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)

Top 5

1. New Zealand
2. Iceland
3. United Kingdom
4. Canada
5. Australia

Just in case you were wondering, the United States is in 8th place.

Bottom 5

1. Brazil
2. Japan
3. Vietnam
4. Russia
5. Mexico

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)

Top 5

1. Idaho
2. Vermont
3. Maine
4. Alaska
5. New Hampshire

Bottom 5

1. Mississippi
2. Texas
3. Hawaii
4. Louisiana
5. Florida

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.

Sarah


Keep Knitting Alive: Bring Along a Beginner

3 Comments

  1. Monique M at 7:24 pm November 19, 2017

    I was taught for a very short time from my grandmother how to crochet and that is a very fond memory that I have of her. I know I’m a self taught knitter but every time I make something for my kids they proudly wear it especially the beanies. My kids have all learned to crochet and knit to some extent. My five year olds version of knitting a scarf for his dad is wrapping the yarn multiple times around the needle. I love it. While I don’t know to many who do knit or crochet people do always have positive comments when they see me knitting in public. It is an ice breaker in a conversation.

  2. Rachel S at 3:30 am November 20, 2017

    I taught myself to knit when I was 17 after a random desire to learn. No one I knew knit and I didn’t realize it was on a rising trend (this was in 2000.) I spent four winters knitting garter stitch scarves before I pushed myself to go further. Four years after that I discovered Ravelry, and the rest is history. As an elementary art teacher I’m expected to be “crafty” and that fact paired with my ability to knit many things without looking at my knitting has enabled me to get away with knitting at staff meetings and the like. I’ve been working at my current school for 5 years now and last year colleagues started coming to me with the desire to learn to knit. I’ve since taught at least 20 of them. For some it didn’t stick, it just wasn’t for them. But on an almost daily basis one or two of them come to have me check their progress, help with mistakes, and share their pride in a FO. I love that I’m helping the knitting community expand and thrive, even while more and more LYS owners nearby are retiring and closing their doors. Since I’ll be eligible to retire from teaching at 55 it is my sincere hope that I am able to open a yarn store for my second career.

  3. Pam C at 12:19 pm November 20, 2017

    First to Rachel S…once a teacher always a teacher and a LYS shopkeeper is always a teacher so my very best wishes to you on “what you want to be when you grow up”! As a retired school nurse, could I suggest you try to have a knitting class for students before school? While attending a school nurse convention a school nurse had a presentation on her knitting club… This was before school started in the mornings…her class was made up primarily with kiddos who were doctor diagnosed with ADD/ADHD and the grade level targeted was Grade 2 but of course all students were accepted…The kids made squares… just squares, garter/stockinette. The first months of the school year involved a lot of just casting on and dropped stitches, but by years’ end the squares seamed by adults were enough to donate blankets (plural) to the nearest Indian Reservation…The payoff of course was blanket donation, but the improved concentration and SELF ESTEEM was immeasurable! Secondly, I am a terrible sleeper, always have been, always will be… so I Midnight Knit…swatches… a lot of mindless swatches…nothing terribly complicated because the object is to fall asleep, but sometimes I will swatch out a new stitch on different needles just to see if I get gauge…so when I travel… I always pack my good needles and my important projects in my checked luggage and in my purse or carryon I pack the Midnight Knit swatches…and unslippery yarn and my light bamboo needles…and again I airport knit swatches…but those swatches in my purse are given away to anyone who asks about my knitting or shows an interest…and on each swatch a how to knit hang tang is attached with the little saying, “In through the front door, run around back, in through the window, and off jumps Jack! It’s just a little something and the airport knitting is enough to keep my stress down, and my real project is tucked away for safe keeping.

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