Knitting in the 2010s

Handicraft Knitted GiftsIf you were asked to picture a lady who is knitting, what would you envisage? Most people would respond by saying that they see an older woman, most likely retired, sitting with a ball of wool on her lap with Coronation Street on in the background. Unfortunately, there is far more to modern knitting circles than the grannies making baby booties but still the stereotype inexplicably persists!

The average age of the knitting community has actually dropped to around 40 thanks to the so-called modern "knitting revival." Younger women are starting to knit thanks to the proliferation of the Internet; knitting blogs and other online communities have started springing up everywhere, allowing the hobby to proliferate with the sharing of knitting patterns, colour choices and advice across the world.

Young women don't (yet) make up the majority of the knitting community - in fact the vast majority still belongs to the faithful grannies and middle-aged ladies of the world - but they are a growing demographic which is starting to make an impact on the hobby industry and affecting the marketing pitch of many arts and crafts businesses.

For many knitters, the principle appeal of the hobby is less the feeling of creativity or even the company of friends, but the sense of relaxation which comes with the craft. There is a definite therapeutic side to knitting; being able to sit down and concentrate exclusively on one thing, forcing you to slow down, clear your head and breathe properly. No scheduling, analysis or complex charting is needed to knit - you can forget about everyday stresses and enjoy the calm, even if it is only for half an hour or so. This aspect of the hobby seems to be the main driver behind its adoption by students and young professionals who are seeking new ways to unwind after busy and stressful days.

Most knitters, old or younger, are community based and prefer to get together with other women in order to knit. The old tradition of knitting circles has enjoyed a rapid revival, especially amongst younger people who prefer the company of their peers while they knit. Younger women have fully embraced the "Stich 'n' Bitch" set of knitters to meet at local cafes and book stores for knitting meetings and a good chat. The groups are named after the popular series of introductory knitting guides by Debbie Stoller, who is sometimes credited with her single-handed restoration of the hobby in the public eye.

Many modern knitting groups will bring along extra needles and chunky knitting wool to keep aside in case curious newcomers show up and want to learn, which only serves to reinforce the community feel. Rarely has a complete beginner felt so welcome as in a decent knitting circle, which is also contributing to the hobby's growing popularity.

If you are looking for some quick how-to guides or fun patterns, whether you're a seasoned knitter or just starting off in the hobby, there are a wide variety of online shops, blogs and other resources to help you get into the craft. Knitted toys are wonderful gifts for new parents and young children, plus you get the added satisfaction of a de-stressing craft that will let you wile away countless happy yet productive hours in the future.

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