Over the past few months and in the hope of expanding my skills I’ve decided to begin learning about other crafts. I’ve started a cross stitch, which I’m really enjoying, although I do wish I’d picked a slightly less complicated one and I’ve also started dabbling in silver clay (which I wrote about here). As I’m doing this I’ve begun to look into any craft groups there are in the local area and was surprised to see just how many there were, both in town and also in the surrounding areas.
I have no idea why I was so surprised, I guess it’s maybe because I don’t think many (or any) of my friends are into crocheting or other crafts. As much as I enjoy it, crocheting is quite a solitary hobby and while there are some great online communities, it would be good to engage with people in ‘real life’. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing like ‘switching off’ and curling up on the sofa with a crochet hook and some yarn, but equally I think meeting people with similar ideas and interests are an important part not only of developing your skills but in general I think it’s healthier to do so.
With this in mind, I’ve signed up to two groups via Facebook, one that meets on a weekly basis and one that seems to meet on a less regular basis. Part of me is a bit nervous about going along to these groups on my own, but I’ll make myself do it and I’m sure there’s many others who feel the same.
Having looked into it, the crafting industry in the UK is booming, with statistics in 2016 stating that the UK craft market is worth £3bn and growing by 4.5% a year (Guardian). Hobbycraft attribute the growth in interest of young adults in traditional crafts such as knitting and sewing to what they’re seeing on social media, particularly Pinterest and Instagram, thereby bringing about an increased demand for skills developed and perfected by their grandparents. Indeed, you only need to look at YouTube to see the variety of tutorials on there, from beginner to expert level, many of which seem to be presented by (and I know this is a very general term) ‘young adults’, something which would surprise many people who believe that knitting, crocheting and sewing are hobbies only for older people.
I wonder if this interest will increase, as many people use online tools and communities to develop their ‘offline’ skills. YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and others provide the inspiration and in many ways the teaching, I can say for certain that without YouTube I would never have been able to crochet and I’m sure there are many others out there with the same experience. As the internet continues to become ingrained in our day to day life, will there be an increase in people looking for ways to come offline? That’s where crocheting, knitting, sewing and an endless list of other crafts come in – you don’t need a lot of expensive supplies to do it, and it’s not reliant on the weather in the same way some other hobbies are. (Note: Obviously it’s good to get out and about in the fresh air and to exercise, but sometimes it’s just not possible when the rain is pouring down or the weather is generally a bit rubbish!)
Hmmmmmmmmm, that blog took a bit of a turn! It was intended to be a lighthearted one about me perhaps joining craft groups and somehow turned into something else – my brain kind of went off on a tangent. Sometimes you never know where a blog post will start and how it will finish!