As many crochet enthusiasts know, crocheting is a craft which has been practiced for centuries, and there are plenty of different things you can crochet.
Because of all the options when it comes to crocheting, a lot of people overlook some of the potential limitations there are for this art form.
For example, compared to other forms of weaving, crocheting can not actually be done by a machine, or something automated similarly.
Because of this, in this article we will be exploring why crocheting can not be done through using a machine, and what makes this different from using a knitting machine.
Because of this connection to knitting machines, we will also explore the use of these machines, and what you need to look out for if you want a good knitting machine.
So, if you want to learn more about crocheting and why it does not work with machines, as well as learn about knitting machines, then keep on reading!
Can You Crochet Using A Machine?
So, as we referenced in the introduction, unfortunately it is not possible to crochet using a machine, and currently, there is no machine which is able to automate crocheting.
So, wherever you see a crocheted piece of work, you can know that this has been constructed completely by hand, and there is no chance that this has been made by a machine.
The reason why you can not crochet using a machine is because the act of crocheting simply requires too much skill, as well as dexterity, and this can only be done by hand.
This makes it stand out from knitting which can have its stitches recreated using a machine, or can be set into a loom and frame which works in a similar way.
However, because of this precision, you can not make many mistakes when using these machines.
Why Can’t Crochet Be Done Using A Machine?
If you are not aware, machines which help with knitting have been around since the 1800s and these quickly gained popularity for how they were able to produce large amounts of fabric which has been knitted much faster than possible by hand.
Thai is not something which is possible using crocheting, and the type of weaving done by crocheting simply can not be made this way.
A knitting machine can recreate loops by using a loom which is perfect for knitting or weaving your fabric, however, the stitches which are used in crocheting are simply too intricate.
There is also the fact that crocheting needs more than just making loops using your yarn (see also: How Much Yarn Do I Need To Crochet)like you do in knitting.
When crocheting, other than just making loops, you also need to pull your loops through other loops simultaneously which is an action which requires far too much dexterity for modern technology.
This means that automating crocheting will be a very difficult process since it needs tools like needles and hooks, and you can not easily lend a machine the dexterity needed to use these tools.
Another part of crocheting which means it is difficult to automate is maintaining stitch tension which is simple when using dexterous hands, but not for a programmed machine.
Alternatives To A Crochet Machine?
If you want a machine which is able to recreate crocheting, this is simply not something which you will be able to find. However, if you are willing to settle for the closest thing, then a knitting machine is what you should be looking for.
A knitting machine is able to automate a lot of the process of knitting, and while the results are not crocheted, you can adapt them to act and look quite similar.
By using a knitting machine, you will be able to work on your projects a lot more quickly and much more efficiently, so if you want to make personal gifts, or maybe start selling your work, a knitting machine will do a lot to help you reach this goal.
Why Can You Knit Using A Machine?
The exact reason why knitting can be automated, and crocheting can not, is because when you are knitting, the whole item will have a live edge, whereas a crocheted piece is instead working with a single live stitch.
So, when you are knitting, your loops of yarn which you are working with, will always be connected to each other.
This makes it so when your loop is getting pulled through another, your machine can shuttle it, so there will be an open stitch on both ends and then you will not have any stitches that are leftover.
This makes it much more simple to automate compared to the single live stitch you are working with when crocheting.
How Does A Knitting Machine Work?
If you use a knitting machine, this works by utilizing a needle which has a hook which is attached to a hook on its end.
Your knitting machine is able to pull your loops of yarn so they go through each other and then onto the aforementioned hook device, this piece is known as a knitting carriage.
You can set up this carriage in a multitude of ways, and it is customized based on your type of project, for example, you can set it up flat when you are making something like a blanket, or in a circular shape if you are making something like a sweater.
The machine also lets you control more specific factors like the tightness of your stitches by adjusting the tension setting on your knitting carriage.
When using a knitting machine, your needles are set into pairs so you can work them together to make stitches on both of the sides at the same time.
This means that one side can make knit stitches, while another side makes purl stitches.
You can use your machine to make a variety of different projects, like the aforementioned sweaters or blankets, but you can also use them to make items like hats.
This is because knitting machines can use a circular needles which makes knitting in different directions possible.
This is not something which is possible for a traditional style of knitting by hand because you cannot switch the piece of work around while working on the same project, or use two sets of needles at the same time.
Will You Need To Know How To Knit To Use A Knitting Machine?
While knitting experience will always be useful for projects like this, you do not necessarily need to have any previous experience knitting to be able to use a knitting machine.
However, if you have knitted before, or even just know how to knit, you will have a much easier time learning how to use the machine than someone who knows nothing about knitting.
