Sewing vs. Knitting vs. Crocheting
Many needle-crafters enjoy a variety of hobbies such as sewing garments, quilting, crocheting, and knitting. Each of these needlecrafts encompasses differing skill sets and required tools. These may be used in a variety of settings to give them added appeal.
If you are thinking about expanding your needlework horizons but can’t decide which direction may best suit your lifestyle, here is a summary of each skill and how you can incorporate it into your daily schedule for maximum benefits.
Sewing is the most practical of needlework skills. Learning just the basics of simple hand sewing can be a great benefit to any individual. These skills can help you maintain your wardrobe and extend the life of your garments, as well as ensure the best fit for yourself and your family.
Sewing is cutting and combining pre-made fabric pieces into garments or other useful items such as curtains or bedding. Sewing involves using needle and thread, either by hand or machine, to create or repair sewn items.
The weaving of cloth can be traced to the MIddle East at least as far back as 4000 B.C., perhaps earlier by some estimations. Naturally, sewing accompanied the invention of cloth. By the Middle Ages, some Europeans could afford to hire others to make their clothes, though it was still an essential skill taught to young ladies and home-sewn garments were more often the norm.
The invention and mass production of the sewing machine in the early 1800s revolutionized garment making. Suddenly, an entire industry sprang up, bringing ready-made apparel to the market for almost everyone.
Still, there have always been men and women who enjoy making their own sewn creations. As sewing machines became more affordable, they became a household staple in many homes. The skill continues to be valuable and enjoyable for many. It’s estimated that at least a million people have taken up the hobby in the last few years alone.
Sewing encompasses a vast genre of practical and creative ideas. Just a few options for sewing hobbyists include:
- Garment making–with thousands of patterns available through the internet and local fabric stores
- Home Decor such as curtains, pillows, etc.
- Stuffed animals or other children’s toys
- Accessories such as diaper bags, handbags, etc.
Benefits and Limitations of Sewing
The main limitation to sewing as a hobby is that it does take up space, often permanently. Fabric, thread, and the needed tools must all be stowed somewhere, along with a sewing machine for most sewers. Ample space must be available for cutting out patterns. And quilting may require even more space for fabric pieces, quilting frames, etc., for those who do some quilting by hand.
Because sewing requires space and larger, heavier tools, it is not generally a good choice for traveling. Though some projects can be transferred easily from place to place, most projects will need to be assembled in a designated sewing area.
The benefits of knowing how to sew are many. They range from practical applications to an outlet for creative ideas. Like many hobbies, sewing challenges the mind to stay alert and active for a lifetime. And many special projects can be handed down for the enjoyment of many in years to come.
Knitting is an ancient skill still passed down from generation to generation in some families. It’s great for building hand-eye coordination and attention skills. Many knitted pieces add beauty and style to wardrobe choices. Although many knitted items are best suited for winter wear, there are designs and patterns to suit any season.
Unlike sewing, knitting creates its own unique fabric from various-sized yarn. The fabric is formed by interlocking loops back and forth between two knitting “needles.”
By following a knitting pattern, specific pieces are made and joined together by hand sewing with matching yarn. Or many articles are knitted as a whole, such as blankets or socks.
It has been suggested that a simplistic form of knitting first arose in Egypt between 500-1200 A.D. The word “knit” is first found in a 15th century Oxford English Dictionary. Knitting is the youngest craft associated with spinning and weaving. Since early knitting was worked in natural fibers that decompose quickly, its origins can be challenging to trace.
Modern knitting is considered mainly as a hobby or therapeutic activity. But many practical items continue to be produced by the flying needles of all age groups. Some favorites include:
- Blankets–no doubt the easiest of projects, great for beginners and appreciated at baby showers
- Scarves–another easy project for beginners
- Sweaters–Probably one of the most popular for slightly more experienced knitters
- Socks–Some of the earliest examples of knitting have been socks, and they continue to be popular projects.
- Mittens or gloves–more challenging but great comfy gifts
Just about any type of garment can and has been knitted by someone. There are also many patterns available for household decor and other accessories for all ages.
Benefits and Limitations of Knitting
Generally speaking, yarn requires less room for tools and materials than sewing. But I have known a few knitting fanatics who needed huge spaces and many totes to hold their horde of yarns.
Some knitted garments just don’t work very well for general wear, such as knitted dresses or even pants. Yes, it can be done, but it may be a challenge to keep it from being pulled to pieces by everyday life. Such articles are mainly for special occasions or doll clothes.
Knitting projects travel well. They can help relieve the monotony of a long wait in the doctor’s office, a plane trip, or sitting with a friend at the hospital. You can carry your knitting basket or bag into any room and continue working on your project during a movie or even while visiting with others.
Knitting projects range from simple stitches in one color to highly complicated stitches or multicolored patterns. The hobby can continue to be developed over a lifetime.
Knitting needles are allowed by the TSA onboard airlines, though wood and plastic are preferred over metal. Circular needles are also recommended over straight. If you are traveling internationally, check the guidelines for any countries you may be traveling to or from, as regulations vary. Most knitters need a small pair of scissors among their tools. Keep these under 4-inches for airline travel.
Crochet is similar to knitting. It also uses threat or yarn to create either garments or trim. There are some areas where crochet is more versatile than knitting and vice versa. Crochet encompasses many genres of projects and, like knitting, is relaxing and stimulates higher brain function.
Crochet uses a single hooked tool to create projects with loops. For most stitches, only a few loops will ever be used at one time. There are exceptions, and in recent years new types of hooks and stitches mimic knitting more closely.
Most crochet projects are made as a whole, but some garments may be made in patterned pieces and handsewn together with yarn or thread.
The invention of crochet is impossible to trace. Some insist that the earliest examples are found in Chinese antiquity. But early examples have also been found in South America and Arabia, so the origin debate continues.
Crochet as we know it was developed in the 16th century, making the craft fairly recent compared to knitting. Some countries use the French word “crochet” for the craft, but not all agree on this either. No evidence is found for crochet in Europe before 1800.
Crochet is a relatively easy craft to learn and is popular for all ages. As with knitting, just about any garment can be crocheted and probably has been, even if only in jest. But some of the most popular crochet projects continue to be:
- Blankets–From baby blankets with finer yarn to lap blankets with bulky yarn, crochet is a fast and easy way to present a gift with a personal touch.
- Hats–Crocheted hats are fun, fast, and easy to make.
- Doilies–Making doilies is an art form in itself. These priceless decorative pieces are often handed down for generations to enjoy.
- Edges–Thread crocheted edges on placemats, pillows, or clothing continue to add style in any generation.
- Dolls and doll clothes
Benefits and Limitations of Crochet
The main limitations in crochet or knitting come with some visual or dexterity handicaps. But using a larger hook and yarn size can overcome these issues. Like knitting, crochet can go almost anywhere for a relaxing break at home, work, or while traveling.
Patterns with varying degrees of difficulties are available online, in books, or regular magazine publications. There are needlecraft forums that include projects for sewing, knitting, and crochet. Many hobbyists will experiment with different areas of needlework before settling on their favorite. Even then, an appealing pattern may pull them into learning a new craft.
Crochet is an excellent craft for children. It can start them on a lifetime of enjoyment while helping to develop their attention and motor skills. They may decide to expand their skills with knitting or quilting later on.
Crochet’s wide range comes from using some very tiny hooks with thread to create intricate patterns. Then again, there are hooks up to 10.5 mm that use plush, synthetic materials for comfy blankets. Crochet is also used to make baskets or rugs, curtains, or tablecloths.
Crochet combines effortlessly with sewing for decorative pieces, making it one of the more versatile needlecrafts.