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THE CHALLENGES OF BEING A KNITTER IN BRAZIL

As a Brazilian fiber enthusiast, I've been thinking about what makes knitting different here compared to other parts of the world and about the challenges knitters face here in my country.


I learned how to knit about 20 years ago with the mother of one of my high school friends. At that time, there were only two ways someone could learn how to knit — with friends or family members, or with a teacher at a yarn shop — since there were very few books in Portuguese and no YouTube videos.


Click here to read about the myth of self-taught in crafting.


Nowadays, it's much easier to learn knitting, and many people dedicate their lives to teaching it on the internet. There's no shortage of video tutorials — including my own YouTube channel — and online workshops in Portuguese that are accessible to many people.


However, we still have other obstacles and limitations to overcome, and I believe that people in other Latin American countries can relate.



The weather

In my opinion, the weather is the hardest challenge for knitters in Brazil, especially for those who make a living teaching how to knit or designing patterns. In the summer, there's a sharp decrease in interest in knitting. Most people are seasonal crafters, meaning they pick up their knitting projects from around May or June until September — the period I call the "high season" for knitting. I can attest to this reality by looking at my YouTube channel analytics.


Some more enthusiastic crafters keep knitting all year round. Still, even they slow down their projects in the summer because it's unbearable to work with wool or acrylic (unless you're in an air-conditioned room).


Besides, there's a popular myth that knitted pieces are just for the cold weather, while crochet can be worn in all seasons. I believe that's one reason there are many more crocheters than knitters in Brazil. Fiber content creators and designers have been fighting this misconception for a long time, but there are still people who believe it.



Fibers and yarn

For a long time, you could only find synthetic and cotton yarns in Brazilian shops. Many people don't know this, but Brazil used to have good wool production. Unfortunately, in the 20th century, when acrylic became the next best thing, yarn companies had to adapt to consumers' new demands, and the wool mills were shut down.


But thanks to the influence of fiber content creators wool is making a comeback. Since the beginning of my YouTube channel in 2018, I've received countless messages asking me where to buy "real wool" (as people call it) and the differences between it and acrylic.


The market has noticed this renewed interest in wool, and now even the main commercial yarn brands are investing in blends with wool and synthetic fibers. There are also a few indie dyers, such as Fios da Fazenda, who I believe are the pioneers in our country. However, yarns with wool content are much more expensive and inaccessible.


When it comes to cotton, there are Brazilian companies that make high-quality yarns. However, many people hold on to the idea that cotton is only for crochet.


Besides synthetics and cotton, Brazilian yarn brands don't offer many options with fibers such as linen and silk. These types of yarn are almost all imported from other countries. Brazil has a considerable silk production, but most of it gets exported.



Festivals and events

Brazil is a vast country — the fifth largest in the world with a land mass of over 8,500,000 km² — so knitters have difficulty traveling across the country to attend festivals. Therefore, in-person events are scarce and limited to a particular area — usually the South, where the weather is colder, or the Southeast, the most populated region. There are currently no events happening in the northern part of the country.


There's a group of knitters that organize a biennial festival in Curitiba, Paraná. If you want to know more about the 2023 edition, check out this article.


Apart from the few in-person events, there are virtual festivals, such as Tricopedia Festival and Festival Novelaria, which offer online workshops and a marketplace. These events are very celebrated and highly anticipated by the craft community nationwide.



These are some of the challenges I can think of. If you're in Brazil or another Latin American country, let me know if you agree or disagree with me. And for those who live in other places, I'd love to know what challenges you face.

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