Can crochet be done by machine?
It’s the holiday season and you have tons of presents and gifts to create. I know I do. After crocheting my 5th hat I began to wonder “can crochet be done by machine?” I know that sewing and knitting have machine to help create projects. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was an awesome tool to help you create you latest crochet project? So I did a little research and here’s the information that I came up with.
Can crochet be done machine?Unfortunately, no. There is no such thing as a crochet machine. Any items that uses crochet has been made by hand. That means you can be insured that it was not made in a machine operated factory. Therefore, you know every item is crochet is unique and made by an individual. Each and every stitch is made by hand. This is what makes crochet so special. No machine has been invented to create these marvelous stitches. There is no simple way to breeze thru a crochet pattern.
Why aren't there crochet machines?
Unlike knitting, true crochet can’t be achieved with a machine. Crochet stitches are just too complicated to replicate on a machine. A crochet chain stitch could be machine created by using one of the needles. But that’s as good as you are going to get.
Crochet is not flat, it actually has many layer to it. The difficulty is in getting the hook through previous stitches that you want to connect to.
What's my alternative to a crocheting machine?
Mix crochet with knit. I may not be able to give you a crochet machine, but I can tell you about the next best thing. Knitting machines. I know it is not the same but it is much quicker.
I personally like to combine crochet and knit together by using my knitting machine that creates stockinette flat panels and tubes
There are many types of knitting machine such as the flat bed knitting machine or the circular knitting machine. Flat bed machine can be very pricey. I personally enjoy using the cheaper circular knitting machine called the Addi Express.
You don’t need to know how to knit to use it…. I don’t. You simply crank the handle to create a panel or tube. I use crochet in combination with the knit panel and have made many beautiful & quick projects. You have endless possibilities with this machine.
Learn more about Circular Knitting Machines HERE
Check out my Addi Express patterns HERE
Mislabeled crochet machines
Don’t call me a liar, but a crochet machine does exist. It’s only a name not what it does. The most well-known crochet machines is crafted by COMEZ.
They are a manufacturer that produces needlework machines such as weaving needle looms. With the help of these machine industries are able to mass produce on a very large scale that appears to look like machine crochet
The COMEZ Crochet knitting machine uses compound needles, for the high speed production on several types of textile such as, ribbons and laces, with locked stitch, both elastic and nonelastic. The machine process is known as warp knitting. There are several types of machines to create faux crochet textures. But are not the same stitches that crocheter use.
There isn’t a machine that can actually duplicate a crochet stitch, mimic yes, duplicate no. The stitches are totally different on the machines that mimics crochet.
The difference being it uses 2 threads a warp and a weft and actually sort of weaves a stitch that looks similar. Crochet is one thread or yarn.
I’m sure the reason why you decided to look up about crochet machine is because you wanted to finish quicker or produce more items in a shorter amount of time. There is no way around it. You are going to have to learn how to crochet a faster.
I know you it will never be a quick as a machine but there are ways to increase your crochet speed.
1 Sturdy crochet hook. You’re hook could be slowing you down! The flexibility of a cheap plastic hook can put a speed bump in your crocheting
2 Prep your hooks. A chef sharpens his knives before he uses them. You should also prep your tools. No, we are not going to sharpen your hook, but we will make them optimal for quicker crocheting.
What yarn & hook are you using? I bet you didn’t think your yarn was slowing you down. Alpaca & wooden hooks don’t mix, the material catches.
Inspect your hook before you work with it. Is it and old metal hook with scuffs on it? If so, toss it. It’s going to snag on your yarn fibers & ruin your day. Are you using wood? Try running wax paper over it. This will prevent any fiber snags & you will glide through your yarn like butter.
I even give my metal crochet hooks a good clean and polish before I use them. The smoother the surface of the hook, the quicker I’m able to work with the yarn.
3 Check your yarn. How is the working yarn coming from your skein? Is your ball rolling around the floor pick? Are you center pull or working with yarn from the outside?
I recommend winding your ball into cakes & using a yarn bowl. The yarn bowl will prevent your ball of yarn from rolling all over the room collecting little dust bunnies, yuck! When your work is prepped, you eliminate the unnecessary hiccups.
