Let me say right off: I'm biased like you would not believe towards knitting. If you don't believe me, please read on. I will try my best to be nice to crochet.
VISIBLE DIFF. :
That being said, there is a HUGE difference in the finished project as far as "was this crocheted or knitted?" I like the knit fabric better, but that's me. The point here is yes, you can tell the difference.
There is a different jargon/shorthand for both K or C. I have been knitting since I was about 7 or 8 (I'm 19 now). I find it is easier to learn as far as the stitches are very obvious. I can crochet (very basic), but I have trouble see the stitches- "is that the fourth or the fifth stitch?" kind of thing. I'm working on that.
ART, NOT SCIENCE:
I am a very DIY (do-it-yourself) person, and while I have used them, I DESPISE using patterns. I'm more of a the pattern is a guideline
, but to follow it exactly... that would violate everything I stand for as a person.
You can follow patterns exactly, or you can just say to heck with it. I recommend the former in the beginning, and the latter as soon as possible after that.
I also teach people K informally (they just see me knit and say "hey, teach me!"
). I like the old school feel- my mother taught me, and I can't wait to teach my kids (when I get married and have some, that is!). I have taught people who can crochet and it seems to be easier for someone who has C'ed to pick up K and vice versa. That's been my experience anyway.
You can make things (either K or C) as big or little as you want. I mean, you can K or C booties, and it takes roughly the same amount of yarn and there's not a lot of commitment involved as far as the time length. Or you can make a king-size blanket and K/C on it for two YEARS. True story.
It really just depends on the amount of time you can make for your new found love, either K or C. I take my projects to class since I don't have to look at it anymore (unless it's lace, etc. Then I'm constantly counting and correcting mistakes). Since you said you just want to make little things, once you get the hang of either K or C, you won't have to worry about working on a kerchief for years.
There are alot of similarities to both K and C. I will always be loyal to my first love (K) but I have lots of friends who only C and we'll sit and work on projects like little old ladies. It's totally up to you. If you decide to K, I think knitty.com has some really fun patterns.
You can see some of my stuff on my xanga: http://www.xanga.com/asoulunbound
Here's a few examples of my work (Shamelss, I know!):http://x11.xanga.com/cffd4a1a0243410.../z74135953.jpghttp://xcb.xanga.com/0d4d5a11d713510.../z74135927.jpg
I wish you lived in Dallas so I could show you how! Good luck in your crafting... sorry about the essay.