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Knitting activity amid COVID-19

While most of the world population in ‘stay at home’ various activities have resurfaced and people are using the opportunity to get creative like knitting which use to consider as things of past.

Knitting-activity-COVID-19
Figure: With time on their hands and anxiety rising, people – men, women and children – are turning to knitting.

With time on their hands and anxiety rising, people – men, women and children – are turning to knitting.

Experts agree that knitting is a great stress reducer, focusing your attention on the task at hand and resulting in something tangible you can be proud of. Amidst the outbreak of COVID-19, knitting is reducing stress immensely.

Dominican University professor Susan Strawn told Boston’s WBUR that social media made it likely for knitters to be come together.

Global sales for We Are Knitters, a brand known for its bagged kits and vibrant community, have increased more than 75% weekly.

And their Instagram witnessed reach has increased by more than 50 percent, reaching an all-time high of three million unique accounts, which signifies how people are onto knitting while stuck at home.

“To get started, all you need is yarn and a pair of knitting needles,” says Libby Butler-Gluck A Public Relations and Marketing Consultant in the Craft Industry. It is that easy.”

“So many times, people think, ‘Oh, that’s what grandmas do, or that’s so old-school.’ But it’s really a great way to relieve stress, to express creativity,” said Dana Williams-Johnson, a Howard University professor and the knitter behind the blog Yards of Happiness.

“It’s nice to find people all over the world that do things that you do, share in the joy,” Williams-Johnson added.

The need to create among people explain the increasing interest in craft generally. But not all crafts are equal and, according to Google, while dressmaking queries stand at about 100,000 in the UK, and sewing at 600,000, knitting queries have reached over a million a month. There must be more to it.

The answer comes partly from fashion. “You just have to look at the catwalk to see that major designers like Vivienne Westwood and Christopher Kane are putting knitwear, especially crochet, back into their main collections,” says Coats’s Irving.

“It filters down to the collections we offer, and to the high street too.” Consumers are seeing more knitwear in the shops and wanting to replicate it using their newfound crafting skills,” he further adds.

Having something to divert your attention like crafting is so important. It’s been a lifeline for me,” said Bullock, who started the podcast Best Day Ever!

The new makerspace at Central Library at Arlington County Public Library has a variety of crafts and materials people can use, among them knitting needles.

There’s always a staff member who can help with the equipment, maker librarian Katelyn Attanasio said. Besides, there are knitting and crochet groups that meet at different branches, as well as groups and classes for other crafts.

Tips from knitters

People aged 25-40 usually buy kits and people 40 and older normally buy supplies. They already know how to knit and want to make their own designs.

As with every new skill, you need to be patient in order to learn. In the beginning, you will make mistakes but you can always start over again. There are endless stitch options; you just have to learn the basics – knit and purl – and then start combining them.

One of the best things about knitting is that once you learn, you will never forget; it’s like riding a bicycle.

“If you’re going to take the time to learn (how to knit), and you’re going to make a sweater, then I say make it great,” Williams-Johnson said. “Make it something that nobody else has. Make it you.”

Being able to experiment and figure out how to make something work for any size, shape or body is one of the things that she loves about knitting.

“I’m curvy. I’m short. So, I have to figure out if I want to knit a poncho, how do I make a poncho look good on someone with my frame and my height and not look like I’m just drowning in yarn,” Williams-Johnson said.

In fine, it is good to learn that knitting is helping a lot of people deal with these weird times in a more positive and productive way.

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