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Published on February 16th, 2018 | by Yazmin

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Is Male Knitting the New Yoga?

From men-only knitting classes to prison programs, festival hangouts and grassroots organizations, more guys are shedding the stereotypes, picking up their yarn and needles and stitching together a new knitting movement! 

More men are knitting. It’s a fact. From Louis Boria, founder of Brooklyn Boy Knits, whose photo went viral in December 2017 after he was snapped by Broadway star Frenchie Davis knitting on the New York Subway, to Garrard Allt the British scouser who founded the grassroots knitting group ‘I Knit London’.

Despite knitting often getting the reputation for being more of a ‘feminine’ craft, the recent revival of male knitters is reforming the way the skill is regarded by wider society. You only need to search for #maleknitters on Instagram to discover a whole community of dudes who love to knit! Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling even admitted that his ‘perfect day’ would include knitting! 

The UK department store John Lewis launched their own Men’s Only Knitting Classes thanks to popular demand, while, designated knitting areas popped up at Camp Bestival and at the 2010 Brit Awards – anchoring the trend in the pop culture circuit!

In Brazil, up to a hundred male inmates at a maximum security prison became ‘professional knitters’ thanks to the Lotus Flower Project started by fashion designer Raquel Guimaraes.

The Original Male Knitters

While male knitting seems like a new fad, history reveals that men were at the forefront of popularising hand knitting! Starting with sea traders in the middle east circa 200 A.D who discovered the technique when creating fishing nets and some of the earliest knitted artifacts discovered in ancient Egypt.

In the Middle Ages, knitted garments became such popular trade that special knitting labor unions were setup to protect the workers and regulate trade. With many boys undertaking lengthy 6 year apprenticeships, knitting was a sought after skill set, likened to art, carpentry and other crafts which required intensive training. 

During the First World War, men joined the knitting ranks along with women and children to contribute to the war effort, hand knitting sweaters, socks, hats and scarves for the troops in the military.

Today more men are picking up their needles as an antidote to the pressures of modern culture. There seems to have been a shift in focus from the finished product to the positive effects of the craft itself.

In an interview with the Telegraph, British knitwear designer Brandon Mably, whose knitting classes have attracted men of all vocations from lawyers to doctors, observed: ‘It helps with stress as well… knitting is the new meditation or yoga.’ 

Are you a male knitter or know a guy who loves to knit? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

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About the Author

is writer, filmmaker and coffee addict who loves anything crafty and creative! Her writing has featured on numerous publications including Elite Daily, Amor Magazine and Huffington Post. She also founded the award nominated collective blog aliljoy.com.


Last updated: February 19th, 2018.

11 Responses to Is Male Knitting the New Yoga?

  1. mkg says:

    Sorry to be picky, but as a retired book editor I need to tell you that the term “men’s only knitting class” is illogical. I would strongly suggest a change to “men-only knitting class.” Think back to other, parallel usage: there’s “women’s schools” but “women-only schools.” Same here: men-only class.

  2. Cheryl Keane says:

    I go to a fortnightly knitting group and our organiser is a male. We have a couple of members and have had others come along at various times.

  3. Maggie Burman says:

    Every week I go to my grandson’s primary school to help with a knitting group. The children come on a voluntary basis and my group consists of two eleven year old boys and one eleven year girl. About twenty children attend from all primary ages and several grandmothers help them. The class was started by the school secretary.

  4. Janet says:

    Another editor here – when you say “who’s photo”, what you actually mean is “whose”.
    That aside, my primary school knitting club has two boys, one of whom sails and said “Oh I see, it’s like tying knots on a boat.” He’s now mentoring the other boy…

  5. Rosemary Jones says:

    My husband learnt to knit Aran bobble hats 40 years ago to help relieve the boredom of long train journeys. He used to take orders from friends.
    Rosemary

  6. William Clark says:

    I suffer from constant back and neck pain and have found that the concentration required to knit Fair Isle allows me to compartmentalise my pain and gives me some respite. I have been knitting Fair Isle since 2006 and always have at least two projects on the go at any one time. I would knit for the theraputic effect alone but have found that requests from family and friends keep me busy.

  7. Davide says:

    I started knitting one year ago as I wanted to make a kaftan for my new house instead of buying it. I suddenly got engaged in this art and in one year I knitted three skarves two sweaters and sleeves for a fashion brand of leather jackets with wool sleeves… no kaftan yet!

  8. Barbara Chappell says:

    I no longer have the source document but I recall reading about sailors being the earlier pioneers of knitting. It made sense to me as I know the cable patterns in Aran jumpers indicated which village a fisherman was from and if tragedy struck and a body was washed ashore it was clear straightaway what village the person was from.

  9. Brigitte Fischer says:

    All those years ago, in London there was a train carriage for men knitters only.
    Does anyone remember it?

  10. Emmie says:

    My grandfather knitted socks onboard ship during WWI, as did many sailors. Couldn’t wait for socks from home, after all! When I started teaching fiber arts to my 3rd graders at school, we always started with a children’s book, “Boys Do Too Knit”.

  11. Barry says:

    Not only do I knit, I also have my own collection of hand dyed yarns. I grew too weary as a male knitter when I could not find colorways that interested me. I grew tired of seeing black, brown, grey and navy solids. Boring! And then the whole fingering and sock weights……. what if I don’t want to knit with dental floss? The results can be seen at knitting wolf.ca We’re here. We’re knitters, and we’re joining the hand dyeing ranks as well!

    Cheers,

    Visit my webstore:
    knittingwolf.ca

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