It’s OVER! The Crochet vs. Knit War is Over!

By Caissa "Cami" McClinton – 19 Comments

Right, so… When I started crocheting in 2008 or so, I began by reading one of the best ever crochet books ever, Debbie Stoller’s Stitch N’ Bitch Crochet, the Happy Hooker. It continues to be a mainstay of the crochet community and perhaps the most comprehensive “all-in-one” crochet manual out there. But that’s besides the point. In the introduction, Stoller brought voice to something weird that was out there in the yarn crafting conversation, as well as the crafting community at large – a serious division between crochet and knitting.

I alluded a little bit to the “mainstream dominance of knitting” in my previous post on local yarn stores. This idea didn’t come out of nowhere.

As Stoller explains in the introduction to her book, people who knew her as a knitter expressed shock in finding she was penning a crochet manual.

“‘Do you even crochet?’ they’d ask, rather accusingly. How could it be that I, a knitter, was qualified to write a book about crocheting? … Didn’t I know that knitters and crocheters are like Sharks and Jets-they don’t get along, they keep off each other’s turf, they break into fights on the playground?”

Whoa. Where did that attitude even COME from? Anyway, you know that didn’t stop crocheters from loving and enjoying our craft, just as many of us love and enjoy knitting as well. It’s fine to prefer one over the other, but COME ON, PEOPLE, it’s a hobby/career/way of life AND it is meant to be enjoyed! Just like you wouldn’t put someone down for the clothes they wear or how they like to style their hair, why would you put someone down for a craft they like? It’s a CRAFT, people! It’s supposed to be fun & relaxing, not full of drama! :D

Nevertheless, the anti-crochet vibe was out there, and in mid-2007, a group formed on Ravelry called the “Crochet Liberation Front,” or CLF. At first, it was supposed to be a joke, but it struck a chord with crafters because, as I’ve heard CLF founder Laurie Wheeler recount on different podcasts, the group grew literally overnight and she’s been running with it ever since. The CLF (along with many brilliant crochet desginers, podcasters, bloggers, and magazine contributers) can be credited with working hard to consistently move crochet forward and showing the world how freaking cool crochet is!

Now crochet is enjoying a well-deserved moment of glory and we can finally say that this silly crochet/knit controversy is over!

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It’s over! Now get back to crafting! :D

So, what about you? Do you remember this crochet/knit controversy? What do you think about it? Is it really over? Do you feel that either crochet or knitting enjoys more glory or is looked down upon in your circles? Please leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments below. Enjoy the conversation! :)

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19 Comments

  1. Jodiebodie says:

    I think it is over within the crafting community as there are more resources available for extending one’s skills and learning.
    I wish someone would inform a lot of the yarn shops though – many are missing out on a growing market segment by ignoring crochet.
    The most annoying attitude is that which sees crochet as little more than an embellishment – a way to add flowers and edgings to knitted items or linen, or to be used for ‘thread’ projects like doilies (and tablecloths). I don’t let those misinformed attitudes upset me because what do they know? Those people really are missing out as we all know that there is sooo much more to crochet than that.
    I am clumsy at knitting, but I can do it. Why miss out on making a great item just because it is knitted? If there is a project that is better suited to knitting or crochet, I will use the technique that makes the most of that. Having said that, if you can achieve almost the same with knitting or crochet, I will always choose crochet because that is quicker and easier for me.
    One day I hope to be able to interchange with ease.
    I agree with you – it’s a craft, and it is very clever to be able to master a craft. Let’s respect fellow crafters for their talents and skills.

  2. Bailey says:

    I recently joined a Prayer Shawl group at my Church and a local group at a library and they are all knitters. I must say they were quite welcoming. I often don’t fit into the conversations about patterns, but its nice to be around other people that create with yarn. I’ve yet to see a group near me that has crocheters, so I’m glad the friendly company of these woman.

