Men & Knitting

StrikkedukkerI have moved my blog to a self-hosted site: Breieninoost.nl. My posts on facebook I will also move from my personal account to the  Breien in Oost facebook page. Please like this page if you want to keep reading my updates!

So far 6 people showed an interest in my course and one of them is a man. Not a bad ratio! He wrote to me he had wanted to knit for a long time already, but back in the days his grandma could have taught him, it was considered weird for a man to knit. Nowadays of course we have Carlos & Arno with their X-mas balls and Strikkedukker, but I have known men who knit all my life!

1. My father. He spun and he machine-knitted, skills developed during the 2nd World War. I remember the – this is impossible to translate – borstrok, that I was wearing in my youth. This ‘chest protector’ was a woolen undershirt, worn as a second under-layer over a cotton undershirt. In winter obviously. I also have a clear memory of a woolen skirt that I loved to wear, up until highschool, by which time it had turned into a mini-skirt.

2. One boyfriend and one suitor. We are talking the eighties. Men, well.. some of them, were engaging in talking groups for feminist men and similarly, some engaged in the soft art of knitting. The first man knit me a sweater and the second a pair of socks, that apparently didn’t do the job. Of seducing that is. They were grey, what can I say…  I have worn them for years though, they did an excellent job warming my feet.

3. My son. Like so many children he was eager to learn knitting when he was little and although he never finished any project he has not forgotten the skill. He even seems to be purling!

If you search, you will find many men who are knitting. They may have a different take on it, like Aaron who is blogging about ganseys (visserstruien). He has adopted an academic and a handyman approach to it. He made his own needles! The video is about using a knitting sheath (A Better Way to Knit! ). He writes passionately about how to knit The Best Socks.

link to pattern voyageur cap

Finally, in appreciation of all the men that liked my blog and/or facebookpage, an example of  a nice men’s hat. The pattern is copy-righted, but the men attending my course can use my copy.

 

How to knit

The book I referred to earlier – Useful handicraft – arrived in the mail and so did the scanner. Now I am able to show some of the stuff I have been taught as a little girl. The 10th edition copy I got is from 1965 and the year I learned knitting must have been 1968. The book only addresses girls, and the teacher was obviously female as well. While we were doing needlework, the boys were taught how to play chess!

There was no such thing as You Tube in those days, so this is how the teacher was supposed to teach us:

Casting on

We will start now with learning how to cast on. The teacher has two thick wooden needles and very thick wool. Each girl has a ball of cotton plus two needles.  For the time being we don’t need needles, as the children first need to properly master how to wrap the thread around their fingers. The teacher first demonstrates a few times and then lets the girls go along as follows:

Opzetten - Casting on

De Nuttige Handwerken, Wolters, Groningen, 1965

  1. Measure a length of yarn and hold this point between thumb and index finger of the right hand.
  2. Put he index finger of the left hand under the thread, which is on the side of the ball of yarn, put middle finger and ring finger on top and the pink under again.
  3. The thread that we are still holding in our right hand, should be wrapped around our thumb and then we place it between ring finger and pink, over the pink. We keep our hand slightly bent, the loops on thumb and index finger over the first phalanx, thumb and index finger almost together.

Naaldenboekje - Needle booklet

Are you still there? No wonder so many of the girls developed a dislike of knitting. The projects we embarked on weren’t all that exciting either. In my memory my first product was an egg warmer – a little hat to keep you egg warm :-).

The book’s first project is this must-have needle booklet:

And here below the notorious doll’s dress. I asked my teacher if I was allowed to adjust the measurements as this one wouldn’t fit any of my dolls: not the Barbie nor the baby doll. But she wouldn’t hear of it. So it got buried in my little suitcase with useless projects.

nuttige handwerken-poppenjurkje

The YouTube way

For an easier way to learn knitting -besides following a course or workshop – here are a few really easy-to-follow instruction videos by Twirre, owner of  crafts store Handmade Heaven in Amsterdam-East.  It is all in Dutch but the images are self-explanatory.

And here are the links to  the next three classes.  Besides binding off these are all the basic techniques you need, everything else is just  different combinations of these four.

Another way of casting on, even knitting, and purling.

breien in amsterdam – knitting in amsterdam

Dear all,

As you know – or don’t know – I am going to develop a knitting course, to be given this fall in the East part of Amsterdam and I created this blog to practice making the website for this course: breieninoost.nl

This post is my very first attempt to publish something on-line. I am going through the WordPress instruction video, but am a little impatient and want to see results!

I think I also prefer learning by trial & error instead of going through all the instructions. I guess it will have to be a combination of both..

While I practice, I will keep a record of my experiences in this blog – until the real website goes live. There are a lot of new things to learn. I have made a start with collecting materials for my site:

  • images of self-made knitted materials
  • other types of illustrations
  • text for the site, in English and in Dutch
  • links to woolshops, other knitting courses and social knitting media

One illustration sample:

de nuttige handwerken

Useful handicrafts

This was the book that teachers used for handcrafts classes in primary school: “Useful Handicrafts”. Although I went to school in the sixties, the style and content of teaching was totally fifties – very old-fashioned. I found and ordered a copy of this book on internet and can’t wait to hear it drop in my mailbox! It will bring back memories of dropped stitches, sweaty needles and a mean teacher.

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