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Can you crochet from a knitting pattern?

by Laura Eccleston

16 Jul 2023

3,899 Views

Can you crochet from a knitting pattern?
If you're anything like me, you have at some point wondered if we can crochet from a knitting pattern, but knitting and crochet are two very different crafts. They use different tools and they work the yarn in different ways. Knitting uses two needles and is about creating loops and twists in the yarn to form a fabric, whereas crochet uses a single hook to knot the yarn to create a fabric. This is why crochet tends to be thicker than knitting and uses more yarn, but can we crochet from a knitting pattern? Is it even possible?

The quick answer would be... no, you can't follow a knitting pattern exactly as it is written using crochet and vice versa, but! now here comes the exciting bit, there is a hybrid craft called Tunisian crochet that could feasibly bridge the gap between knitting and crochet.

If you've always struggled to knit, but love to crochet then Tunisian crochet could be the answer to your prayers, but it's worth remembering a few things first before we dive in. Tunisian crochet is still not knitting in the same sense, even if you hear the stitch terms 'knit stitch' and 'purl stitch' because if you compare a knitted swatch of knit stitches and purl stitches to a swatch of knit and purl stitches in Tunisian crochet they would look quite different on the back, even if they looked similar on the front because the method of working these stitches is still different. Your crochet version is also going to end up longer because we are adding extra reverse rows, but you can technically follow some simple knitting patterns using Tunisian crochet that can end up looking similar, perhaps not perfectly the same, but similar if we move things around a bit.

This is the subject of a new feature on HappyBerry Plus where we are going to be taking some knitting stitch patterns and turning them into Tunisian crochet stitch patterns to create a whole new library of Tunisian crochet stitches that may have never existed before! Sound like fun? Make sure to sign up to our monthly membership area here to get involved. It's a beautiful, supportive community of crochet lovers like you where I share a seasonal crochet magazine packed full of exclusive patterns and inspiring articles, our podcast, behind the scenes vlogs, PDF downloads and so much more!

For now though, let's dive in to a couple of free examples.

The Grating Stitch

So the Grating stitch I recently shared as a knitting stitch pattern on my knitting channel. You can view that video here if you're a keen knitter, but if you're not and would like to learn how to turn this stitch into a crochet version using Tunisian crochet, then read on my friends.

For reference K means knit and P means purl.

The knitting stitch pattern is this...

Knitting Pattern
Multiples of 8
Row 1:
*P1, K7*
Rows 2 & 8: *K1, P5, K1, P1*
Rows 3 & 7: *K2, P1, K3, P1, K1*
Rows 4 & 6: *P2, K1, P1, K1, P3*
Row 5: *K4, P1, K3*

and looks like this when knitted... I have worked one set of this pattern.



This stitch creates a beautiful diamond patterned fabric and uses just simple knit and purl stitches, so it should be possible to convert it to a crochet version, but we can't follow the knitting pattern exactly. This is because in knitting you work on two needles and move your fabric in a different way. You knit some stitches off one needle, which then pass to the other needle. Then you move this needle to your working hand and follow the same process of passing them to the opposite needle. When we do this we are knitting with the front of the fabric facing us on one row and then the back of the fabric facing us on the next row, but in Tunisian crochet we are always working with the front of our fabric facing us, moving backwards and forwards, like a typewriter.

It is because of this difference that we have to think about adapting the knitting pattern to suit this crochet technique.



Tunisian Crochet Pattern
Multiples of 8



The Tunisian version doesn't quite look the same, but the same diamond pattern is still there and we still have a beautiful texture at the end. It is worth noting however that due to how Tunisian crochet is worked with reverse rows, we are also adding an extra row after each pattern row so the final project will be longer. This is why this example above looks bigger than the knit version above it even though I worked the same stitches, using the same yarn and same hook size as the knitting needles. It is virtually double the size.

So how do we do it? Ok, well when starting a Tunisian crochet project we always have to chain a row first and work an initial forward row and backward reverse row of simple stitches. If you are new to Tunisian crochet, I recommend checking out my beginner Tunisian crochet playlist on YouTube here. So we can follow the same multiples of 8 as in the knitting pattern so in this example I chained 16 chains. I then worked a forward row and a reverse row as normal before beginning the knitting pattern.

