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I often receive warm complements on my knitting.  I love getting compliments!  However… I don't knit.  I crochet.  :giggle:

There are some crocheters who get in a bit of a huff when someone assumes they're knitting (and I'm sure there are knitters who get in a similar huff when someone assumes they're crocheting!).  I am not one of them.  I'm sure that to someone not familiar with needlecraft, crochet and knitting seem very similar, if not identical.  Some may even think they're interchangeable words for the same thing.  So I am never offended, and just gently correct people.  But since it does happen on a somewhat frequent basis, I thought I would take a moment to explain the basic differences between the two crafts.

(Please note: this article is not intended to be a tutorial on how to crochet and/or knit.  There are a number of tutorials here on dA, as well as tons of websites and online videos that can help you learn.  You can also usually buy an instructional kit at any craft store for $15 or less.  I also make the disclaimer that I just barely know how to knit, so if I have made any mistakes in my knitting research, please correct me privately and I will make amends in a public comment.)  

The primary reason people confuse crochet and knitting is that their end product is essentially the same – a piece of fabric created from interlocking loops of thread or yarn.  As always, the devil is in the details, and that's where the differences lie!

Crochet is done using a single tool called a crochet hook.  No matter what you are making you only need one hook.  Hooks sized for working with yarn are typically made from aluminum, plastic, bamboo, or wood; smaller hooks sized for working with thread are usually made from steel.  The sizes range from just 0.60 mm in diameter for working with very fine thread, to 19 or 20 mm in diameter for hooking rugs out of strips of fabric or many strands of yarn held together.
Crochet Hooks by ArielManx

Knitting is done using a minimum of two tools called knitting needles.  Socks and other round or tubular (non-seamed) objects require either circular needles (two needles connected by a cord) or a set of four or five double-pointed needles.  Needles are typically made from aluminum, plastic, bamboo, or wood.  Sizes range from 2 mm in diameter to 25 mm in diameter.
Knitting Needles by ArielManx

To start a crochet project, you attach the yarn or thread to the hook with a slip knot.  You then pull the yarn through the loop on the hook to create what is called a chain stitch.  You continue making chains until you have enough for your foundation chain, which you will work your first row of stitches into.  Note that the chains are all hanging off the hook – the loop on the hook does not count as a chain.
Starting Chain by ArielManx

Knitting projects are started by a process called casting on (sometimes it's also called binding on, and there are a number of different ways to do it).  There is no foundation to work into as there is in crochet; those first stitches you cast onto the needle are the first row of your project, and they're all in play.  
Cast On by ArielManx

This is about as far as I can get in knitting and still have it look decent, but I'm sure you can see already just from how the two processes start that they're very different.

When you crochet, you usually have only one stitch active (on the hook) at any given time.  Make a stitch, move on to the next one, no worries.  When you knit, you have an entire row of stitches active (transferring them from on needle to the other as you make each stitch in a new row).  If you drop a stitch off one needle and don't get it transferred to the other, that dropped stitch will cause a run in your fabric, just like on snagged pantyhose, and all your hard work is ruined.  In crochet, there's no way to drop a stitch.  You can easily miss one, and that can mess you up later down the road (what makes you think I speak from experience?!), but you can usually find a way to fudge and recover that lost stitch and no one's the wiser – plus the fabric won't run!

When you're finished with your project, finishing a crochet project is very simple – you cut the yarn, draw it through the final loop on the hook and pull snugly to form a knot.  Done!  In knitting, you have to bind off all the stitches on the hook one by one before making that final cut and pulling the yarn snug.  