4 Crochet like an athlete. Turn up the music. Runners use it to match their stride. According to scientists, syncing the tempo of the music to an athlete’s heart rate can have powerful outcomes, such as improved stamina, speed and athletic performance.
You want to try to match your music tempo to your desire to work. I’m far from athletic, but I enjoy matching my stitches to the beat of the music. Put on your favorite upbeat song and blast through your next project.
Get into the perfect environment. Everyone is different. Some people like to zone out to a good show or must be in a quiet room. Do whatever works best for YOU.
5 Tension. Your tension might be your ball and chain that’s holding your back. Tight tension equals smaller stitches, therefore looser tension equals bigger stitches. Loosen up & relax your grip. Too tight tension can cause cramping & injury to your hands. Your yarn should glide through your hand and hook with ease. Practice on finding a comfortable grip and lighter tensions.
6 The point of your hook. It’s your hook! Tapered hooks just doesn’t grip the yarn as well as inline. Inline ruins my rhythm of crocheting.
You can insert the hook into the stitch & the hook doesn’t catch your ‘yarn over’. The yarn slides right off. The inline catches the yarn like a fishing hook. You can crochet more when your hook is catching every stitch.
7 Stretch those wrists and hands. Your hands are irreplaceable, so show them some respect. Make sure you are doing wrist & hand stretches before, during & after you crochet. I recommend hand & wrist stretches even when you are not working on your latest wips. Stretching will increase flexibility, & decrease chances of injury.
8 Break Intervals. I know you have heard “Practice, practice, Practice”. Well that may be true but taking a break is just as important. Crochet isn’t just about speed, it’s about endurance. How many times have you said “One last row” then push through the hand pain. Please don’t. You are just asking for injury. Take 5 min break every 15-20 mins.
By taking mini breaks you can increase the time you crochet, which will lead to your project being completed earlier.
9 Stitch Markers. Stitch markers are your friend. Nothing slows you down quicker than counting the 153 stitches you just created. They are free to super cheap. Instead of store bought stitch markers, use scrap yarn. Mark your stitches ever 25-50 st. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
10 Chanting. Chanting improves concentration. Improves your mental alertness, balances your emotions & so much more! Memorize your stitch, then change it into something chant-like.
Example *dc next 2 sts, 2dc*. In my head or out loud I would chant 1,1,2, over & over. Next thing you know our are zoned out with 5 rows completed. Don’t box yourself in by my example. Make it your own.
How are store bought crochet items made?
If you are still reading that mean you must not believe me. You walked into your local big box store and you see a crochet items. It appears all of these items are mass-produced and dirt cheap. There must be a machine right?
Nope, it’s called a sweatshop. If you are getting a crochet hat for $5. What do you think the worker is getting paid in order for the big company to make a profit. These places have very poor, socially unacceptable working conditions. The work may be difficult, dangerous, climatically challenged or underpaid. Workers in sweatshops may work long hours with low pay, regardless of laws mandating overtime pay or a minimum wage; child labor laws may also be violated.
Support handmade items from small business
You can have a sewing machine or a knitting machine, but there is no such thing as a crochet machine. Each stitch is an 1/4 of an inch or less. A King size blanket is 114 x 120. This blanket will take 100 working hr. Quality material can cost $100+. I’m not the best at math. But I think I lose out here. Last I checked, you can’t get custom work at Walmart.
I’m going to speak for many artisans out there. This is a hard hustle. The world is used to quick, cheap, faceless business. I’m not going to knock anyone for looking for a deal. I love a discount. I have a stack of coupons in my purse right now. But if you are looking for custom original work, be prepared to pay for it.
That is not a threat, it’s a fact. Hard work, skill and pride go into your handmade items. Nothing is made overseas in factories. The artisans and crafters are not going on lavish vacations or making it rain on a Tuesday. We are regular people with families, mortgages and a dream.
Most of us are CEO, Custom Service, Accountants, Shipping department and Marketing all rolled into one. Don’t forget we are doing this while working midnight shifts, checking home working and making it to the latest sporting events for our kids.
If you come across a talented small business owner, give them a try. They are not a cooperation. They are just a regular Joe trying to buy school clothes for their kids.