I wouldn’t call myself a numbers gal. I’m less motivated by tests and data than I am by personal communication, and the “experience” that a project, event, or product provides. I’m comfortable with making go-with-your-gut decisions, and see the immense value that reading the room (literally or virtually) can offer for both personal and professional ventures. That said, while the designer/craft evangelist in me will always keep one foot pointing and flexing in the creative world, the businesswoman in me must keep that other foot firmly planted in the land of charts and statistics. Le sigh. It’s in the spirit of that 2nd foot (and as suggested by a couple of marketing books I’m currently reading) that I decided to look into some analytics related to knitting and crochet, and I’ll be damned if some of the graphs and charts I came across aren’t actually interesting! Here’s some of what I learned.
Let’s start with the graph above. As you can see, over the past decade the popularity of knitting hit a peak in 2005. Incidentally, this was back when TV networks like DIY and HGTV (although not accessible by all) were a great source for programming (i.e. Knitty Gritty & Uncommon Threads) in that genre. I find it interesting that now, though with video programming (offering the ability to learn from and be inspired by both professionals and hobbyists alike) literally at the fingertips of anyone who can get their hands on a computer or mobile device that interest in knitting has slowly, ebbed and flowed downward. Also intriguing is that crochet has experienced the exact opposite with its popularity being at it’s peak now, in 2015! This posits the question: are you, dear reader a knitter, crocheter, both, or neither?
Next, let’s chat craft popularity by region.
KNITTING BY REGION
In talking with friends and colleagues across the pond, in the U.S. there are more knitting groups; more events; more genre “celebs” than in the U.K. The perception is that the States reign supreme for knitting popularity and passion. The numbers however, say otherwise. In fact according to Google, we Americans (with a concentration of fans in Spokane, Reno [Really?], and Boise) are in 4th place when it comes to knitting population! (Although arguably, we are the loudest — it’s plausible that we post/share/photograph our projects more.)
CROCHET BY REGION
Don’t knit for me, Argentina the truth is you always crochet (I apologize for that. My son’s working tech crew on his school’s production of, Evita so I couldn’t resist.) Seriously, though — Argentinians hold the hook prize in crochet at an unbelievable (seriously, can we believe this stat?), 100%! At 53 %, the United States (not shown on the above image) are a lowly, 8th on the crochet pop-scale (with the largest group of *ahem* hookers in Chicago, Atlanta and Los Angeles.) Our Canadian neighbors (who took 2nd place for knitting interest), and our friends in England aren’t even on the chart!
Lastly, lets examine web searches. What are we looking for when we type that stitching inquiry into our favorite search engine? I’ll skip sharing the images of the top topic search charts for both “knitting” and “crochet” as the results were the same: Patterns (Duh — we’ve got this beautiful yarn, and amazing needles, so now we need inspiration and instruction!) I will however, share a more surprising (well, at least to me) list of knit-related queries on the rise over the past ten years Side note: Crochet stays consistent with a rise in pattern searches leading the way.
KNITTING QUERIES RISING
Look at the loom knitting stat — up by 450%! This is astonishing since looms seem fringe within the industry. If you go to live shows (consumer or trade), look at boutique and craft store class schedules, or check out some of the largest yarn companies’ websites — loom knitting is rarely given more than a polite nod. If we believe ‘ol Google, though we in the industry are clearly missing out on an obvious demand. Show of hands: who reading this has ever knit with a loom?
As someone who considers herself the personified equivalent of “jazz hands” for the yarn (and general) craft industry, the second rising number looks pretty great to me. The amount of new people becoming interested in knitting is up 190%, which means folks are feeling inspired to get creative — this bodes well for us craft enablers! (One would assume however, that since overall interest in the craft has decreased that seasoned knitters have taken a long break from their needles. Did you used to be a knitter, but stopped? If so, why?)
Also of note: casting on, double knitting, and working with circular needles are queries of growing interest amongst our community.
Although overall most of these numbers won’t change how I approach my job (or love of craft) — I will continue to spread the yarn-y gospel regardless of the ups and downs — they do offer some insight on the topics I may want to touch on while preaching the stitching love.
Alright, now back to the touch-feely stuff. Go make something pretty! 😉