A Quick Comparison
Knitting and crocheting are both non-loom weaving. Crocheting uses one hook, knitting uses between two and seven different needles for various projects. Both are enhanced by a measuring gauge and stitch markers. End caps for knitting needles is handy for knitting projects, especially those that use double-pointed needles.
Crocheting has the shorter initial learning curve. It can even be done without any equipment at all, using a technique called finger crocheting. Advanced crocheting, however, involves some added equipment, such broomstick lace which requires a “broomstick” or hairpin lace, which requires a U-shaped form.
Knitting is harder to learn initially because it involves using two needles or more, and all of the loops are kept on one or the other of the needles until the project is finished and “bound off.” Managing those needles and all those loops can lead to dropped stitches and other complications. Knitting also has a lacy form, but once the basic stitches, knit and purl, are mastered and the knitter has learned how to increase and decrease, it is mostly a matter of reading patterns after that. Advanced knitting might include cable stitches, double knit, and turning a heel on a sock.
The Afghan stitch is a sort of hybrid between knitting and crocheting. A row of stitches is crocheted onto the Afghan needle, which looks like a long knitting needle with a crochet hook on the end. But then every stitch is crocheted off of the needle, and the process begins again. The challenge with the Afghan stitch is keeping the squares (the projects are always made in squares) uniform. Maintaining good uniformity in stitches and number of stitches in each row is paramount in creating good Afghan squares.
Quality of Results
Unless you are willing to make your project entirely of single crochet stitches, has a naturally lacy appearance. It is excellent for making shawls, over-sweaters, vests, lace doilies, and fast lace edging. It can even be used to make fiber art jewelry and wall hangings.
Commonly produces a smoother, more closed pattern, making it good for warm sweaters, stockings, and gloves. It can be used to make lace, however, and in that application is good for shawls and over sweaters. You can make some cute vests, and even dresses using the knitting technique.
It is used to make squares. The most usual application is to make afghan throws, but you can also make slippers, chair covers, sweater vests (if used with crochet to fasten the squares together.)
Which is Best
“Best” depends upon the crafter’s experience and the purpose of the project. It is kind to teach young crafters crocheting first. There is less to think about, and it gets them used to managing a tool to pull loops of yarn through other loops. For speed and large pieces, my money is on knitting that uses a basic knit/purl pattern. For density and durability, you can’t beat the good, old afghan stitch. But the craft that “speaks” to you is the best one for you to use. Happy creating!