(This story from my friend Matt tells you more about him than it should. . . - <3 Em)
The wife and I walked into a hip and trendy yarn shop in one of the groovier neighborhoods of Oakland. Looking around, I had a question about a type of yarn, and asked the bespectacled girl working there. She skeptically asked, “…is this for you…or…someone who is knitting this for you?” This is one of the reasons I learned to knit. Sure there are others, but this is a big one. It’s that second after I tell them it’s for me & the reaction. It’s where I get my knitting power, really.
My name is Matt and I’m a knitter. A male knitter. A heterosexual male knitter. You may have your doubts about that but when I tell you my current goal in this hobby is to knit Star Wars hats you’ll probably accept my truth.
Think what you will about my sexual preferences, just don’t tell me what to knit. You might argue that connecting sexuality to knitting is ignorant, and you’d be right. Evolved and right. But the fact is, it happens surprisingly frequently.
When I told a student of mine that I liked to knit the look she gave me was priceless. Expecting me to pull out a lacy shawl, I like to think I gave her brain a jolt of cognitive complexity when I whipped out my beanie with a skull on it: BOOYA. I even joined Ravelry to strut my double pointed stuff and shortly after, I got an invitation to join the SF Men Knit group on FB. I’m not saying that the group is primarily gay, I’m just saying the page icon is a Pride Flag and they routinely meet in the Castro District of SF. Whatevs. I certainly find it a tad challenging to navigate my way through this dominantly feminine world at times, but I enjoy the challenge. . .
It forces my hand in creativity and growth. I started knitting on Thanksgiving of 2011 and six months later, I’m progressing from scarves, to hats (Yes, ugly ill-fitting hats [ please visit the Crafting Fails section for an example ] and on to my first pair of socks. These are all typical knitting items, but I’m doing them with my own flair: Star Wars, Super Mario Brothers, skulls, etc. Of course I don’t mean to suggest that I’m opposed to knitting something “feminine”: whatever the project is, I just have to want to knit it: Life is too short to knit stuff you don’t like with scratchy yarn. (I will note that my mom and sisters will be getting lovely scarves this Christmas and not one of them will have anything to do with Boba Fett, because I’ve got range).
So again, this morning I was hanging out with friends and I pulled out my knitting (which actually helps me calm myself) and I could feel the eyes on me. I enjoy that. It instantly broadens someone’s thoughts about men who knit or they stereotype me somehow. It’s a quick intelligence/ignorance detector based on their reaction or lack thereof. No matter what happens, I usually say the same thing, “I’m making clothes b*&@ch! What are you doing?”
(Note: I didn’t knit any of the pictures of things in this blog, I’m just sharing my dreams.)
-Matt, Guest-blogger for CrapAtCrafts.com and Manly Knitter.