Real Men Knit and Sew

comments (7) June 5th, 2009     

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ManKnit Matt Berger, contributor
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Socks and hats are my knitting projects of choice. Theyre practical and fun to make.
These days I spend most of my hobby time working with wood. I designed and built this horseshoe armchair a few years ago.
Recently I attempted to merge wood with craft with this simple wood greeting card, made from maple veneer.
Socks and hats are my knitting projects of choice. Theyre practical and fun to make.

Socks and hats are my knitting projects of choice. They're practical and fun to make.

I'm a hobby guy, which is why I so enjoy working for The Taunton Press, the publisher of this Web site and various other magazines and online destinations aimed at enthusiasts of everything from woodworking to cooking.

I joined the company six years ago as an assistant editor with Fine Woodworking magazine because I loved to make furniture and objects from wood. But woodworking was a hobby that came to me later in life. I earned my hobby chops knitting and sewing.

The son of yarnstore owner
When I was three years old my mom opened Wild Wools, a yarn store in Berkeley, Calif., jumpstarting her professional career as a fiber artist. Some of my earliest memories are of her knitting away on the couch at record speeds while reading romance novels or watching 60 minutes. To this day, I've never met anyone who can knit a sweater as fast as she can while mutitasking.

Because craft was half of the family business, my siblings and I were raised on knitting needles and sewing machines. When all the other kids were out skateboarding and playing little league, I was sewing clothes for my Cabbage Patch Kid or knitting scarves, hats, and socks.

knit wool socks

My Cat and the Hat knit wools socks are based on a pattern
my mom designed for Anne Knorling. 

Life as a kid crafter just seemed normal to me until the third grade when I brought my Cabbage Patch Kid to school for show and tell wearing a matching outfit I made. That was the day I realized most boys my age didn't knit and sew. While the experience didn't discourage me from sticking with it, from then on I mostly kept my crafting skills to myself. Only girlfriends and the open-minded were allowed into my world of handmade creations.

Times they are a changing
Society has evolved a lot since then and men crafters like me are becoming more and more common place. As I spend more time working with the editors and contributors of CraftStylish.com I've been introduced to a variety of people who share a similar philosphy as I do: No matter your gender it's cool to create practical objects from raw materials like fabric and yarn.

If you're interested in getting a male view of the crafting world, here's a list of blogs you should be following:

My favorite online destination so far is Dude Craft, maintained by a prolific blogger who says it best in his biography:

Building things from wood and steel is cool, to be sure, but so is knowing how to sew your own clothes, knit a scarf, and make something beautiful from an A4 sheet of paper. DudeCraft seeks to make it acceptable for men to participate in all crafts, not just the "manly" ones. I have a feeling there are a lot of you out there who would like to try a bit of everything and just can't get over the "what will people think?" hump. Well, mostly they'll think of what a cool and talented individual you are when they're wearing that scarf you gave them, donning that silk screened t-shirt, or looking at that origami turtle you made. Skills are good to have. Facility is cool. Confidence is sexy.

Another new hero of mine goes by the name Johnny Murder and runs the site ManBroidery. He describes himself with this tagline:

At home with a hoop and thread. At home with a beer and a shotgun. The ManBroiderer is the man of today and, more importantly... the man of tomorrow!

Do a google search for "Men who knit" and you'll come across MenKnit.net where you can find an entire directory of men knitters who blog.

I've also been paying attention to a few CraftStylish.com members of the male variety, including Mike Zero who recently posted photos of his new sewing machine and the awesome sewn greeting cards he creates. 

It's comforting to know I'm not alone.

posted in: men crafters

Comments (7)

MARIETTAMorin35 writes: The personal loans seem to be useful for people, which would like to start their business. By the way, it is not really hard to receive a car loan.
Posted: 11:00 pm on September 17th
TSMK writes: Definitely not alone. Although it occasionally feels like it. I've got a similar discussion going at my blog: http//thestraightmaleknitter.blogspot.com - but to date almost all of the readers are female. . .

TSMK
Posted: 2:36 pm on October 15th
NewYorkBuilt writes: When you type Men Who Knit into the browser, MenWhoKnit.com comes to the attention of the viewer. Click there if you seek a vibrant, active and diverse group of men who create and promote textile arts to rather dizzying heights. As a source for editorial direction, you would be hard pressed to find better, in my humble opinion.

Mark
Posted: 2:51 pm on July 4th
michaelb72556 writes: Growing up in a home with a Mom who was a professional seamstress and who could do anything with a hook or needle - learning to sew, knit and crochet was inevitible - I was absolutely thrilled to see this article and the posts from other men who do the same things I do. I have been sewing for many years (since I was 8 years old). I love machine embroidery, clothing design and construction and all kinds of textile and fiber arts...

Stay stong guys - someday we'll get past the "Stitchin' Sisters" mentality and people will view textile and fibers arts as non-gender specific!

Thanks!
Posted: 1:54 pm on June 11th
KraftyGirl writes: What a great story and what amazing talent you have :-)
Posted: 8:19 am on June 6th
BigTreble writes: Great post Matt! As a guy that likes to crochet, sew, model, paint, play with Legos, it's great that you bring to light us creative dudes.

Thanks again.
Mike
www.doubletreble.net
Posted: 12:40 pm on June 5th
DudeCraft writes: Matt, Thanks so much for the nice post including DudeCraft. Through running my blog, I've met (virtually) so many great guys who are out there making stuff these days. I think there's a real groundswell against couch-potatoism at the moment and it's very encouraging. People, male and female, are answering their inner voice that is saying: "create, create, create." Now, if we can just get rid of the gender lines altogether, we can have one big craft party.

On a side note, it's Johnny Murder who runs Manbroidery, not "Murderer". Oh, and don't forget our buddy from across the pond, Mr. X Stitch. http://www.mrxstitch.com/

Thanks again for the great post. It's nice to have another voice in the mix!

Cheers,

Paul
Posted: 11:40 am on June 5th
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