Where Do People Knit Most?
We know the knitting community spreads far and wide, but where does your country or state rank in knitting interest? I’ve leveraged Google Trends to find where the search term “knitting” is most and least popular. So, where do people knit most? See the data below to find out.
Interest by Region (in the past 12 months)
1. New Zealand
3. United Kingdom
Just in case you were wondering, the United States is in 8th place.
Interest tends to peak in colder months and knitting is more popular in colder climates. In the United States, we have the peak interest point in December of 2013 and the greatest low in June of 2017.
Interest in the United States (past 5 years)
Interest by U.S. state (in the past 12 months)
5. New Hampshire
What this graph also shows is a declining interest in knitting overall. Instances of people Googling something involving the term “knitting” has steadily declined over the past 5 years. This doesn’t say much about those who already knit, but it might say quite a lot about knitting reaching a new audience and the overall level of interest.
I don’t know many people outside of work who actively knit; 3 would be the exact number. I’m overjoyed when I see a fellow knitter in public, but I can count those instances on one hand. It makes me wonder, is knitting dying? Are we not doing as much as we could to pass these skills on to younger generations?
I come from a line of makers. My great-grandmother crocheted her own wedding dress, my grandmother is incredibly skilled at embroidery and quilting, and my mother makes beautiful watercolor paintings and works with stained glass. When I expressed interest at a young age, my great grandmother handed me a ball of string and a beautiful crocheted bell-shaped flower and said, “Here’s your template.” Considering I hadn’t held a crochet hook at that point, I obviously did not attempt the flower. I was encouraged but not taught, I was given books but no in-person lessons. As a visual learner, I made no progress.
It was only years later that I found an interest in knitting. I decided to knit scarves for my friends in college. I progressed as follows:
Step 1. Learn garter stitch.
Step 2. Knit fewer than 10 scarves.
Step 3. Stop knitting because I have clearly mastered it.
I knew nothing of Interweave or Ravelry. There was no inspiration or drive to learn further because I didn’t know it could get better than knitting every row. Looking back, I regret not diving in until I started working at Interweave. Cables, ribbing, lace . . . my life will never be the same. A day without knitting feels incomplete.
But how do I explain these wonderful things to people who don’t knit? How do I spark the addiction? I don’t know for sure; everyone is different. Kerry Bogert wrote an article about “Raising a Maker” that includes tips such as not dumbing down the material, working together, providing encouragement, and more. I highly suggest giving this a look if you have creative young people around you.
We need to realize it’s not just an opportunity to pass along a skill we love, but a chance to bond with the people we care about. I have so many memories of watching tennis at my great-grandparents house, and I would have loved to spend that time making with my great-grandmother. Kids love when the adults around them share an activity with them. Simply sitting next to one another and knitting while watching TV feels more like time spent together rather than time spent in the same room.
What do you think? Is knitting in danger of being forgotten? Have you worked to pass along the skill? Let us know what you think in the comments.