Knitting v. Crochet: It’s all in the numbers.


Generated via Google Trends

I wouldn’t call myself a numbers gal. I’m less motivated by tests and data than I am by personal communication, and the “experience” that a project, event, or product provides. I’m comfortable with making go-with-your-gut decisions, and see the immense value that reading the room (literally or virtually) can offer for both personal and professional ventures. That said, while the designer/craft evangelist in me will always keep one foot pointing and flexing in the creative world, the businesswoman in me must keep that other foot firmly planted in the land of charts and statistics. Le sigh. It’s in the spirit of that 2nd foot (and as suggested by a couple of marketing books I’m currently reading) that I decided to look into some analytics related to knitting and crochet, and I’ll be damned if some of the graphs and charts I came across aren’t actually interesting! Here’s some of what I learned.

Let’s start with the graph above. As you can see, over the past decade the popularity of knitting hit a peak in 2005. Incidentally, this was back when TV networks like DIY and HGTV (although not accessible by all) were a great source for programming (i.e. Knitty Gritty & Uncommon Threads) in that genre. I find it interesting that now, though with video programming (offering the ability to learn from and be inspired by both professionals and hobbyists alike) literally at the fingertips of anyone who can get their hands on a computer or mobile device that interest in knitting has slowly, ebbed and flowed downward. Also intriguing is that crochet has experienced the exact opposite with its popularity being at it’s peak now, in 2015! This posits the question: are you, dear reader a knitter, crocheter, both, or neither?

Next, let’s chat craft popularity by region.

In talking with friends and colleagues across the pond, in the U.S. there are more knitting groups; more events; more genre “celebs” than inย  the U.K.ย  The perception is that the States reign supreme for knitting popularity and passion. The numbers however, say otherwise. In fact according to Google, we Americans (with a concentration of fans in Spokane, Reno [Really?], and Boise) are in 4th place when it comes to knitting population! (Although arguably, we are the loudest — it’s plausible that we post/share/photograph our projects more.)


Don’t knit for me, Argentina the truth is you always crochet (I apologize for that. My son’s working tech crew on his school’s production of, Evita so I couldn’t resist.) Seriously, though — Argentinians hold the hook prize in crochet at an unbelievable (seriously, can we believe this stat?), 100%!ย  At 53 %, the United States (not shown on the above image) are a lowly, 8th on the crochet pop-scale (with the largest group of *ahem* hookers in Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles.) Our Canadian neighbors (who took 2nd place for knitting interest), and our friends in England aren’t even on the chart!

Lastly, lets examine web searches. What are we looking for when we type that stitching inquiry into our favorite search engine? I’ll skip sharing the images of the top topic search charts for both “knitting” and “crochet”ย  as the results were the same: Patterns (Duh — we’ve got this beautiful yarn, and amazing needles, so now we need inspiration and instruction!) I will however, share a more surprising (well, at least to me) list of knit-related queries on the rise over the past ten years Side note: Crochet stays consistent with a rise in pattern searches leading the way.



Look at the loom knitting stat — up by 450%! This is astonishing since looms seem fringe within the industry. If you go to live shows (consumer or trade), look at boutique and craft store class schedules, or check out some of the largest yarn companies’ websites — loom knitting is rarely given more than a polite nod. If we believe ‘ol Google, though we in the industry are clearly missing out on an obvious demand. Show of hands: who reading this has ever knit with a loom?

As someone who considers herself the personified equivalent of “jazz hands” for the yarn (and general) craft industry, the second rising number looks pretty great to me. The amount of new people becoming interested in knitting is up 190%, which means folks are feeling inspired to get creative — this bodes well for us craft enablers! (One would assume however, that since overall interest in the craft has decreased that seasoned knitters have taken a long break from their needles. Did you used to be a knitter, but stopped? If so, why?)

Also of note: casting on, double knitting, and working with circular needles are queries of growing interest amongst our community.
Although overall most of these numbers won’t change how I approach my job (or love of craft) — I will continue to spread the yarn-y gospel regardless of the ups and downs — they do offer some insight on the topics I may want to touch on while preaching the stitching love.