    As the previous poster mentioned, what I do wish would change is the attitude of the LYS towards crochet. I just can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want to expand your market. For the lighter weight doll clothes I make I have to order online. If you factor in shipping in many cases paying the higher LYS store prices would be offset by the cost of shipping and being able to have the yarn today. I also like supporting local small businesses. However, it isn’t worth it when the experience is not a pleasant one.

  3. ChynaRose says:

    As both a crocheter and a knitter, I think it’s great to be able to do both. There are so many patterns that are available for both hobbies/crafts/etc. Why not enjoy all of them? Once, while shopping in my local Walmart, I began chatting with a woman who was pleasantly discussing something regarding crochet. When she asked if I was a crocheter or knitter and I answered “both” her whole attitude changed and there was a frigid air that I could immediately feel. Almost instantly, she excused herself and left. I never realized there could be such an attitude and assumed she didn’t believe me, but now I know what it really was.

    I believe, as someone who enjoys the creativeness of both knitting and crocheting, that there are so many benefits to both, they can’t be separated. If you know how to knit, why not try doing a little crochet? If you already crochet, why not attempt something in knitting? You can expand your enjoyment as you increase your knowledge of how to master both crafts in such an enjoyable way.

    I’m always surprised at people who will look at an afghan draped across my chair or couch and ask, “Now, is that knit or crochet?” Especially when they, themselves, do one or the other.

    • Faith says:

      I have noticed in some of the yarn shops, but I also can’t afford their prices. I would like to knit, but I get frustrated with the two hooks. So I crochet haven’t done much of it because I have been in school will have a break just now stuck in a runt of what to crochet now.

  4. Emma says:

    I didn’t know there was an actual “controversy”. But I know that there is a divide between many crocheters and knitters. Much of the hostility, quite honestly, seems to come from knitters towards crocheters. I see it around me now…and have to admit to being “one of them” as recently as 7 years ago. I was a knitter. Through and through. 40 years. I was very good at it (and still am) and also taught it for several years in a JoAnns store. I resented crochet. My reasons were probably rooted in jealousy, although I couldn’t see it at the time. I somehow felt that crochet was a “lesser art”, but I couldn’t explain why. I finally learned to crochet beyond the “embellishment” thing mentioned in the above article, just this year…and I’ve gone totally crochet crazy! Now it’s all I can do to motivate to pick up my knitting needles! I have such FUN with crochet, and feel like I can make so much more (think amigurumi). I no longer “look down” on either art. I appreciate both, and am ashamed of my previous attitude. I have some friends who are knitters, though. Now that I’m crocheting, I notice a marked shift in their attitude towards my projects. They used to encourage and praise my work when I knitted. Now I get clipped comments like “Nice color” or “You sure like that stuff”. I’m not convinced the “war” is really over.

    • Jodiebodie says:

      I am so glad that you are enjoying both crafts. I hadn’t thought about it in terms of whether it is more knitters ‘looking down’ on crocheters or the other way around, but upon reflection, I must agree that when I have observed a negative attitude between the crafts, it has always been a knitter and it has always had that air of disdain about it as if crochet were inferior, or maybe I have only noticed it since I am mainly a crocheter. I am sad that your knitter friends are responding differently to you when you crochet and find it peculiar – it’s not as if you have suddenly forgotten how to knit.
      Are they offended that perhaps you are ‘rejecting’ their craft (like renouncing one’s religion) and take it as a rejection of them? That would be sad if they were that insecure about themselves.
      I appreciate your honesty about possible reasons for the anti-crochet attitude and the notion that ‘jealousy’ is a factor. I cannot understand how someone with the mastery of a practical and beautiful craft of knitting needs to be jealous of someone else’s similar mastery of crochet or other craft.
      Thanks for your thoughts, Emma. Very interesting. BTW what are you working on right now?

      • Emma says:

        I hadn’t thought of quite like the idea of “renouncing a religion” and thus being perceived as “rejecting” my friends. Or, not quite in that light…but that’s a good analogy! It’s true I have done very little knitting the past few months. I’m currently enchanted with my new love of crochet!

