There is a question that comes up in crafting circles from time to time: Is there such a thing as a crochet machine?
The answer is that although crochet machines exist, no machine can truly replicate crochet as you and I know it.
Crochet is three-dimensional, the stitches have many layers, and there is a lot of dexterity required in the crochet process. So far, no machine can imitate that.
What Are Crochet Machines?
Crochet machines do exist. The most well-known example is the crochet machines that are crafted by COMEZ, a manufacturer that also produces other types of needlework machines such as weaving needle looms.
These machines are produced on a large scale for the textile industry. I first learned about these machines when Textile World announced that the founder of the company had passed away at the age of 86.
The crochet machines created by COMEZ are also known as “warp knitting machines.” They have multiple needles that each correspond to a specific thread and they work together to create a crochet-like fabric that is said to be highly “drape-able.”
However, as anyone who crochets knows, there are no needles in crochet work (except for the ones used to weave in ends!) and therefore this really isn’t anything like a true handmade crochet creation.
To date, there are no machines that can replicate the type of crochet that we do by hand. This makes crochet unique.
Why Can’t Machines Crochet?
Crochet is created by a single hook and yard strand. The hook is reinserted into the piece to make each new stitch.
You can choose to make your next stitch in the front loop, the back loop, or even the post. You can skip stitches or put multiple stitches in the same loop. All of these variations, plus many different stitches, allow crochet creators to create beautiful pieces.
A machine hasn’t yet been created with the dexterity to insert the hook into the loops of the crochet fabric and manipulate the yarn to create a stitch.
Since knitting can be more easily imitated by a machine, manufacturers tend to use knit fabrics instead. Advances in technology may make a crochet machine possible someday, but we aren’t sure whether or not clothing manufacturers would find it profitable enough to try.
Can Crochet Items Be Mass-Produced for Stores?
There are knitting machines that can knit items on a large scale to be sold in stores. The same is not true of crochet.
If you see real crocheted fabric or crochet clothing in a store then you should know that this handmade item wasn’t made by a machine- it was made by someone somewhere in the world.
Some crochet pieces sold in stores aren’t crocheted- they’re made of a machine-produced lace that looks like crochet at first glance.
Some crafters may not prefer this, but others may feel comfortable knowing that no one was exploited to make the garment possible.
Can Crochet Granny Squares Be Made With a Machine?
Target was recently slammed by social media for a cute crochet sweater made of granny squares, a type of crocheted square often pieced together for blankets or other projects.
Granny squares can’t be made by a machine. The low cost of this sweater led many people to conclude that the people who made it were paid an unethically low wage, far below minimum wage.
Consider the price of crochet items when you see them for sale. Before you buy, we ask that you really give some thought to whether or not this is real crochet, and if so, whether or not the crafter was paid fairly.
How Do Knitting Machines Work?
A flatbed knitting machine has a row of many needles that resemble latch hooks. Yarn is placed over the base of the needle, and as a carriage box or cam box is moved across the bed of needles, they move in and out to create each stitch.
Circular knitting machines, like the popular Addi Express, operate in a similar fashion. Yarn is wound around many hooked needles, which move up and down when the machine is cranked. This creates the stitches.
Do You Need To Know How To Knit To Use a Knitting Machine?
While it isn’t strictly required, knitting knowledge will be helpful when using a knitting machine.
You will still have to do all of the finishing and any increasing and decreasing that is required for your project- the machine won’t do that for you. If you don’t knit, you’ll need to learn and understand these elements of knitting to be able to use your machine effectively.
There are many types of knitting machine, and even if you’re an experienced hand-knitter, you’ll have to get used to how your machine operates.
Which Is Better- Knitting With a Machine, or By Hand?
Machine knitting and hand knitting both have advantages.
Machine knitting is fast and efficient. It can also be beneficial for people whose hands are prone to pain or fatigue.
However, the methodical process of hand-knitting can be meditative and calming for many people. Hand-knitting also allows for more flexibility: use any stitch, change whenever you’d like, and make the garment as wide as you want.
There’s nothing wrong with choosing either approach or a mix of both.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Crochet With a Sewing Machine?
No, you can’t truly crochet with a sewing machine or any other machine. However, a sewing machine with an overcast stitch can produce faux-crochet textures. We’ve attached a tutorial below in case you’d like to give it a try.
Is It Faster To Use a Machine Than Hand Crochet?
Machine projects are faster than hand crochet, but you can’t truly replicate crochet with a machine. You can use a so-called crochet machine to produce items more quickly, but it will be faux-crochet.
What Crochet Projects Are Fastest To Make?
If you’re looking for a crochet machine, perhaps the reason is that you want to complete a crochet project more quickly.
Here are some free crochet patterns for quick projects you can work up with a large crochet hook.
What Is the Fastest Crochet Stitch?
Due to its height and relative simplicity, the double crochet stitch is typically regarded as the fastest crochet stitch.
The treble crochet stitch, which requires more steps but is taller, can also work up quite fast.