Thursday, July 24, 2008

What uses more yarn?

I recently was directed to a blog that had an experiment to 'scientifically' determine which needlework style uses more yarn: Knitting, Classic Crochet, or Tunisian Crochet.

The blogger's group of friends stitched several swatches with worsted weight yarn, and 6mm sized tools. Their conculsions were that Knitting and Crochet used about the same, but TC used significantly more yarn.

I believe the experiment was flawed for the following reasons:

To accurately compare the yarn usage, an experiement should create comparable fabrics; consequentially, the swatches must stitched using different tool sizes for the various needleworks. Eva O. did this when she was at Bella Online, but that experiment was pulled offline when she left. Eva's results reflected my own, and what many TC stitchers in the industry have experienced: Classic Crochet uses the most yarn, Tunisian Crochet uses slightly less than Knitting.

Actual yarn amounts are extremely varied depending on individual tension and gauge, so saying that Knitting uses 3 times or 1/3 less yarn is grossly over stating the facts... unless the yarn useage was determined by crocheting the piece with a hook size that is appropriate for knitting needles and way too small for crochet.

Mechanics dictate that Knitting will use less yarn, because all of the stitches are interconnected to one another. The extra steps in forming stitches of Classic Crochet and Tunisian Crochet dictate that they will use more yarn. How much more is determined by individual tension, gauge, size of hook/needle, etc.

Using larger hooks for Tunisian Crochet will actually lessen the amount of yarn you use, because it loosens up the stitches to create a fabric closer to Knitting and Classic Crochet accomplish with smaller tools.

Trying to use one size of tool for all the various needlework styles will create different fabrics: a J sized hook with worsted weight yarn would be much too loose for most crocheters, same with the 6mm needles. A J sized hook with Tunisian Crochet will create a fabric so dense you could use it for a rug... if you could control the curl.

In other words, the 6mm hook is a one size too big for what most stitchers use for classic crochet, and it may be up to 2 sizes too big for what most yarn lables recommend for knitting. For Tunisian Crochet, that 6mm hook is two to three sizes too small.

All of these will skew the final results, because the appropriate sized stitching tool wasn't used for each style of needlework.

I would be interested in seeing what results her group gets when they use the size of tool that is more appropriate for the worsted weight yarn...

Such as.... a 5.5mm (size I) hook with classic crochet; 5mm needles with knitting and an 8mm hook with Tunisian Crochet. Scroll down for Unraveling the Truth, to see the whole blogpost.


Anonymous said...

I think the only way for an accurate comparison would be to use the same pattern, yarn, size needle/hook.

That would not, of course, take into consideration the tension each knitter, crocheter, TC'r would have.

Thank you for all you do, ARNie.

Marny (not anonymous)

MonaLisa said...

I'm late to this discussion, but I think Arnie's right. Use the hook/needle size that's appropriate for the weight of the yarn used. Tunisian crochet generally recommends a hook 2 to 5 sizes up from what would be used for classic crochet.