Looking for a crochet project that works up quickly? Maybe you’re trying to use up your yarn stash, or you just need to whip up a gift on short notice. I’ve been there! So, I decided to figure out which crochet stitch works up the fastest by timing how long it takes to make swatches of 16 of the most popular stitches.
The crochet stitch that works up the fastest is the treble crochet stitch, followed closely by the front loop only treble crochet. After that, granny squares come in as third fastest to work up, followed by the v stitch, and then the double crochet stitch.
Here’s a list of the stitches I tested, from fastest to slowest. Front loop only has been abbreviated to “FLO.”
- Treble Crochet
- FLO Treble Crochet
- Granny Square
- V Stitch
- Double Crochet
- Granny Stripe Stitch
- Half Double Crochet
- FLO Double Crochet
- Shell Stitch
- C2C also known as Corner to Corner
- Seed Stitch
- FLO Half Double Crochet
- Moss Stitch
- Puff Stitch
- Single Crochet
- FLO Single Crochet
For nerds like me who may be interested in my experiment’s methodology and how I came to calculate these measurements, feel free to skip down to the Methods section or Results section for those juicy numbers.
If you’re trying to make something pretty quickly, here are a few tips to help you out.
Familiar Stitches Lead to Even, Consistent Tension
Is there a stitch you’ve practiced a lot in the past? This may work up fastest just because you have the muscle memory for it. A familiar stitch is something you don’t have to think about doing!
The more familiar you are with a stitch, the better you’ll be at making it. Consistent tension is key for a polished looking finished object.
If you choose to use a new, unfamiliar stitch, your crochet may come out slightly wonky or uneven without much practice. Not to mention, it may take a little while for you to learn the new stitch.
Basic Often Beats Textured Stitches
Most basic stitches work up more quickly than decorative or textured stitches, because special stitches often require multiple steps of a single basic stitch. The texture is the result of the stitch being thicker, which means more time spent making the stitch 3 dimensional, and less time spent growing the width and length of the project (in other words, the size or area of the project.)
Taller Stitches Aren’t Always Better
Taller stitches are an easy way to quickly gain height on a project. But the taller the stitches are, the less bulk those stitches have. These stitches are not very dense, which may end up leaving your project very “holey.”
If you’re trying to make a warm sweater or a cute skirt, super tall stitches like treble crochet can leave you with something that’s very see through, and not very warm.
If you’re trying to make a basket, these stitches may not be stiff enough for the basket to stand up on its own without collapsing under its own weight.
Tall stitches may not be practical for something like a potholder. You don’t want fingers to poke through the holes and get burned on a potholder!
A bigger hook can help you finish a project faster, because a bigger hook means bigger stitches. It may mean bigger gaps between stitches, but if you’re making a scarf or blanket, this might not be an issue.
A Thicker Yarn Weight May Work Up Faster
If you’re in a rush to make a scarf or blanket, consider using a larger yarn. These work up faster because the resulting stitches from larger yarn will be that much larger. Keep in mind some bigger yarns cost more, so figure out what your budget is and plan your yarn choice accordingly.
Alternatively, you can also hold multiple strands of thinner yarn (like worsted weight) together as if they’re one thick yarn strand.
One thing to be aware of is that a heavier yarn weight may lead to a thicker, and slightly stiffer project. This means it’ll be less drapey and come out less delicate. For example, a pattern for a lacy shawl that is supposed to be made in fingerling may end up too bulky, heavy, large, and thick if you made it using size 6 yarn.
Try to anticipate any issues that may arise if you use a different yarn weight before you start. If you think there may be possible problems, keep in mind that undoing a project and starting over with a smaller weight yarn may end up costing you more time.
Consider Open Work Patterns
If gaps are no issue, you can make something with a lot of empty spaces in the farbric. This works up much faster because you’re not spending time making stitches to fill all those gaps.
This is part of why granny squares are such a popular pattern – they work up quickly since the fabric is so open and “holey”, but can still make beautiful and warm blankets and cardigans.
Ensure Your Yarn Unwinds Easily
As a crocheter, I’ve noticed projects take much longer (and are less fun) if I’m constantly battling my yarn skein to make the feed yarn unravel properly.
Yarn barf or skeins that bounce all over the place when you pull from it are a hassle. To make sure you can crochet as efficiently as possible, you can wind your skeins into a ball and use a yarn bowl. Or, you can stick your skein on a yarn spinner for easy dispensing.
