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Laine Knitting Survey

Knitting, Magazine, survey

Laine Knitting Survey

What do knitters like to knit? And why?

These two simple questions are something that we at Laine Magazine often think about. The likes and comments on our social media channels give us some clue of what tickles your fancy, but often they just feel like scratches on the surface. So, in order to get a clearer picture of what today’s knitting looks like, we created our first-ever Laine Knitting Survey in December 2023. It included more than 50 questions, ranging from the garments you most like to knit and the knitting apps you use, to the mental health benefits of knitting.

We shared the link to the survey on our newsletter and social media channels and got an astounding 4,433 responses from knitters from all over the world, the majority coming from Europe (51%) and North America (42%). About 96% of respondents used the pronouns she/her, and the largest age groups were 55 to 64 years (26% of respondents), 45 to 54 (21%) and 35 to 44 (19%).

The majority described their skill level as advanced (49%) or intermediate (41%), and 46% of respondents knitted in continental style, while 41% used the so-called English method.

Public Receptions

With thousands of respondents from dozens of countries, the experiences and sentiments varied greatly. But one thing seemed to unite knitters regardless of their origin: the frustration of how the general public still sees knitting as an outdated hobby, “something that grandmas do”. Knitters hoped to see more young people pick up the craft, to see more knitters in public, and to have knitting taught in schools.

“When I was in my twenties, everyone would call me an ‘old soul’ because I was knitting”, said one knitter.

Many had noticed a gradual change in this, however. The rise of slow fashion and sustainability was seen as one factor that has raised interest in knitting, and many also mentioned the impact of the Covid pandemic — how all those days spent in lockdown brought more people to the craft.

Particularly, respondents from Nordic countries such as Denmark, Finland and Norway said that there were both strong traditions and an increasing interest in knitting in their home countries. Many knitters took great pride in their local knitting traditions: the Estonian lace shawls from Haapsalu, the Indigenous Cowichan sweaters from British Columbia, the fishermen’s sweaters from the Netherlands…

The experiences of US knitters varied greatly, probably due to the huge size of the country. One respondent considered knitting was becoming a “lost art”, while another said that it has “grown immensely over the past 10–15 years”. Some noted how this depends on where you live: in certain areas, there is a strong knitting culture.

“I grew up in a rural area and all types of needle skills were part of the culture through 4-H [a US-based youth organisation] and church,” one knitter noted.

While the majority of respondents seemed to find the knitting community open and welcoming, there were also downsides. Some respondents described the community as being “snobbish” — especially towards beginners and those who can’t afford upscale yarns or who knit with acrylics. Many hoped to see more diversity and size-inclusiveness, and more focus on sustainability. 

“I’d also like to see some more fun, it’s all so serious now, so just some silly fun,” said one knitter.

Comfort and empowerment

When asked about the mental health benefits of knitting, words such as relaxing, meditative, therapeutic and calming were repeated over and over again, but the sense of accomplishment and empowerment were also highlighted. Many pointed out how knitting has helped them cope with difficulties in life: grief, chronic pain, burnout, mental illnesses. The beauty of knitting, as one respondent stated, is in its flexibility. You can choose how you want to feel based on the project. 

“If I want to be challenged and totally distracted, I can choose a pattern that requires my full attention. If I just want to zone out and relax, I can pick up something repetitive and meditative.”

And, as many of our jobs and daily tasks are virtual, knitters found comfort in the tangible nature of the craft — it helps keep them away from their phones! As one respondent described:

“I always feel at peace when knitting. Like I don’t have to be anywhere else or doing something else. In a busy world full of demands, it’s a priceless thing.”

“There’s nothing else currently in my daily life that allows me to concentrate for so long on something,” said another.

Some also brought up the social aspects of knitting and hoped to find more friends who knit.

“I’d like to see a step back to the times when people were actually social, not just through social media. My ideal would be to have a knitting circle where knitters would meet regularly and share tips and tricks and just support each other in overall life.”

Scroll down to see the results — this is what knitting looks like in 2024!

Child’s play

How old were you when you first learned to knit? 

We <3 mums!


of respondents learned to knit from their mothers. Many (25%) were taught by another family member, while 18% taught themselves with the help of books/videos/websites etc. About 12% learned to knit at school.

Skilful makers

Top 5 other crafts you do besides knitting

1. Sewing (60%)
2. Crochet (53%)
3. Embroidery (42%)
4. Quilting (21%)
5. Weaving (16%)

Process first

Which of the following better describes you as a knitter?

62% I am a process knitter above all — the joy is in the making

38% The most important thing to me is the finished knit and how it turns out

 “I have a challenging job and I spend a lot of time in front of a screen, so I find the act of making purposeful. I lose myself in the rhythm of knitting.”

“The joy for me is in the finished item, being able to wear it and know that it was something that I made to my own style and specifications.”

Happy routines

55% of you knit daily and 33% almost daily.

“Knitting is my grounding, daily evening routine – just like reading a few pages before bed.”

A few UFOs

How many of your knitting projects do you finish?

The most common reasons for not finishing your knit were: “I realised that the knit won’t turn out as I planned” (37%) and “I started a new project and forgot the previous one” (23%).

Mixed feelings


have felt guilty or ashamed for how much money they spend on knitting 

Outside the circle


have sometimes felt excluded in the knitting community.

“I constantly feel excluded with the lack of sizing. It’s a lot of effort to knit yourself something and I want to invest in pattern designers who see me and want bigger bodies wearing their garments.”

