This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Knittin' Man

As a library student, one of the most common assignments across the board is the annotated bibiliography. I have taken nine courses, and have done seven of these things. After a while it ceases to be a pedegogical tool, and becomes a tiresome chore. However, for my History of the Book annotated bibiliography, I decided to look at knitting books that contain only patterns for men. Most knitting books I've encountered are written for women, and the majority of the patterns they contain are for women's garments. Often the books will include a couple of patterns for men's garments: a sweater or vest, a scarf, a hat. But there are a few books out there that are filled with patterns for men's garments. Most of them, however, are written for women knitters, women who are making something for the men in their lives: husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, boyfriends, sassy gay friends. Titles like Never Knit Your Man A Sweater* *unless you have the ring, by Judith Durant, assume the knitter is a woman. There are other books where the title doesn't give them away, but after reading the introductions, one knows that the intended audience is women who knit, not men who knit.

Ah, but there are exceptions to this rule! One of the best titles out there is Knitting With Balls by Michael del Vecchio. Sadly, this book is out of print. And I would like to note that throughout the book, the author lets the reader know that knitting is a manly art, that men have knitted through all the ages, though I have to admit that these are some of the gayest patterns I've ever seen.

There are some fun things here, but I'm not sure how many men are going to wear a mohair mobius scarf.

I own a lot of these books that are filled with patterns for men's clothes but are written for women knitters. Erika Knight's Men's Knits; Bruce Weinstein's Knits Men Want, which contains "10 rules every woman should know before knitting for a man," and so on. All written with men's patterns for women knitters.Of course I can ignore the supposed insights into men's psyches, the general rules for what men are looking for in knitted garments (though these are often true), but I think I'd like to be taken seriously as a knitter.

Fortunately, we have some books, like Knitting with Balls, that address the male knitter. Annie Modesitt and Drew Emborsky wrote Men Who Knit & the Dogs Who Love Them, and Kritin Spurkland's The Knitting Man(ual), all are either written for men who knit, or assume a gender neutrality that implies men can knit their own garments. I think it might be time for authors of books for men's patterns to either adopt a gender neutral tone, or to realise that male knitters are ought there, and will not be ignored.

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