NEW YORK: Knitting is back. Its new status is evident on the Internet where knitting groups, blogs, video tutorials and podcasts are present in abundance.
The Yarn Craft Council of America estimates that 53 million women in the United States knit or crochet. The number of female knitters between the ages of 25 and 34 increased 150% between 2002 and 2004, while a significant number of teenage girls up to age 18 and older women, ages 55–64, joined or rejoined the growing ranks of knitters.
More men are also exploring the craft. The web site www.menknit.net offers a forum for male knitters.
Knitting is an ancient art form. It is certain that some time in the distant past, man began using two pointed sticks to knit fabric by pulling loops of yarn or thread one through the other to create an elastic and easily shaped cloth ideal for clothing like sweaters, socks, and hats and household items like pillows and throws.
There are only two stitches in knitting: the knit stitch and the purl stitch, but combinations of the two, using different-sized needles, fibers, colors, and manipulative techniques, make possible a remarkable complexity that can hold the interest of a knitter for a lifetime.
There will always be demand for introductory knitting books. Many knitters caught up in the craze that began in 2003 with the publication of Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook are now past the beginner's stage and may be looking for more challenging fare. Libraries in communities with active knitter's guilds should expect stronger demand for intermediate and advanced books.
In general, public libraries should aim for a balance of basic knitting books fleshed out with stitch pattern libraries, selected pattern books, knitting videos, and books focusing on such hot trends as sock and lace knitting, felted knits, knitting with beads, and modular knitting.
Despite its old-fashioned aura, knitting is also a craft for the 21st century. There are now hundreds of electronic lists, email groups, blogs, and free online magazines devoted to every aspect of knitting.