While sharing many of the same traits, supplies and end results, crocheting and knitting are not the same thing. Here are some of the differences.
• Crocheting and knitting use different tools. Knitting is usually done on two needles while crocheting uses a single hook.
• The stitches are different. Knitting usually looks like inverted V's, but crochet uses what are called "posts," which are sort of loosely tied bunches of knots on top of each other.
• Knitting creates a thinner fabric.
• Crocheting is quick; knitting can be slow.
Lucy Bruce has only been crocheting since February, but already she has sold a half dozen pieces of her work, helped form a small crocheting club and introduced the hobby to a nun.
On Sunday, the 11-year-old student at St. Jude School was working on her latest project, a backpack, while coming home from vacation with her family. On Saturday, she and a friend, who primarily knits, will be holding a "yarn sale" at Lucy's house to sell some of their items.
"I've made book markers, phone cases, purses, and I just started on a backpack," she says.
Some of the patterns she found online, but the new project is an original design.
"I just made it up," she says.
Both sources of inspiration are a big part of the appeal of crocheting, she says.
"I like that I can make all these different things. I looked on the Internet and found these designs. Awesome designs. I'm getting books and magazines and reading them, too."
Lucy is not alone. Thanks in part to an increase in the types and quality of yarns, which are also cheaper, crocheting has become a popular craft once again. The Craft & Hobby Association estimates that 14.7 million Americans crochet, 89 percent of them women.
Crocheting and knitting, while similar, are not the same, the most obvious difference is that knitting uses two needles while crocheting uses only one hook. Crocheting also uses "granny squares," which makes assembly of the final product easier. Each square - actually, they can be square, hexagonal, rectangular or other shapes - can be made separately, then attached to others to form the larger piece.
There are dozens of magazines and books with how-to items and patterns for crocheting, but as you might expect, the Internet is also a huge source of information - and it has video.
"To me it's like painting with stitches," Teresa Richardson, 50, of Savannah, Ga., told The Associated Press. She uploads free patterns and video tutorials at her blog, Crochet Geek, which she started in 2006. "It's being able to put out an interpretation of something artistic and creative."
Richardson's YouTube video tutorials average 75,000 daily views, according to YouTube Analytics. She tries to accommodate viewer requests for particular patterns and that can sometimes means putting in 12-hour days. She recently completed a manatee, an octopus and a sheep.
If it can be crafted with a hook or needle, Cindy Morrison, 64, does it. She also spins her own yarn. The Ringgold, Ga., resident says she keeps several projects going at a time, "and right now I'm on a crocheting kick. I've been doing it since I was old enough to hold a crochet hook." She makes everything from shawls to skirts to sweaters, but her biggest project was a 60-inch round table cover.
"I thought I'd never get to the end of it," she says.
Most of her projects are kept for herself or given as gifts. She's more of a crafter than a marketer, she says, so needlework is strictly a hobby for the semi-retired substitute teacher.
"It's very relaxing and a wonderful tension reliever."
Crocheting has also become hipper.
Edie Eckman, who lives in Waynesboro, Va. and is co-author of the new "Crochet One-Skein Wonders" (Storey Publishing), says in an interview with AP that "it's OK to be seen crocheting publicly now."
New yarns, some that include bamboo, silk or alpaca, for example, have helped. These allow for thinner, softer yarn, which allow crocheted piece to drape more attractively, says Alexander.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Contact staff writer Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6354.