On Being a Man who Knits

In the Winter of 2010, I was on a train crossing the Hawkesbury river on the way to my job in Sydney. I had my headphones blaring (I would have been listening to either Neil Young’s Comes a Time or Hold Time by M. Ward, as those were my train riding albums) and I was knitting an iPod cover in the shape of a crocodile. Every now and then I’d look up from my work to check on the journey’s progress and enjoy the scenery out the window. Once when I looked up, the old lady sitting across from me mouthed something and smiled. I’m a terrible lip reader so the headphones came out to sit on my lap. She was saying something along the lines of “It’s so lovely to see a young man knitting.” Sadly her husband continued to stare out the window and didn’t add to the ensuing conversation.

One of our awesome bloggy neighbours, Raynor from The Shy Lion, was in the paper over the weekend. It was an article all about people who do things that defy gender stereotypes. They interviewed Raynor because, like me, he is a man who knits and crochets. Reading the article got me thinking about being a man and a crafter, and it reminded me of the friendly old lady and her less friendly husband.

It’s really interesting to see people’s reactions when I tell them I knit and crochet. Women usually love it. I’ve had mothers tell me I should sell knitted items for babies and I’ve even had old ladies ask me for help with their technique. Men tend to have more mixed reactions. Some guys think it’s cool (though perhaps a little bit quirky) but in my experience, the older the gentleman, the less comfortable they are with the idea of a guy who does something so… “feminine”.   A good friend of mine once said “you’re pretty gay for a straight guy” and I think that sentence sums up a lot of people’s attitudes pretty accurately.

I find it strange how certain activities are considered to be either masculine or feminine. People always assume that Katie must have taught me to knit and crochet when in fact, it was the other way around. Despite the fact we are supposed to live in a time of gender equality, it seems many of us still base our perceptions of people on an outdated model of “male” and “female”. Knitting and crochet are seen as feminine activities (even though as little as 600 years ago, only men were taught how to knit!) and I like the fact that when people find out I crochet and knit, it makes them question their judgements, stereotypes and assumptions a little bit.

It makes me sad to think that these gender stereotypes, so deeply ingrained in our society, may hinder people from pursuing activities that they might really enjoy. I think the worst time for this is when we’re teenagers and we so badly just want to fit in. My Nanna taught me to knit when I was just a kid and I’m thankful that she got to teach me those skills before I became too self conscious about doing something that others might not think appropriate for “a big strong man.” I’m also really glad that Katie has always thought it was awesome, rather than girly or weird. Knitting and crocheting has become a massive part of who I am and if it hadn’t been for the supportive and open-minded people in my life, I may have been too afraid of judgement to try it.

It’s really encouraging to find other men who knit. It turns out, there are lots of us out there! Websites like Ravelry have made it a lot easier to find men who share the same hobby (such as my favourite man-bloggers Raynor, Robbie and Tony) and I hope that as time goes on, we’ll see more and more men in the craft world. After all, as Katie just pointed out to me, knitting as all about taking the fleece from a wild animal and using nothing but your bare hands and two sticks to create things for keeping yourself warm. What could be more “manly” than that?

Reuben :)

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Reuben

About Reuben

Reuben is a crochet man and has a knitting machine for a brain. He likes dinosaurs, The Beatles and alpacas (among many other things). Reuben isn't afraid of dancing in public.

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90 Responses to “On Being a Man who Knits”

  1. Nathan December 1, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Great post! Eloquent and well-thought.

    • Fran December 1, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

      Fantastic post! It’s great to see guys knitting or sewing or whatever – as long as they enjoy it who cares?

  2. Rebecca December 1, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Daft stereotypes. men cook, paint too etc…By the way loving you cute fluffy hair x x

  3. Melissa December 1, 2011 at 7:04 pm #

    Hi! I have found your blog via The Shy Lion and I think this post is brilliant. I have had the pleasure of teaching my son to knit and have very fond memories of sitting next to him on the couch, each knitting our respective projects. But your points about gender and gender equality are spot on. It’s so funny that such a normal, wholesome, enjoyable skill – to crochet or knit – is considered pushing the envelope. If that’s so, then keep on doing it!

