The age-old craft of knitting is booming, making Knit August Nights the place to be last weekend.

The sold-out Napier yarn-craft event attracted just 36 people nine years ago and this year several hundred attended.

"It is a gathering for people who love yarn craft events," organiser Maree Buscke said.

"Primarily knitting but also crochet, weaving, spinning. We come together to have a great late-winter weekend in Napier."

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"We put on classes, we put on shopping, and it's really just a gathering of a whole lot of like-minded yarn crafters to actually learn and inspire one another and get together once a year.

"They come from literally Cape Reinga to the Bluff and also strong contingents from Australia. We have Americans, we have British, Scandinavians - they are coming from all over the world now."

From England came the Sockmatician, a celebrity vlogger of the knitting world, who unusually is a young male.

"Knitting is all about maths and formulas and patterns and logic and all of those things that appeal to people that like maths," he said.

But he wasn't the only male knitter at this year's event.

"My parents said you can't watch television unless you are doing something with your hands at the same time," James Herbison said.

"So knitting crossed the bridge. I could watch as much TV as I wanted and 1970s television had lots of sci-fi shows, so i was in my element."

Knitting once caused a fight when he was at school.

"I was never in trouble at school and I was brought to the principal's office, and he asked,
'Why are you here?'

"The teacher that brought us said: "James was fighting with a boy at lunchtime".

"The principal said: "Why were you fighting?"

"I said: "Because he tore my knitting up".

"And the principal said that was unacceptable, the boy got suspension and I got to knit all day in the principal's office."

Buscke said the new wave of knitting enthusiasts is due to social media.

"Traditionally when you think of knitters in knit groups or organisations, they used to come together in weekly or monthly, or even bi-weekly meetings - sit around and talk and discuss," she said.

"Social media has broken down geographical boundaries and it allows people to have that experience, have that sociability, have that two-way discussion with like-minded people, even though it is in an electronic format.

"It doesn't seem to faze them. And if you need advice, or you want information or you want to look up something, it is right there at your fingertips - there are tutorials by the thousands on YouTube.

"So if you get stuck somewhere on a project all you need to do is Google it and your solution is right there."

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