Yarn Thoughts: Crochet vs Knit. Acrylic vs Wool.
Since I am a skilled knitter and crocheter, I follow both types of accounts on Instagram. I also look at both types of patterns on Ravelry. And watch videos from both types of crafters on YouTube. One thing I’ve noticed is that knitters favor wool, while crocheters favor acrylic, across the board. I’ve often wondered why, and when you do a Google search, nothing turns up. As I was typing up last week’s post (Yarn Thoughts: Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn!), I think I came up with a few reasons this might be the case, and I want to get my thoughts out in case anyone else has every wondered this too.
Crocheting is faster
For most people (I know because I’ve seen it stated on many forums by others who know both crafts), crocheting is faster. This is why a lot of people crochet blankets, but not that many knit them. A blanket is a big enough project as it is, and you want to be able to actually have a chance at finishing it.
With that said, because as a crocheter you’re able to make your projects so much quicker than a knitter (and therefore one could argue that you’re making more projects), you’ll go through more yarn. Since you’re using more yarn, you need your yarn to be less expensive.
Crocheting uses about 30% more yarn than knitting
This is a very similar argument to the previous one, and something I’m not sure a lot of people know. But it’s true: crocheting eats up more yarn than knitting. This is likely due to the fact that crochet stitches have varying heights, and even the smallest one (single crochet) is quite a bit taller than a knit stitch. So again, you’re using more yarn, and therefore likely want a cheaper yarn since you’re going through it faster.
Knitting has more opportunity for beauty
This is probably a controversial statement, but I stand by it. And I’m not even saying that crocheting isn’t beautiful. It definitely can be (in fact, I’m working on a crochet blanket right now that I absolutely adore – I’ll be sharing a link to the pattern and photos of my project next week). But there’s very little that can compare to a cabled knit sweater. It’s the envy of everyone. It’s the reason I wanted to learn to knit.
Knitting is beautiful.
Crochet is (usually) more utilitarian.
And if you’re working on a more beautiful project – the whole point of which is to be stunning – you want a nicer yarn to show off all those hard worked stitches.
Sweaters are more personal (and showy) than blankets
Sweaters and blankets take a similar amount of time (in my experience), but a sweater is likely to get more “face time.” What I mean by that is that you’ll wear a sweater out and about, but a blanket is relegated to your own home. There’s nothing wrong with this; it’s just the nature of the two different items. But because you’re going to be showing off a sweater more than you will a blanket, it’s another reason you want a “better” yarn.
Wool yarn is blockable
To understand the point behind this point, you have to know what blocking is. Put simply, blocking is the wetting of your finished item, which you then pin out into place (at the proper measurements) and let air dry. By doing this, it helps to even out your stitches, which is especially beneficial if you’re working cables or color work (fair isle). You see, when you’re making those types of projects, the combinations of stitches – either knit and purl, or multiple colors of yarn – can kind of bunch up together a bit. This isn’t a problem, and it’s not your fault. It’s just the nature of those stitches. By blocking your project afterward, you get everything to lay out a lot nicer and look more professional.
When you block a project made with wool yarn, those natural fibers will “remember” their new, post-blocking position and keep that shape until the next time you wash it. Acrylic fibers don’t do that as well. I’m not saying that an acrylic project doesn’t benefit from blocking, but it’s not near the difference as you get with wool.
So there you go. A few reasons that might explain why crocheters are more likely to use acrylic and knitters are more likely to use wool. Do you have any other ideas as to why this might be? Do you have a yarn fiber preference? Let me know in the comments!