‘Tom Daley effect’ spurs men to take up knitting amid home crafting boom | Knitting


The home knit is having a second this winter because the “Tom Daley impact” sees extra younger men and ladies selecting up knitting needles to create “sluggish” style.

Figures present that about 1 million individuals have taken up the passion for the reason that begin of the pandemic, and the Olympic gold medal-winner turned supercrafter has launched a brand new vary that might encourage but extra to take it up.

Since being seen knitting on the Tokyo Video games, Daley has develop into a craft influencer whose devoted Instagram page attracts 1.4m followers. He now has a set of high-end knitting kits on the market on the web site LoveCrafts.

The kits, geared toward rookies, embrace a £90 pullover with on-trend Varsity stripes and a £125 unisex jumper with a flamingo on the entrance. The hefty worth tags partially replicate the price of the thick merino wool, which, it says, is “ethically sourced” within the UK.

Tom Daley with blanket
Tom Daley’s Thread the Love Blanket from his knitwear vary

In 2020, newly locked-down Britons stuffed time at home baking banana bread and sourdough. However by 2021, with the realisation that they had been in it for the lengthy haul, the main target shifted to crafting as many sought to stave off home-working burnout.

The UK Hand Knitting Affiliation (UKHKA) stated about 1 million individuals have taken up knitting for the reason that begin of the pandemic. The determine, based mostly on final yr’s Craft Intelligence report, means the nation now has round 7 million knitters.

The sight of Daley profitable medals with out dropping a sew has inspired extra men to get entangled, says UKHKA spokesperson Juliet Bernard. 1 / 4 of the individuals utilizing its website, which helps impartial wool retailers, had been now men, she stated, up from about 10% earlier than the Olympic Video games.

Daley’s nationwide treasure standing propelled needles and wool into the 2021 John Lewis retail report, which recognized the main buying developments.

Gross sales of yarn elevated “ridiculously” through the pandemic, stated Bernard, who steered individuals had cottoned on to the “meditative high quality” of knitting. Daley says the passion helped him to his medal haul, describing knitting as his “secret weapon”.

Tom Daley knitting his GB Olympic jumper while watching the men’s diving at the Tokyo Olympics.
Tom Daley knitting his GB Olympic jumper whereas watching the men’s diving on the Tokyo Olympics. {Photograph}: Marko Đurica/Reuters

Through the pandemic, hobbies acted as a “security valve for a lot of Britons, providing solace and escape”, in accordance to a current report by market researchers Mintel.

Nonetheless, when it comes to knitting and stitching, two in 5 individuals stated they had been doing it to lower your expenses, whereas an identical quantity cited environmental causes. Described as “sluggish” style, this DIY method is seen as an antidote to dangerous high-street quick style.

Edward Griffith, the LoveCrafts chief govt, stated gross sales on the firm hit £66m final yr.

The brand new Covid wave meant issues had been “busier once more”, stated Griffith, who describes crafting as a “winter sport”. In December, gross sales of knitting and crochet kits on the positioning had been 225% up on 2019. Whereas knitting’s conventional heartland was amongst ladies of their 40s or 50s, Daley was attracting youthful prospects in addition to a male viewers, he added.

Tom Daley with knitwear models
Tom Daley’s knitting instagram has 1.4m followers

Not everybody can be in a position to carry off Daley’s fashion-forward designs, which price as a lot as shopping for the completed article, however Bernard stated they might enchantment to the Zoom era.

“You’ve received in your PJ bottoms and this wonderful, extravagant, jumper on high,” she stated. “Persons are worn out by what’s occurred over the previous couple of years. They need cocooning, however in addition they need a little bit of enjoyable.”

The Covid “pet child boom”, which has despatched gross sales of animal way of life merchandise into overdrive, means canines in addition to people are being showered with luxurious knits. The crafting website Ravelry, for instance, has greater than 400 totally different patterns for canine coats.

Whereas youngsters’s knits will be purchased on the excessive road for lower than the balls of wool wanted to make them, there’s a permanent demand for patterns. “That’s a method that individuals nonetheless appear to specific their love,” stated Bernard.