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Knitting Styles Survey, Part 3: Geographical Considerations

In the first two parts of the knitting styles survey results we've looked at knitting styles, stitch mounts, and knitting direction in broad strokes and examined the differences between right- and left-handed knitters. Today, we're going to see if knitting styles differ across the globe.

First, though, a couple of words on the generalizability of these results. From the get-go, the knitting styles survey was always going to be skewed towards the English-speaking or, at least, English-writing proportion of the knitting community with a good grasp of Internet skills (and, in fact, access to the Internet).


Over 65% of the respondents to the knitting styles survey hail from North America, approx. 30% from Europe, and less than 5% from the rest of the world.
Over 65% of the respondents to the knitting styles survey hail from North America, approx. 30% from Europe, and less than 5% from the rest of the world.

The respondent population turned out to be even more concentrated on the so-called Western World than I had anticipated: of the 1,328 respondents, over 65% were located in North America at the time they learned to knit. Around a third come from Europe. This leaves less than 5% for South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia & Oceania combined. Are four respondents representative for the entire continent of Africa? Definitely not. Take the following results with a grain of salt when it comes to the regions with only a handful of respondents.


Knitting Styles

Among all respondents, continental and English knitting were by far the two most common knitting styles. Nearly half of the respondents (46%) prefer the picking style whereas more than a third (35%) use the throwing method.


Picking is most common in South America whereas Australia & Oceania have the largest share of throwers.
Picking is most common in South America whereas Australia & Oceania have the largest share of throwers.

Picking or continental-style knitting is most popular in South America (71%), Europe (55%), and Asia (50%). Throwing or English knitting, on the other hand, is most commonly used in Australia & Oceania (55%) and North America (38%), presumably as a result of their close ties with and past emigration movement from the UK.


North America and Australia & Oceania are also the regions with the largest share of users saying they can switch knitting style depending on occasion (3.7% and 4.6%, respectively). This could be attributed to the melting-pot nature of these regions: being exposed to cultures and people from different parts of the world fosters picking up a variety of skills rather than sticking with just one way of doing things.


Portuguese knitting is, curiously, used most often in Asia (10%) and not, for instance, in South America (0%) but one must remember the under-representation of the respondents from these areas.


Stitch Mounts

The vast majority (77%) of the respondents knit using Western stitch mounts, that is, with the leading leg of the stitch in front of the needle. Eastern style knitting is much rarer: only 9% knit with stitches in the Eastern mount (leading leg behind the needle). Approximately 10% of all respondents are combination knitters.

Western stitch mounts are the most common regardless of geographic location.
Western stitch mounts are the most common regardless of geographic location.

In general, the same proportion of stitch mounts prevails regardless of geographic location... except for South America. In South America, around 40% of respondents knit with Western stitch mounts, nearly a third with Eastern stitch mounts, and the remaining third are combination knitters.


North America and Europe are the only locations where a small proportion of knitters use the very rare reverse combination method (1.8% and 1.2%, respectively). The dark green slices are so tiny you can hardly see them.


Knitting Direction

A little over 80% of knitters are right handed, around 10% left handed, and the remaining ambidextrous to a degree. The same is true regardless of geographical region. However, there are some differences in knitting direction.


Right-to-left knitting direction is the most common regardless of geographical location.
Right-to-left knitting direction is the most common regardless of geographical location.

Among all respondents, roughly three in every four knitters prefer to work from right to left, that is, with the working needle in their right hand. Working from left to right is the favored method for 20% of respondents. Approximately 4% of knitters can knit in both directions without ever turning their work.


Right-to-left knitting is still the most common regardless of geographical location. Left-to-right knitting is most common in South America (43%), Australia & Oceania (32%), and Africa (25%). Africa, Asia, and South America have the largest shares of knitters who can switch knitting direction so that the right side of the work is always facing (25%, 20%, and 14%, respectively). However, these are all locations with only a handful of respondents so the results may be heavily skewed in one way or another.


Europe and North America are the only two locations with knitters who can work in both directions with always the wrong side of the work facing (1.7% and 0.6%, respectively). Again, the dark green slices are so tiny you have to know they're there to actually see them.


In the last installment of the series I'll take a look at the open-ended answers to the survey to find finer nuances of knitting styles that mere statistics can't capture.

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How do people knit in different parts of the world? In the third part of the results to the knitting styles survey I examine knitting styles, stitch mounts, and knitting direction across the globe. What's the most common knitting style in Europe? Where is the largest proportion of combination knitters located? Do knitters in every country knit from right to left? Find it out in this post. #knitting #knit #knittingtutorial #howtoknit #learntoknit #knittingstyles #continentalknitting

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