What am I reading?July 27, 2015
The stereotypical knitter is a granny with a cat at her feet who sits by the fire knitting mittens for her grandchildren. Throughout history, however, men dominated the craft and it is only recently that knitting has been thought of as the province of women.
Here is a (totally factual) story from Huffington Post that talks about the history of men and knitting:
“About 200 A.D., Arabian men were fishing for food but they had no way to catch several fish at once. They caught one fish. Then a second fish. And it was like, Geeze, this is slow as a camel. Then one day, perhaps down by the dock, one of the guys was messing with yarn, forming loops in it, and bam! Fishing net. (Other cultures likely invented knitting elsewhere around the world.)
They stuck the net it in the water and caught a boatload of fish. And someone said, “We just invented the fishing net.” And someone else said, “Let’s invent sweaters.”
Then the Middle Ages came and knitting spread like the plague. There were knitting guilds, which were labor unions–and again this is men we’re talking about. The guild’s head honcho would say, “Join us. We’ll protect your income. We’ll give you insurance. We’ll give you benefits. If your wife dies, we’ll help you with the funeral ceremony.” Nice stuff like that.”
Fast forward to 1972 when Dave Fougner thought it was time to bring men back to knitting and The Manly Art of Knitting was published. This book has been revived by Ginko Press. You too can follow along with the book’s directions for knitting saddle blankets and dog beds. Good stuff.