Alright, now back to the touch-feely stuff. Go make something pretty! ๐Ÿ˜‰



16 Responses to “Knitting v. Crochet: It’s all in the numbers.”

  1. Betty

    I can both crochet & knit. Taught by my mother & grandmother when I was 8 crochet was easier for me. Honestly I think they were afraid I would poke my eye out with the knitting needles. Yes, I was that uncoordinated with them back then. Four years ago I decided to pick up a pair of knitting needles and taught myself through books and YouTube videos. I haven’t looked back since. Occasionally I still pick up the crochet hook for a project or two but if I’m sittin’ I’m knittin’. I just love knitting. Would I give up crochet? Never. I love that it’s something that both my mother and grandmother taught me. My Mom turns 90 this year and she’s cranking out doilies like there’s no tomorrow. She put her knitting needles down the same year I picked them up. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Debbie

    I can both knit and crochet. I learned to crochet at about 10 and much later learned to knit when living in England. I will take a hook over needles any day of the week. I have to want something really, REALLY badly to knit it. Usually, I can always find a similar pattern in crochet.

  3. Casey

    I think the loom knitting is coming from the popularity of Rainbow Looms. When my son got a kit I was jumping up and down telling him it’s knitting with rubber bands! I tried to get him excited about trying it with yarn, but interest faded. Will try again…

  4. Purrlie

    I began as a knitter, but never got past the garter stitch scarf stage, when I switched to crochet. I crocheted like a fiend for many years, even crocheting a number of complex adult sweaters. Then one day out of the blue I became totally bored with with crochet. I did no needlework of any kind for years and years after stopping crochet, Then I picked up knitting again around 2007. Now I knit exclusively. Every time I think I might crochet again as well, that old boredom and disinterest in crochet come over me. I once loved to crochet, but that’s over. Now I just want to knit because I find it to be a far more versatile, therefore, fulfilling craft.

  5. Jayla

    I learned to crochet from a book, with crochet thread(size 10) and a size 8 hook,in the early 60’s. Then in 70’s I learn to knit also self taught from a book.
    I like to knit better than crochet, but I do enjoy Tunisian crochet. I also like making my own hooks and dp needles. I love circular needles best, so uses those most of time.

  6. Ellen M

    I began as a crocheter. 35+ years! Said I would never ever be a knitter. Haha…but, I love the look so much I decided to give it another try. Not before trying something on a knitting board though. I don’t like the looms, tried that too. Then . . . I discovered Continental Style knitting and it was all over. I LOVE to knit! I still crochet, and still love that too. Especially lace. However, I think my stats lean toward knitting more than crochet. I am also working on an afghan on the knitting board simply because I am not ready to try ‘double knitting’ just yet. I find it to be really hard on my wrist! ๐Ÿ™

  7. Corinne

    wow, fascinating! As a world traveler, I always look for yarn shops in other countries. I am just as surprised by this data as you. For the record, I knit & crochet, but my preference is knitting. I also do Tunisian crochet & have taught it & yarn people are usually interested. I’ve dabbled in loom knitting & am thinking those searches are because there is painfully few resources available for that craft. Thanks!!

  8. Ada Nugent

    I love to crochet, I would like to learn to knit, but crocheting is the best for me, I see more kniting than I do crocheting, I’d like to see more crocheting to, thank you.

  9. Urmie

    I love to crochet, it make me relax and I can just sit and create a design Crocheting is my life also I would love to see more crocheting around
    Thank you

  10. Val

    I crochet and love it. I don’t have the patience to teach myself to knit. I think Corinne is right about loom knitting. Also keep in mind a 450% increase of a small number may still be a very small number. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Donna B.

