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May 7th, 2007 at 17:58 pm

Convert Crochet to Knit? No Not Really!

Believe or not, I cleaned this up to be as gentle as possible.

I am almost positive it will, at best upset a few people and at worst really T-off some others.

So why write it? because sometimes it is needed to give a strong opinion even when it may be an unpleasant truth instead of what people want to hear.


IMNHO – the best information about this can be found in the
Lion Brand FAQ

How do I convert a crochet pattern to knit?
Question: How do I convert a knit pattern to crochet?

Lion’s Answer to BOTH:

Knitting and crochet use stitches that are different sizes and shapes.

You can’t “convert” a pattern from one to the other.

Each pattern must be totally redesigned and even then, it’s not always possssible.

With all due respect to various authors, every book I have seen on this topic was not worth the investment either of money to buy it or time to read it.

Could you learn this in a class, maybe if the instructor was extremely well grounded technically and made it very clear that you are NOT converting, you are RE WRITING IN A DIFFERENT Discipline. And if you already possess the basic skills your your preferred craft, be it knit or crochet.

Otherwise, these books are not really helpful. Most of what I have read on the web about how to convert a pattern is so entirely simplistic and totally ignores the nuances of the differences in the finished fabric that at best, be it book or web “how to” are a nearly fool proof recipe for disappointment – your disappointment that is.

Just as “designing” for different size ranges often requires a nearly complete re-write of a pattern (unless you want really ugly fitting garments) Creating a similar look in another technique requires you have reasonable basic skills in BOTH techniques.

The truth is you can, IF you are technical enough to write your own patterns – and many experienced crocheters are, create a similar looking garment but you cannot convert “stitch for stitch” no matter what is says on all those websites.

If converting patterns is your goal, then you need to build your library of stitch instructions, and learn all the basic skills, including shaping, increases and decreases, shaping and oh yeah, that most dreaded of words, SWATCHING and not just a single swatch, if you want to create crochet instructions from knit, you need to plan to make several swatches.

Nancy Nehring is teaching a series of classes at CGOA this summer on designing simple garments and progressing into shaping – There are few people more qualified, as a technician and as a teacher to learn these skills from.

But IF the look and feel of knitting is desirable, then you need to get into Tunisian/Afghan crochet and learn those stitches. I believe there was still some seats in Darla Fanton’s Beginning Tunisian class is place to get grounded in that crochet technique.

Once you have learned these basic skills, you will be able to CREATE the look you want instead of being disappointed by the result attempting to “convert” without adequate skills and experience.


P.S. my favorite “tool” for converting – sewing patterns but that is a blog-a-mentry for another day.

P.S. Jr, if you want to send me any website that you think has instructions that will really work, I am more than willing to look and give them a fair try.

  • 1

    From Stephanie in NH

    Thought I add a few cents to this topic.

    I agree with the previous post that “conversion” is not a simple matter. It may work okay with accessories, handbags, home fashions, etc. But when you start thinking clothing, the “conversion” difficulty rises exponentially.

    I have found that if the schematics (drawing that shows the pieces of the garment or item to be made) are available for a pattern, it can be created in either knit or crochet…or weaving or sewing for that matter. The most important part of changing one type of needle work to another is gauge.
    Once you know the inteneded dimensions of the item, then work up a gauge swatch, you can figure out the pattern based on the schematic drawings.

    I would think that sizing/fitting is the next important part. Many new knitting patterns are using short rows instead of piecing or dec/inc to make the garment drape properly. If the knit pattern involves short rows for
    sizing, you must also figure out the short rows in crochet to achieve the same sizing and drape, or you end up putting too many pieces together and working in darts.

    You also have to take into consideration how the difference between the two types of stitches will affect the drape of the fabric when it’s completed.

    Typically, crochet fabric is a bit stiffer and heavier than knit fabric. Although with combinations of stitches, it’s often possible to eliminate that problem. Otherwise, you must be very aware of how your choice of yarn and the stitches you use will affect drape and adjust those accordingly.

    More gauge swatches.

    All of this, of course, is offered as my humblest opinion.

