Male Knitting Observations
As a man participating in a typically female craft, I have a few observations and stories:
1. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a yarn store and despite talking competently about yarns, sweater styles, techniques, etc, I’ll hear comments from the yarn store owner like: “Oh your wife will be able to knit something beautiful with this yarn!”…cha…as if!
2. In those yarn stores where it is understood that men actually do knit, I usually get a lot more attention and help than the handful of women in the store.
3. When I worked briefly in a yarn store, there are some women who refused to discuss yarn purchases with a man. They’d ask for someone else or call back if there wasn’t a woman to discuss their knitting needs.
4. When I worked briefly in a yarn store, there are some women who would put more weight in my opinions about yarn purchases than any of the more knowledgeable women working there, just because I was a man.
5. I’ve heard/read women complain that “When a woman knits, it’s a craft, when a man does it, it’s art.” When I find this statement to be true, it’s usually other women that assess it as such.
6. When I knit in public (and I do it often), I find that women get more comments on their knitting than I do. I think most people are more intimidated about starting a conversation with me about my knitting than a woman.
7. I take great pleasure in the uneasiness that I cause when I knit in public around other men (as in airport lounges). Their surrepticious glances and avoidance of my return looks are very satisfying.
8. Knitwear fashions for men are significantly more restrictive than for women.
9. Whenever I meet another male knitter, I immediately assume he’s gay…I’m not sure if it’s stereotyping or hopeful thinking.
10. Overall, my passion for, and addiction to knitting supercedes all the nonsense of gender. When I meet an enthused knitter, it’s the obsession that connects us, and those are the relationships I value most.