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 2, 2011 at 10:25 am #

      Hi Melissa! I love what you said about how a normal, wholesome skill is considered pushing the envelope. I still find it a little strange when people are surprised by my knitting – to me being a guy who knits is just normal! But I do think, happily, society is slowly changing and becoming more accepting of those a little “different”…

      • Melissa December 2, 2011 at 11:08 am #

        Amen to that! Actually I recall being on a plane years ago when a man pulled out his tapestry to do on the flight (when you could carry a needle then – I’m not sure about now, but at least we can knit) Anyway it was like bees to honey…every woman that passed by stopped to chat to him about it, but I recall that other men had a blind spot and didn’t look his way, just like you experienced.

        To introduce myself a little – my family and I moved to Tasmania 8 years ago and I have rediscovered knitting, have got the hang of some basic crochet and have been having a ball reclaiming these skills for myself. It has made me happy, I’m sure it helps keep me healthy (though perhaps a little obsessional about Yarn – but who can’t relate?!)

      • Tom September 24, 2012 at 5:55 am #

        Thanks to you, Reuben, I’m considering taking up knitting!

  4. deer donna December 1, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    i tried to teach christian how to crochet and it worked for a little while but his fingers were a bit too big i think. anyway, its cool. i dont think it makes a man less of a ‘man’ to be creative. its cool.

  5. Natasha December 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    My Dad taught me how to knit. I always thought it was normal for a man to be able to knit.

  6. Joy December 1, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    Can just imagine an article like this appearing in our local paper! The poor man would have a crowd of men outsid ehis house throwing stones, writing grafitti on his house and generally abusing him . He would immediately be labelled homosexual and treated with such derision and scorn. I live in one of the worst towns in UK (government statistics)…this is NOT my town or birth or my home town I quickly have to say.

    I don’t know any man that knits, sadly I personally know very, very few women who knit either.

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 2, 2011 at 10:14 am #

      Oh Joy, that just makes me really, really sad. I really cannot wrap my head around why anyone would think was acceptable to treat anyone else that way…

      But isn’t it wonderful how the internet has allowed us to connect with like minded people all over the world?! You might not know many knitters in “real life” but I bet you know lots of them from blogging. Katie and I don’t actually know that many crafty types offline, but we always feel like we have lots of crafty friends because we’ve connected with so many great people through blogging! :)

  7. Rebecca December 1, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Hmm I meant loving YOUR cute fluffy hair . . .not being a stalker, honest x

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 2, 2011 at 10:08 am #

      Hehe! We knew what you meant! :)

  8. Raynor December 2, 2011 at 12:58 am #

    Oh, Reuben! Beautifully put, sir. They should have interviewed you ^_~

    It’s such a shame that so many things can be put out of reach to whole groups of people just because of the social connotations attached to them. I’m so grateful that my parents never felt the need to perpetuate these ideas with me, and that my pa was such a great example. He cooks, he sews, he builds, he invents, he gardens. To him, it wasn’t about men’s work or women’s work, it was about the achievement of doing something for yourself, and the satisfaction of saying “I made this!”

  9. Floss December 2, 2011 at 2:19 am #

    My husband taught me to cook, my grandma taught me to bake. I sew better than my huband, but he knows the theory of knitting and I don’t. He makes jam and chutney, I write the labels and wrap the jars up as presents for Christmas. In the ’90s the idea of the ‘New Man’ was very big, and we were newly married. There was a comedy sketch at that time which described the ‘Old Man’ as being someone who could change a car tyre, and the New Man as someone who ‘does wonderful things with courgettes’. We were both rather proud that my husband could do both! There really are some strange ideas about ‘men’s work’ but you’re right, they were mainly things Ben encountered from older men when we were first married. The ideas are, literally, dying out now…

  10. Rachael December 2, 2011 at 3:57 am #

    I can not express how much I love this. <3

    xo Rachael

  11. Emily Spada December 2, 2011 at 5:20 am #

    This is a fantastic post. Well done! I’m going to share it with everyone.

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 2, 2011 at 10:06 am #

      Thanks so much Emily! :)

  12. Jenna December 2, 2011 at 5:34 am #

    Very well said! I think it’s amazing that you’re combatting the harsh stereotypes of today and taking pride in what it is you love to do. As a young chick who crochets I also find I have to fight the stereotype that only moms and grandmothers crochet and knit =P Together we can take down the established “conventions.” And I totally love what Katie says about using your bare hands to make things; great way of looking at it, lady. Keep doing awesome things, Reuben.