On our next Tunisian crochet row we can start the first knitting row the same way, nice and easy, so row 1 remains a repeat of P1, K7, but as we can't work the first stitch in Tunisian crochet we just have to leave it alone and go immediately into a knit stitch so our first row we would start with K7, then a repeat of the P1, K7. Skipping the first stitch will apply throughout our Tunisian project. So...

Row 1:
 *P1, K7* becomes: Row 1: K7, *P1, K7*

We then crochet a reverse row as normal of chain 1, then pull through 2 until the end.

The second row however (and row 8) has to change because we can't turn our work like in knitting. We are working with the same side facing us at all times so what we have to do is to reverse this row AND work the opposite stitches. We have to mirror the stitches first and then work the opposite stitches. This is because in knitting when you work a knit stitch on the front, on your next row you would work a purl stitch on the back so that a knit stitch is created on the front side again. The back side is always affecting the front side, but we can't do this in Tunisian crochet. We have to create all our stitches on the same side. The back of our fabric is a complete different story that has no relation to the front. So all our even rows can stay the same, but our odd rows we have to adjust. This is a tough one to get your head around I know.

We also have to skip the first stitch again. So K1, P5, K1, P1 in the knitting pattern, we must first reverse and mirror to become P1, K1, P5, K1, but then we must also switch them to be the opposite stitches so it becomes, K1, P1, K5, P1. Of course we also have to skip the first K1 so the final pattern becomes...

Rows 2 & 8: *K1, P5, K1, P1* becomesRows 2 & 8: P1, K5, P1, *K1, P1, K5, P1*

We then crochet a reverse row as normal. Still with me? Let's continue!

Rows 3 and 7 are easy, we just follow the knitting pattern as normal, but we skip the first stitch so the next row (and row 7) becomes...

Rows 3 & 7: *K2, P1, K3, P1, K1* becomesRows 3 & 7: K1, P1, K3, P1, K1, *K2, P1, K3, P1, K1*

We then crochet a reverse row as normal.

Then it's back to moving things around again. Our next knitting row is stated as P2, K1, P1, K1, P3 so again we have to firstly reverse and mirror this to P3, K1, P1, K1, P2, but then we have to do the opposite stitches, so it finally becomes, K3, P1, K1, P1, K2. Don't forget to skip the first stitch, so the next row becomes...

Rows 4 & 6: *P2, K1, P1, K1, P3* becomesRows 4 & 6: K2, P1, K1, P1, K2, *K3, P1, K1, P1, K2*

We then crochet a reverse row as normal.

Lastly we're back to an easy row, keep it the same, but just skip the first stitch so the next row becomes:

Row 5: *K4, P1, K3* becomesRow 5: K3, P1, K3, *K4, P1, K3*

We then crochet a reverse row as normal.

We would then work rows 6, 7 and 8, which are the same as rows 4, 3 and 2 and then we'd go back to row 1 and start the whole process again.

Let's look at another knitting pattern. This one is a little bit different!



Open Twisted Rib

The knitting stitch pattern is this...

Knitting Pattern
Multiples of 5 +3
Row 1:
 *P1, K1 tbl, P1, K2*, P1, K1 tbl, P1
Row 2: K1, P1 tbl, K1, *P2, K1, P1 tbl, K1*
Row 3: *P1, K1 tbl, P1, K1, wrn to m1, K1*, P1, K1 tbl, P1
Row 4: K1, P1 tbl, K1, *P3, K1, P1 tbl, K1*
Row 5: *P1, K1 tbl, P1, K3, pass 3rd st on right-hand needle over first 2 sts*, P1, K1 tbl, P1
Repeat from second row.

and looks like this when knitted... I have worked this pattern above twice.



Now with this knitting pattern there are some new terms, 'tbl' which means 'through back loop' and 'wrn' which means 'wool round needle' or 'yarn round needle' to 'm1' which means make one extra stitch. We don't need to worry about the tbl when crocheting as it is not possible to do this. What this actually does in knitting is make a slightly tighter stitch so we can easily swap it out to just make a normal knit or purl stitch. The 'wrn' however we can crochet and is actually necessary to the pattern, but it can be worked exactly the same. This will be explained further on.

