We love the idea that knitters and crocheters come in all shapes, forms and sizes. But, we’re often so intrigued when men come to the realm of fiber arts. Now, I don’t mean this in any negative sort of way. On the contrary, we often get praised for being in this particular field. We love that sort of thing. And I have to confess, we have yet to have anyone decidedly say to us what a shame it was that we weren’t “real men” because we knit and crochet. (Well, there was that one time that woman sitting next to me on the bus, watching me knit, say that she didn’t think men should knit, to which I responded in the same ridiculous judgment she had made, “And I don’t think women should vote…..so there.” Wrote about it beautifully in my book, “Will Knit For Food”.)
(Before I get incendiary emails, of course I believe women should vote. I was combating her ridiculousness with ridiculousness).
Men are coming to these particular crafts in beautiful waves, in pushes of enthusiasm and promise. They want to show that they, too, can read knitting and crochet patterns just as you would poetic verses, or algebraic equations. They don’t want to prove to you, but to themselves, that this notion of two simple sticks called needles can create possibilities in ways that take over the meditative spirit, the emotional turmoil, or the madness of daily life. A man who knits or crochets can do ANYTHING, because he learns patience, he learns to be observant, he learns to quickly correct his mistakes, and he learns that what comes from his creativity is for a benefit.
And we shouldn’t be so alarmed, nor that amazed that more men are knitting and crocheting. It can teach a man so much more than he will ever learn as he fights to become….(I’m gonna say it)….a “real” man.
Yes, there is a tendency to say that real men knit, but “real” men don’t need that caveat. They simply DO. Real men purl, cast on and chain without thinking about their manhood. Because “real” men do what they must to feed their families, clothe their children, or keep their wives (or husbands) warm with quickly made afghans.
Real men don’t consider what “real” men would do. They just go ahead and do it. When I see men knitting and crocheting, I see something different in them. It’s something in tune with a shift that happens when a man has a realization about the world, and of life, that he could have only found in the yarn that smoothly passes through his rough hands. He doesn’t want to beat up, hit, hurt nor destroy in order to protect those he loves. He wants to build, create, and craft in order to make the world better for those around him. His knitting may not defend the beasts that wish to harm his clan, but the lessons of patience, quickly corrected mistakes, perseverance and calculation taught him everything he needed to keep his brood safe.
We all approach these crafts differently, so I can only respond from my particular point of view: knitters are the coolest people. They really do their best to make life better for others with their crafts. Baby booties, socks, blankets, (teddy bears!) sweaters and shawls….all born from a distinct desire found in any knitter or crocheter to make this world blessed and better….one project at a time.
These crafts of ours aren’t defined by men and women, not from where we sit. But, rather, made of knitters and crocheters of all shapes, sizes and forms, all working to make the world a better place stitch by stitch.
Be sure to share this with a man that knits or crochets. I think he would appreciate it 🙂
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