  13. Jo @ indigo inspirations December 2, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    Love this post (I love them all). My children go to a Steiner school were they all learn the skills of knitting and crocheting….it is wonderful to watch…..and I have a shop at the school and LOVE it when their favourite thing to buy is wool to do more at home…
    Not sure how many carry on later in life but at least they would have the basics.
    Thanks for sharing these thoughts xox Jo

  14. diana December 2, 2011 at 6:32 am #

    This is amazing. My husband is a librarian and teaches free knitting and crocheting classes at the library. I think it’s one of the manliest things I’ve ever seen.

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 2, 2011 at 10:05 am #

      Your husband sounds like my kinda guy Diana!

  15. eliza December 2, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    fabulous post! i am completely in agreement with you. i am passionate about knitting, and i knit for a bunch of dudes, so i am constantly on the look out for male knitters for inspiration. it makes me sad that they are such a minority. the bayeux tapestry was embroidered by 100% men. roosevelt greer is possibly one of the manliest men in the history of men (american footballer, bodyguard, etc) and he macramed and needlepointed. i’d like to see someone react to his hobbies as if they were in any way emasculating!

  16. Amylou December 2, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    I really really relate to this! My husband actually taught me to crochet! His grandmother taught him to single crochet. He has always been so grateful that he learned this. At first I did think it was a little strange, but I’m so grateful that he was able to teach me and now I’ve changed my tune. I think it is awesome that he was never worried about looking funny while crocheting. He’s never had the chance to learn more, but now I’ve learned how to make a basic granny square and it’s my new favorite hobby!
    This post was so wonderful to read!

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 2, 2011 at 10:04 am #

      So glad to hear you’re enjoying making granny squares! Once you know the basics learning the rest is pretty easy – you should teach your husband! My nanna taught me to knit but I taught myself how to crochet, using books and videos online. There are lots of useful how-tos on youtube :)

  17. elle mental December 2, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    Throughout history men have been the master crafters, tailors, artists, bakers, etc. It is only since modern conveniences allowed the average women more time for crafty things and pursuits beyond the kitchen, that crafting became a “girl” thing. Of course women of higher rank had nothing but time but for most families a woman’s job was all about food and family. Men did the what we consider “crafty” as a way to earn a living, people needed clothes baked goods beautiful things… and women were too busy cooking and running after children to provide them. So it was considered “manly” since it earned a living and women for the most part didn’t do it.
    In today’s society, men are not really exposed to the artistic, crafty things, unless they are home schooled or have an exceptional mother that made sure they were well rounded, (obviously your mom must be included in this group!). Sadly, young men and women are pigeon holed into G I Joe and Barbie, without much hope of ever seeing that there are other possibilities. As for the older men… they are probably just jealous…I bet they would like to do some creative things, but what would the guys at the office say…? It would be a much more beautiful world if there were no gender specific labels applied to a person’s interests.
    My son knits and crochets beautifully. He, sews, cooks, bakes, gardens and plays an instrument. He also is a crack shot, plays soccer goalie, is good with mechanical things, and speaks two languages fluently and is working on several others. People have made comments about his interests being “gay”, but he is quite secure in his masculinity and just laughs it off.
    I congratulate you for following your interests and doing what makes you happy. Thanks for writing your thoughts on the subject, maybe it will provoke others to look at their biases and make a change!

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 2, 2011 at 9:59 am #

      Hi Elle, Thanks so much for such a thoughtful comment, and exactly! It’s so funny that things like crafting, baking and sewing have become considered feminine when traditionally they were men’s work! I love that your son knits, sews, bakes, gardens, plays an instuments, speaks languages and plays soccor! He sounds perfectly well rounded to me. I hope that if Katie and I ever have children we will be able to raise them the same way. :)

  18. Marie December 2, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    Great stuff, cheers Marie

  19. knitxcore December 2, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    people always seem sort of confused when i tell them that i’m a craft blogger (or that i knit, or sew, or whatever). it’s almost as if being a woman is a pre-requisite to making things, but i have credentials. i can do a lot of crafty things rather well, and it seems that once people understand that i’m no joke that they become really interested in what i have to say.

    however, it does seem difficult to get guys to come around. they seem uncomfortable or nervous. i have had the chance to teach a few guys how to knit or sew, and they still do. i feel like being able to make things is empowering, and you’d think that men would want to embrace that.

    i’m so glad to have a place at the cool kids table with you, raynor and tony!

