Crochet and nålbinding can both be characterized by a looped structure that is linked in two directions; an individual loop is attached to a loop in the preceding row and to the adjacent loop in the same row. In contrast, knitting is linked to the preceding row only. Chain stitches are also linked in only one direction and it is debatable if chain stitching by itself should be categorized as crochet (even when produced with a crochet hook). By Irene Emery’s definition it is not. There are also two opinions about whether nålbinding, in addition to its doubly-linked form, includes the singly-linked buttonhole looping that we’ve already seen and the cross-knit looping (also called encircled looping) presented below.
Such distinctions are of fundamental concern when devising classification systems but may be less important to practitioners, who are more interested in their craft being defined with a scope that embraces the full range of techniques they regard it to include. Buttonhole- and cross-knit looping appear in a large number of different crafts. Describing them in terms that balance the varying procedural and systematic perspectives that otherwise attach to those crafts can therefore present a significant challenge. In further preparation for addressing it, here is the second of the two variations of the buttonhole loop described by Emery:
VARIATION: Cross-knit loops
Cross-knit looping differs from simple (buttonhole) looping chiefly in the fact that the loop is taken round the crossing of a loop in the previous row rather than over the lag between loops.
This means that the loops, instead of alternating in position in successive rows … are aligned vertically and produce marked vertical ribbing on one face of the fabric … more accurately identified with the appearance of crossed knitting. Although the methods of construction are quite different … the resulting structures are frequently identical and there is seldom anything in the fabric to determine which process has been used.