So…What Are You Knitting?

By Veronica Smith – 45 Comments

How many times have you been asked that while you’re crocheting? Why do people assume you are knitting all the time? I get confused when somebody asks me what I’m crocheting because it happens so rarely. Little children I am okay with. A lot of times their terminology is not spot on anyhow. Plus I figure they may have less exposure, and they are cute.

Depending on where I’m at and the specific situation determines my answer. Sometimes it’s just easier to block out the K word and simply answer with scarf, or whatever it happens to be. Other times I get brave and correct politely, this gets mixed reactions no matter how nicely it is said. Sometimes I end up in a lengthy conversation other times I get looked at like I don’t know what I’m saying.

Not so long ago I was waiting whilst my car was getting serviced and crocheting my mum a table topper. A lovely elderly gentleman came and sat with me and watched me for a while and said “my wife used to knit like that, knit with one needle, but she called it something else”. We spoke for ages about crochet, his wife and their charmed life. It was a wonderful way to wile away an hour or so.

I sit endlessly at dancing lessons for one child or another. I have been doing this for 16 years now so a few children have seen me crochet. It is nice to watch the young ones grow over time and how the different ones react to my crocheting. Some ignore it, some love it and some swing between the two as the years pass. It brings me joy when they run in and check excitedly to see what I am making now. I get a laugh when they chastise me because “you haven’t finished that yet?”.

Generally speaking, I have found that crocheting in public places does get a reaction, positive or negative it is still a reaction. Some people just look and point then discuss it amongst themselves. It may brighten somebody’s day, teach somebody a new word, remind them of someone who passed or just plain give them a laugh. It does however do something.

In the long run does it matter if they what to know what I am knitting? It is the end result that counts. I know what I am doing.

So my friends… What are you knitting?

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45 Comments

  1. Jo-anne says:

    What lovely anecdotes you have shared Veronica. They made me smile :)

  2. Jeanette says:

    It does not bother me if they call crochet knitting or even vice versa. I think the question really is “What are you creating?” I do both – but must admit that I seem to prefer crocheting these days – although generally need to knit for my menfolk – they are not really ready to wear crocheted garments. I have a knitted and crocheted blanket on the go at the moment, but work more on the crocheted one. I also have something to make for the arrival of second grandchild in July, as well as a jacket to knit for youngest son before winter is really here. (16 years old and really quite the man these days). I bought some green yarn last year but now am realising it is not enough to do the job and will need to incorporate a second colour!
    Keep up the good work, Cheers, Jeanette

    • Jeanette says:

      Just read over my previous post and while I did create something for my new grandchild – a girl! – I have not even started sweater for my son! Ouch! Working on a crochet scarf and crochet poncho both for myself at the moment.

  3. Lori says:

    Although my mother-in-law crochets, as do I, my husband refers to all of my needlework, whether crochet, embroidery, cross-stitch, or tatting, as “knitting.” We’ve been married for 28 years. I’ve given up trying to correct him.

    I think knitting is so well-known, so universal, that it has become a catch-all term for almost any kind of hand work, especially involving yarn, or the kind of thread heavy enough to knit or crochet.

    If you think you have problems with people referring to your crocheting as “knitting”, just think what I endure when I tat in public? Tatting is relatively rare, and many people who know about knitting and crocheting, have never heard of tatting, let alone seen anyone do it. I consider myself an ambassador, spreading the joys of tatting and crocheting.

  4. Jamie says:

    I’m “knitting” a blanket for my son :)

  5. Angie says:

    I too enjoy your anecdotes Veronica. I enjoy both knitting and crochet. My friend and I both work on our projects at work during break together and get that question all the time. It seems to bother her more that it does me. I just answer w/ whatever it is I’m doing.

    At the moment I am crocheting baby socks and hats in the hopes of having enough stock to sell at a one day festival in our little town in September, slow going but, I’ll have enough as the months get closer as I seem to work better under pressure. :) My friend and I are both going to sell our wares, she knits baby bibs. The last time I saw her working on a bib she had four going at once (on the same two needles). I was amazed!

  6. Jackie says:

    I have been knitting a mother’s Day dishcloth..I am gonna try and frame it and give i to my mom…It say’s I love mom..The love is in hearts..

  7. Lane† says:

    I’ve also noticed that many people don’t know the difference between knitting and crocheting (I do both). I have found myself explaining the difference between them multiple of times. And I usually get two responses, “Oh, I never knew that, cool.” or, “oh, so what are you knitting, I mean crocheting!”

    @Lori,- What is tatting? (in a curios way)

  8. Jamie says:

    Since I don’t go out much people who don’t know me don’t usually see me crocheting therefore I don’t have this problem much. However my husband constantly says knitting. I say it’s crochet and he says what ever they’re the same thing. Which in his head it probably is.