  20. Lilea December 2, 2011 at 10:17 am #

    I’m so happy that the knitting stereotypes are changing. Not just gender, but age as well. Some weeks my knitting group has more men show up than woman (one of them being Robbie!). And the age ranged of our group spans more 3 decades.

    I taught my youngest son to knit in order to get him to sit still once in a while. I’d put him on my lap and show him how to make the stitches and then let him work some. It gave me a break from chasing after the energetic child! Years later he renewed his interest when he saw all the men in my knitting group. My older son asked me to teach him to crochet when he wanted to make his girlfriend a felted purse for Christmas a few years ago.

  21. Penelope December 2, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    Dearest Rueben

    I think it’s super sexy to see a man knitting or crocheting and I completely agree with what Katie said about the two sticks and yarn. I also like to indulge a bit in shocking people when I knit in public… even for a woman in her early 40′s it causes people to double take!
    Keep up with all your yarn crafting xox

  22. B December 2, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    ok, i’ll take the hint and get my hubby to teach me to knit!

    bxx

  23. hanasaurusrex December 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm #

    well said! a very thoughtful and simple way to the truth.

  24. tony December 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

    Wonderful post Reuben! Some people do seem to have this weird hangup about men knitting, crochet and sewing… and yet somehow I think weaving would be ok, but I cannot work out why. It’s all very odd.

    Coincidentally, I was listening to an episode of Hoxton Handmade’s podcast a few days ago where she talks about men who knit, crochet, etc…
    http://www.hoxtonhandmade.com/2009/06/23/episode-12-slugs-snails/

    - tony

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 2, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

      It’s so funny that you should mention weaving! Katie and I joke about men weaving all the time because of a funny scene in Flight of the Conchords. Have you seen this? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hc0NxKgoUfU

      • Tony December 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

        Hadn’t seen that, thanks!

  25. Jacq December 2, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

    Awesome! I love anyone who knits……no matter what flavour they are :D

    I can get my girls to knit with out a problem, my boy just looks at me as though I am growing a second head……but loves me to knit him stuff ;)

    Keep up the excellent work

    Jacq

  26. Michelle Clement December 3, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    Dude! This is awesome. :) I love your description of it at the end – cuz basically, that *is* it! lol. This rocks. I wish more men were comfortable enough with their manliness to break such stereotypes. :)

  27. missvixen1969 December 3, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    Wha??? Love your rugged look and you crochet and knit?? I think it’s awesome!!
    I totally support you or any guy brave enough to do what they like! No I do not assume you are gay either. But I am fine with either. (: Everybody deserves a chance to be themselves. Have a fun weekend!

  28. Kanelstrand December 3, 2011 at 9:38 am #

    Hi, I just stumbled upon you through Craftgawker. I was tempted, of course, to read more about a man who knits and I enjoyed your eloquence quite a lot. It is a rare pleasure. Well, I guess that means that you’ll be seeing me around.

  29. Pocky December 3, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    Because so many people tend to feel awkward about men who knit or crochet, I think it’s that much more awesome when I see a guy craft like that. I don’t view it as girly at all, but then again I grew up in a house where all the girls had the tools & fixed things. I guess I’m not your ordinary kinda gal.

    My husband is always watching in awe as I knit or crochet his next hat. There are a few times he’s thought about having me teach him, but then he backs down because he’s afraid he isn’t patient enough to try it out. Personally the fact that he’s so intrigued by it makes him that much more awesome in my eyes.

  30. Jen December 3, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    I love this post. Keep on knitting!

  31. Brandon December 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    I never have understood why so many people see tying a whole crap load of knots as somehow innately feminine.

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 6, 2011 at 12:05 am #

      Ha! That is so spot on. Some of the earliest known knitters were sailors.

  32. Carrie December 4, 2011 at 9:22 am #

    I truly think it is wonderful that you knit! And I love your style too! I thought this bit of info would interest you. I had the opportunity to travel to Peru in 2005. There is an island on the Pervian side of Lake Titicaca called Taqulie. The men on the island are all master knitters. Men exclusively do the knitting and the women exclusively make yarn and weave. You can see the men walking around and knitting at the same time using multiple needles!