The processes of knitting and crocheting make for structurally different fabrics.  If you've ever snagged a knit sweater on, say, the wire spiral of your notebook (what makes you think I speak from experience?!), that one snagged stitch will often pull and pucker the fabric.  If the stitch actually breaks, your sweater could develop a run.  Snag a stitch in a crocheted item, and while it won't be pretty, odds are that only that stitch will be affected by the snag – and if it breaks, the rest of the item will usually hold together (at the least it will hold together enough to give you time to fix it).  I have a crocheted afghan on my bed made by my husband's late great-grandmother – there are a few broken stitches, but the afghan is tough enough to withstand our tossing and turning and kicking it to the floor every night.  This is not to say that crochet is better – that same structure that makes the resulting fabric so sturdy can sometimes make it stiffer and denser than knitted fabric, which may be a bad thing depending on what you want to make.  Knitted fabric typically has more stretch and give.

One of the greatest differences between crochet and knitting is that knitting can be done by machine, but crochet can't.  True crochet stitches cannot be duplicated by a machine, making it a unique craft that can only be done by hand.

There really aren't many projects that are exclusive to either crochet or knitting.  However, you are much more likely to find fine thread work done in crochet.  In its early days, the craft of crochet was done in only in fine threads to produce lace, with tiny hooks.  Since knitting needles simply don't run as small as crochet hooks do, lacey knitted pieces are usually made from very lightweight yarns as opposed to threads.  And because crochet tends to produce a 'bumpier' fabric than knitting does, you see a lot more knitted socks than crocheted ones.

So which craft is better?  NEITHER.  Crochet and knitting are both wonderful needlecrafts that produce beautiful things.  They both start with just some yarn and a little imagination, and the end result is something amazing – they're just different paths to get to the finish line.  It's all a matter of personal preference.  It's up to you to decide which one you prefer, or if you even have a preference – now that you know the difference.  

Here's a selection of some fantastic deviations in both knit and crochet.  

Knit scarf Fun and Funky by DragonKissses and crocheted teddy blankie Teddy's Blanket by DragonKissses by :icondragonkissses:

Crochet scarf and wrist warmers Raspberry Sherbert Winter Set by Not-Broken by :iconnot-broken:

Knit blanket Mint Chocolate Baby Blanket by aliledesma by :iconaliledesma:

Crochet fuzzy monster bag Rarrrr Monster Bag by nesapotamia by :iconnesapotamia:

Knit dice bag Cthulhu dice bag by foxymitts by :iconfoxymitts:

Crocheted lace Crocheted Lace by murabayashi-harukaze by :iconmurabayashi-harukaze:

Knit lace Circular 'Shetland Tea Shawl' by foxfay by :iconfoxfay:

Crocheted doily Pineapple Crochet by Sereda by :iconsereda:

Knit shrug Lacey Shrug by radioactive-orchid by :iconradioactive-orchid:

Crochet Molly Weasley sweater :thumb95035994: by :iconcherokeecampfiregirl:

Knit Jayne Cobb hat (it's cunning!) Jayne Cobb Hat by woozalia by :iconwoozalia:

Crochet hat Baby Ruffle Hat by KabiDesigns by :iconkabidesigns:

Crochet Faberge egg Crochet Faberge style egg by meekssandygirl by :iconmeekssandygirl:

Knit sheep plushie Care for a Spot of Tea? by WenchFaery by :iconwenchfaery:

Crochet Care Bear Friend Bear by Sher-A by :iconsher-a:

Crochet drider plushie Drider Plushie by LordOnisyr by :iconlordonisyr:

Crochet neckwarmer Neckwarmer by taralynnjane by :icontaralynnjane:
Add a Comment:
 
:iconlunarjadestyles:
LunarJadeStyles Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2009  Student Artisan Crafter
This was a pretty good article.
I've done both and have had people interchange the words but yeah it really isn't anything to get in a twist over.

It's true that most things done in Knit can be done in Crochet. However I just came across this video that points out how crochet is the only manmade form in order to properly display hyperbolic math. It's pretty cool. [link]
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:iconnittletwister:
Nittletwister Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009
I used to not know the difference between the two, until I actually started doing them. I started with crochet and did that for a few years, and then learned how to knit. I like knitting better, now :) And I can tell them apart at sight now, haha.

