February 5 – While knitting and crocheting were once considered an old-fashioned hobby, a new generation of artisans are taking up their knitting needles and crochet hooks and breathing new life into the activity.
Local resident Katie Kirk, 30, said she started crocheting around eight years ago when she was looking for something to do to occupy her mind.
“I tried to learn how to crochet about three times before it stuck,” Kirk said. “When it finally stalled was when YouTube tutorials became more available online.”
About three years later, Kirk also learned to knit using online tutorials.
“Since then, I’ve been playing with wool,” she said.
While crochet uses a tool to hook the loops, knitting requires two needles to form loops from the yarn, making it the more complicated of the two techniques.
“I would say the knitting can probably be more in-depth when it comes to patterns and stitches,” Kirk said. “They both have different point types.”
Always crafty, Kirk learned to cross-stitch in middle school and also enjoyed making friendship bracelets. It was no surprise to those close to her that she would eventually pick up a pair of knitting needles.
Today, she handcrafts a variety of items for herself and to sell to others.
“Before COVID-19 started, I was doing a craft fair and doing pretty well at it,” she said.
Some of Kirk’s favorite items to create are beanies and also a type of stuffed animal known as an Amigurumi.
“It’s relaxing for me,” she said. “I just love creating items that when other people buy something for me and I see their kids wearing it, or they tag me in a picture, it makes me so happy.”
Those interested in seeing Kirk’s work and doing so on her Instagram: @fiber.and.felt, and contacting her if they would like to have an item made.
Kirk said she even uses social media to keep in touch with others active in knitting and crocheting today.
“There’s a whole community of sons there,” Kirk said.
For Jean Chapman, 73, the resurgence of knitting and crocheting among a whole new generation came as a bit of a surprise.
Chapman said she started knitting in the early 1960s while attending Daviess County Middle School.
“We had a math teacher who was an avid knitter,” Chapman said. “She was always knitting when she had free time at school and I kept watching her and she was going to give the knitting lesson, so I was like, ‘I’m going to do this’.”
Chapman’s first knitting project was a sweater.
“She helped me and I finished it all and wore it quite a bit,” she said.
By the time Chapman arrived in high school, it seemed there was no longer any interest in knitting among her peers.
“When we were in school, we picked it up again, but it kind of died out after we finished middle school,” she said. “I don’t remember anyone in my high school knitting or anything. Their mothers were.”
Chapman said there are more supplies for the new generation of crafters than were available when she started knitting.
“They’re coming out with all kinds of different yarns that they didn’t have when I started,” she said.
Chapman said there’s a new kind of textured yarn for making dishclothes, which she says is a good project for beginners.
“I spoke to a group of 4-H girls and they caught on pretty quickly,” she said. After we got them through the course, they did a few and signed them up for the fair and won prizes.”
The textured yarn in different colors, which sells on Amazon for around $5.49 for a 3 oz package, can be used to create different images on the dishcloths such as snowmen, a sunflower or an Easter bunny.
“You are only limited by your imagination,” Chapman said.