Are Crochet and Knitting Needles the Same? The Differences Explained

If you are to new yarn/fiber crafts, you may be wondering if crochet and knitting needles are the same thing. Are they interchangeable? Can I learn both crafts without buying double supplies? In this post, I will answer those questions!

Are crochet and knitting needles the same? Crochet needles (usually called hooks) are essentially sticks with a hook on the end. They come in sizes from 0.6 mm to 25 mm. Knitting needles come in pairs and are smooth without a hook. They range in size from 2 mm to 25 mm. They are not the same and are not interchangeable.

So, now we know that crochet and knitting needles are different in general shape, but what else makes them different? How can you use them each? Do the materials they are made of vary? Keep reading to get more details!

The Differences Between Crochet Hooks and Knitting Needles

They are both sometimes called needles, but typically, the tool used in crocheting is called a hook. This is because it has a head end with a hook shape to catch the yarn. Knitting needles are long and pointy (usually).

They come in different sizes.

Crochet hooks range in size from 0.6mm to 25 mm. The smallest hooks are used to crochet thread to make lace, with the largest hooks being used for chunky yarn.

For knitting needles, the smallest size is 2 mm, which you can use to knit very lightweight yarn, with the largest also being 25 mm. You cannot knit thread to make lace. It must be crocheted.

The shapes are different.

Crochet hooks have a certain anatomy. They start at the top with the head and the neck which is the hook part and the thinner part below it. Then comes the shaft, which is actually what is measured to determine the size of the hook. Then, you have the handle and grip sections. There is usually a flatter part where you place your thumb and a longer round part for the rest of your hand. this can be “ergonomically” designed and vary in shape.

Knitting needles are more variable. There are straight-point needles that are long with one tapered end and one end with a knob. They come in a range of lengths from 9 to 14 inches. Double-pointed needles are round in the middle and tapered on both ends, ranging in length from 4 to 14 inches. Circular needles are two straight needles joined by a cable, ranging in size from 9 to 60 inches in total length.

The materials used to make each are similar.

Crochet hooks are made of various materials, including aluminum, plastic, wood, bamboo, glass, and steel. The smallest hooks (0.6 to 2 mm) for making lace are always steel because they are so thin that they may bend if made of other materials. The most common hook material is aluminum.

Knitting needles can be made of metal, plastic, wood, bamboo, and carbon fiber. Each has its own quality that an individual knitter may prefer.

The cost

In my opinion, it isn’t fair to compare that because you have to get a pair of needles and only a single hook. For each single piece, it is about the same price. But, if you want to crochet something, you may spend about $2.50 to $3 on the single hook versus about $6 on the pair of knitting needles.

The cost does vary widely due to the various materials and sizes. You can also purchase packs of different sizes of crochet hooks or knitting needles. In addition, there are different types of knitting needles that you can buy.

The fairest way to compare, in my opinion, is by looking more at the number of each you reasonably need. And you definitely need more pairs of knitting needles in your supplies than crochet hooks because of the different lengths and needing multiples of the same size. So overall, to complete your “kit” of knitting needles, you would likely spend a lot more than on your “kit” of crochet hooks.

The Differences Between How You Use Crochet Versus Knitting Needles

Creating stitches

Crochet hooks are used to create one stitch at a time. You put the hook through a hole, wrap the yarn around the hook (called a yarn over), and pull it back through the hole. The whole process is a series of yarn overs and pulling through loops that are left on the hook. But at the end of each of these series, you create one stitch. There are 5 basic stitches, but hundreds of variations on them. This results in a wide variety of looks for a finished product in crochet.

Knitting needles are used by having a series of loops hanging off the needle and transferring them from one needle to another. You have a series of “live stitches” on the needle at any given time. There are only two stitches, knitting and purling, but the way they are mixed up in a pattern can create different textures and looks. Overall, knitting has a bit more of a uniform look from piece to piece, though.

Working more than one project at once

For crochet, you don’t necessarily need multiple hooks of the same size. Since you only work one stitch at a time, you can remove your hook at any time, secure your place so the work doesn’t get pulled out, and use the hook for something else.

For knitting, there are stitch holders that you can use to transfer your active stitches to so you can use the needles in a different project, but for the most part, you will want to have multiple needles of the same sizes. You may also need the same diameter but a different length for a different project, so you’ll need multiple lengths of each size as well.

Fixing mistakes

If you make a mistake in crochet, you don’t actually use the hook to fix it. You take the hook out of the piece and then pull the stitches out to the mistake. You then re-insert your hook where you want to start again and keep going.

In knitting, on the other hand, you have to backtrack your work by transferring all the stitches back to the original needle. It is a bit more cumbersome but doable.

One Other Difference in the Tools Used for Crochet Versus Knitting

For crocheting, you have to use a hook. There is no machine to do it. It has to be handmade.

For knitting, on the other hand, in addition to knitting needles, you could use a loom or machine, which is often used to create large projects.

Thinking about learning to crochet and want to know if it is easy? Check out my post, Is It Easy to Crochet? Easier Than You Think!

Well, those are all the differences between crochet hooks and knitting needles I can think of. If you think of any other questions, drop me a comment, and I will answer the best I can!

Now it is time for YOU to get Crafty with Ashy! Show me your trendy crochet clothes in the comments!

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Hi! I’m Ashy. I am a Christian, wife, mom, and physical therapist. I am also an amateur painter, baker, crocheter, and miscellaneous crafter. I hope to be able to share some of my enthusiasm for creating with you and to inspire YOU to begin, continue, or grow YOUR creative outlet!

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