I saw a comment about tatting above. I tried it- it's fun. It's like... chinese stair case on a needle. Haha.

BTW, thanks for writing this, I'm going to share it with some of my friends.
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Feb 2, 2009
I actually learned to knit first, but it just didn't stick with me. I took to crochet like a fish to water. :D

I definitely want to learn tatting! It's such a dying art...

I'm so glad you enjoyed my article! :hug: Thank you!
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:iconmeekssandygirl:
meekssandygirl Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
Oh gosh, for years my husband will say, "How's your knitting going?" I tell him over and over again, I don't knit, I crochet! LOL! I'm glad I'm not the only one who runs into this from time to time.
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2009
This past week my mother, of all people, asked me if I was keeping busy with my knitting! :omg: I said, "Mom! You know I crochet!" :laughing: She laughed and said she couldn't believe she'd said that.
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:iconnot-broken:
Not-Broken Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
I loved this! I can knit a little... but I have yet to complete a whole project in all my years... It takes FOREVER.

You're the best, thanks so much for the feature!! :aww: :hug:
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2009
Oh yeah, knitting is seriously slow when you're used to crocheting! I spent hours trying to knit a sample to take pictures of for this article (which I never could get to look decent!), and I couldn't help but think, I could be half way or more through a skinny crocheted scarf by now! :laughing:

Aww, shucks... :blush: You're very welcome! :hug:
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:iconjeysie:
Jeysie Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
I crochet for the same reason you do... only one stitch to worry about! I initially tried knitting (since my mom is an excellent knitter), but was always dropping/losing stitches, and I never did get the hang of purling.

Plus I love doing granny squares... they're easy/quick to do and they look cool.

Thanks for the recommendations of works to look at, too! :)
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2009
:nod: I actually learned to knit before I learned to crochet, but I never had much luck with it. I got out my knitting needles for the first time in years to do this article, and had grand plans of making a little crochet sample and a knit sample to take photos of, to further illustrate the differences, and it was so sad! I can't knit to save my life! :faint: :lmao:

I love making afghans that are just one huge granny square. :D I love the look of the little squares but I have to admit I'm a little hesitant at the idea of putting them all together! :blush:

Hope you enjoy all the features! :w00t: There are so many talented knitters and crocheters here on dA I couldn't begin to feature them all. :giggle:
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:iconjeysie:
Jeysie Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Oh, I hear you there... I'm hard-pressed to think of any knitting project I ever actually managed to successfully finish. :3

Putting granny squares together isn't too tricky (just a bit time-consuming). There's basically two ways to do it... one is using a yarn needle to sewing stitch the edges together with a strand of yarn as the "thread". Advantage is that it looks tidier, disadvantage is that it's not super-sturdy.

Second is single-crocheting the edges together... advantage is that it's very sturdy, disadvantage is that you have to fit the resultant seams into your design somehow.

It helps a little if you stitch together "row" strips first, then go ahead and stitch all of the strips together length-wise. (As opposed to stitching them together all one at a time, especially if you're attempting a mosaic pattern.)
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2009
:nod: I did make an afghan that was in strips, and whipstitched together, but I really wasn't too keen on it. Like you said, it seemed less than sturdy. (the gal I made it for said it gets used every day and hasn't fallen apart yet, but I still worry!) I've made bags by crocheting the pieces together and actually like the seam in that situation. There are so many beautiful granny square afghan possibilities out there, I'm just going to have to do a couple and see which way of joining them seems best. :D
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:iconjeysie:
Jeysie Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, I prefer the crochet joining method too as a general rule, but the seam doesn't work for every project. Experimentation is a fun thing!