For example, you will know what a specific stitch looks like before you use it on the machine.
This is because all knitting machines will be using needle pairs and these will all have different functions, the knit stitch and the purl stitch, so you will want to know what each needle is used for each stitch.
Is It Better To Knit By Hand Or Using A Machine?
You can not just say that knitting by hand is better, or using a knitting machine is better, as this will all depend on the project which you are doing.
Some projects are simply better suited to be made though hand knitting, while others will suit using a knitting machine more.
For example, if you are looking to knit a large quantity of a product, and you want to make the same item multiple times, then you will want to use a knitting machine.
Also knitting machines work great for people who suffer from hand cramps after knitting for too long.
Moreover, if you can no longer knit as effectively as you previously could due to dexterity issues, then a knitting machine is a great tool to have. This could include having issues with tension while knitting too.
Of course though, there are some situations where hand knitting will be more suitable than using a knitting machine.
For example, when you are using a knitting machine, the machine is doing all the work for you, so, if there is a mistake, it will not be easy to fix, and you may have mass produced it.
A common issue is a row being made too tight compared to one of the other rows. These issues are pretty awkward to fix and can be very time consuming, and this wouldn’t happen when hand knitting.
If you are hand knitting, you will also be able to produce a wide variety of different items, and this is something which is not as simple when using a knitting machine.
There is also the fact that people who can hand knit, like being able to do the action themselves, and it is a very relaxing hobby to partake in. Hand knitting can also add a lot of sentimental value to a gift.
Pros Of Using A Knitting Machine
- Knitting machines save you a massive amount of time, and you can produce your products at a much faster rate than you could imagine knitting by hand
- You do not need nearly as much skill to use a knitting machine, and to use them correctly, while they take some skill, it is a much easier learning curve
- Knitting machines are a great way to give your hands some rest, and this is why they are so widely used by those who have accessibility issues and limited dexterity
- Of course, you will need to buy the knitting machine, but using a knitting machine actually has a relatively low cost to invest into, and you can make a lot of products with a more limited supply of yarn
- When using a knitting machine you do not need to worry about uneven stitch tension
Cons Of Using A Knitting Machine
- A knitted item which is made using a knitting machine will tend to a lot less durable than one which was made using hand knitting
- For some items the more uniform stitches of a knitting machine can be not ideal, for example with sweaters
- When using a knitting machine it can be quite difficult to make certain shapes which would be a lot more simple for hand knitting
- When using a knitting machine, it is much more difficult to catch any potential mistakes and these can often be very difficult to correct and lead to a failed final product in most cases
- When using a knitting machine you will need a lot of trial and error before you produce a product which looks like it could have been made by hand, and the overall quality will not match something made by hand
Different Types Of Knitting Machines
If you are not familiar with knitting machines then you may not know that there are multiple different types of knitting machines which are available.
In fact, there are four main types of knitting machines; knitting looms, a flatbed knitting machine, a circular knitting machine, as well as automated commercial knitting machines.
This is the oldest type of knitting machine and they have been used since the 16th century when they were invented by William Lee. The machine itself was actually demonstrated to Queen Elizabeth I.
The knitting loom uses needles which have hooks on it, this means that when you have finished a row, you pull down each hook, so there is no slack between the rows.
This ensures that your knitting stays nice and tight without any of the quality getting sacrificed.
Flatbed Knitting Machines
Another common type of knitting machine is the flatbed knitting machine and these are also usually one of the cheapest types of knitting machines.
These machines are able to produce quite a lot of items in one of the shortest amounts of time. This is why these are popular with business runners who want to produce a larger quantity of items in a short time.
If you are making flat pieces with one of these knitting machines your pieces have less of a chance of getting stretched since there is no shaping involved.
However, these machines are quite a bit more complicated than most other looms, and the user will need to do a lot of calculations to ensure the final product turns out properly finished.
Circular Knitting Machines
As the name suggests, these knitting machines are most commonly used to make circular objects like a hat, or something which needs to be round.
They are simple to the previous flatbed knitting machines, but instead of a long piece, they produce rounds instead. However, these are not great at producing seams in your fabric.
Automated Commercial Knitting Machines
These are the largest knitting machines and they are similar to flatbeds, except that it is just one needle which goes up and down on its own.
This needs a lot less human involvement which means they are generally cheaper to run. They can produce a good quality low cost product without needing too much human involvement.
Summary – How To Choose A Good Knitting Machine?
When shopping for a knitting machine, keep in mind what you will be making with it the most often, and whether you want products which are produced in a style which will benefit from a knitting machine, or hand knitting.