Today knitters all around the world are honing their skills both at home and in yarns shops. Gone are the days of knitting being a hobby just for grandparents. Today’s yarn shop has a diversity of ages, backgrounds and genders.
“It’s always been a popular craft, but it has grown to encompass a much wider audience,” says Maxine Levinson, a teacher at Knitty City.
“The current Knitty City community consists of many people,” says owner Pearl Chin. “We have men, we have kids, we have high-end designers and first-time knitters.”
The success of Knitty City, located on New York’s Upper West Side, even surprised its owner. “When I first opened the shop, I thought people would come in, buy their yarn, and leave. But that’s not the case,” Chin says. “What people wanted to do was find a community of knitters. Feel and touch the yarn. And they want to ask people for opinions.” The strong sense of community is why the shop continues to grow in popularity.
Therapeutic benefits of knitting
However, knitting isn’t just a fashionable craft. It’s one that offers many therapeutic values as well. “I have taught in hospitals. I have taught people with chronic illnesses,” says Maxine Levinson, a teacher at Knitty City. “It’s the repetition. It is the yarn. It’s the community. There are many aspects.”