...now I want to see if I can scrounge up enough money for supplies to start crocheting some stuff again. :D
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:iconolympic-dames:
Olympic-Dames Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
The difference is I can do one, but I can't comprehend the other.
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
:laughing: That's another way to look at it! :D
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:iconladyblacksword:
LadyBlacksword Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009   Digital Artist
Excellent work on the article...
;) You forgot round loom knitting...:lmao: Which is what I love best!
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Thank you! :bow:

:lmao: Yeah, I know I forgot loom knitting... But if I added that, I would have also added Tunsian crochet... and tatting... and felting... and cro-knit... and probably should have pointed out finger-weaving... :faint: Maybe I'll do all that in another article! :D
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:iconladyblacksword:
LadyBlacksword Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2009   Digital Artist
:giggle: If you haven't tried ProvoCraft's looms, you should. They don't cost much for a set, and I absolutely LOVE their rectangular loom. It does double knit! (Which is what I'm doing for the navy scarf.)
I was being good by not mentioning Tunisian crochet.. Especially after you said that you never use more than one hook in crochet. :D

Felting doesn't count. It's either done with raw wool, as in some needlefelting, or as a treatment after the yarnwork. It's not a method of making fabric from yarn in the strictest sense. My :twocents:
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2009
The knitting looms are sooooo tempting, I can't tell you how many times I've looked at them in the stores and debated buying them. One day I will cave in and get them. :D

Yeah, I was trying to stay very basic with this - Tunisian and cro-knit are whole different critters and are a whole different variety of the craft as far as I'm concerned. Plus I figured eyes would start glazing over if I added too much more info to this! :omg:

True dat on felting. :nod: I could sure never do an article on it anyway - I know what it is and how it works, but I can't work with wool, so I have no experience. :sheepish:
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:iconladyblacksword:
LadyBlacksword Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2009   Digital Artist
When you get your knitting looms, get the set from Provo Craft, then get an extra hook, and the full set of the rectangular looms. Get at least 4 skeins of a bulky yarn in a color you like that's snuggly. Go home, read the booklets and then make a scarf on the small round loom, and one on the small rectangle loom. At that point, pinch yourself. You aren't dreaming, it's really that easy and fun and it really does look that good finished.

You really ought to give in sooner rather than later. I bought myself a set of KnitPicks nickel plated circulars and books last year with the intent to teach myself to do normal knitting, and I keep getting distracted and lured away by my looms.
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2009
:laughing: I will give in when the money situation lets me! :giggle: (I know they're not that expensive, but I'm not buying anything except the necessities until I have a job again.) Luckily I already have some bulky yarn, it'll just be a matter of getting the looms. :nod:
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:iconladyblacksword:
LadyBlacksword Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2009   Digital Artist
I totally understand about the money thing.

Just as a note, bulky works best, but you can use two strands of worsted, or go with a single strand for a thinner weave. The only drawback to the looms is that they only do one gauge. One of these days, I may have to make a smaller gauge rectangular loom out of very well sanded wood.
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:iconwoozalia:
woozalia Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Oh, I totally love Tunisian crochet even though I seem to have only one work with that technique in my gallery... I wish I had gotten pictures of the blankets (before they got washed a million times) I had made in Homespun with On-The-Double for my two youngest boys 'cause those buggers are awesome.


Harena of ~woozalia
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Tunisian is yet another thing on my list of things to learn! :laughing:
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:iconwoozalia:
woozalia Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2009
It's so easy to do & makes a lovely thick fabric. And there's an amazing amount of variations on the stitch, including one that looks just like knit! (as seen in the potholder I have in my gallery ^_^)


Harena of ~woozalia
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:iconwoozalia:
woozalia Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Fantastic article! And yes, I remember when I was a Demonstrator for our local AC Moore (loved that employee discount! :w00t:), I had to straighten out a few people on the difference!

And I agree, there's no point in getting huffy; t'would be like if one of us confused php with perl (not a stitch, but programming languages)! ;)


Harena of ~woozalia
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Thank you! :D Ooooh, craft store employee discount... :drool: I have applications in at our local Michael's and JoAnn's... I am so hopeful!

