Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Spotlight Post ~ Tom McShane & Cosy Wool

Knitting In Top 5 Google Searches: Is 2014 The Year To Knit?

Year on year, Google releases various statistics on its ‘Top 10’ most popular searches of the last year, and as well as giving an overall popularity rundown, the search giant also splits its Top 10s down into categories – images, ‘What is…?’ and ‘How to…?’.

2013’s ‘How-to’ searches yielded a rather exciting surprise for everyone in the knitting and crocheting world – ‘how to knit’ managed to secure itself a #5 position on Google’s illustrious annual search results! Besting popular memes like ‘how to Vader’ (see here if you’re baffled by the term) and tech tips like ‘how to Unjailbreak’ for restoring a hacked iPhone to its original factory settings, knitting has proven its widespread, demographic-breaking worldwide popularity.

There’s no denying that knitting is more popular now that it has been for decades – but why is this? This guest post, written by the guys over at Cosy Wool, looks at what its search engine popularity means for the hobby.

Why Has Knitting Hit The #5 Spot?
These annual Google top 10 search results are always good for measuring the popularity or success of something – if a musician makes the top ten, then chances are they’ve had a hit record in the last 18 months; if a game gets there, then its sales are likely to be in the millions; if a hobby or activity gets there, chances are everyone’s doing it!

There are two key reasons for this steady, yet massive, increase in knitting popularity particularly amongst younger adults – fashion styles, and the Internet. Knitting popularity took a significant dip in the 1970s – synthetic man-made fibres were the material of choice for clothes designers, meaning that knitted wool clothing fell out of favour. While dedicated knitting enthusiasts kept clacking through the 80s and 90s, the fashion industry was less interested.

That has, thankfully, all changed now – wool clothing is back on the catwalk, which means knitting is back in the spotlight. Aside from simply looking at fashion shows and photos in magazines, the numbers don’t lie and the sharp rise in popularity in wool fashion and knitting is undeniable – for example, after a slump towards the end of the 20th century, the UK’s wool industry is now worth a whopping £1.25bn (over $2bn).

Moving things online, the Internet has played a massive role in massively increasing numbers of people taking up knitting – while the recent Google search announcement is great news, it’s merely proof of a popularity boom that’s been brewing for a few years. YouTube searches yield hundreds of thousands of results for knitting tutorials, some with several million hits; blogs are widespread with communities of bloggers and knitters all sharing ideas, feedback and designs.

What’s more, the whole online DIY culture means that enormous numbers of people search for tutorials and guides rather than simply letting someone else do it – wool fashion may now be big business, so why can I make my own jumper in my own style?

Demographic Is Changing – Goodbye Stereotypes!
It’s not just knitting’s overall general popularity which is skyrocketing into 2014 – the demographic (and therefore perceptions of knitting) is changing as well. Take the US, for example – the Craft Yarn Council of America reported that, in the last ten years, the 25-34 knitting demographic jumped by over 150%, and that’s a number that’s still rising today.

Their most recent survey, conducted in 2012, found that the reason behind this was chiefly being able to express creativity – the ability to craft your own designs or put your own creative flair into an existing pattern is something big in this demographic

What this also means is that this hobby is becoming more and more stereotype free – mentioning knitting to someone and the outdated idea of old ladies sat clacking away is virtually out of the window. It’s becoming far more universal, thanks in no small part to the willingness of knitting communities and enthusiasts all over the world to embrace an online presence, as mentioned in the previous section of this post.

Knowing how to knit is becoming a far more widely known skill – ask someone if they know how to knit, particularly women in their 20s who have been identified as the largest growing group, and an increasingly large number will cry “of course!”

Thanks to websites like this, literally millions of ‘how to’ videos, an increase in a ‘do it yourself’ culture and a willingness of young people to do something practical as they tire of burying their head in a smartphone or tablet night after night, this extremely useful, creative, social and therapeutic hobby is back in everyone’s homes with full force.

Ultimately though, whatever the reasons for the surge it knitting’s wider popularity, it’s just fantastic that more and more people from broader demographics are embracing it!

How long have you been knitting? Has the Internet helped your hobby flourish? We’d love to know what you think in the comments below!

This guest post was written by Tom McShane – professional blogger working in conjunction with UK-based retailer Cosy Wool, who supply yarn, needles and other knitting products throughout the country. 



Here links to : http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/vadering
Cosy Wool links to: http://www.cosywool.co.uk/


Thank you ever so much Tom for such an insiteful post.
I hope you'll check out Tom's links & thank him for his post.


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