Crochet Machine – why there isn’t any around?

In our highly mechanized world, there it is rare occasion when there is no automate that can do things for humans. Automatic bread makers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and recently even text writers – and those are just domestic examples. On an industrial level automation reached such level that making the operation by hand would be considering rather exotic hobby than the way of production – like cotton weaving, for example. Almost any type of craft already have been automated one or the other way or have some sort of element that is better done by machine. This should be true for crochet too, no? Well, not exactly. In 2024 crochet is still done solely by human hands, there is no crochet machine. Here is our take on why this is the case.

Crochet Machine

What is crochet, from human perspective?

If we simplify the craft to the essence, crochet is just another way of making fabric from thread. It is very closely related to knitting, cotton weaving or twinning. It has one very distinctive characteristic though – extreme flexibility. You can crochet almost everything – it is just question of yarn and time. There are really no limitation of types of works that can be done, something that no other type of craft can offer. On the flip side, crochet is relatively slow for making certain type of things – especially ones that include large pieces of fabric – like sweaters, scarves, or blankets. There are certainly crafters with hands moving at lightning speeds, but still there are more efficient techniques for certain items.

However, if you want to start to make things from yarn – you don’t need to learn something new for each item. All you need is crochet – from baby blankets to complex doilies, from socks to tote bags. Crochet is universal craft – it allows you to make any type of clothing as well as many more items. Anything, you can make from yarn.

How about machine perspective?

This is pretty straightforward procedure, isn’t it? There is pattern, which is standardised algorithm, describing every single step that needs to be done. Yes, patterns still need to be made by humans as they require testing and assessment of end result, no so-called AI can do it. However, over time there will be enough good patterns. Crochet is serial procedure – nothing happening in parallel, just stitch after stitch after stitch. Also, making correct hook moves, keeping yarn tension – machines do such sort of things much better than humans. Does not seem that there is something that is make it impossible to automate.

All seem to be possible, where is the crochet machine then?

In my humble opinion, there are few reasons for total absence of the crochet machines on the market:

  • Machines are made for large-scale production, otherwise there are no economical sense to make them. Any domestic machine or robot usually has it’s industrial „big brother“ that was made first and then technology that was used in it is being adopted for smaller household items. Crochet does not have industrial-scale application, at least for now and therefore no technology exists to make such machines. This means that in order to create crochet machine full research and development cycle need to be conducted with a view to make a household item. This seem to be risky investment.
  • Secondly, it is very questionable if there is need for such machine at all. Most crocheters enjoy making things with their own hands. The process not only leaves you with hand-made items that can be beautiful addition to your home or home of your loved ones, but also provides therapy of sorts. Is there any warmth in machine-crocheted blanket? Are there any hours of somebody’s life stitched into that machine-made shawl? No, it is just piece of colored fabric.

So, to conclude – absence of crochet machines is not a result of some sort of special complexity of the craft, nor weakness of human engineering capability. There is simply no need for such automation and therefore no economical sense to engineer and produce such things. Who is going to pay for a device that will take over process you love?

Crochet Machine

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