Janet's thread

A weblog, mostly about knitting but other topics appear

Statistics for Knitters October 23, 2007

Filed under: Knitting — Janet @ 9:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Does anyone have statistics on the numbers of knitters as a percentage of the total population?  Since I write a blog mainly devoted to knitting and I read many other blogs about knitting, I tend to think that the whole world is knitting. 

I am under the impression that the popularity of knitting is on the increase, like book groups.  Recently I was told that there are cooking groups/clubs.  News to me.  But maybe someone in a cooking group thinks that the whole world is cooking. 

Quite often in general conversation when I tell someone that I knit, the reply is “oh, nobody does that anymore.”  Fallacy I say.  But really, how popular is knitting in today’s world?  Two major wool shops in the Dublin area have closed in recent years…..but at least 2 others have opened.   

Has there been a dynamic shift in the age profile of knitters?  Are knitters getting younger?  It is my impression that the Stitch N Bitch groups that are springing up around the country are composed mainly of younger people.  Or maybe it’s my move along the age profile that is changing my perspective and knitting among the 20-40 year old age group has always been popular whether from economic necessity or now in more recent years as a social activity.

 Here in Dublin, the active knitters that I know are younger.  Friends in my age group, say 60 plus, tend to be relapsed knitters.  i.e. they used to knit when their children were small.  No more knitting for them.

In my own family, my mother knit because she just loved to knit.  But after she moved to Hawaii, knitting with wool was just not appropriate to the climate.  She knit a few cotton sweaters but somehow knitting and that hot climate just didn’t go together.  My sisters were very keen knitters – but mostly items for their children.  The children are all grown up now and my sisters no longer knit.  I think of them as lapsed knitters.  Is lapsed the right word?  According to the Oxford English Dictionary lapsed as a verb or noun can have the meaning “a weak or careless decline into an inferior state” – rather harsh isn’t it to consider someone to be in an inferior state just because they used to knit and now no longer do so.

As for myself, I knit a little bit at an early age, lapsed for a while, started knitting again for my children, lapsed again for a few years and detoured into the world of weaving.  More recently, I have returned to knitting with renewed zest.  

Happy knitting everyone. 


12 Responses to “Statistics for Knitters”

  1. Bettina Says:

    I am surrounded by non-knitters here in the irish countryside – people look at me with suspicion when they see me with knitting needles on the train (luckily it’s still allowed:). I never “lapsed” – I have been knitting constantly since the age of 7 – but then I only started simple weaving recently and spinning only a few years ago. but then I have been called a knit-nut before:)) I do have the feeling that people tend to knit with small kids – and then lapse (sleeping knitters maybe?:)) for years – maybe until grandchildren come along and they wake up and start knitting again? I can’t stop – I am addicted to it!

  2. willisweaver1 Says:

    In keeping with my blog entry for today, I was talking with a friend who is in her 80’s and I asked her if she were doing any knitting. No, she replied, and she said she was really missing having something on the needles. Somehow though she just couldn’t seem to get motivated – and she is someone who really loves to knit and has knit all her life. She said part of the problem was that the various items she has knit are still going strong and she just doesn’t need yet another jumper. I urged her to get knitting regardless.

  3. Maire Ni Neachtain Says:

    My aunt is a great knitter, and like your friend, she has enough knitted items which are still going strong, so what she does is she buys wool, or uses up stash and knits items which she then places in the Enable yellow bins in the supermarket carpark. so she always has a work in progress, but she doesn’t end up with loads of unwanted items.

  4. Freyalyn Says:

    Yep, I get funny looks when knitting in public, and of course there are the usual smartalec comments too. But I do see other people doing it too, occasionally.

    And yes, it was the thing I was knitting on the way down from Glasgow. It’s been untouched for ages, so it’ll never get finished. The yarn’s come out the wash well, though. Have to see what inspires me. Good memories.

  5. Leigh Says:

    I’d be interested to the answer to your question as well. There have been a lot of new knitting books aimed at younger knitters I’ve noticed. But the local branch of the area knitters guild which meets at our public library is all grey heads. On the other hand, when DH and I attended a concert at one of the area universities this week, I saw a student sitting on a bench, enjoying the evening, kntting in progress! That did my heart good.

  6. Bonnie Mairs Says:

    In New York City, knitting is on the upswing and the new knitters tend to be younger. My Wednesday night group has various ages. The pros are mostly older, but there are some very good younger knitters too. The group meets at a coffee shop from 6 -8 pm. There is a core group of about 10 but many others come when they can, so we are often over 20. We have to keep stealing tables from other customers. Many in the group are knitting socks, using 2 circular needles, size 1 (US). They are using variegated or prepatterned wool. Lace patterns are also popular. One person is about to start a wedding shawl for her sister-in-law to be, using cashmere and “0” needles. That would drive me crazy.

  7. KnitBeat Says:

    I found your blog because I was interested if knitters share certain personality traits, quantifiable by means of something like a MyersBriggs personality test.. or a StrenghtFinders test. I have notice to be an Avid knitter you typically have to be a “learner”, always wanting to add a new stich to your skill set, or construct a knitted object into something youve never made before requires a bit of new understanding. Although I do agree knitting is more on an upswing. I think its because of the NET. Now .. if you thought it was cool you don’t have to try to find a grandmom or aunt or uncle.. or whatever.. complete instructions w/videos’ and communities are all a round and if you have the intrest you can make it happen.. all in front of the PC! What generation more then any other would go that route? Just about any born in the in like ’75’ or later!

  8. Kim Says:

    I am looking for stats as well, I came across this:

    According to the Craft Yarn Council of America, 53 million American women know how to knit or crochet, a 51 percent increase over the past 10 years.
    Source: Dallas Morning News, 5/11/2005

  9. Sallee Says:

    Facinating the number of us looking for needleart statistics! The best source I’ve found thus far is “The State of Specialty NeedleArts 2007 Executive Summary” report published by The National Needlearts Association (www.tnna.org). It has great stats. I need more sources, though.

    I’m trying to put together a business model for YarnMinder(TM), a yarn accessory to manage the multiple yarns used in many of the new patterns. I have provisional patent, URL (yarnminder.com — haven’t done website yet) and registered trademark.

    I made three lapghans, each one made from a Lion Brand free pattern using two different colors of Homespun(R) yarns knit with double yarn. As I was making the first one, it was soooo frustrating trying to keep four different feeds of yarn untangled! I looked online for an accessory designed to manage multiple yarn sources — chagrin, everything available was made to keep yarn clean, keep project pieces organized together, store or carry.

    The problem-solver side of me invented an easy-to-use solution! It works great — keeps sources separate and yarn pulls freely, even when pulled from outside and from inside of the same skein. No need to take time winding skein into ball. Four yarn feeds from one accessory and no tangles.

    Sound interesting to any other knitter?

  10. I’m also looking for kniiter stats. I’m writing a book and would love to have some great numbers to put in my book proposal.

  11. Nice blog…Thank you very much.

  12. Cindy Says:

    There are plenty of stats at the craft yarn council website.

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