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July 06, 2006

Comments

Kate

At my lys, I recently eavesdropped on a woman and her 9-year-old son. He got really excited looking at all the yarn and said he just HAD to knit "a red sweater". He threw a fit until she got the yarn ("but MOOOMMM, I want ALPAAAACAA!!!"). Even though the whining was a little obnoxious, it was great to see a boy so interested in it AND a mother who supported his interest. Don't lose hope yet! :)

Kate

Oh yeah, my friend Thor also asked me to teach him how to knit. Picture this guy: 26 years old, 6'4", big and burly, former mountain guide, very masculine. He completely matches his name. He manages the ski lifts at a Colorado resort and has a lot of down time. He picked it up really quickly and knit hats while watching the lifts, much to the surprise of his coworkers. It is awesome! He's also studying to be a nurse and was raised by a stay-at-home-dad while his mother worked as a university professor. Talk about a shining example!

Wendy

The MOOMMM, I want ALPAAACAA!!! part would bug me because, let me tell ya, I'm 42 and I have just gotten to the Alpaca stage.

When I was his age, I'd be lucky to get that Aunt Lydia rug yarn for just about anything, including a pillow case pattern.


But times have changed, I figure.

Wendy

...Is Thor single? (Just asking)

Erika

On the up side, those mothers have hit upon the best way to GUARANTEE that their boys will, come hell or high water, learn how to knit when they hit the teen years.

knitteriam

I spend time waiting for my three children's activities to be completed and while I was at the Do Jang (Tae Kwon Do school) knitting one day, a young boy about 7 inquired and watched me while I chatted with his father. The next week I brought him needles and a ball of yarn and stood behind him as he learned to knit. The dad said that he never stood that still or focused EVER and he was always having problems in school. I shared with the dad about how knitting engages both sides of the brain, fine motor skill development, etc. I encouraged him to bring it back next week and we could work more on it. Do you know that dad never brought him back with the yarn to Tae Kwon Do class and even avoided me as we passed in the waiting area of the TKD school. It infuriated me that he wouldn't give his kid a chance. It's true that the pendulum has shifted and girls can do anything but boys are the ones with the unwritten rules these days.

Kate

I'm really involved in our local little league. There are two 10 year old best friends that have been playing in the league and watching their older siblings for years. One is a boy, one is a girl. The boy begged me to teach him to knit, the girl wants nothing to do with it. He is making himself a hat right now. Last week his 4 year old brother got a hold of his knitting and dropped a bunch of stitches. My little knitting pal figured out how to pick them up himself. Knitteriam is right. Somehow the tide has turned and girls can do anything but boys still have to do "manly" things only or there is something wrong with them. I don't get it.

april

that is so obnoxious. boys should be able to do whatever girls do. and vice versa. thoses mothers are so annoying.

Elizabeth M.

Both my sons have had knitting lessons. And spinning, too. They aren't what I would call naturals, but that's ok. I didn't really get into knitting until I was an adult, but the seeds were planted as a child.

It's shocking to find such sexism still practiced in this day and age.

My younger son (almost 5) loves The Littlest Pet Shop toys. These are marketed to girls, but there's no reason they couldn't have been marketed in a more gender-neutral way. I'm sure there are parents in the world who would be shocked to see my little guy putting his Happy Hampsters in the Whirl-Around Playground.

Dawn

I have two little boys (6yrs & 9yrs) that come in for private knitting lessons with me. Both their mom and dad encourage them. The youngest has made two hats for his little sister and a knitting bag for himself. If his mom doesn't watch he sneaks her knitting while she is out of the room and works on her projects.

pivenfan

What about Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk? It's so yummy looking.

Heather

It's too bad those mothers wouldn't let their sons learn to knit. They are SO perpetuating stereotypes. I am teaching my 4 year old to knit, even though I think it's just a phase. He's surrounded by women who knit, and his biggest pleasure as we were working on his knitting last weekend was to tuck the yarn under his arm and go around the room showing everyone his work. I think he just wants to be part of the group, and I'm sure his "group" won't always be knitting women, but for now, especially in the summer when he's here so much more than during the school year, it is.

Cathy

I'm expecting a short person in September, and he's going to have the chance to do everything. I tend to do all the traditional "feminine" things, like spin, knit, crochet, embroider, etc. My husband tends to do the "masculine" things--wood work, mechanical things with the cars, electrical, plumbing, etc. But he's just as good a cook as I am, and he's actually a better housekeeper. And because of my interests, the short person will know things about heavy metal poisoning, Egyptian mumification, and criminal justice before he starts school, just like he'll know how to change the oil on the truck. ;)

tense teacher

Can't tell you how many well-meaning relatives remind me (and often) how my daughter "spends too much time" playing with cars and "boy things." Every year, they give her Barbies and other dolls for Christmas, and every year my Littleone throws them to the bottom of her toy box, never to be seen again.