    Happy days!

    Stephanie in NH

    wheat on May 8th, 2007
  • 2

    Nice to see rational thought about the two crafts. The conversion question is something I get asked quite often. Unfortunately (as you imply) most people are not happy about the answer. Here’s a summary that I wrote several years ago for the question/answer database at wiseNeedle:

    I’m afraid there’s no easy way to do this. I’ve converted knit to crocheted directions and there are books of hints on how to do it. But it’s not easy, and you may not like the result.

    The two crafts produce fabrics that have a very different feel and drape. There is no way you can use a particular yarn and crochet to produce fabric of the equivalent thickness to that same yarn when knit in plain stockinette stitch (unadorned smooth knitting). You’d need to crochet a much thinner yarn to get anything like a similar drape and thickness.

    For example, let’s say you had a pattern for a very plain knitted sweater, that called for worsted weight yarn, knit on US #7 needles at a very standard gauge of 5 stitches and 7 rows per inch per inch. The pattern is a relatively well documented one and comes with a dimensioned schematic that shows all of the garment’s pieces, with complete measurements for every piece in every size.

    Now to crochet something similar, you’d start off by making gauge swatches. You’d try some crochet stitches, making a square at least 4 inches on a side. Then you’d measure both the number of stitches and rows per inch. If you try this using the SAME worsted weight yarn as the knitting pattern called for, you’d quickly find out that your sweater would be extremely dense and heavy. (It would also use considerably more yardage than the knitting pattern called for.) If I were making the equivalent of a knit sweater from crochet, I’d go down several yarn sizes when I made my materials choice. That means to make something that feels anywhere near a knit worsted weight fabric, I’d be using a fingering or sport weight yarn for crochet.

    O.K. You’ve chosen a lighter weight yarn and made your gauge swatch. You’ve figured out how many stitches per inch you get with the stitch pattern you like best. Take the knitting pattern’s schematic and do the math. Let’s say your chosen size sweater has a front that’s 21 inches wide. Figure out how many stitches you need to make something of the same size in crochet (your gauge x 21). That’s how many stitches you’ll need.

    But then there are the ribbings in a knit sweater at collar, cuffs and bottom hem. While there are ridged single crochet stitches that when worked sideways, mimic the look of ribbed knitting, there’s nothing in crochet that has the same stretch and snap back as knitted ribbings. Some people take a second gauge with a faux-rib in ridged crochet, do the math then work a sideways strip for the ribbing at a sweater’s bottom edge. Then they go back and pick up the required number of stitches along that strip’s side on which they then work the sweater body.

    For shaping armholes and necklines, you’ll have to wing it. If the schematic shows a neckline that’s about 1 inch deep, you’ll have to bind off the correct number of stitches (your gauge x the width of the neck opening) starting on the correct row (total number of rows minus your row gauge x the depth of the neck opening).

    Finally, there’s really no way to use the knitting pattern’s recommendation’s for yarn usage to calculate how much yarn you’d need to make something of the same size and shape in crochet. Even if you decide to use the same yarn as the original pattern called for, crochet uses far more yardage to cover the same area than does knitting. Your best guide is to measure your finished gauge swatch, unravel it and measure how much yarn you’ve used, then do the math to figure out the garment pieces total area. Once you’ve got the total area of the finished item you can divide that by the area of your gauge swatch, and multiply the result by the yardage you used to make the swatch. (Note: if you’ve got a scale accurate down to the 100th of a gram you can figure out how much yarn you’ve used for your gauge by weighing a one yard bit, then weighing the swatch and multiplying).

    This answer is here: http://www.wiseneedle.com/question-detail.asp?id=309

    There are more rants on the differences between the two crafts here:




    kbsalazar on May 10th, 2007
  • 3

    HI & Thank You! I have an embroidery pattern that I would like to crochet? Is that possible & HOW if it is? Again, THANKS so very much!

