Knit One, Purl Two: Forum Features Program on Resurging Hobby
Whether you're looking to reduce stress, to produce handmade gifts from the heart, or to change the world one stitch at a time, knitting might be the hobby for you.
Just ask Janet Martin. An avid knitter, she has been "picking up the sticks" for 35 years.
"I started knitting when my sister began her family and my mother was sending fewer and fewer knitted items to my own children," Martin says. "But I have always enjoyed needle crafts as a way to occupy my hands and ease stress. Repetitive tasks such as knitting produce those alpha waves, you know!"
On Sunday, Oct. 19, Martin will present "Knitting for the 21st Century" as part of the Explorations: A Forum for Adults series at Southern Pines Public Library. She will share how the art of knitting has changed over the years. The program begins at 3 p.m. and is open to the public.
"Knitting enthusiasts are invited to bring any projects they may be working on," says a spokesman. "Or those they may have shoved, half-completed, into a closet."
There can be no doubt that knitting has enjoyed a fashionable resurgence of late. Once a devalued craft, it has now become the hip thing to do. The Craft Yarn Council of America reports that the number of women knitters in the United States age 25-35 increased 150 percent in just two years, and according to a study by Internet search engine Yahoo!, Web sites related to knitting have experienced a 50 percent increase in hits.
Some speculate that the rise in popularity of knitting came about as a result of 9/11. Many find that the repetitive action of knitting has a calming effect and acts as a de-stressor. Concentrating on stitches breaks the train of everyday thought while still allowing the knitter to be creative and productive.
Knitting also fosters the creation of communities and the strengthening of relationships. While meditative, the hobby still allows for listening and conversation among its participants. Some U.S. schools are even encouraging students, particularly those with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, to knit during class. The feeling is that knitting helps the students focus by keeping their hands busy and also builds confidence.
Knitting lends itself to socializing because nothing is more fun than getting together with like-minded people for an activity everyone enjoys. When knitting with a group, participants can compare patterns, share techniques and trade tips on stitches. But amidst the mittens and sweaters, some of the "yarns" being traded may be more political in nature.
These days many knitters consider themselves "craftivists," using their hobby to express their own cultural and social opinions. Local groups may be organized to support and knit for causes such as Caps to the Capital (www.savethechildren.org), breast cancer research (www.knitforthecure.com), or for families in need (www.warmupamerica.org).
Whatever the reason, Martin is thrilled with the revival of the knitting community.
"The social networking made possible has led not only to online group participation, but has brought folks together locally to enjoy textile crafts," she says.
For more information on the "Knitting for the 21st Century" program at Southern Pines Public Library, visit www.sppl.net or call 692-8235.
More like this story