Situate your yarn so that you’re not constantly having to get up to fetch your yarn ball or untangle it from something. If you don’t have a yarn bowl, sometimes something as simple as a plastic basket or a Sterilite bin can do wonders.
Not All Hooks are Created Equal
Know which hooks are best for each job. This will differ among every person, as we all hold the hook slightly differently and have different hands.
I’ve noticed certain ergonomic hooks help me work better than others. And for certain stitches, I prefer one style over the other. For example, for blankets, my ergonomic tapered hook is my favorite. It helps me glide quickly through stitches.
But for amigurumi, a very basic inline metal hook works best and keeps me from snagging unraveled plies of yarn as I pull my hook through stitches. I know some people exclusively use tapered hooks, but for single crochet work, I can’t stand tapered hooks!
Simple Patterns Are Easy to Remember
A simple pattern means you can spend more time speeding through the project, and less time scrutinizing and deciphering the pattern.
These are the patterns you can easily pick up and work a few rows of when you find yourself with a few moments to spare. No need to pack a pattern and spend precious minutes figuring out where in that pattern you left off.
Minimize Color Changes
Changing colors takes time – it means more ends have to be cut, and more ends have to be weaved in. If you need a quick project, find a pattern with few or no color changes. You can also modify a colorful pattern to have fewer colors to speed it up.
What follows is a detailed description of my methods. Afterwards, I’ll share my results (jump to results here.)
A stopwatch app was used to time how long each swatch took to crochet.
16 of the most popular and quick stitches were selected. Front loop only (FLO) variations of these stitches were also selected, since working in the front loops only adds height to the stitch (and therefore increases the swatch area.)
Back loop only variations were excluded because working in the back loops only tends to yield a swatch that is shorter compared to a swatch made from the same stitch worked through both loops.
I tried to make the swatches all the same size, but of course I was limited by some of the stitch patterns. The goal was to get them to be squares that were 4.5 inches wide and tall, but if I wasn’t able to get it to exactly 4.5, and I’d get it as close as I could.
I aimed to make a fairly sizable swatch of about 20 square inches, which took me longer than just whipping up a few stitches. Although it was more work, a decent sized swatch meant I was making at least several dozen stitches for each stitch.
This ensured my measurements were more precise and accurate, because any time spent on things that are otherwise not really relevant to the stitch being tested (for example, creating the chain stitches of the foundation chain) would make up a smaller percentage of the overall time spent making the swatch.
So for example, in my single crochet swatch, I started off with 18 chain stitches for the foundation chain, but went on to make over 300 single crochet stitches. So the time spent making the chain stitches is very tiny compared to the MUCH greater amount of time spent making single crochet stitches. This would not have been the case had I made a very tiny 1 inch swatch.
I used the same skein of worsted weight yarn throughout and the same hook (a size H-8 / 5 mm Cover Amour) for all the swatches. I kept my tension the same throughout, and made sure to sit at the same desk in the same position for every swatch to minimize any risk of introducing differences.
I used a rotating yarn dispenser to ensure that the yarn came off the skein evenly and easily, to minimize time spent tugging at the skein.
I tied a slipknot to my hook before starting the timer, so that only crocheting time was counted. I didn’t include the time it took to cut the yarn, and I paused whenever I wasn’t crocheting, so if I had to count stitches, or measure the width, I’d pause.
If I wasn’t sure how tall to make the swatch, I’d stop and calculate the area of the swatch and use that to calculate the speed. I would then perform an additional row, timed, and calculate the new area and new speed. They always came out to be the same! I’d then pick the row that would yield a swatch closest to 20 square inches.
I decided to not count turning chains as stitches, because this would mean I would not have to work into the turning chains. This is because I’m a tight crocheter, and working into the chain stitch at the top of a turning chain always takes me longer than just working into the top of any other stitch.
By avoiding working into turning chains, the time to complete each swatch wouldn’t be artificially lengthened by variables I introduce as quirks of my own crocheting, that other crocheters may not have. This meant some of my swatches may not look as neat on their left and right sides, but that turned out to be just fine.
If a swatch had left and right sides that weren’t truly straight vertical lines, I would measure the width of each row and average them. Most of the time – the rows were the same width – just some were scooched to the left and to the right, in alternating rows. The rest of the swatches were easy to measure, since they came out with straight edges.
The stitches chosen were: single crochet, FLO single crochet, half double crochet, FLO half double crochet, double crochet, FLO double crochet, treble crochet, FLO treble crochet, corner to corner, shell stitch, seed stitch, v stitch, granny square, moss stitch, granny stripe stitch, and puff stitch.
