Let’s celebrate - crafting from a male perspective #menwhoknit #menwhocrochet
4 min read time
Sunday 16th June is UK Father’s Day; a day to celebrate all the #yarnmazingDads and an opportunity to knit/crochet something special for the father figure in your life. Or why not gift them a knitting/crochet kit so they can make it themselves? In contrast to the age-old view that knitting and crochet are something your grandmother does, more and more young people, men and dads are picking up knitting needles and/or crochet hooks and creating wonderful things with yarn. At Stitch & Story we’re passionate about revamping knitting and crochet as simple, modern and aspirational skills that are accessible to everyone, regardless of age or gender. In the spirit of celebrating the significant men in our lives - and breaking down the misconception that knitting/crochet are female-only crafts - we reached out to some male knitters/crocheters to share their crafting stories and feelings about owning their space in contemporary crafting circles. We’ve included some of their thoughts below with links to their entire stories. Enjoy!
‘There is something very stimulating yet reassuring about making an item with your own hands, using techniques that are centuries old, with no reliance on modern technology or gadgetry.’
How/when/why did you learn to knit and/or crochet?
I was first taught to knit by my maternal grandmother at the age of about 8 or 9 on one of her visits to England. She was a fantastic knitter and I remember her watching television while she knitted, only looking down when she had finished a row. She taught me how to knit and purl and I would pass my knitting back to her to correct when I dropped a stitch or when everything became too tight. She lived in Trinidad so when she went back home there was no one to guide me, and the short-lived hobby wore off. Fast forward to my early 50s and I felt that I needed to do something creative and physically make something in my spare time to combat restlessness with my office work. One weekend in 2018, I saw Jen and Jen feature on a BBC4 program about crafting and after some googling I signed up to one of their beginner classes. I became hooked almost immediately and have been a committed knitter for exactly 1 year now.
What advice would you give to men that are interested in knitting and/or crochet?
Just do it! Honestly, as simple as that. It's the best thing I have done and I adore knitting; barely a day goes by without me picking up my needles at some point. And if guys are a bit embarrassed at the prospect of knitting, thinking it might be a bit too girly, I can tell you that women LOVE men who knit. Some will literally squeal with delight and bombard you with questions and they will eventually ask you to knit them something. I've yet to tell anyone, male or female, that I'm a knitter and experience a negative or mocking reaction from them.
‘Knitting is rewarding and very therapeutic. Remember, it doesn’t have to come out perfect.’
Despite knitting having historically been a male occupation, why do you think male knitters/crocheters are underrepresented nowadays?
I still think it’s seen as ‘something women do’. When I was in primary school my mum came into class each week to teach the children how to knit - but only the girls were allowed take part! When I began knitting again a couple of years ago it did take me a while to be confident enough to knit in public places - in cafes for instance! But it’s a good icebreaker for conversation and most people smile rather than raise their eyebrows.
As a dad, what has been the most important thing you’ve taken from learning to knit and/or crochet that you’d like to pass on to your children?
It’s a very useful life-skill to have, and a rewarding thing to do. In my experience it’s great fun and a terrific way to bond and spend quality time with each other.
‘There is a zenness that you can achieve with knitting; it can be very addictive.’
What has been your best knitting and/or crochet memory, or favorite thing you’ve made?
My first major project (after doing the original Stitch & Story Cable Coo Hat twice with the same yarn - first time didn't turn out at all) was a baby blanket for a buddy’s new and first daughter. He was very taken aback that I had spent almost three months making it for him. I am also making a pair of "Wild Rabbit" from designer Claire Garland for another buddy’s two daughters. They are quite a bit more complicated, and I am loving it.
Do you have a favorite Stitch & Story kit?
I have two, but the Cable Coo Hat is the only one I have actually made, yet. I do really like the hat, even after making the first one, frogging it, and remaking it. My wife didn't love the white so we picked up a different color and made her another one. It is a really nice pattern and, with the feedback I gave on how one does the cabling, the Stitch & Story instructional page now makes it more understandable as to where I went wrong when working on my first attempt.
The second is the Mateusz Snood, it is very pretty looking, but I have not started it, so I can't say how much I like it. I might take it out tomorrow for World Wide Knit/Crochet in Public Day, as the two bunnies are at a point now that it would be hard to knit them in public.
If you’ve been thinking of learning to knit, are UK based, and would like to try one of our beginner classes, like David, then please visit our Beginner Knitting Workshops page for more information and to book.
Happy Crafting and Happy Father’s Day!