Why isn’t there a machine capable of crocheting, when so many machines can knit?
Crocheting takes a lot of dexterity that is hard to mimic with machines. I’m sure it COULD be done with enough research and engineering, but it would require a very complicated and expensive machine that would be more effort than it is worth.
A Google search led me to this video:
And it explains in great detail why such machines aren’t practical and don’t exist.
Basically, it’s so easy and inexpensive to build a knitting machine and it would be prohibitively complex and costly to design and build a crocheting machine. It probably could be done, but with the 9 axes of movement required for just a basic stitch, not to mention the fact that a stitch can be connected to another stitch in any direction (unlike a knit in which stitches are connected in one direction) makes a crocheting machine just too difficult.
Knitting is simpler and makes a higher quality fabric.
Crochet is a long chain of knots. Each loop is kept from getting pulled out straight, or “supported”, by another adjacent or nearly adjacent loop. Knitting is parallel yarns or threads twisted back and forth around each other. Each loop is supported by a loop in the next row of yarn.
When a person crochets they repeatedly chose places in the fabric to attach a new chain of knots. That allows for a lot of detail and design, but it’s complicated. The next stitch can go anywhere on the whole piece of fabric, though for most designs it’s somewhere nearby. Crocheted fabric is fairly rigid because it’s all knots.
When knitting a person holds all of the places where another loop will be added on the knitting needles. Each loop is lifted over a loop in the next row either in front or behind the loop in the next row. It’s easy for a machine to hold onto all of the places it will make a stitch, instead of choosing. A knitting machine does this with a clever needle called a latch needle, which is easier to see than to explain. A machine that can do just one of these stitches – lifting loops in front or behind -will make a high quality stretchy fabric like T-shirt fabric. If it can do both it can adjust the stretchiness by mixing them together. In addition, when knitting multiple loops can go over the same loop, decreasing the number of stitches, and making the fabric smaller. Or a single loop can go over multiple loops, increasing the number of stitches. A machine that can decrease stitches and lift loops both directions can make just about any tapering fabric with changing stretchiness.
A knitting machine is much much simpler than a crochet machine would be.