Why are we still dealing with gender stereotypes in the 21st century?

elizabeth

I'm sure someone has already mentioned it, but in most of Europe *everyone* learns to knit starting at, like, five years old. It's supposed to be very good for controlling and/or preventing ADD and ADHD (though I really think diet plays a bigger role here, but that is a whole other tirade). Perhaps you should come prepared with copies of statistics in your purse as well as super-manly patterns.

Truth be told, I was the girl with the most Barbies, but I was also the girl with the most matchbox cars and a HUGE electric train set that my dad and I built and I turned out just fine. I applaud your philosophy with Girlfriend.

Christine

I'll bet those moms would froth at the mouth and be on a waiting list for years for the chance to get those boys into an exclusive Waldorf school...knitting (and weaving, and other handwork) is part of the cirriculum. The Waldorf school in my city starts all kids purling in Kindergarten. Heck, if I had to go back to Elementary school (while bypassing middle and high schol, thank you very much) I'd cheerfully go there!

wmix

I just saw this website today of what appears to be a really sexist man who is camping out on his roof ("on strike") until his wife gets their child out of their bed. I think denying men access to more stereotypically-female things warps them. And of course, being able to knit is a babe magnet for hetero men. I have taught my 64-year-old dad, my husband (it didn't stick) and will teach my son too when he is old enough, if he even shows an inkling of interest.

anne

The Yarn Boy Yarn Blog http://yarnboy.com/wp/index.php
has cute "boys knit" buttons for sale. They're cheap. I bought two and plan to buy 20 more and distribute them freely. Wendy, my blog has zero readership, but yours has tons, so that's why I'm mentioning it here.

Gina L.

Yah, boys knit! That mother has a terrible attitude. I know a young man that wrote his college essay about "Juggling Knitting with Football." He swears that it got him into UCLA. During World War I the Red Cross put out an urgent call for knitted goods. They taught BOYS and girls to knit. I found this from May 1918 the Seattle School Bulletin printed this patriotic knitting song:

Johnnie, get your yarn, get your yarn, get your yarn;
Knitting has a charm, has a charm, has a charm,
See us knitting two by two,
Boys in Seattle like it too.
Hurry every day, don’t delay, make it pay.
Our laddies must be warm, not forlorn mid the storm.
Hear them call from o’re the sea,
‘Make a sweater, please for me.’
Over here everywhere,
We are knitting for the boys over there,
It’s a sock or a sweater, or even better
To do your bit and knit a square.

The song is quoted from this article.
http://www.historylink.org/essays/output.cfm?file_id=5721

PS- Wendy Sizzzzzle is so hot, I can't wait to give it a try!

katie

wendy - I just have to tell you that my mother is a third grade teacher, as well as an amazing knitter. About 4 years ago she started a knitting group in her school, and she has LOTS of boys (as well as girls). And as far as I know, no parents have made an issue of it.. So there is hope!

Risa

Sizzle is next in my knitting queue as well. I picked up some Cascade Sierra last night for it. Love your patterns!

As for boys knitting? There's some current stereotype that declares that any of the more feminine of pasttimes just isn't appropriate for boys. Not going to stop me from teaching my son to knit while I teach my daughter.

Katie

I consider knitting and sewing life lessons, I wouldn't deny that from my boys any more than I wouldn't teach my girls how to use a power drill. (Love my cordless power drill, hehe)

And I wish that I could come up with a witty comeback for those moms but even after several minutes, I'm still thinking, "huh?"

Jenny

Well, since everyone else has covered the 'boys can't knit' topic, I'll comment on the AC. I have one of those too. I was all excited about getting it until I saw that ridiculous dryer hose contraption that I had to stick out of my window. I had to buy drapes to cover that sucker. But I'm loving the nice cool room.

Allison

One more on the boys and knitting topic. Reading this makes me sad - I mean, really. It's 2006! I am quite crafty and my husband is very athletic. I've talked about this with my husband, as how to approach it if our forthcoming son wants to be crafty instead of sporty, or do a bit of both. We agreed that whatever he wants to do is fine by us. I'm sure we'll sign him up for ice hockey as soon as we can, but if he doesn't like it, that's OK. He can try something else if he wants. My mother is a potter and I plan on exposing him to afternoons of clay with Nannie, where he can make, pound and mold whatever his little heart desires. In addition to teamwork, creativity is a skill that all people need to survive and thrive in this world!

In general, I cannot believe any mother would discourage their son from any type of hobby that is constructive and brings them happiness. They will be better adjusted men as adults when they know their parents support their passions.

shannon

Let me tell you what. I have 5 children and all of them, even and especially the boys will knit and crochet. I have already warned my husband. I can't even get started on how this was a man's art first or how if more men knit there would be less war. Errr, it just makes me mad.

and by the way, I have an 11 year old girl that plays boy's lacrosse, has a mohawk and blue hair because frankly, if this is how she wants to express herself then that's fine with me. She is not hurting anyone and if she doesn't care what other people have to say about her style why should I?

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