A few years ago, one of my eight year-old male students was interviewed for a local newspaper and they asked him what was his favorite thing that he learned in school. His answer was, “Learning how to knit.” I just love teaching girls and boys to knit.
For many years, knitting has been perceived as a “women’s only” hobby. Historically, however, this has not been the case. During the Renaissance, men were the only ones who could join knitting guilds. In many cultures in South America, men knit as much as women. Sailors and fishermen, as well as shepherds, were among the first knitters. Soldiers during the early war years knitted. School children were encouraged to do their part and learn how to knit to keep the soldiers warm. Knitty.com talks about the ten most influential men in knitting here.
My guess is that a lot of men in the US don’t knit. We seem to have social stigmas and sharply defined gender roles in the U.S. and as a result “women’s” or “men’s” crafts get pigeonholed. There are no biological reasons girls knit and boys don’t. I found that not only was knitting a wonderful tool for teaching fine motor skills, dyslexic kids could take pride in learning how to knit if they knit on circular needles (no need to worry which direction to go in when they finished a row).
With the popularity and resurgence of knitting, many more men are picking up needles. Books, websites, videos and even retreats are responding to the trend. Two of my favorite knitting designers, Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably contribute interviews on a DVD called Real Men Can Knit. Check out this youtube with Brandon Mably here:
Norah Gaughan Men
Men’s knitting retreat
For all of you knitters who are Russell Crowe fans, Knitting On The Net has some free wallpaper of him purling away. Check it out, he knits without looking…(K)NOT!
Guys, are you ready to fess up? What are your reasons for knitting or not knitting? Women, do you know any men who knit?