Does Knitting Use Less Yarn Than Other Crafts?




does knitting use less yarn

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It’s no secret that knitting and crocheting have several differences. Among these, one that people would often brush aside is the difference between the amounts of yarn necessary to craft a garment. After all, it’s not relevant if you only knit.

However, if you used to crochet before you transitioned to knitting, this particular difference will be apparent. The question is, does knitting use less yarn or more?

The short answer is that knitting uses less yarn than crocheting and other similar hobbies. But of course, that doesn’t really tell us much, does it?

In this article, we discuss the difference between the yarn consumption of knitting and similar hobbies. Let’s start by going over the finer details of this subject.

How Much Less Yarn Does Knitting Use Than Crochet?

Knitting generally uses 20% less yarn than crochet. This means two things.

One, a knitted item will contain less yarn than a crocheted item. So, expect a difference in weight. Naturally, a kitted item will be lighter than a crocheted item.

Two, the yarn used for knitting is the same type used for crochet projects. As such, the fact that knitting requires less yarn would result in a difference in expenses.

More specifically, knitting costs less than crocheting, as far as yarn is concerned.

Apart from these two, another factor that the lower yarn consumption of knitting compared to crochet affects is the time it takes to complete a knitting project.

How Long Do Knitting Projects Take?

For most frequent knitters, it usually takes around two weeks to knit a sweater. Though it’s important to keep in mind that many factors affect this.

Here’s a look at some of their factors and how they affect a project’s timeframe:

Yarn Weight

Yarns come in so many sizes or weights, so the Craft Yarn Council or CYC which represents leading yarn companies has come up with a yarn weight system.

Basically, there are seven different yarn weights numbered 0 to 6. These include:

  • #0 Lace
  • #1 Super Fine (also known as sock or fingering)
  • #2 Fine (also known as sport)
  • #3 Light (also known as worsted, DK, and double-knitting)
  • #4 Medium (also known as worsted, aran, and afghan)
  • #5 Bulky (also known as chunky)
  • #6 Super Bulky (also known as roving)

Most knitters refer to yarn weights with their alternative names. For example, rather than referring to medium-weight yarn as just medium, they’d refer to it as worsted.

Bulkier yarns are a bit harder to handle than lighter yarns, so naturally, yarn weight can have a significant impact on the speed at which you can finish a project.


It goes without saying that your skill or experience will be a determining factor in how quickly you can knit a specific item. Naturally, the more skilled and experienced you are, the faster you can complete a knitting project, and vice versa.

Knitting Stitch/Technique

Amateur knitters aren’t aware that there are countless types of knitting stitches or techniques out there. Examples include rib stitch, cable stitch, and moss stitch.

Every type of stitch varies in terms of difficulty and speed, so naturally, the stitch will affect how long it’ll take to complete a knitting project.

Project/Pattern Specifications

Knitting projects can vary in several specifications. A sweater, for example, is more difficult to knit than a blanket since you have to follow a specific pattern or shape.

Meanwhile, with a blanket, the pattern and shape are typically quite simple.

That’s why when you look up knitting patterns, you’ll find that there are some catered for beginners. Some patterns are simple, while others are complex.

Of course, the more complex the pattern, the longer it’ll take to complete.

Knitting Needle Specifications

Like yarn, knitting needles can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

In fact, knitting needles have more variety than yarn since not only does it come in several sizes, but it also has several types. Examples include straight and circular.

Needless to say, the speed at which you can complete knitting projects may vary. Nevertheless, there’s always a difference in speed between knitting and crocheting.

Is Knitting Faster Than Crocheting?

Despite utilizing less yarn than crocheting, knitting is typically slower.

That’s because when you knit, you have to form loops from one needle to another, making sure the previous loop is connected to the next. Crocheting is different.

When you crochet, you don’t have to connect the loops. You can use the crochet hook to create the loop directly on the piece independent of other loops.

