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Crochet vs. Macrame: Key Differences You Need to Know

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Crochet and macrame are easily confused with each other but, in reality, they’re actually very different types of textile art. Knowing the ins and outs of crochet vs. macrame can open up a world of arts and crafts opportunities.

The biggest difference between crochet and macrame is that crochet stitches are made with a hook and yarn, while macrame knots are made by hand with cord or rope. The yarn used for crochet is usually thinner and softer than the cord or rope used for macrame. 

Despite their similarities, crochet and macrame have some distinct differences that you need to be aware of before buying supplies and starting on a textile art adventure.

Let’s dive into the key differences between crochet and macrame so that you can be prepared for your next art project.

crochet vs macrame

Essential Crochet Supplies for any Crochet Project

For any crochet project, there are two essential supplies you need: a crochet hook and yarn. A crochet hook is what you’ll use to create all of your crochet stitches. Your yarn is what will actually be used to build your crochet project, transforming from a ball to a finished crochet piece.

As long as you have a crochet hook and a ball of yarn, you can start crocheting! These are the essential supplies you need.

crochet hook and ball of yarn

That said, this is like making a sandwich out of peanut butter and bread. Sure, it’s still an awesome sandwich, but there are some other additions that could make it awesome. Jelly, hazelnut spread, marshmallow fluff, take your pick!

Similarly, once you really dive into crocheting, there are some other accessories you’ll want to spice up your crochet life like scissors, stitch markers, a stitch counter, yarn needles, and possibly a yarn guide ring.

collection of crochet tools

You’ll probably end up with a fun collection of crochet hooks of various sizes overtime and more yarn than you know what to do with. Personally, this is a fun problem to have 🙂

crochet hooks

Despite the amazing collection of crochet accessories you may end up with throughout your crocheting career, the reality is that all you need is a crochet hook and yarn. 

If you think this is sparse and easy, just wait until we get to macrame.

Essential Macrame Supplies for any Macrame Project

For any macrame project, there’s one essential supply you need: macrame cord or rope. Macrame is completed by hand with no tools. This means that the only thing you need to make a macrame project is your macrame cord or rope.

Unlike crochet where a special tool is required for creating a project, macrame relies fully on your own hands. There are no tools required.

Once you have your macrame cord or rope, you can start macrameing.

macrame cord

Depending on the type of macrame project you’re creating, you may need certain types of accessories to make your project functional. For example, if you’re creating a wall hanging, you may want a stick or dowel to attach your macrame to.

For bare bones macrame though, all you need is your cord or rope.

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Crochet Yarn vs. Macrame Cord

Crochet yarn is usually thinner and softer than macrame cord. Yarn is conducive to creating smaller crochet stitches, while macrame cord is conducive to creating sturdier knots. Macrame cord usually comes in twisted strands that can be used together for a thicker cord, or be pulled apart for a thinner cord.

For crochet projects, you’ll want to use yarn. Yarn comes in a variety of thicknesses but, overall, it tends to be thinner and softer than the cord needed for macrame.

macrame cord and yarn

Also, crochet yarn is intended to be used as a whole. It can’t be split into individual strands.

For macrame, you’ll want to use cord or rope. This cord or rope comes in a variety of thicknesses but, overall, it tends to be thicker and sturdier than the yarn needed for crochet.

macrame cord and yarn

Macrame cord can be used as a whole, or it can be divided into individual strands. This gives you more options within one spool of rope or cord. Efficiency for the win!

macrame cord in individual strands

Crochet Techniques vs. Macrame Techniques

Crochet projects are built with a series of stitches made by your crochet hook and yarn. Macrame projects are built with a series of decorative knots made solely by your hands and cord. 

While crochet requires your hands as well, it’s the crochet hook that creates the signature crochet stitch we’re accustomed to when looking at crochet projects.

crochet single crochet stitch

There are a LOT of crochet stitches to choose from. If you’re new to crochet, you’ll be amazed by all of the widely different things that a simple crochet hook can create.

The most basic crochet stitch is the single crochet stitch, which was used to create the piece below.

crochet pillow with wave design

There are also more advanced stitches like waffle stitch, star stitch, cluster stitch, and SO any more. The trinity stitch is what I’m currently using for my crochet project below.

crochet with trinity stitch

If you want to learn how to crochet, I highly suggest grabbing a free trial to Skillshare.They have a great Modern Crochet class that will walk you through everything you need to crochet, step-by-step. Seriously, having a step-by-step guide is a game changer when first learning to crochet.

Macrame is made from a series of decorative knots. Similar to crochet, there are a LOT of knots to choose from. Who knew there were so many pretty knots? Wind knots, hitch knots, overhand knots, and SO many more.

I made this macrame tree below with square knots.

macrame tree

If you want to learn how to macrame, I again suggest grabbing a free trial to Skillshare. They have a really neat Macrame Wall Hanging class that will show you everything you need to do to make a macrame wall hanging, from start to finish.

Crochet vs. Macrame Final Product

Crochet and macrame can be used to create similar types of products. Decorative pieces, clothing, jewelry, wall hangings, and so much more. Given that both techniques can be used to create any number of products, it’s important to consider what you want your final product to look like when choosing between crochet and macrame.

The biggest similarity between crochet and macrame is that it can be used to create any number of products. You could choose to make earrings either with crochet or macrame. Up to you!

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That said, those earrings will look different. It’s important to think about what you want your final product to look like before you decide upon either crochet or macrame to complete it. You also want to make sure that the type of yarn or cord you’re using for your project is appropriate for the type of project you’re making.

Both crochet and macrame are amazing textile art forms to explore! While there are key differences between the two of them, it’s these differences that make them distinct and beautiful. Have fun with all of the creative potential they offer!

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