from a wall of various coloured yarns.

Yep, you read that right. It might not be an official medical diagnosis but it is real. Many people enjoy working with yarn so much that they may experience a strong desire to collect & work with yarn.

Although the term "yarn addiction" is generally used in a lighthearted & playful way & not really considered serious, for some people this "addiction" can be so bad that it interferes with their daily life or finances.

It's important to say that this is more accurately described as a hoarding or compulsive buying disorder & that for most people collecting & using yarn is simply an enjoyable hobby that gives them a creative outlet & a way to relax.

However if you do find that your yarn collection or crafting habits in general are interfering with your daily life, finances, or relationships, then it might be helpful to seek the advice of a mental health professional or addiction specialist.

Frustration with mistakes

Knitting & crocheting can at times be unforgiving, & mistakes can be difficult to fix. This can be seriously frustrating, especially if you're a beginner working on a more complex project.

When you've spent hours, even days working on a project & then spot a mistake near the start, it can be frustrating & even demotivating, knowing that all those hours of work will have to be undone & restarted can even bring you to tears - or maybe that's just me 😉

When you make a mistake in your work, it can feel like a personal failure, again, leading to feelings of frustration and disappointment.

Despite the frustrations that can come with those mistakes though, it's important to remember that they are a normal part of the learning process. Even experienced knitters & crocheters that you might aspire to be like will have made those same mistakes when they were starting out.

Try to see your mistakes as an opportunity to learn & grow your skills. By approaching mistakes with a growth mindset and a willingness to learn, it is possible to turn frustration into a positive learning experience.

Time Commitment

It's generally accepted that both knitting & crochet can be time-consuming but why?

A cartoon type drawing of a traditional style alarm clock.

Fine motor skills are required for both knitting & crochet. These take time to practice & develop, but with practice you will get quicker.

The size of the project that you choose will also impact the length of time that it's going to take to complete. For instance, a wash cloth might be finished in a few hours, whereas a throw or blanket might take months.

The pattern that you choose will also imp[act the time needed to complete it. The more complex the pattern, the longer it's likely to take you, especially if it's a stitch pattern that you haven't tried before.

The type of yarn that you use will also make a difference. A thinner, more delicate yarn will need to be worked using a smaller hook / needles & will require more concentration, slowing down the process.

For many, it is the slow, meditative process of these crafts that hold appeal & the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a project that has taken hours / weeks to complete can be really rewarding.

Limited mobility or disability

For those with limited mobility or a disability that affects their upper limbs, knitting & crochet can be difficult. However, there are many adaptive techniques & tools available that can help.

For example, if you have limited mobility of your upper limbs, maybe you could knit or crochet using your feet or mouth. If you have limited movement in your hands, then perhaps larger needles or hooks would help since they require less fine motor control.

You could also try using knitting or crochet aids, such as ergonomic hooks or needles, or tools that help you grip & hold the yarn more easily. Another option might be to use a knitting machine or special mouth-held knitting or crochet hooks, making these crafts more accessible for you.

There are many online communities & resources available for knitters & crocheters with disabilities which can provide advice, support, & inspiration for overcoming the challenges of knitting or crochet with limited mobility.

Ultimately, it is possible to experience the joy & pleasure that come from these crafts, even with limited mobility or disabilities, by exploring the resources available. It is important though to listen to your body and take breaks as needed to avoid injury, and to set realistic expectations for the time and cost involved in your projects.


In conclusion, the argument of whether knitting or crochet is "better" doesn't really stand up. We are all different, so "one size fits all" doesn't really apply. Just because "Brenda" next door would only ever crochet & thinks knitting is impossible, doesn't mean that it will be the same for you.

It really does come down to personal preference. You may or may not prefer one over the other, you may find you love both. There are so many benefits to either craft that they far outweigh the generally minor, downsides.

My advice would be to give both a try. Start with something easy like a coaster, wash cloth or scarf. Pick a yarn that is light coloured so that you can easily see your stitches & one that doesn't split whilst your working it - a bad yarn experience can literally stop you in your tracks.

Make sure that you set a realistic goal for your first project. Don't set your expectations too high - remember we all fell off our bikes a few times before we actually learned to ride it!

Set a budget for the cost of your project & try not to exceed it. Now, go have fun...

An image of a man & woman riding bikes through a wooded area.

I'd love to hear how you get on so why not let me know in the comments below or on your favourite social media platform.

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