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.

 

Advertisements

Knit & Run

Now that I am pretending to be a knitting expert I feel the need to reflect a little on my actual achievements in this area. While gathering proof of how well-versed I am in needle language , a couple of unfinished projects tumbled out of the closet. Here they are, together with the excuses for why they were never finished.

 Baby Sweater in Screaming Colours

The first picture shows the front part of a baby sweater for my now 20-year-old son which I started knitting in 1990-something. By the time I got ready for the back part he had already outgrown the front part. So I decided to turn it into a sleeve instead and started a larger front part. Then the same thing happened again, he outgrew it.. Front and back are finished, but one sleeve is lacking and I ran out of yarn. Can’t get the same cotton anymore and won’t get babies anymore either, so I think I will become an unraveler for this one.

Rainbow baby sweater

Cabled Tweed Pullover

Similar story, but some seven years later. Did not finish this on time and then all of a sudden my son was taller than me. I took it up again now, because I still like it. I just need to find a new beneficiary. The yarn got attacked by moths in the meantime but after vacuuming it, most of it is still intact. It is a very cheap yarn from Zeeman that I bought at the incredibly low price of 2.99 guilders (€ 1.35) for 100 grs. It is 25 % wool, 7 % viscose and the rest synthetic fibre, which was helpful for surviving the moths. In the 90-s there were hardly any yarn shops left in Amsterdam and all those great hand-dyed, fully natural yarns had not even made it into existence, so the Zeeman deal wasn’t so bad at the time.

Cabled pullover

Black Seed Stitch & Cables

This sweater actually got completed, it is even a little worn. I bought the cotton yarn while travelling in Guatemala and in need of something warmer than the clothes I brought (and reluctant to wear the indigenous garments and look like a hippy). The black never really was black enough. I thought I would were it again if I added a skirt to it as I had plenty of yarn left. Look at the size of that skirt, what was I thinking? The skirt has to go. Maybe I’ll use the yarn for a summer camisole.

Black Cotton Sweater

Loose Ended Roses

This one is finished, that is, the knitting is finished. The reason why I still don’t get to wear this can be seen in the picture on the right: I still need to weave in hundreds of loose ends. And the yarn is so black, the light in my house so dim. What if I took it with me on my holiday to a sunny country? It will become such a sweaty job! The yarn is unfortunately totally synthetic, for the reasons mentioned above, but also because I couldn’t afford expensive yarns a few decades ago.

Loose Ended Roses

 

Patterns… more than you can knit

In case you are thinking that I am just wasting my time browsing the internet, no, this is all about practicing how to insert images and link them properly. But what a marvelous website I ventured into this time! The patters are $ 3.00 each and the proceeds are for abused,homeless, & high-kill (huh?) shelter animals. Ah, well..

Always wanted a Peter Pan collar?

1950s Horizontal Rib Yoke Sweater with Cap Sleeves & Peter Pan Collar

Day 3 – Lost in Nostalgia

Today I got distracted when searching for the type of cotton yarn they gave to us in school back when I was first learning. I was wondering if there are still stores that sell yarn that is not very cool, 100 % natural, utterly beautiful but extremely expensive?

Yes, there are. I found a beautiful small shop, family owned since 1891 – 122 years. They have a webshop, where they are selling Durable cotton in every imaginable colour at € 2.60 for 50 grams only !

Het Kleine Winkeltje in Millingen.

het kleine winkeltje in millingen

They are selling underwear as well, solid, white, cotton underwear and old-fashioned pyjamas!

The pathway to perfection

This picture is from the book: “Vivilore: The Pathway to Mental and Physical Perfection” – 1904

The caption was: “Busy and Happy.”

Day two of building & blogging

Breien_in_lagere_school_in_woonwagenkamp

Day 2: I learned about the content of the kitchen sink button which enabled me to insert headings. I learned that I shouldn’t just copy and paste from Word, very important! And I learned how to link the posts to facebook, which I did to a small group of friends. I hope you appreciate this. The blog itself is public now, no need to restrict access, but until the self-hosted site goes live, no need for wider sharing yet.

Hip

Knitting is hip again! Wool and knitting stores are popping up across Amsterdam. Norwegian designers are creating home-knitted christmas decorations, knitting artists are wrapping lamp-posts in colorful knitted fabrics, throughout the country knitting cafes are abounding and on the internet you can get literally get lost in knitting blogs:

Sustainable

Knitting is okay! You can make your own clothing without involving underpaid textile workers locked in factories that are a fire hazard. It is sustainable due to the quality of self-made clothes, which is far superior to the  stuff you buy at shops like H&M for a few Euros. Knitting yarn can be re-used, you can make fun things out of leftovers. And if you use natural materials from an ecological source you can’t get any greener!

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.

Related articles