“Being a person of colour, it’s often the look of surprise in a shopkeeper’s eyes when you walk into the store that has become the norm for me. Knitting in Europe is still very much a ‘white’ hobby.”

“I have felt priced out of knitting at many moments in my life when I was not as financially comfortable as now.” 


What kind of mental health benefits do you get from knitting?

“The beginning of a knitting project is like falling in love: you just can’t get enough of it and it is exciting!”

“Knitting makes me feel connected to my female ancestors, all the way back to the beginning. It’s tactile and utilitarian, and a great love language.”

“I’m a stay-at-home mum, so knitting gives me a sense of achievement as it’s something I do for myself after a long day of doing everything for the other members of my house.”

“Knitting allows me to use my creativity in a way that fits around my life obligations, and it can take as much or as little time as I can spare.”

“I’m autistic so knitting helps me by giving me a chance to stim – even in public, as it’s a socially acceptable, very repetitive movement. It makes me feel like I’m resting and being productive at the same time.”

“Knitting is intellectual stimulation. I usually choose patterns because I’m curious about how the designer made something happen.”

“I am chronically unwell and housebound — knitting is my life, a daily problem or puzzle to set and to solve, to master and feel proud of every single day. There is nothing like it.”

“When I’m feeling anxious I sit down with my current project and will slowly feel myself become more grounded. It’s like opening the windows in a stuffy house during springtime.” 

Up for a challenge!

Which of the following better describes you as a knitter?

83% I like to learn new techniques and challenge myself

17% I want knitting to be easy and relaxing above all

“I love focusing on a new challenge and get a great deal of joy from seeing the new technique come alive.”

A Few Favourites

Top 5 favourite items to knit

1. Sweaters
2. Shawls/scarves
3. Socks
4. Cardigans
5. Hats

Top 5 favourite pattern styles

1. Colourwork
2. Textural stitch patterns
3. Cables
4. Lace
5. Stockinette stitch 

Team Circulars FTW!

Which technique is your favourite when knitting small circumferences? 

Top-down is the way to go

80% prefer to knit their sweaters seamlessly from the top down

66% prefer to knit their socks from cuff down to toe

Not afraid to experiment

Which of the following techniques have you used?

1. German short rows (89%)
2.  Provisional cast-on (82%)
3.  Three-needle bind-off (74%)
4.  Grafting (59%)
5.  Steeking (36%)

Print it out


like to use printed knitting patterns. About 32% prefer digital patterns, while the rest don’t have a preference (or use patterns). 

Tried and tested

Do you knit with the same patterns more than once?

 A few picks of your all-time favourite knitting patterns!

“The Ranunculus sweater by Midori Hirose — easy, versatile and effective.”

“The Plumpy shawl by Andrea Mowry. It is by far my most worn knit.”

“Tif Neilan’s Travel Sweater. The fit is great!”

“Vertices Unite shawl by Stephen West. It’s such an engaging pattern and fun to knit.”

“Oslo by PetiteKnit. Perfect basic hat!”

“The Lento sweater by Jonna Hietala — I love the fabric created by the loose gauge.”

Joji Locatelli’s Spector sweater, because it’s so clever (as well as beautiful).”

Tin Can Knits’ Rye Light socks. A fantastic basic sock pattern with a wide size range.”


89% follow knitting influencers on social media
89% use online videos for help when learning new techniques
38% use knitting apps.

These apps were mentioned most often: knitCompanion, Ravit, Row Counter, Tin Can Knits, Knitandnote and Stash2Go.


Are you interested in fashion trends, and do they affect your knitting?

“I hope knitting can become a little less influenced by trends and the constant social-media thirst for newness. Fashion is fun, but it is fast. Knitting is slow, and it’s an investment.”

To stash or not stash?

Which of the following better describes you as a knitter?

56% I usually buy yarn with a specific project in mind
44% I often buy yarn for my stash, not yet knowing what I will use it for

“It is magic to select a pattern to knit and then to look for the yarn that matches the design.”

Fibre choices


mostly use animal-based fibres  (such as wool, merino and cashmere) when knitting. About 2% use plant-based fibres (such as cotton, linen and hemp) and the rest synthetic fibres (such as nylon and acrylic) or regenerated cellulose fibres (such as viscose and lyocell).

Top 3 favourite yarn weights

1. Fingering/sock (44%)
2. DK (30%)
3. Sport (11%)

Sustainable choices

44% of you say that sustainability aspects (such as animal welfare and carbon footprint) are very important to them when buying yarn. About 41% say that they are moderately important. 

47% have sometimes bought yarn second-hand (from a charity shop or another crafter, for example).

71% have sometimes unravelled a knit to reuse the yarn.

71% have sometimes mended their old knits.

“I would like to promote more second-hand yarn and to remember that even if locally sourced, owning thousands of handmade outfits has also a big impact on the environment. We have to knit with purpose, and if we do it for fun and relaxation, why not reuse the same yarn multiple times?”

Looking into the future

How do you hope to see knitting evolve?

“I would like to see more radical patterns and some punk attitude. I sometimes get bored with everything being so pastel and clean.”

“I would like to see knitting more recognised and appreciated as an art form.”

“I hope we can stop churning out fast projects with chunky yarn and return to slow knitting with intricate detail and difficult patterns.”

“I’d hope to see traditions cherished and kept alive while adding innovation.” 

Text: Maija Kangasluoma
Illustrations: Suvi Suitiala

This feature was first published in Laine issue 20.