This is a question that has been wandering around the blogs for a while (not to mention from people who see me teaching at the LYS): which is better/faster/easier - knitting or crochet?
Well, that's a little complicated to answer. IM(ns)HO, they each have their place. Neither one is always
the fastest method to get things done, and of course, it does depend on your relative speed and comfort level of each. To me, knitting is generally better for garments (i.e. sweaters and such) as the drape and stretch is superior to the fabric you get from crochet. Crochet is faster and easier for lace and 3D projects (like baby booties) - and you get the added benefit of no double-pointed needles. :) Small simples like hats and scarves can benefit from either technique, keeping in mind that a tight crochet pattern will not be as drapey as a similarly tight knit pattern. Crochet will take 1/2 to 2/3rds again as much yarn as a similar project knitted in a similar stitch (yes, folks, crochet takes more
yarn!). Crochet is almost hands-down winner on faster technique for finishing, but knitted finishing can be a very nice touch, too. Both even have their own advantages when it comes to correcting mistakes -- in crochet, you never have to worry about dropping a stitch, and you can almost always figure out where you left off in a pattern even if you forgot your count; in knitting, it is fabulous to be able to drop down a stitch to the place where you twisted one rather than having to rip out several rows to fix it.
So why the big fuss? Well, some people only really take to one or the other craft. Although knowing both can be beneficial, it is not mandatory by any means -- most effects can be achieved in either craft by figuring out a stitch that will give you what you want.
My advice? Don't be afraid to try new things, but don't feel pressured into having
to know a technique. Both crafts are very worthy of being used and passed on - and the sense of accomplishment you get from finishing that hand-made object is amazing. :D