    Mary Ann Boyle on July 5th, 2008
  • 4

    About crochet ribbed sleeves/edging: It’s true that the usual “sc in back loops only” gives a ribbing that doesn’t share the stretchiness of knit ribbing. But I usually use a “slst in back loops only” ribbing that is much, much stretchier. If you make a swatch, you’ll see how much better it is! Here are some sample swatch patterns for each technique:

    sc ribbing:
    ch 10
    Row 1: sc in 2nd ch from hook, and in each ch across, ch 1, turn (9 sts)
    Row 2: sc in back loops only of each st across, ch1, turn (9 sts)
    Rows 3 – 10: Repeat Row 2

    slst ribbing:
    ch 10
    Row 1: slst in 2nd ch from hook, and in each ch across, ch 1, turn (9 sts)
    Row 2: slst in back loops only of each st across, ch1, turn (9 sts)
    Rows 3 – 10: Repeat Row 2

    Wee Sandy on November 8th, 2009
  • 5

    What stitches in knitting are most comparable to a single crochet and a chain stitch?

    I’m making an afghan that is all single crochet and chain stitches. Is is possible to convert that pattern into knitting “terms” for my friends who don’t crochet?
    Thank you.

    Pearl Eckman on April 13th, 2011
  • 6

    As indicated in the entry, there really are not comparable stitches.

    So No, Not Really
    when it comes to conversion

    wheat on May 28th, 2011
  • 7

    First off, let me say thank you for the straight forward answer to the question of conversion between knitting and crochet. I am a crocheter and recently found a knitted scarf online with a schematic that I have been putting off crocheting until I find out how to do so-completely!

    After reading what is here, I still have one question that I feel I need to have the answer to, or, at least understand, until I begin my project. The scarf I want to crochet is somewhat detailed. On both ends of the scarf there are small repeating skulls that require a switch in yarn color, at times, with only one stitch being a different color, then one stitch the overall color, then one the differnt color, etc. I am wondering what is the best way to go about achieving this alternating color scheme? I have looked up different ways of alternating between colors when crocheting but each method I come across seems to depict a number of stitches one color then a number another, etc. Nothing I have come across shows how to alternate colors back and forth within a small number of stitches. I did attempt using the carry-along method, but it didn’t look right, or, I should say, it didn’t look clean. However, I really have never used this method so maybe I am going wrong somewhere. Nevertheless, if anyone has any suggestions or answers for me I am eagerly awaiting them; I really want to get started.

    If you would like to see the pattern and scarf I am referring to please go here:


    Thanks for Reading,
    Earth Ajna

    Earth Ajna on February 22nd, 2012
  • 8

    Are you planning to work the scarf “in the round” as the knit verision is?

    wheat on February 24th, 2012
  • 9

    Well, honestly, I don’t really know what working in the round is. After reading about conversions and schematics online, in regards to crocheting, my plan was to just crochet it back and forth as I usually do. Do you think working it in the round would be better? Is this an easy method to learn? I will check out the method while I await your response. Thanks for getting back with me.

    Earth Ajna on February 25th, 2012
  • 10

    Either knit or crochet can be done “in the round”. It means in most cases you are making a tube. – if you read the pattern thru, it may make more sense.

    wheat on February 25th, 2012
  • 11

    Say you have a slow learner or has a hard time with math sometimes. Is there a tool that can help a person figuire out the conversion between knit and crochet?

    Pam G on April 2nd, 2013
  • 12

    Like the Title Says: No… Not Really

    To the best of my knowledge there is no tool that will correctly convert a Knit to Crochet – or – Crochet to Knit pattern.

    To do this well requires much more than just math – it requires a solid ground in BOTH techniques – and even then it will be SIMILAR but NOT THE SAME

    wheat on April 3rd, 2013
  • 13

    Thank you for this article and thanks to Kim Salazar for weighing in on it.

    Being somewhat experienced at both crafts, it never entered my mind to want to ‘convert’ between them. It never ceases to amaze me that the people wanting to perform such ‘conversions’ are not even very experienced in one of the two, yet they imagine there’s a magic formula to switch between knit and crochet.

    THANK YOU for the excellent debunking of the myth.

    Jessica-Jean on August 5th, 2014


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