    I’m “knitting” a blanket made out of tons of little hexagons that are turned into flowers and all stitched together.

  9. Sandra says:

    Haha….I do both & tend to call it all knitting. My mother & daughter correct me on that. Right now I am knitting (yes, knitting) warm things for the homeless. I just finished knitting (and crocheting) almost 50 hats for the premature babies at Children’s Hospital. Keeping out of trouble, one ball of yarn at a time!

  10. Amanda says:

    I originally learned crochet when I was younger, then got into knitting, and in the last few months have gotten back into crochet and am actually learning more stitches and how to make things other than scarves! (Mostly thanks to this web site!) I am working on a few small handbags with plarn (plastic yarn) but waiting for more shopping to certain stores or kind donations before I can finish those. I think today I am going to try to make a few flowers and maybe do a cute bunch for my mom for mother’s day….

    And what is tatting? I am quite curious!

  11. Lori says:

    @Lanet;

    I don’t know how you got the cross, so a “t” will have to do, I’m afraid.

    Tatting is a form of lace-making. One uses a shuttle or tatting needle. Both methods give very nearly identical results. If you do an Internet search, you can find all kinds of examples. eBay has many people selling their tatted items.

    My blog is not well populated, yet, I have no images of tatting on it, just yet, so doing a google search is a good choice.

    If anyone is interested in more details, comment on my blog (click my name). I don’t want to turn this into a tatting site. It is too good as a crochet site.

  12. Lane† says:

    @Lori- that’s fine. :)

    I googled tatting and found some pictures. Wow, that is amazing! Can’t wait to see some of your pictures on your blog!

  13. Squirrely Girly says:

    I absolutely HATE it when people ask me what am I “knitting”. It drives me insane! I correct them with a grimace on my face and having the feeling of about to break my hook. Yeah, I get pretty mad. :)

  14. marinahunny says:

    i’m crocheting a granny square teable cloth but since the table is quit big so i transform th etable cloth into the fridge cover. it’s been about 2 month since i’ve started the 1st granny square because i also a working woman so i have my leisure time to crochet only at night and weekend. sometimes when i get bored doing the granny square i crochet a flower to put at the hair clips. i wish i can crochet faster than before so i can finish my project as fast as i can :)

  15. Mary says:

    I ALWAYS correct ignorant people who ask what I’m knitting, when I’m actually crocheting. I say it with a sweet little smile “Well, this is crocheting, but I am making __”

    to be fair, I probably do confuse people, because I do about equal knitting and crocheting…usually alternate every few projects.

    Right now I’m knitting (really) the Counterpane Blouse from IK summer 2010

  16. Peggy says:

    My Dad used to call my crocheting “weaving.” He enjoyed watching me do it. (Dad recently passed away at age 90; I think fondly of crocheting as weaving.)

    When I get frustrated are yarn stores where crocheters are treated like second class citizens. Fortunately I experience less and less of that.

  17. Jana Hunter says:

    I sometimes correct and sometimes just say what I’m making. I live and work in Saudi Arabia and always take a crochet project with me, especially when I go to town. Here, everything CLOSES for Sala, or prayer times. I actually picked up crochet again after 30+ years when I came here as a way of staying sane in all of these “stop everything” times! So now, when I am sitting on a curb, stairs, or a bench at the mall, and crocheting, I get a LOT of interest! The women here, I’m told, DO learn crochet, briefly around 6th grade, but most of them never do anything with it. Most of the women here merely SIT doing nothing while waiting! Would drive me nuts! LOL! So, I get a lot of interest when I am sitting actually creating something. I once had a couple of young Saudi girls who could speak English tell me that what I was doing was a GREAT idea while waiting for Sala to be over!

  18. Elizabeth says:

    What Are You Knitting?

    Yep! I get that question all the time. Some people seem to know it’s not knitting, but just can’t remember the word “crochet”. I had one lady tell me she used to “do that”, and her husband called it “making knots”. Others have told me they used to “knit”, but it was sooooo hard. I used to knit with the two needles, but I prefer the one needle version.

    Recently I was crocheting with thead in my doctor’s wating room, a man asked me, “how do you see what you’re doing?”. I get that a lot since I do thread crochet a lot. I just say, “my eyesight is pretty good and it helps that I know what I’m doing”.

    By the way, I want to tell you that I really enjoy your site. I have crocheted for many years and mostly self taught. Your “How to’s” are wonderful, and I sometimes come across a stitch new to me. I nearly always take a look. Thank you

  19. Maggie says:

    I normally just give them the answer to what I’m CROCHETING.

    Right now I’m CROCHETING the safari animals in the new pattern here on Crochet Spot. My daughter was begging for them!

  20. Tristine says:

    I get the “K” question all the time! Now my husband asks me just to bug me! I take my crochet everywhere I go!

