Vickie Howell brings knitting to the masses with ‘The Knit Show’

If you’re a knitter or crocheter and can’t seem to find enough content on your favorite pastime, a new web series on YouTube may scratch your itch.

Vickie Howell

In “The Knit Show With Vickie Howell,” the former host of such DIY Network series as “Knitty Gritty” and “Stylelicious” offers up a generous helping of information, ranging from useful tips and techniques and easy-to-make, downloadable projects to visits by industry experts and celebrities. Along the way in each half-hour episode, there will be field pieces and segments that touch on the mental and physical benefits of the hobby as well as look at the shops, groups and lifestyles of the global craft community.

The series was a long time coming, as Howell received near-constant viewer requests to revive “Knitty Gritty” after the series ended its run in 2008. A successful Kickstarter campaign followed, and before long, Howell and her team were refurbishing a warehouse in her hometown of Austin, Texas, to use as a studio.

So far, the series has been a hit, attracting more than 12,000 subscribers in its first week. Howell speaks to crafters of all skill levels, and she tries to reflect that in the projects she presents.

“Because it was the first season of a show,” she says, “we didn’t want to go full-on into advanced because, you know, for new business you need new business, and for us that means viewers. So we’ll try to make it a sort of a smattering of complete beginner, advanced beginner to intermediate projects.”

An example of a beginner project, Howell says, would be the hat done in the series’ second episode, which is taught by a woman with dyslexia.

“She said that even though she’s been knitting since she was 5,” Howell says, “she’s actually still a beginner knitter because she’s dyslexic and so she has a really hard time with patterns. And so she wanted a hat that was completely easy to understand, and so a designer worked with her to create this hat that’s knit flat, which is easier than knitting in the round in most cases. And so this is a hat that anybody could make with a little help.”

People who work with their hands are often susceptible to repetitive motion injuries, and certainly crafters are no exception. So with the help of her trainer, Howell came up with exercises for knitters and crocheters designed to keep the orthopedist at bay.

“(They’re for) anybody who uses their hands a lot, who’s sitting down a lot, who slumps over a lot,” she says. “So that’s what the approach was. I also spoke to a therapist about the mindfulness of knitting, about the benefits for calming and mental health. So we wanted to take a holistic look at just this form of creativity as more than just a hobby but a lifestyle.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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