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Feeling lonely, feeling connected: Amateur knit and crochet makers online

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This article investigates the feelings of both social isolation and connection in female amateur crafters in knit and crochet who post images of their work and comments on their making to a Facebook group and ask whether this impacts on their sense of wellbeing. The project-in-progress involves thematic analysis of data purposively collected from women invited through Twitter and other online textile crafting pages to join a closed Facebook group set-up exclusively for a Ph.D. study. In research operating online and with the researcher employed as a participant-observer, the accepted ethnographic parameters of time, location and fixed cultural group are challenged. Initial findings suggest that crafters seek belonging, positive strokes of accomplishment, and celebrate the soothing qualities of the tactile to assuage loneliness; others feel that their creativity is devalued through depictions of isolation. Additional themes emerge, including the ways that sharing tangible making in knit and crochet online can support an improved sense of agency and self-esteem. The study highlights how both the acts of making and of sharing making online contribute to participants’ sense of positive wellbeing. Further research appears necessary into the role of tactile making shared in a virtual environment and reframing solitary creative activities as meaningful – including how these may contribute to feelings of personal and social wellbeing.
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Keywords: agency; amateur makers; connection; crochet; knit; loneliness; wellbeing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sheffield Hallam University, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2016

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  • The aim of Craft Research is to advocate and promote current and emerging craft research, including research into materials, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetic and style. This may be in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education.

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