  33. Sarah December 4, 2011 at 10:00 am #

    I’ll have to share your post with my husband. He tried knitting, but didn’t end up learning to do it very well. But he’s very much into crafting and making things with me. It’s a fabulous stress-reliever for either gender! I know that’s not the norm among men, but I’m glad to have a husband who doesn’t subscribe to gender stereotypes. I saw your photo on CraftGawker. Did you also crochet the blanket behind you?

  34. birgit December 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    Great post! As you point out in the ‘old days’ only men were allowed to knit, because knitters formed guilds and they didn’t accept women as members. In our times it is the other way round and fiber related crafts are considered feminine. This is all so silly.
    Love your crocheted cardigan:-)

  35. Sue T December 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    HI Guys
    I chuckled when I read your fab articles. As a 50 something mum of a 20 something son, I can empathise with you regarding stereotypes. How sad is it that judgements are made.
    I recently came home to find my son sitting at my sewing machine with his girlfriend hemming table clothes for her new unit. I didnt even know my son could use my machines and he swore me to secrecy. I took photos but wouldnt post them here as I promised I wouldnt make them public. He can also knit and when he was younger he was fantastic at spinning on my spinning wheel.
    It is a shame that men cant be proud of those who are wonderfully creative with their hands.
    I often wonder how these men would be viewed if we had a world wide natural disaster and society as we know it ceased to provide shops with clothing etc.
    There would be no laughter – rather a line of people queuing up to buy their handmade clothing and blankets so that they too could survive.
    Celebrate your creativity and skills. I for one admire you. I knit, spin, sew, embroider, crochet etc and I get a great deal of pleasure out of them all.
    Thankyou for sharing your visions with us

    Sue T

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 6, 2011 at 12:09 am #

      I can understand why he doesn’t want anyone to know. A few years ago when my friends found out that I could use a sewing machine, I had so many requests to hem pants that I had to fight people off with sticks ;)

  36. Chris December 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Awesome man! I am also a man who knits and I have to say the reactions r similar for me

  37. Kelly December 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    My man is a huge nerd and cares about what he wears. He owns nearly as many shoes as I do and the girls I work with find it hilarious. I think it’s the best thing I could wish for. He’s can fix just about any problem with my computer and he looks good. Everyone should have a passion. One of my best friends boyfriends is a professional tap dancer and she is constantly coming across people who rudely ask if she’s sure he’s not gay. Needless to say, I would not handle that kind of thing as well as she does. Society can be really crap about great things. I’d much rather a lovely man with skills than a football playing bogan! Big ups to your skills and lovely jumpers Reuben!

  38. Sammi M. December 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Oh my gosh! This was such a great article. It actually made me realize how, yet again, I fall into those same societal stereotypes. Yet when my hubby told me a while ago he learned how to latch hook when he was a kid and enjoyed it, I thought it was adorable. I need to encourage his crafty pursuits like he encourages mine…

  39. Manisha December 5, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    Hi! I had a big smile on as I read this post. I must tell my boyfriend about this. He wanted to learn how to knit, but sadly, I haven’t had a chance to teach him yet because it is a long distance relationship. Too much information?!
    Anyhow, I can imagine how people would stare if a man were to knit in a public place in my country. Now that I think of it, I have never seen a man knit here! That must change!
    It is great that you do, though! I will share this post with everyone :)

  40. Han December 6, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    I really like reading this mans blog about crocheting :)

    http://crochetdad.blogspot.com/

  41. Mel December 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    Your post is great! It’s nice to hear there are more of you out there… I have yet to see a man knit or crochet with my own eyes (*sigh*), but have heard of some in my city, and have certainly seen some online! To this day, I think the most romantic gift any guy has ever given me was a little handmade (from scratch!) sewn teddybear with movable limbs. Like a few people mentioned, there are still age-related stigmas about yarn crafts… I’m a woman in my late-30s (although most who meet me think I’m 10 years younger; I can be kind of playful) and I get odd reactions when I mention my hobbies like knitting and crochet, outside of crafters’ circles. (Some change their minds when they see some of my work… No puffy, itchy nylon slippers here!) I love the different perspective some men have on knitting… Always refreshing to read. So two thumbs up to you for doing what you like, even if it’s a little ‘different’. (Different is what makes the world interesting). :)

  42. Jessica December 7, 2011 at 5:01 am #

    Thanks for posting this! As a feminist, I’m constantly pointing out gender stereotypes and inequalities that affect women, mostly because I am a woman, so that’s what I notice. It’s very rare to see people point out stereotypes that negatively affect men. It’s not popular for a man to knit, but it’s not popular for a man to be interested in gender equality either, so you deserve kudos on both fronts.