Tunisian Crochet Pattern
Multiples of 5 +3



The Tunisian crochet version you can see again, is twice as big, but we still have the same texture and design of these cute cables if a little elongated. It is possible you could make this shorter and more like the knitted version by skipping row 4. I shall leave that to your discretion. It is also worth noting the repeats in this pattern. You can see they move from the beginning of the row to the end of the row, this is so the stitches match up in knitting. Remember the back of the fabric affects the front of the fabric. These repeats will move in the crochet version as expected.

So again, we chain to the same multiples of 5 +3, so in this example I worked a chain row of 18 and then I crocheted the standard forward and reverse row of simple stitches to get us started. Once ready we can attempt to adapt the knitted pattern.

Row 1 is worked exactly the same, but again we need to remember to ignore the very first stitch and we can remove the tbls, so...

Row 1: *P1, K1 tbl, P1, K2*, P1, K1 tbl, P1 becomes: Row 1: K1, P1, K2, *P1, K1, P1, K2*, P1, K1, P1

Then it gets fun with row 2 as we've reached an even row and even rows mean we have to reverse and mirror the stitches first, K1, P1 tbl, K1, *P2, K1, P1 tbl, K1* becomes *K1, P1, K1, P2*, K1, P1, K1 (you'll notice the repeat has also been reversed and we've removed the tbls). Then we need to switch them to the opposite stitches so *K1, P1, K1, P2*, K1, P1, K1 becomes *P1, K1, P1, K2*, P1, K1, P1. Finally we have skip the first stitch, so the end result is...

Row 2: K1, P1 tbl, K1, *P2, K1, P1 tbl, K1* becomes: Row 2: K1, P1, K2, *P1, K1, P1, K2*, P1, K1, P1

Phew! Ok, let's move on to an easy row. Row 3, which stays exactly the same minus the first stitch. What we do need to do here though is add that extra stitch, wrn = wool round needle (or yarn). To do this when we get to that point, just wrap the yarn around your hook and continue with the next stitch. You will still be adding an extra stitch just like in knitting. I've also removed the tbls again.

Row 3: *P1, K1 tbl, P1, K1, wrn to m1, K1*, P1, K1 tbl, P1 becomes: Row 3: K1, P1, K1, wrn to m1, K1, *P1, K1, P1, K1, wrn to m1, K1*, P1, K1, P1

Row 4 you can choose to skip altogether if you like. Like I said above, this will shorten the cable design so this row is completely optional, but if you do decide to add it, then we need to reverse the first row from K1, P1 tbl, K1, *P3, K1, P1 tbl, K1* to *K1, P1, K1, P3*, K1, P1, K1, again I removed the tbls. Then we need to switch them to the opposite stitches so *K1, P1, K1, P3*, K1, P1, K1 becomes *P1, K1, P1, K3*, P1, K1, P1. Then we remove the first stitch, so finally we get...

Row 4: K1, P1 tbl, K1, *P3, K1, P1 tbl, K1* becomes: Row 4: K1, P1, K3, *P1, K1, P1, K3*, P1, K1, P1

Lastly we move on to row 5, which stays the same, just remove the first stitch and delete the tbls, but we do need to pass that 3rd stitch over the first 2 sts so after you have made the 3 knit stitches, simple hook the first two loops on your hook through the third loop on your hook. This has the exact same effect as the knitting pattern, it reduces your stitch count back down and you get that nice horizontal bar appear for the cable design.

Row 5: *P1, K1 tbl, P1, K3, pass 3rd st on right-hand needle over first 2 sts*, P1, K1 tbl, P1 becomes: Row 5: K1, P1, K3, hook first two loops on hook through 3rd loop on hook, *P1, K1, P1, K3, hook first two loops on hook through 3rd loop on hook*, P1, K1, P1

Then repeat from second row.

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So there we go! Two knitting stitch patterns converted to crochet stitch patterns, albeit with some visual differences, but over-all we have created our own unique Tunisian crochet stitch designs from actual knitting patterns!

If you'd like to learn more Tunisian crochet stitches like these and follow along with some video tutorials then make sure to sign up to our monthly membership program, HappyBerry Plus! where I'll be sharing lots of these stitch patterns along with video tutorials and I'll be on hand to answer all of your questions should you need me.

Happy crocheting!

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