Why should we be surprised to see men knitting?

Why should we be surprised to see men knitting?


Contrary to popular prejudice, men knitting used to be commonplace and was not exclusively a female preoccupation.

In fact, many historians back the view that it was men who created knitting and contributed significantly to its development.


One view is based on the theory that Arabic fisherman, skilled in knotting fishing nets, probably spread the knowledge via the Mediterranean.

It is surprising that boys are not taught how to knit. As many internet blogs and sites show, there is probably a vast population of men knitting now and re-learning the pleasures of the craft.


men knitting

Here’s a snippet from an interesting editorial written by Amy Singer, editor of online Knitty magazine which is encouraging about the increase of men learning how to knit.

"Cool knit shops like The Point in New York have boy-only knitting nights where a knitting-newbie-man will feel no embarrassment in asking for help casting on or cabling. Not that they should be embarrassed, but every new knitter I've ever met is highly self conscious until they get the hang of things."

Knitting for the troops

Of great relevance to our knitting project was a piece written by Clinton W Trowbridge for the Christian Science Monitor in 1997. It tells a wonderful story of American schoolboys knitting squares to sew into blankets for British troops during World War Two.

It highlights the normality of men knitting "…at boarding school during World War II, however, everyone knitted – including the headmaster, the teachers, and the whole football team. We knitted 9-inch squares, which somebody else sewed together to make blankets and scarves for British soldiers…"

And once the boys had learned how to knit "…good many of us took up knitting seriously and made socks, sweaters, and woolen hats. We would knit in bed after lights out and, some of us, even more surreptitiously, in chapel."

Knitting for Britain as a knitting project was seen by the boys as something of an escape from more serious work, but "… no one ever thought it odd that a school of 200 boys should be busily whiling away the hours in such an activity".


man knitting

Knit-a-Square.com knitting project

We want to get thousands of men knitting again, along with boys, girls and all the men and women knitters of the world.

Like Tom (UK) knitting squares for knit-a-square, March 2009

AIDS in Africa has decimated the adult population.

There are now 1.5 million orphans in South Africa alone with over 500 a day being added to that number.

These children are destitute and cold. Many of them are infected with HIV AIDS themselves. It often falls below freezing in sub tropical Africa.

By learning how to knit, you can knit an 8 x 8"(20 x 20cm) square to send to Africa to be made into blankets for these children. This is a simple task for a great knitting project, which takes little time and costs even less.

Please take up the challenge, like the American school children during the war, and help make these children warm. Let's get thousands of men knitting again. Follow these simple instructions to knit and post your square. And also, please subscribe to the Square Circle ezine. We look forward to bring you stories of the children with their blankets, knitting patterns and tips and techniques.

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