CLF Myth Busting: 1/3 more yarn 22

Crochet does not use 1/3 more yarn than knitting.

I hate that people go around saying we use 1/3 more yarn than knitting, mostly because it falls into one of my pet peeves: Repeating information as if it were fact without investigating the truth of the matter.

It’s kind of like saying, “The world is flat.”  How long did people go around assuming the world was flat, before someone actually decided to do some math on the matter?

About 8 years ago, I had heard this statement repeated so often that I actually believed it to be true as well, until I noticed that when my friend and I created our handspun skeins of yarn which were very similar (she taught me to spin) in both weight and yardage that we tended to get the same size projects out of the yarn, she knits. So, I put my thinking cap on and decided to test the statement of “Crochet uses 1/3 more yarn.”

Ann Hopkins and I both used 80 yards of the same fingering weight wool yarn. We choose stitches that are comparable in crochet and knitting; I used a single crochet and she used the stockinette stitch. We both used tools that gave us a similar gauge, sorry but I just don’t remember if I used an E or an F hook.

We chose to make 3.5 inch scarf and we figured that we’d go until we had no more yarn left. We ended up with having almost exactly the same length scarves, the difference was less than 1/8″ in length. Both scarves were about  26 inches long and for us we solved the issue. BTW we finished at about the same time too, she’s a fast knitter and I’m a fast crocheter, so that whole slow/fast myth really just depends on the individual. (To Ann’s credit she does

knit socks with her eyes closed, but hey she’s been doing this for about 60 some years.)

So here’s what else I surmised in my pursuit of FACTUAL information.

1. Chain stitch such as in this mesh pictured on the right, uses far less yardage than any knit stitch.

Yes, it can be used for garments, I made a very fine mohair lace weight yarn into a mesh sweater vest for a friend. The cotton mesh pictured on the right is a spring shrug.

2.  SC is pretty comparable to a knit stitch in use of yarn.

Bullion Square, Crocheted.

Another block for mother in law's afghan.

3. The more yarn overs the more yarn used per stitch. So dc, tr c, bobbles, bullions etc use more yarn.


Now let’s get to the important part, our ancestors who started this compare and contrast fiasco had little imagination in my humble opinion. Let us put it this way, crochet and knitting are very different media. There is no compare and contrast, it’s apples and oranges, no one compares knitting and weaving, right? Ok, well, they are two separate media, in fact they are inverse operations. The whole compare and contrast keeps us in the dark, keeps us away from innovation, and frankly it’s a pointless discussion.

Next, if someone doesn’t want to crochet on the off chance they use 1/3 more yarn or a yarn store discourages the employment of crochet in garments because of the potential of using more yarn, then holy moly move on and just do your own thing. Seriously, for yarn stores to discourage sales is plain idiocy, in fact I will say this plainly: If you are a yarn store owner and you tell people not to crochet something because it uses more yarn,then you need to sell your store. You have a business, your business is to sell yarn, if by the sheer off chance that this calculation is correct and I were to use more yarn why the heck wouldn’t you want to sell more yarn to me? After all you are in business, the goal of business is to make money, you make money by selling goods and services. Sorry for being Capitaine Obvious here, but it amazes me that such non-sense is touted by so called professionals.

Crocheters, I’m talking to you lastly. WHY DO YOU PERPETUATE THE MYTHS?! Think, question, and TEST the myths before repeating them as facts!!

Don’t believe me? Test it out for yourself.

About Laurie A. Wheeler

Laurie A. Wheeler is a blogger, crochet addict, yarn designer and champion for independant artisans and crafters. She is also known as Fearless Leader of the Crochet Liberation Front.

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22 thoughts on “CLF Myth Busting: 1/3 more yarn

  • Amy

    I hate that myth. It’s even worse when somebody inverts the fraction and says crochet used up 3 times as much yarn as knitting. Really???

  • CrochetQueen

    when I did my experiment, it ended up a very minimal amount and I used single crochet, garter stitch, and Afghan stitch. Tried to make them all similar stitches :)

  • Adrienne Via

    Also, while you and Ann were testing the myth, which one of you wore a beret and a mustache while the other spouted sayings like “I reject your reality and replace it with my own”?