        Right now I just finished crocheting a pattern from Crochet Spot of “McGumbi” the alien. It was a request from my husband, of all things! He’s a Sci-Fi nerd and when he saw the picture on the Crochet Spot site, he begged me to make him one! I just finished his this afternoon and think it’s so cute I simply am going to have to make one for me, too! Soon I will be making some wash cloths, scrubbies and soap sacks for my daughter’s birthday coming up this month. I also have a table topper in progress. How about you? What are you working on, now?

  5. Lisa says:

    I also wasn’t aware there was a controversy between knit and crochet. What’s interesting is that I do associate both crafts with different adjectives. I associate knitting with words like delicate and eloquent while I associate crochet with words like fun and quick. I don’t feel like one craft is “better” than the other but I think that is because I perform both crafts regularly. However, I think that if you only knit, you will develop a bias toward that craft and vice versa. I believe it’s in our nature to like something the more we are exposed to it but it’s unfortunate that some people can extend this to have a bad attitude toward other crafts.

    • Jodiebodie says:

      The word association is very interesting Lisa. Where do you think that comes from? From now on, I will be carefully observing the way that crochet is presented in the media and in-store promotions etc. to see if I notice the same.

  6. Joan says:

    As a knitting teacher, I am working to include crocheters in my group that meets at the Library and not discriminate. It started as a beginning knitters’ class but we’re about to name the group and want it to include both crafts. The Library requires the group be open to all. After spending 2 full months crocheting an extra-long twin size blanket, I’m really not classifying myself as a knitter completely any more. My grandmother and mother had crocheted afghans for their grandchildren when they graduated from high school. So this year I carried on the tradition thinking crocheting would be faster. I’m not so sure. The next one I’m going to knit. I have 2 to do for this coming June.

  7. AnnieM says:

    Gosh, no. I’m with Emma and Lisa–never heard of any “controversy.” I do both and know plenty of others who also do both as well as some who do only one or the other. As for the division originating in LYSes…I guess I wouldn’t know since I’ve never been in one. The only places to buy yarn within 30 miles of my home are big-boxes like Walmart and Michael’s. Seems like needlework of any kind is less than entirely popular around here. We have no room for controversy within the ranks!

  8. Brenda says:

    Anyone who thinks that crochet is a “lesser art” needs to read a little Irish history!

    While crochet first came to Ireland in the 1700s, it was when the Potato Famine (1845) decimated the population that it became a lifesaving art!

    Ursuline nuns (who had learned the technique in France) became unwitting heroines by teaching wealthy women to crochet, and they, in turn, founded schools and stores where Irish crochet lace-making was taught and sold.

    They marketed it to their friends and family around Europe, creating a trend that soon evolved into a cottage industry, and the Irish women soon became the primary wage earners for their households. Many were saved from sure starvation by those early “hookers”!

    The fact the Queen Victoria herself promoted the art of crochet made it very clear that CROCHET was here to stay!!!

  9. Penny Taylor says:

    I have been lucky so far….not including the lys. I guess you could say that I am sort of a member of a “knitting group” that meets at the local library on Thurs. The thing about our “knitting group” is that not all of us knit. Some crochet (like me), some knit (of coarse), some do plastic canvas, and some do macrame, and so forth. I think we should change the name to the crafters club or something. Everyone gets along and everyone encourages each other no mattter what they are crafting. Everyone and everycraft is equal. I love it!!
    The lys’s are different. Every time I go into one, its always knitting this and knitting that. Absolutely NO crochet anywhere. Very rarely do I go into one and find any crochet hooks. If I do find any, they have an outrageous price on them. I could probably get the same ones, or something similar to them at Micheals or Joanns or something for half the price. When they ask if I knit and I say I crochet, they give me a weird look. Needless to say, I dont go to the lys very often. :(

  10. Brenda says:

    ………………and, I forgot to mention that I CROCHET IN PUBLIC (while waiting in dr’s. offices, repair shops, etc.) very often, and have struck up lively conversations with strangers who have never been exposed to this type of needlework.