    As a side note: I learned to crochet when I was in high school because I had a crush on a boy who crocheted :-)

  43. Kim December 10, 2011 at 1:47 pm #

    Well said! Do you have photos of your projects. I would love to see them.

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

      You can see a couple of my projects here and here :)

  44. Loani Prior December 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    Hello Reuben
    You said hello on Rav so here I am at your blog enjoying the look around.
    http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/bs-ae-knitting-behind-bars-20111111,0,2032786.story

    I liked this story.
    You might too.

    Cheers

    • Reuben
      Reuben December 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

      Thank you. That’s a brilliant article!

  45. Keith December 16, 2011 at 2:35 am #

    Once i saw the line “You’re pretty gay for a straight guy”, i knew i had to respond. i’ve been told the opposite, and i’m a guy who crochets. i’ve also encountered guys who seem uncomfortable with it, as well, but mostly i’m seen as a Renaissance man. Keep it up!

  46. Rebecca Erin December 17, 2011 at 4:12 am #

    Reuben..
    my boyfriend is a 6’2″ strong, athletic man. Very intelligent, and spends his time wisely…. knitting. I absolutely adore his talent & willingness to pursue that talent whether or not people appreciate it.
    Do what you love <3
    -Rebecca

  47. Elaine December 21, 2011 at 1:46 am #

    I had a male friend who taught himself to knit so that he could pick up chicks at coffe shops. I don’t know if it ever worked ;-)

  48. Annemarie December 23, 2011 at 11:10 pm #

    Hi Rueben, I came over from Craftgawker and I just loved to read your post. I give crochet lessons in a yarn shop in The Netherlands. Just recently we had a cultural event in the city, and we had some guys knitting in the shop window to promote knitting for guys. I don’t think you can read Dutch but perhaps you like the picture :-)
    http://knottenwol.nl/nieuws/detail/knotten-zet-mannen-aan-het-breien/20
    Have a nice Christmas!
    Best wishes, Annemarie

  49. Valita January 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    my son crocheted every day on the school bus and did care what anyone thought, kids respected him more than teased him. Good job guys as a mum I’m very proud of you all :)

  50. Loore January 17, 2012 at 8:12 am #

    My father’s mum taught him when he was a little boy to knit pullovers and socks. my sister and I still have little hats and socks he made for us when we were babies.
    I admire him for that fact and I admire you for the same reason.

    Best regards from Spain!

    • Fred March 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

      Hi Reuben–i am 70 and i had a stroke 1/11–lost names,numbers,books,places etc.

      but one thing that i did not loose was knitting which i have done for 40 years and

      told me how from my Swede grandma. i do socks,scarfs,hats, so my 3 daughters

      and 7 grandchildren get all tons of knitted stuff, and i am the only one that can still

      knit. My wife is still around and she never learned how to knit .

      So say hi to all the cool male knitters.

  51. Molly March 16, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    I think that there are simply too many stereotypes out there about crafters. Men and women alike should indulge in making things with their hands, doesn’t matter what materials you’re using. I’m a woman and I weld…does that make me any less of a woman? nope…same with guys who knit/crochet/scrapbook etc. I know many, and they’re still guys at the end of the day! great post, thanks for sharing!

  52. Brian April 10, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Reuben,

    A friend sent me your post, which I thought was awesome and made me want to comment. I too have heard similar comments, although for me it was “you’re the gayest straight man I know.”

    It was this comment (among others) that made me want to start blogging about my own experiences as a straight male knitter. But the reality of those experiences is that they are, on the whole, pretty darn boring and ordinary. I don’t read patterns differently than a gay man, and I don’t make my knit stitches differently than a woman. Putting my (admittedly goofy) spin on the experience in the public forum has been part of an attempt to defuse the stereotype while providing some humor along the way.

    Thank you for also helping to eliminate these idiotic notions about what does and does not have a place in masculinity. As the father of three young boys, who I very much wish to be free to express themselves in whatever fashion they please so long as it doesn’t hurt others, I appreciate your helping to pave this trail.