  21. Mary says:

    I usually reply, “I’m not knitting, I’m crocheting.”

    It used to be that only men asked me what I was “knitting”, while women usually got it right. Now the women are just as bad as the men. I hope that crocheting isn’t becoming a lost art.

  22. Collette Griffith says:

    Slightly off the true subject–the “Girls” in my Crochet Club at our local Senior Center, where I teach a crochet class, were forever calling the crochet hooks “needles”. I finally got their attention by telling them–”Girls, we’re not “Needlers”–we’re “Hookers”!! So they delight in telling that to anyone who calls their hooks “needles”!

  23. Colleen says:

    My husband jokingly calls it crotch-ett-ing! LOL

  24. Lori says:

    @Collette – I just LOVE that! Very clever.

  25. Richard Rose says:

    I also crochet in public (drs and chiro waiting rooms, craft markets, etc) and have had similar reactions. My favourite was while at a craft market a young child said to her mother “Look, he’s knitting with one needle”. Her mother corrected her and told her that I was crocheting.

  26. DaVida says:

    I sometimes get disturbed by older people who don’t know that I’m actually crocheting. Children usually just ask “what are you doing” or “what are you making”. But for those who make whatever the comment may be about my “knitting”, I definitely correct them . . . I try to soften the blow by saying that I’m not talented enough to knit, it takes two needles. Most times the comment gets a chuckle.

    Like Tristine, I take something that I’m crocheting EVERYWHERE I go . . . and have often made on the spot sales. Right now I am crocheting purses. I’ll soon be getting back to scarves and afghans for the fall and winter.

    And Tristine, Jamie, and Lori, my hubby still uses the “k” word, too.

    I do understand, Squirrly Girly, I do get very aggravated by those who assume they know what they are saying.

  27. Lori says:

    @Colleen – My husband also uses croch-ett-ing sometimes, too.

  28. Lane† says:

    @Elizabeth: what kind of things do you crochet with your thread? A friend of mine just taught me how to crochet with thread a few days ago. I wish I had learned years ago! I was always intimidated by it though and thread is more expensive. But anyways, I was just wondering what you crochet so I can add to my catergories of things I need to make. :)

  29. Lane† says:

    So why is it that knitting comes to your head before crocheting? Even I called it knitting before I knew how to crochet. Is knitting more popular than crocheting? Just curious.

  30. Michelle says:

    People don’t know the difference – they just see you doing something with yarn, and for all they know, it’s knitting. I just say “Oh, it’s crocheting. I’m doing a _____.”

    Right now, I’m doing a shell stitch baby blanket – I think I’m never going to make anything of any size out of sport weight yarn again. Or big shells with treble stitch. It’s making me nuts – just involved enough so that I can’t also pay attention to something else while I work, and just boring enough so that I really, really want to pay attention to something else while I work…

  31. wendy says:

    That did make me laugh! I’ve never been brave enough to crochet in public so I’ve never been asked that. I went to a picnic in the park birthday party last weekend and asked my husband if he thought it would be alright to take my crochet – I mean, it’s not like taking a book, I can crochet and chat – and he looked disgusted. I didn’t take it.

  32. Lillian says:

    It used to bother me when I was knitting or crocheting but then again I was working with some 80 men!!! Some were from Saudi Arabia and were fascinated by it. Their wives didn’t know how to crochet or knit so I showed one some basics to show his wife….then they learned to crochet…this was about 10 years ago so there were not as many websites. My mom also did both. My aunt was 90 years old and made doilies with very fine thread….since she was illiterate my mom would go to see her once a week and explain to her the pattern, I really don’t know how she did it as she had cataracts in both eyes that were replaced with glass eyes that bulged (a bit scary!). My aunt died two days short of her 95th b’day (still crocheted). I have very fond memories and many many doilies made by her and my mom. Mom died two years ago at the age of 85. If there is a rock and roll heaven; maybe there is a craft heaven too!

    I just finished 3 crocheted bunny easter baskets, two bunny covers for the doorknob and now am crocheting a shrug for my daughter. My 9 year old grandson is absolutely fascinated with crocheting and loves to work on his scarf every time he comes over….we made a braclet together which he gave to a ‘girl’ friend…..it’s a start!!!! LOL!

  33. nommyzmommy says:

    LOL! I have the opposite experience. I carry a project with me wherever I go, and more people have asked me “What are you crocheting?” when I’m knitting than the other way around. The determining factors seem to be:

    [1] the “holeyness” (lace) – the more holes, the more likely they’ll call it crocheting – and

    [2] the size of the piece – if it’s a small square piece, I must be crocheting an afghan. (I’m currently knitting an afghan in squares as a wedding gift. To add to the confusion, it’s a lace sampler.)