  • Sandra Roarty

    “If you are a yarn store owner and you tell people not to crochet something because it uses more yarn,then you need to sell your store. ”

    AMEN, Laurie!

    • Laurie A. Wheeler Post author

      Thanks Tara! You know, people often say things with such authority that you just accept it. I know I did, but then I just kept noticing that my friend’s knitting didn’t use that much less yarn than my crochet. So we have fun testing it :D

  • Julie

    Hey! I just came across this post in a search for which uses more yarn, knitting or crocheting. Tonight at knitting club, I was crocheting away while the lady knitting next to me was telling me how “crochet just EATS up yarn!” I thought I’d dig up some knitting needles and test it out, but you already did! Huzzah! Thank you for doing this. FOR SCIENCE! It makes me plenty happier :D

  • melly

    so, what you have showed us is that at HER gauge, her knitting took the same amount of yarn as YOUR crochet gauge? so, for me, that’s… well, it doesn’t mean a whole lot.

    when i re-did the legs of a soaker i had knti for my daughter, i decided to crochet them for a different look. i unraveled the legs, picked up my crochet hook, and started, with the intention to just crochet until i used the yarn up for that leg. almost two inches (about ten rows) of knitting, in k1,p1 rib (which is pretty dense) translated into not much more than ONE round in single crochet for me and ran i out of yarn! the same yarn, the same circumference, and i got just over one round done (and about half an inch of height.) i was flabbergasted.i never thought my crocheting would eat up THAT much more yarn than my knitting.

    for it to be any kind of real comparision, you need more people, and more testing. one person crocheting and one person knitting is really not that good of a judge of usage, my personal experience totally debunks what you just said, because that’s just two instances. for me, i’d say around 30% on average for one person, knitting and then crocheting, would be somewhere close.

    • Laurie A. Wheeler Post author

      Interesting, cool you tried it. The actually point of my article was really to get people to stop repeating information blindly without knowing whether it is true or not. I’m sure there are other factors that come into play such as needle/hook sizes (because you can’t use the same mm size to achieve the same gauge because of the way the stitches are constructed) and the kind of yarn used (fiber, style, size).

      I still stand by my statement that it’s a really stupid thing for Local Yarn Store owners to say to get people to not crochet if they are in the business of selling yarn. Cause seriously if it IS true that crochet uses more yarn wouldn’t that be an awesome thing for someone whose livelihood depends on yarn sales? LOL

  • Jack

    Ah, apples and oranges? Yes, melly makes much the same point you made with “Let us put it this way, crochet and knitting are very different media. There is no compare and contrast, it’s apples and oranges, no one compares knitting and weaving, right?”

    But I compare the thickness and scuptural depth of the fabric created by crochet vs. knitting? Much depends on the stitch patterns used in either technique. The drape (or flexiblity) of the fabric is also significantly influenced by the method used be it crochet or knitting.

    I use crochet for potholder and blankets for thicker, more insulating results. I’ve tried knitting garter stitch potholders but even double layered patterns are thinner than my crocheted project with the same yarn.

    My crochet is much easier to transport (in my backpack) and much more forgiving for “on-the-go” projects. If I drop the hook, np; I’ve only lost one to a few stitches. If I drop a needle from my knitting I’m in a panic trying not to loose any stitches from my last row! I’ve had to fix a fair number of dropped k/p complex row patterns such that I prefer circular needles for all my knit projects.

    Really, if someone does summarized the difference between crochet and knitting by stating, “Crochet uses 1/3 more yarn,” then they are showing how little they understand the difference between these two different techniques for weaving fibers into a fabric.

    I think we all would benefit from such thoughful compare and contrast articles as your, Ms. Wheeler.

    Thank you.

  • Jack

    A brief correction or rephrasing of my closing sentence/paragraph:

    I think we all would benefit from more compare and contrast articles as thoughtful as yours, Ms. Wheeler.