• Forget the iPad and games console. Knitting is the latest craze amongst school children.

  • Traditional craft that dates back to the Middle Ages is the latest form of playground ‘ravelry’

  • Knitting clubs common place in schools

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

kids_knittingTwo joysticks, a long cord and intense concentration are generally associated with games consoles, but now a much older technology is seeing a resurgence in school playgrounds. Knitting, more commonly associated with the middle-aged and senior citizens, is enjoying a resurgence of popularity amongst school children.

A new poll of parents for Clintons reveals that one in eight of their primary school-aged girls are learning to knit – and one in forty boys are following suit. Many are being taught by their grandmothers as the Clintons research also reveals that the skill has in many cases skipped a generation.

The research also finds that knitting clubs are becoming commonplace in many schools. The Abbey School in St Albans is one such school, offering kids an after-school knitting club that is currently over-subscribed.

teenager_knittingSophie Banks, who took part in the Clintons research said: “My daughter Asha, 10, enjoys attending the club at her primary school. I think knitting, along with other crafts, are great skills for children to master as they help with manual dexterity and numerical skills.”

Knitting is increasingly popular with celebrities: Cara Delevingne posted a photo of herself, wool in hand on Instagram. Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock and Sarah Jessica-Parker are also amongst the celebrities that have publicly declared their love of the craft.

Clintons are celebrating a resurgence of arts and crafts and have introduced a whole range of products in time for the Easter break. These include: Finger puppet kits, sock puppets, face art and Easter bunny painting.

Tim Fairs, marketing director said: “Today’s children are often thought to be permanently attached to electronic devises but our research and the popularity of our craft range show this to not always be the case. Perhaps what we are seeing is the new arts and craft movement.”

Most histories of knitting place its origin somewhere in the Middle East, from there it spread to Europe by Mediterranean trade routes, and then to the Americas with European colonization. The earliest known examples of knitting have been found in Egypt and cover a range of items, including complex colourful wool fragments and indigo blue and white cotton stockings, which have been dated between the 11th and 14th centuries.

Clintons was founded in 1968 and is a leading retailer of greeting cards, gifts and wrap. There are currently over 400 stores all over the UK, including Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as a transactional website.

The company is managed by Schurman Retail Group. Schurman Retail Group operates 400 stores in North America, under its retail brands, PAPYRUS, NIQUEA.D, American Greetings Retail, Carlton Cards Retail and Paper Thread. Schurman Retail Group has deep experience in the development of retail brands, specifically featuring personal expression, lifestyle products.

It is good to see that, at least for the time being, knitting amongst children and young people seems to be making a comeback and it would also be good to see children and young people becoming interested and taking up other traditional crafts including woodworking such as working with greenwood, as all of us did in times gone by, especially those of us with access to saplings and such, making walking-sticks and whittling all manner of other things.

Let's hope this is a true revival of people taking up handicrafts and especially children and young people learning them and spending their time doing them rather than playing X-Box and the like. We can but hope, I say.

© 2014

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