I was going to say I don't know php from perl from a hole in the ground, but then I realized that I do know the difference, at least somewhat! :rofl: But it's a dang fine analogy all the same! :D
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:iconwoozalia:
woozalia Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
You're welcome! And yeah, that job was a dream come true.. for 2 years I was paid to do my favorite hobby in the store & got the discount on top of it... I wish you luck in getting a position at either of those stores!

Hehehe, I'm glad you liked it! I had to turn to Woozle of woozalia to get it 'cause I wanted something that would be Obvious to a programmer but not to a reg'lar joe such as we are ;)


Harena of ~woozalia
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Thanks! I have applications in at a couple book stores as well as the craft stores - both of which I think would make me very happy, but both of which pose the very real danger of none of my paycheck making it home! :lmao:
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:iconwoozalia:
woozalia Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2009
Ahahahaha, yeah, I know what you mean... I had a wee bit of an issue with that myself at AC Moore! ;D


Harena of ~woozalia
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:icondhaskoi:
dhaskoi Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Awesome article! My own mom still calls what I do "knitting" instead of crochet, despite the number of years I've been doing it. ^_^ I just go, "Knit, who knits? No one here." She usually picks up the hint.
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Thank you! :D
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:iconkabidesigns:
KabiDesigns Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009  Professional Artisan Crafter
Great
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Thank you! :D
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:iconglunac:
glunac Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009   General Artist
I've seen both done & yes I am one of those that often gets the 2 terms mixed up.
People often call my paintings "photos" or "pictures" & I just take it as a compliment; but how can you mistaken the two.
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Ugh, those stupid smilies! :no: Those words should be "picture" and "photo".
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
I can definitely see how the two crafts can be confused if you're not intimately familiar with the process. There are certain stitches that even a trained eye really needs to look at to tell the difference. :)

OK, I can see calling a painting a ';picture', but a ';photo'?! Unless there's a language barrier, that one is a little bit mind-boggling.
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:iconfoxymitts:
foxymitts Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
:dance:
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
:boogie:
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:icontthealer56:
TThealer56 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2009
So when are you going to start tatting?
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
:rofl: Tatting is... let's see... number 1,022,537 on my list of things I want to learn to do! So... hopefully sometime before I'm 90?! :lmao:
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:icontthealer56:
TThealer56 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
:giggle:
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:iconwoozalia:
woozalia Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
I've learned the basics of tatting, but I have a LOT of practicing to do before I'm ready to actually make something! (postable, anyway! ;D)

One day, though, One Day!


Harena of ~woozalia
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:icontthealer56:
TThealer56 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
My grandmother used to do it, so did my wifes grandmother. :nod:
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:iconwoozalia:
woozalia Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
My "Omama" pretty much just did thread crochet; I don't remember her doing tatting or she would have taught me that as well.... but it was something I'd always wanted to learn how to do!


Harena of ~woozalia
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:icontthealer56:
TThealer56 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
:nod:
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Tatting is definitely something I want to learn to do too... if only there were more hours in the day! :D
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:iconwoozalia:
woozalia Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Man, ain't that the truth! ;p


Harena of ~woozalia
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:icontaralynnjane:
taralynnjane Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
i often get the same comments :D In fact I just heard a local radio station dj talking about how they were all the same and I just laughed. Great article!
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:iconarielmanx:
ArielManx Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2009
Thanks! :laughing: One of my favorites was when I sent a crocheted baby afghan to my cousin for his daughter, and included a care instruction card that said "crocheted with love" and he wrote a lovely thank you card thanking me for the "knitted quilt". Oh well! :D

:ohnoes: I had your neckwarmer on my list of deviations to feature and missed it! :cries: Dammit! I can't add it here but I'll edit my journal to put it in. :hug:
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:icontaralynnjane:
taralynnjane Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
aw thanks! no biggie :hug: I have instructed all my friends, and most of my family already knows about the differences. That is just too funny :D
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