“It’s been a phenomenal, record-breaking year for yarn sales,” relates Richard Brown, Chairman of the Craft Yarn Council of America (CYCA), the yarn industry’s trade association. “By applying research, pursuing more ways to educate consumers, and using common sense, we can predict sales continuing strong for years and years.”
Brown credits the focus and commitment of CYCA’s members to fund an expansive promotion campaign and then backing it up with exciting yarn, patterns, publications and accessories, for the boon. But, he’s quick to point out, “This was not an overnight occurrence.
It was really an evolution– a gradual process that we started in 1998.” Brown, buoyed by consumer research conducted for the Council at the end of 2004, comments, “Looking ahead, the opportunities are immense. Here’s what we know:
* More people know how to crochet and knit than ever before. Fifty-three million or 1-in-3 women know how, and there are 94 million more potential consumers.
* 85% of current crocheters and knitters plan to make as many or more projects in 2005.
* More younger women are crocheting and knitting than ever before and we know from previous research, passion for these crafts will grow with age. 52% of the under-35 age group said they were going to make more projects in 2005.
* We are just beginning to see the impact of fashion yarns on our marketplace. There are 42% of consumers who do not know about these yarns.”
What the numbers do not track is the evolution of these crafts from hot, fashionable hobbies to cultural phenomena. “There’s a social aspect which is driving this trend,” continues Brown. “More and more people want to be a part of the communities of knitters and crocheters and that’s true for adults as well as children.”
He also points to the growth of the industry charity, the Warm Up America! Foundation, as another indicator of this trend. “Warm Up America! has galvanized hundreds of thousands of crocheters and knitters to use their crafting talents to help others.
CYCA is proud to be associated with this nonprofit,” says Brown. Frequently asked about the next big thing, Brown says that ponchos and wraps are the latest hot projects but that scarves will always be popular as first projects and for gift giving. “The broader trend is blending of yarns,” he points out. “Mixing old favorites with the new; basics with the novelties, combining fashion yarns with their exciting textures with richly colored traditional, smooth yarns.”
The other trend is the increasing importance of the category of crochet, which is being driven by lacy, feminine ready-to-wear fashions.