    Almost everyone is shocked to learn that it is, indeed, crochet (not knitting) that they are watching! (I often am working in “different” stitches than they associate with the old, cardboard-y afghans and scarves of crochet-in-days-gone-by).

    Good way to elicit interest in our beloved art!!!

  11. Jen says:

    I live in Los Angeles, and I can say there is a definite division among knitters and crocheters. I know crocheters who say they get the “stink eye” when they visit LYS and say they are looking to crochet something. That is one reason I don’t visit those stores (that and their prices!). I have been given the stink eye or that “oh” condescending comment from knitters when I’d whip out my yarn and crochet hook. Maybe all those knitters are jealous!

    I am fortunate enough to belong to two crafting groups that welcome and celebrate both knitters and crocheters. Many crocheters, myself included, have learned to knit from other members of the group and vice versa. I am hopeful that this open and welcoming attitude will spread to the YLS. Regardless of whether we use hooks or sticks, we are yarn lovers. The method we use to transform our beloved yarn shouldn’t be a dividing factor.

  12. Emma says:

    I thought I’d toss in an observation I’ve made that is related to the knit/crochet issue that has to do with the media. For months there was a commercial on T.V. for some sort of pain relief. I don’t recall the brand, or if it was a doctor’s office, or what. The commercial showed several people whose enjoyment of life would be impacted by the pain of arthritis. One was an older lady who talked about how she had trouble knitting due to pain. At the end she happily declares how (whatever-it-was) had made it so she could enjoy knitting again….and the picture on the screen was of the lady CROCHETING. I’m sure neither crocheters nor knitters appreciated that! Maybe the “experts” who produced the commercial advised that the word “knit” was more “accessible” than “crochet”, and that crochet sounded too “foreign”. Who knows? I’m not saying I agree with this at all…it’s just anecdote. :-)

  13. Aunt Dee says:

    Hi I used to knit when I was really young but I was making a baby blanket on No. 1 needles in baby yarn and the pattern was made up of 11 rows. I was over half way through the blanket and had put the work in a tote and stuck the needles point down into it.
    Along came my daughter just started walking and pulled the needles out of the tote. I had never picked up stitches before and the pattern had 216 stitches. I just sat and cried, then took the whole thing to a friend and she fixed it and gave it back and I worked some more thinking I knew where I was in the pattern, I didn’t. I was working from the opposite side.I took it back to my friend and she fixed and finished the blanket. I learned to crochet and never looked back.
    I love knitted projects but they are for someone also to do.

  14. Janette says:

    The war is still raging….go into any yarn store and they will inevitablely ask you about your knitting skills, likes and dislikes…..tell them you crochet and you get that look, you know the one, like you have just blasphemed against God…..

    Now I might be biased because I never wanted to learn to knit, but my mom crocheted and it always mesmerized me as a child….and what the knitters need two needles for, we do with one hook….and in my opinion that rules….Now if you are a knitter, you are no better or worse than the crocheting me, we are just different…and to each his own….enjoy your craft whichever one you enjoy doing, but I will defend my art of crocheting just like you should defend yours and in the end, we can walk away still friends knowing we can agree to disagree….

  15. BettyLou says:

    I knit and crochet and usually go through periods where I will focus on one or the other. For the past several years it has been all crochet, I enjoy the speed of the work with the ability to finish a project before boredom sets in and it becomes another UFO. In general I make Prayer Shawls, for my church and Scarves and hats for the shelter. Somehow crocheting has gotten a bad rap as though it didn’t take as much talent as knitting,does. As I look at some of the crocheted projects posted on the Internet I am amazed at how many women can actually make a garment/item without a pattern. Probably not something that knitters can do, I know I can’t. So here’s to crocheters lets stand tall and wave our hooks.

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