When Samantha Brunson saw the popularity of knitting, she started her own crafting and social club that hosts events in New York City.
The first event was held in August, 2018 and Brunson called it “Bobble Club House.” With an average of around 20 people at each event, she began to notice how many people started coming regularly and thought of knitting as a meditative practice.
“Knitting is about taking time for yourself; some people think of it as extremely relaxing,” she says. Many people come fairly regularly to her knitting club which is one of the few social groups in the city that is dedicated to the art and craft of knitting without being a yarn store---and in this aspect, it functions much like a book club where people chat about life while also trying new things including patterns and yarns.
Some participants knit sweaters, yet others try interesting things like temperature blankets. These are blankets where the knitter takes the temperature from each day in the year and correlates it to a color so you can visually gauge what the year looks like. Some knitters do it all in the same hues, tints of blues for colder days to hues of reds and oranges for warmer days.
“Crafters enjoy trying new things but we are stuck in our ways a lot of times,” she says. “The club takes you out of the norm,” says Brunson. But most of all, it is a warm and friendly place where people who have a common mindset gather.
With around 40 million Americans being active as knitters, it’s no surprise that many are trying their hand at homemade projects. As a result of this trend, yarn brands like Red Heart have come up with innovative products like the Heart Heat Wave, a yarn that becomes up to 12 degrees warmer when UV rays hit them, thanks to patented fibers. Also new to the market is Bernat’s EZ Wool, which have large pre-purled loops so knitters can easily loop them without using needles. The latter is ideal for those who consider themselves “non-crafters” so they can easily make chunky sweaters, scarves and pillows and more.
Knitting festivals and conferences have become popular all over the country: even VOGUE, the fashion magazine, hosts Knitting Live! events with designer fashion shows and a Marketplace which has new yarn and accessories from around the world. There are special issues devoted just to knitting, published four times a year that covers topics like knitted camouflage (disappearing knits) and trending patterns like leopard prints. And to add an element of rock and roll, the first-ever Heavy Metal Knitting competition was held this past summer in Finland.
Knitting is having a moment now not only because of the yarns, the patterns and the styles: the craft has been proven to help with anxiety.
Recent research shows that the craft has a measurable effect on lowering both anxiety and stress. There is a direct correlation between knitting and feelings of calm and happiness. Studies have also found that knitting lowers the onset of dementia, blood pressure, chronic pain while reducing loneliness and isolation.
One knitter who participated in the survey said, “I love knitting because after a day of relaxing, I have a new hat or scarf to show for it!” Others think that every part of their knitting journey has some sort of magic to it, from the looping to the purling. That mindset in and of itself can be therapeutic.
The hashtag #WhyIKnit is popular on Instagram and knitters share their personal journeys of the craft. Ashley Wilson of “Old Wire Road,” for instance, posts beautiful pictures of yarns and silken threads she finds as she goes along in her knitting journey. “I started my yarn dying hobby turned full blown business because I had fallen in love with the craft of knitting,” she posts. “It is my ultimate method of self-care and settles my head and draws me into a peace.” Celia, a knitter who is now a Debbie Bliss spokesperson, said knitting gives her a “lovely warm fuzzy feeling.”
With knitting clubs on the rise, there is also a sense that they have become a truly social experience too.
At Brunson’s club, a lot of attention is devoted to new patterns and exploration.
“The pattern that I’m most excited about right now is the ripple bralette by Jessie Mae Martinson. I just did a full interview with people who made this fun body positive pattern on my crafting blog. I’ve made one and it was a really wonderful experience,” she adds.
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