The dimensions of each swatch was measured to calculate the area of the fabric created.
I then calculated the speed of each stitch in two forms:
- As the number of seconds it took to crochet one square inch of fabric in that stitch
- As the amount of square inches of that stitch crocheted per second
Here’s a table with all the information I collected, and the two different ways of displaying the speed of each stitch.
Front loop only has been abbreviated “FLO.”
|Stitch||Time||Final Dimensions||Area Crocheted||Speed (as seconds needed to make one square inch)||Speed (as square inches made per second)|
|Single crochet||14 min 39 sec = 879 sec||4.5” x 4.5”||20.25 sq inch||43.4 sec / sq inch||0.023 sq in/sec|
|FLO single crochet||14 min 18 sec = 858 sec||4.25” x 4.25”||18.06 sq inch||47.5 sec / sq inch||0.021 sq in/sec|
|Half double crochet||8 min 55 sec = 535 sec||4 ⅞” x 4.75”||23.16 sq inch||23.1 sec / sq inch||0.043 sq in/sec|
|FLO half double crochet||10 min 58 sec = 658 sec||4 ⅞” x 4.75”||23.16 sq inch||28.4 sec / sq inch||0.035 sq in/sec|
|Double crochet||7 min 15 sec = 435 sec||4.75” x 4.75”||22.56 sq inch||19.3 sec / sq inch||0.052 sq in/ sec|
|FLO double crochet||8 min 24 sec = 504 sec||4.5” x 4.75”||21.38 sq inch||23.6 sec / sq inch||0.042 sq in/sec|
|Treble crochet||5 min 11 sec = 311 sec||4.75” x 4.25”||20.19 sq inch||15.4 sec / sq inch||0.065 sq in/sec|
|FLO treble crochet||5 min 47 sec = 347 sec||4.25” x 4.75”||20.19 sq inch||17.2 sec / sq inch||0.058 sq in/sec|
|Corner to corner||9 min 55 sec = 595 sec||4.75” x 4.75”||22.56 sq inch||26.4 sec / sq inch||0.038 sq in/sec|
|Shell stitch||9 min 18 sec = 558 sec||5” x 4.5”||22.5 sq inch||24.8 sec / sq inch||0.040 sq in/sec|
|Seed stitch||11 min 7 sec = 667 sec||5” x 4.75”||23.75 sq inch||28.1 sec / sq inch||0.036 sq in/sec|
|V stitch||6 min 11 sec = 371 sec||4 ⅜” x 4.5”||19.69 sq inch||18.9 sec / sq inch||0.053 sq in/sec|
|Granny square||7 min 22 sec = 442||4 ⅞” x 4 ⅞”||23.77 sq inch||18.6 sec / sq inch||0.054 sq in/sec|
|Moss stitch||10 min 5 sec = 605||4.5” x 4 ⅝”||20.81 sq inch||29.1 sec / sq inch||0.034 sq in/sec|
|Granny stripe stitch||7 min 39 sec = 459 sec||5” x 4.5”||22.5 sq inch||20.4 sec / sq inch||0.045 sq in/sec|
|Puff stitch||11 min 45 sec = 705 sec||5” x 4.5”||22.5 sq inch||31.3 sec / sq inch||0.032 sq in/sec|
For easier at-a-glance understanding, here’s a second, more pared down table. Here, the speed is shown as the number of seconds it needed to crochet a square inch of each stitch.
|Stitch||Time (seconds)||Area (square inches)||Speed (seconds per square inch)|
|FLO treble crochet||347||20.19||17.2|
|Granny stripe stitch||459||22.50||20.4|
|Half double crochet||535||23.16||23.1|
|FLO double crochet||504||21.38||23.6|
|Corner to corner||595||22.56||26.4|
|FLO half double crochet||658||23.16||28.4|
|FLO single crochet||858||18.06||47.5|
Despite the fact that working in the front loop only generally adds additional height to the resulting fabric, to my surprise, front loop only stitches did not work up considerably faster than the stitches that were worked through both loops. I attribute this to how much longer it took to ensure the hook was only inserted into the front loop, as opposed to both loops.
As expected, single crochet was one of the slower stitches. But it came as a surprise that a textured stitch like puff stitch worked up faster than single crochet did.
Hopefully this provided you with the guidance you needed for your next crochet adventure.
As fun as it is to finish projects quickly, don’t forget to slow down and enjoy it occasionally! It is an art and a hobby, after all. And, sometimes, good things just take time.