    Then there’s my neighbor who can’t keep the two straight to save his life. I think he’s only gotten it right twice in the last year…

  34. Elizabeth says:

    Well, Lane, first there are lots of books for thread crocheting. What do I make using thread? Almost anything you can make with yarn — of course it will look a bit different because the stitches are smaller. One of the things I make the most is doilies. My friends and family seem to just love them. I give them for lots of occasions. Last year at Christmas I put a bunch of doilies I had made on my mother-in-laws bed…I’ll probably do it again–those doilies practially disappeared!

    Anyway, I make scarves, ornaments, hats, purses, gloves, bowls (these can be doilies, but stiffened and formed over a glass bowl–those were a real hit), Christmas tree skirts (can be used as a large table doily), bedspreads, shawls, and I could go on and on.

    For years I had shied away from thread crochet because at the age of 35, I developed arthritis, and the hooks you use are sooooo small. I have found that crocheting actually helps to keep my hands “loose”. Then I found there are cushioned “sleeves” you can get and now there are hooks made larger to hold. I then had an idea that maybe I could make my own “sleeves” for those tiny hooks, and I made some for my larger hooks. Any over size K are large enough for me to hold.

    Oh, the sleeves I came up with…I used paper clay formed over the hooks leaving enough room to use the hook, then forming it to fit confortably in my hand, making sure I labeled the size of the hook on the end and painted over the sleeve with clear craft paint.

  35. Donna says:

    Oh yes, how many times indeed. I have also gotten to the point of just saying a scarf. If there is interest, true interest, especially from children, I go in to so much more detail. Children are so open to learning new interests. I learned very basics at 6 or so, so they can learn. I really took off in my teens. I am actually going to teach myself to knit in the next few months. Maybe then I will honestly be able to tell them “what I’m knitting!” It may or may not be with me at the time, but then I would be able to tell them what I am knitting!

    Blessings, Donna
    grandma4five

  36. Lane† says:

    @ Elizabeth: Neat! The friend that taught me started me on a blouse. :) Yeah, I thought it was going to be really hard but she explained it very well that now I’m flying. :) (almost) But thanks for the suggestions especially for the doilies!

  37. LISA says:

    When I get that question, I usually say “I am CROCHETING a blanket” or whatever I am doing. My girls are young and always ask me what I am knitting despite the fact that they know it’s crochet. lol Thanks for your great articles and patterns.

  38. Jamie says:

    I take my crochet to the park while my kids play. I don’t get so involved as with a book, and I can remember to look up and check on the kids occasionally. :) I also crochet in the car on longer trips (when I’m not the driver of course). If it’s nice outside, I’ve been known to go out on the front porch to enjoy the sunshine while I crochet.

  39. JamieHdrs says:

    I have been asked that question myself many times as I also crochet in public places. The funny thing is that when I knit, I’ve never been asked what am I crocheting. My poor husband has gotten so tired of trying to figure out which one I am doing that he just calls it “yarning”. What are you yarning today dear? lol!

  40. gaby says:

    haha that’s funny. In spanish (I’m from Mexico) we have the same word for both knitting and crocheting, we just add after it “with needles” or “with a hook”. But I still get confused “audience” who thinks it’s one when it is actually the other. Usually I do it at my girls’ dance lessons, or at family reunions or something like that. At the ballet, the kids always linger and see what im doing, the bravest ones ask me directly, and then ask and ask and ask, as in: what are you doing? why? whose is it? how’d you learn? who taught you? why?. My friends and family usually ask me, what are you doing now?

  41. RecycleCindy says:

    Hehe, yes I have been asked that even by my husband who knows that I don’t even know how to knit. It’s just a word that many people refer to crafting with yarn. Enjoyed your post and I always enjoy reading your latest blog projects.

  42. jenni says:

    lol lol @ wendy just take it its amazing how much good attention u will get and how ppl will ask u and say oh my mother, grandmaother or aunty used to crochet or make this and that

    i like to take my crochet when ii go out but my latest “blanket” has got a bit out of hand intitally it was supposed to be a single bed size but somehow its actually a queenbed size oh well its a bit heavy now to carry around so im knitting myself a beret to match my grandaughters ( which she thinks is hilarous ) lol lol lol lol

    i tried to teach my grandaughter 9 how to crochet but she said this is very hard nanna lol lol i told her u need to practise she was not convinced at all oh well !

  43. Lane† says:

    So the other day, someone asked me if I was knitting. I just said no. Then they said, “Oh, are you tatting?” I said no. After that they said, “Uhm, you are crocheting?” “Yes, ma’am!”

    I thought it was quite funny! :)

  44. Rebekah says:

    I’m “knitting” an afghan, baby booties, a baby cowboy hat and a hair bun cover. I keep busy. Lol!

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