But that’s not the only reason why crocheting is faster.

In addition to the simpler mechanism of crochet looping, crochet stitches are also usually taller or longer. That means each stitch you make will cover more ground.

For example, let’s say you’re knitting a specific part of a sweater that is around 50 centimeters in width. Since knitting stitches aren’t that long, you would typically need two stitches per centimeter. So, in total, you need to make 100 stitches.

Meanwhile, since crochet stitches are longer or taller, you may just need one stitch per centimeter. So, in that same instance, you’d only need to make 50 stitches.

For these reasons, you can crochet an item that would’ve taken a week to knit in just a day or two. But of course, knitting won’t always be slower than crocheting.

If you’re incredibly skilled, you can knit faster than another person can crochet.

Similarly, the amount of yarn you need to knit an item won’t always be less than the amount you need to crochet that same item. Knitting tightly or loosely, for example, may affect the amount of yarn you need to complete the project.

Does Tighter Knitting Use More Yarn?

Knitting isn’t as simple as might think. It features several terms, each with their important meanings. One particular term when it comes to knitting is tension.

Tension or gauge refers to the number of stitches in a given measurement.

For example, when asked about the tension one typically uses for knitting projects, some of the most common answers are six or nine stitches per inch.

The higher this number, the “tighter” they’re knitting.

The average is six stitches per inch.

So, if you say you knit ten stitches per inch, some would consider that as knitting tightly. But if you say you knit only three stitches per inch, you’re knitting loosely.

Generally speaking, knitting tightly usually uses up more yarn than knitting loosely. That’s because you need to form more loops. And though it makes sense that you’d want to knit tightly, it’s not necessarily always a good idea to do so.

Should You Knit Tightly or Loosely?

Tight knitting offers several benefits, and the same applies to loose knitting.

However, at the same time, each option also carries a couple of drawbacks. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons each option offers.

Knitting Tightly

Knitting tightly typically means the knitted item will be more durable, and that’s pretty much the only benefit of doing that. However, the drawbacks include:

  • using more yarn, increasing your expenses, and making the item heavier,
  • making the project more difficult and taking more time to complete, and
  • hurting or stressing out your hands as it demands more force.

If that’s not ideal, the other option is to knit loosely.

Knitting Loosely

Knitting loosely means you’ll use significantly less yarn and you won’t have to hurt your hands while knitting. But at the same time, you’ll get a garment that is:

  • less durable, and
  • noticeably made by an amateur.

For these reasons, the best approach would be to simply knit not too tightly or too loosely, but evenly. Of course, that may be a bit difficult for a beginner, but the good news is most knitting patterns you’ll find come with a suggested tension.

In addition to the tension of your knitting, another factor that would affect the amount of yarn you’ll use is the type of knitting stitch you intend to use.

What Knitting Stitch Uses the Most Yarn?

As stated earlier, there are several types of knitting stitches. And depending on what you use, the speed at which you can complete the knitting project may vary.

The following are the seven most common knitting stitches:

  1. Beaded rib stitch
  2. Chevron seed stitch
  3. Garter stitch
  4. Sand stitch
  5. Seed stitch
  6. Stockinette stitch
  7. Waffle stitch

Again, the amount of yarn you may end up using will depend on several factors, such as the tension of your knitting, the knitting pattern, and the yarn weight.

However, if we assume that all of these factors are the same, then the knitting stitch that’ll use the most yarn would usually be the waffle stitch.

Summing It Up

It’s not rare for someone who used to crochet to transition to knitting. On the contrary, it’s quite common to switch between these two hobbies. But it’s important to take note of a few things when doing so. Questions like, “Does knitting use less yarn?”, for example, are worth asking before you transition.

As you’ve learned in this article, knitting does indeed use less yarn, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to every scenario or project, as there are other factors in play.

If you want to challenge yourself, take a look at What Is the Hardest Thing to Knit?

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