    Brian

  53. Rob April 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    Reuben,
    I have also just recently found your blog, while researching the knitting and crochet scene. I am also finishing a master degree where I am taking a class in multicultural education. Here we talk about this very idea of stereotypes with masculinity and gender issues. I learned to knit from a step grandmother, back when I was 8 or 9 years old. In thinking back at that time of innocence, it was a mere interest to know how to make 2 sticks and string come together to create something. Little did I know that such an interest had gender baggage and masculinity mayhem attached to it. I am happy to see that many men have opened up to share their ideas and interests in this hobby. Regardless of gender, masculinity, right or wrong, what’s more relaxing than taking those sticks and some fiber to create something out of nothing? I think it’s great to see men breaking the stereotypic rules and turning the heads of others in society.

    You have a great blog and I love the energy that you and your wife exhibit. Keep doing what you do best, and have a great day!

    Rob

  54. Katie May 30, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    YAHOOO! Go Reuben! Lots of the mountain boys in the village where I live in the French Alps have taken quite a shine to knitting! First of all amusing, as it’s an unusual sight – but extremely pleasing! I get called a granny a lot because I knit and crochet, but that’s just another easy stereotype for people to say isn’t it? I think it’s one of the noblest crafts a person can do. Great post. Katie. xxx

  55. Shell July 22, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Hi Reuben, my Dad knitted jumpers for a living, my Grandfather built dinosaurs (he owned a dinosaur park near Ballarat) and my husband is a Flamenco guitarist. They’ve each had different incarnations over the years but we women know that each of the men in our lives are very much uniquely themselves and we love them for it :) Shell

  56. Meli July 25, 2012 at 11:19 pm #

    It is really sad that there is such pressure on crafty men to adhere to gender roles. I knew a boy who at the age of twelve crocheted a 6×6 foot blanket in a weekend..then years later denied ever being part of the knitting and crochet club. He was so talented, and gave it up because of the teasing of his classmates. Good for you for sticking with what you love!

  57. Elise August 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Very nice. My grandfather was a fantastic knitter- born in 1880- knit dresses, baby clothes etc. Very manly guy. Keep up the good work :)

  58. Ben August 17, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    I really enjoyed this post. I’m also a guy who crochet’s (in the process of learning knitting) and I do it almost every morning on the train into work. I get all sorts of reactions from people. one time a 2nd grade class came onto the train on their way to a school trip to manhattan and bunch of them were so fascinated they sat in my lap and asked me to teach them. It so great to see other guys picking up such an awesome and creatively satisfying craft. it’s brought a lot of comfort to my mind since i started doing it and I would encourage anyone to challenge themselves and give it a try.

  59. The Guy Who Knits September 21, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    I’m a male knittter and I love reading articles like yours. My mother taught me when I was a teenager and frankly, I can’t even imagine my life without knitting. I never dared knitting in public but 2 years ago, a good friend of mine coached me and I have started to knit on the bus. So far, I have never received a negative comment. All the comments come from women, men never say anything.

  60. Samantha October 11, 2012 at 4:14 am #

    My boyfriend knits! its freaking attractive! He makes hats and bags for people all the time! it’s so cute when guys have little quirks such as knitting.

  61. Dave January 23, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    Male knitter here too! I’ve also heard quotes like “you’re pretty gay for a straight guy”, but in the end it doesn’t really matter does it?
    We all do what we like :)

    PS: Your blog is awesome!

  62. mark fanrewtiuy December 4, 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    actually with the teenagers the women find it weird but guys find it interesting.

  63. Victor March 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    Reuben, I’m a retired gentleman crocheter & knitter … I’ve been doing this for about 3yrs. and enjoy this hobby tremendously. Unfortunately, some folks are not quite ready to accept the rest of us “guys” who have crossed over to this craft/art. I live in Southwest Texas a predominantly Hispanic / Macho population … I have to confess that I do not crochet/knit in public … it’s easier this way for me. Keep up doing what you enjoy. cheers

  64. Victor March 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    I did not intend to make any ethnic slurs on Hispanics on my previous comment, I am Hispanic myself, therefore, I understand the culture. I will clarify my previous statement, it would not be an accepted practice to see a man knitting among other Hispanic males because this would be perceived as “feminine” activity, hence, one would say that the man who was knitting was gay or effeminate. It’s sad, but this is reality. Perhaps, in another 100 years, men who knit or crochet will be perceived more favorably.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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