The clack of knitting needles has experienced a revival in recent years as hoards of young women take up the hobby.

It was once the preserve of grandmothers across the country; but knitting has seemingly done the full circle and become a popular hobby for young women.

The Countess of Strathearn, on her visit to Glasgow, admitted she has joined the knitting trend as she awaits the arrival of her first child later this year.

During an exchange with well-wisher Caitlyn Coffield, 17, who handed the Duchess a woollen hat, babygro and teddy bear, Kate said: "I've been trying to knit and I'm really bad. I should be asking for tips.”

In 2011, it was reported that sales of John Lewis yarn and other haberdasheries had more than doubled in some cases on the previous year.

Google UK also reported that searches for knitting had increased by over 150% in 2011, while the search term ‘knitting for beginners’ has increased by 250%.

There are now countless knitting tutorials posted online on YouTube, as well as Facebook groups set up for those interested in picking up the needles for the first time.

And with the popularity of websites Twitter and Pinterest, knit and crochet communities, such as Ravelry and online blogging communities, it’s the perfect opportunity for people to share experience and designs with knitters across the country.

Organised ‘Stitch n Bitch’ groups are held across Scotland. These knitting groups in libraries and even in pubs are perfect for women to meet up socially, have a drink, a chat and, of course, to knit.  

Kathy Robb from Kathy’s Knits in Edinburgh says that 90% of people who come to her regular knitting group are young people, and that scarves are the most popular item to knit for beginners.

“They take it up because it’s something to do in the evenings, and also it’s trendy to wear wool things,” she says.  “It’s also a lot warmer than the shop bought wool they would buy in shops. Knitting is fun to do, sociable, and they can do it with friends, in pubs in the evenings and no one will bother them.”

One enthusiast is Katy Sinclair, 33, from Glasgow, who took up crocheting three years ago. She says online blogging groups are a big aspect of her enjoyment in it.

“You can get feedback from blogs, you get inspiration and it’s also a bit of a community. You get to know the people online because they blog about who they are, not just about knitting.”

Katy's interest was sparked by joining a crocheting group, and going to ‘craft-ernoons’ to learn skills in a social setting.

“I wanted to do something creative and to be able to make my own garments using nice quality materials. The items you buy in shops are often made from man-made acrylics,” she says.

As traditional Scottish fabrics are coming back into style, there has never been a better time for knitting and crochet to be cool.

Scottish knitwear brand Eribé have started offering ‘wool-tastic’ events in museums, where people can find out all about the art of knitting.

“What has been so overwhelmingly apparent is this new interest from all ages both male and female to this hands on craft. We are loving this new way of meeting people of all ages and teaching them knitting,” says Rosy Eribé, the company founder.

“Handknitting is no longer taught in schools, so suddenly it is so new and fun. Then they find out, actually it is easy to make your own fashionable clothing or accessory, and have fun doing it!”

Fashion brands are also going back to the more traditional as knitted garments become more popular.

"In these virtually and digitally dominated days, people want to connect with something real,” said David Breckenridge, Chief Executive of the Scottish Textile and Leather Association.

“That's reflected in the growing popularity of knitting and knitwear, as well as the demand for Scottish products and fabrics with heritage, provenance and contemporary appeal."

Emerging designer Mairi McDonald says one of the key elements of her brand is knitwear. Mairi, who is currently developing her label under the Fashion Foundry, said:

“Knit is key within seasonal catwalk collections and when used in contemporary silhouettes it lends a modern edge. It can have nice drape and layering properties. People 'invest 'in beautiful knitwear such as silk, cashmere, lambs wool and in turn it becomes a 'forever' piece to your wardrobe as it doesn't tend to date. Celebs such as Alexa Chung teaming a crew knit jumper with a leather mini skirt, shows how interchangeable and relevant knitwear can be and in turn attracts a younger following.”

But it’s not just women who are exploring knitting, even Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Gosling is in on the act. He recently claimed that he was a fan of knitting, after learning the craft on the set of his Lars and the Real Girl.

"If I had to design my perfect day, that would be it," he said. "And you get something out of it at the end. You get a nice present. For someone who wants an oddly shaped, off-putting scarf."

Pushing the boudaries of knitting

Knitting is going beyond the realms of scarves and hats - here's a selection of some more unusual designs.

Knit your own Andy Murray or Billy Connolly

Knitting enthusiasts Ruth Bailey and Jackie Holt developed Knit Your Own Scotland, a book that teaches you how to knit classic Scottish icons including a Tunnock’s Tea Cake, the Loch Ness Monster, Bonnie Prince Charlie, and even Andy Murray and Billy Connolly.

Knitted boobs

They may sound a bit bizarre, but knitted boobs have already been commissioned by the NHS and issued to health workers to give assistance to women learning how to breastfeed. They were also originally created in the US under the group Knitting for Knockers to create prosthetics for women who had mastectomies.

Edible pants

Knitting doesn’t have to involve wool – you could knit your own 302 calorie edible pants made from red shoelace sweets. Website offers up this tantalising idea for free. They also do knitted wigs, jewellery and anything else you want to try.

Digital knitwear

Tech geeks are also getting in on it. Brooklyn based artist Andrew Salomone connected an electronic knitting machine to a computer in order create knitted digital images. He’s produced Bill Cosby’s face, a jumper based on a You Tube video and a replica of Amy Winehouse’s tattoos.