From men’s only knitting classes to prison programs, festival hangouts and grassroots organizations, more guys are shedding the stereotypes, picking up their yarn and needles and stitching together a new knitting movement!
More men are knitting. It’s a fact. From Louis Boria, founder of Brooklyn Boy Knits, who’s photo went viral in December 2017 after he was snapped by Broadway star Frenchie Davis knitting on the New York Subway, to Garrard Allt the British scouser who founded the grassroots knitting group ‘I Knit London’.
Despite knitting often getting the reputation for being more of a ‘feminine’ craft, the recent revival of male knitters is reforming the way the skill is regarded by wider society. You only need to search for #maleknitters on Instagram to discover a whole community of dudes who love to knit! Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling even admitted that his ‘perfect day’ would include knitting!
The UK department store John Lewis launched their own Men’s Only Knitting Classes thanks to popular demand, while, designated knitting areas popped up as Camp Bestival and at the 2010 Brit Awards – anchoring the trend in the pop culture circuit!
In Brazil, up to a hundred male inmates at a maximum security prison became ‘professional knitters’ thanks to the Lotus Flower Project started by fashion designer Raquel Guimaraes.
The Original Male Knitters
While male knitting seems like a new fad, history reveals that men were at the forefront of popularising hand knitting! Starting with sea traders in the middle east circa 200 A.D who discovered the technique when creating fishing nets and some of the earliest knitted artifacts discovered in ancient Egypt.
In the Middle Ages, knitted garments became such popular trade that special knitting labor unions were setup to protect the workers and regulate trade. With many boys undertaking lengthy 6 year apprenticeships, knitting was a sought after skill set, likened to art, carpentry and other crafts which required intensive training.
During the First World War, men joined the knitting ranks along with women and children to contribute to the war effort, hand knitting sweaters, socks, hats and scarves for the troops in the military and navy.
Today more men are picking up their needles as an anecdote to the pressures of modern culture. There seems to have been a shift in focus from the finished product to the positive effects of the craft itself.
In an interview with the Telegraph, British knitwear designer Brandon Mably, who’s knitting classes have attracted men of all vocations from lawyers to doctors, observed: ‘It helps with stress as well… knitting is the new meditation or yoga.’
Are you a male knitter or know a guy who loves to knit? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!
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