    At present I only crochet and have also dabbled a bit into the loom knitting. I would like to learn to knit but don’t think I would have the patience since knitted projects take so much longer than crochet. I will ALWAYS crochet! My grandmother taught me the basics when I was just a little girl, but my patience and my death grip on the hook and yarn caused my interest to wane for years until I decided to take up the hook again in my senior years. I do like the creative arts but lack the patience and confidence to try the more difficult projects. I tend to stick to small projects and afghans. I have not really attempted clothing except for hats on the knitting loom. I did try making a scarf on the knitting loom and got discouraged with it…. it just didn’t look right to me! All the scarves I’ve made have been strictly crochet since then. I would like to learn how to make slippers and socks…. both crochet and knit. I watch “Knitting Daily” every Sunday morning and am always looking for more segments on CROCHET. Perhaps one day I will give knitting a try…. but for me it’s crochet all the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Dorothy Atkinson

    I both and knit and crochet. Last year or so I have really got wrapped up in crocheting Amigurumis. I knit sweaters, in that category I have made 40 Nordic sweaters. Lost count of the number of V neck sweaters I made for my husband. Also didn’t count the number of Aran sweaters. I made all kinds of sweaters for my sister in law, daughter in law and myself. I have crocheted a couple of lace table cloths,. I crocheted quite a few lace V neck, sleeveless sweaters. I think they were called vests. I also knit and crochet afghans. Sometimes the crocheted afghans were made up of granny squares or I just. Crochet one huge afghan. My sons would rather have one piece afghans. I have one on the go now but I find I get so bored doing one piece. Oh yes I knit around 30 pair of socks for men. I knit them from the toe up. I really enjoyed making them. Sometimes I have both crocheting and knitting on the go at the same time. The reason I do so much is that I am almost 81 and am housebound, but I never get bored. I do miss getting out to fabric stores. And wool shops but I have a wool shop in a city close by who know my taste and are helpful when I phone them. My sons got me a large quantity of yarn for my Amigurumis. Crazy colours but they look so great in the toys. Best Wishes Dorothy

  13. Dorothy Atkinson

    I don’t think I answered your original question. I just went on and on about how many things I have made. At the moment I am crocheting more as I am making Amigurumis. I still can’t say which I prefer doing. When I knit I think it’s the greatest, the same goes for crocheting. I taught myself to crochet 40 years ago. I learned a great deal from You Tube. I think I have been knitting for 61 years. I can’t remember who taught me how to knit. When I was 21 we bought our first home. A lovely lady Mrs. Wren who lived next door taught me how to read patterns, how to finish sweaters. She was always there to answer my questions.

  14. Shabana

    When I was a child I tried learning to both knit and crochet and then again as a 30 something year old. I really love the smoothness of knits but I hate the physical sensation of knitting, crochet has always felt like a natural movement whereas knitting makes my hands feel all wrong and clumsy, even at the start when I was just beginning to learn to crochet it felt like a relief to go from struggling with the knitting needles to the smooth wrist motion of crocheting with a single hook. I’m now obsessed with crochet and spend most of my days crocheting and I’m getting pretty bad RSI in my wrists which made me try to learn to knit again in order to vary my wrist movements but this time, although I’m certain that I can get proficient at knitting if I really try, the tedium of knitting is just too much for me. I have the patience to create long dresses and garments out of lace thread (which is 99.9% of the crochet I do as I really dislike the bulky look of crochet using any yarn heavier than fingering weight) but just one row of knitting and purling feels like an absolute eternity to me, with crochet I’m constantly counting and paying attention to what I’m doing and the stitch pattern quickly takes shape in my fingers which motivates me to finish the project but with knitting it’s just the same mindless repetitive movement over and over which feels to me like an endless hell. Isn’t it funny how for some people that repetition affords them the opposite feeling? My best friend loves the feeling of knitting so much that she just knits a rectangle and then frogs it over and over, just for fun! I’ve told her she could just make a scarf but she’s completely uninterested in making something, she just likes the feeling of the repetitive movement of knitting without having to deal with actually getting somewhere. I really have the utmost admiration and respect for knitters, they must be the most patient people on the planet.

    Plus I think the weather might account for the differences in knitting/ crochet stats. If I lived in a cold country I’d probably be more motivated to try knitting again but it’s just as well I prefer crochet cotton lace because I keep ending up living in places where it’s too hot to even contemplate working with wool :-/

  15. Vickie Howell

    Oh my goodness, I hadn’t seen any of these comments come through. Drat!

    Thank you for sharing your stories!