A hobby that will have you in stitches

New knitting circle at the Olde England pub. For arts page about knitting revival.'L-R Emma Heath and Elisabeth Townsend.
New knitting circle at the Olde England pub. For arts page about knitting revival.'L-R Emma Heath and Elisabeth Townsend.

FROM Tom Baker’s Doctor Who scarf to the Fonz’s leather jacket, the clothing items of many TV characters have sparked waves of copy-cat styles.

And the latest item to capture the public’s imagination is said to be the famous sweater worn by detective Sarah Lund in the Danish crime drama The Killing.

Recently the Radio Times even published a knitting pattern for one of Sarah’s jumpers and it is said that the character’s love of woolly sweaters has caused a flurry in the knitting world.

Some say more and younger people are now taking up the craft which was once simply associated with “granny” stereotypes, a phenomenon which could be down to the prevalence of knitwear fashions as well as the popularity of back to basic living in society as a whole.

More and more knitting groups – attracting members of all ages – have been cropping up in Northamptonshire, with members meeting up to share tips and a gossip over their latest woolly projects.

Meeting places for knitting groups now include everywhere from libraries to shops and pubs.

Carrie Gardner-Pett runs a weekly knitting circle which meets each Monday between 8pm and 10pm at The Ward Arms in Guilsborough.

The 32-year-old, who also works and runs knitting workshops at The Toft Alpaca Shop in Dunchurch, Rugby, said the art of knitting is definitely soaring in popularity.

She said; “I used to belong to a group in Surrey and I really missed it when I moved here, I had made such good friends.

“When I started this group I thought it was just going to be me and a next door neighbour sitting in the pub, but it wasn’t. There were 15 people who came along.

“Now we often hold extra evenings or some of the girls will get together at someone’s house. Most of the group live in Guilsborough but one lady comes from south Northamptonshire and it is getting really popular now.”

She continued: “You only have to look at websites like ravelry.com, which have thousands of members now, to see how popular knitting is.”

But why the popularity?

Carrie said: “I think in times of austerity it does become popular and also we get so involved with technology it goes so far that people want something they can do themselves that is going back to something a bit more basic which doesn’t have to involve a computer.

“I think there is a resurgence in allotments and people gardening and I think this is all part of that really. Although, you don’t save money doing knitting. It really depends on what you want to knit.

“It doesn’t make things cheaper, it is just about doing something for yourself which is a bit more individual.

“It was thought of as a ‘granny’ hobby but younger women are taking it back and saying they want to try it too.”

Knitting enthusiast Emma Heath, who is 41 and lives in The Mounts, regularly takes commissions for hand-knitted garments. She is also hoping to set up a new knitting group at the Olde England pub in Kettering Road.

She said: “There is a massive interest in knitting now, there are so many Facebook groups now.

“There is a trend (for hand-knitted goods) but there is a gulf between what people want and what they are willing to pay. I can’t charge anything like what my work is worth.”

But knitting seems to be more about the satisfaction of creating something for yourself.

Emma said: “It gives people a skill to create things for themselves, it stretches your minds a bit and gives you a sense of wellbeing.”

Anyone who would like to speak to Emma about the new knitting group she would like to set up can contact her on Twitter @littleknits88