August 22, 2019

Knitting, crocheting gaining in popularity

In September and October 2002, the Craft Yarn Council of America conducted a survey to measure the incidence of crocheting and knitting among women in the United States, to describe knitters’ and crocheters’ yarn usage and shopping patterns, to measure attitudes toward crafts, and to identify and track trends.

The survey found that knitters and crocheters completed more than 15 projects in 2002, four more than in 2001, or a 40 percent increase. The bulk of crocheting and knitting projects were afghans and baby blankets, although knitters were more likely to make other baby items, and sweaters, vests, scarves, hats and gloves.

And where do the ideas and patterns for all this knitting and crocheting come from? Magazines. New ones keep appearing, including the premier issue of Better Homes and Gardens Simple Creative Crochet, which debuted in October. It’s interesting to note that this magazine includes patterns and designs from the past, especially from the 1970s, which is in keeping with current style dictates, but updated in trendy colors and a new generation of novelty yarns.

Besides patterns for clothing, home and accessories, the new Creative Crochet magazine includes book reviews, a how-to section and an article about the fastest crocheter in the world. Like most craft magazines these days, it’s pricey at $5.99, a far cry from 1972, when an issue of McCall’s Needlework and Crafts sold for $1.25 – I still have every issue of that magazine that I ever bought. Then, most other needlework and craft magazines sold for less than $1.

The yarn council survey also reports that knitters and crocheters are spending an average of $30 on a project, up from $26 in 2000 – or $450 spent on the 15 projects they do each year.

The survey indicates that younger women are increasingly attracted to knitting and crocheting, which may be because media coverage of knitting and crocheting has increased in the last two years. This gives knitting and crocheting a cachet, making it “cool” and “hip.”

The percentage of women under age 45 who now knit or crochet has doubled in the last six years. This bodes well for the future of yarn shops and manufacturers of yarns, needles, hooks and other knitting and crocheting tools. However, most women who knit and crochet, 51 percent, are 65 and older. That may indicate that knitting and crocheting are a lifetime endeavor – once begun, hooked for good.

The primary reason survey respondents gave for knitting and crocheting was relaxation and stress relief – what the survey refers to as “today’s yoga.” Respondents also said that because knitting and crocheting are portable, they fit well with busy lifestyles and crammed-full schedules.

The survey concluded that knitters and crocheters are loyal customers at the shops and department stores where they buy yarn and supplies. They are interested in taking classes and building their basic skills. When they shop for yarn, they also buy lots of other things. And because they are passionate about knitting and crocheting, that adds up to a very bright future for yarn retailers and suppliers.


Bargain hunters’ alert: The 54th annual yarn sale at the Yard Goods Center in Waterville is on until the end of January.

Maine fiber artists have an opportunity to make their talents known. Maine Fiberarts, a statewide network of fiber artists and craftspeople, are sponsoring The State of Fiber 2004, a yearlong, statewide fiber art celebration. To learn more about the event, call Maine Fiberarts at 721-0678, or e-mail

Ardeana Hamlin welcomes comments, suggestions and ideas. Call her at 990-8153, or e-mail

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