Where do I start. To be honest, I really enjoy being a male knitter. I feel as though a large part of my success has come down to being a male in a female dominated craft. Kind of like that shiny new toy that people like to look at… It is what it is and it’s something that I have embraced, although somewhat reluctantly at times.
My confidence as a male knitter is something that I have had to work on and accept in myself, which definitely hasn’t been an easy journey. I first started knitting when I was 21, which is 8 years ago now, and I feel that since then, the social landscape of the world has changed dramatically! We are shifting towards a more inclusive society where people actively challenge the norm. I am not one of those people that actively challenges much, and this situation is no exception. I enjoy knitting and implore others to take up this amazing hobby, but I am reluctant to preach or force this hobby on people. Forcing behaviours on other people tends to be received negatively and for me, I don’t want people to have a negative relationship with knitting.
I think my craftivism (crafting activism) pretty much starts and stops at the design phase. I will talk about me as a designer in a future post because it is an important step in my journey as a knitter and human, but I just want to address it quickly. Essentially, I design to give the “Average Joe” out there an option. Being a predominately female craft, there are obviously more patterns geared towards women, which is COMPLETELY understandable! That’s business and that’s great, I have no issues with that. However, the designs that are for men, I feel (from what I’ve seen), aren’t my style and are quite formal or classy. I like to think of myself as a little less classy and a bit more casual and streetwear in my style. So, my designing just comes down to me wanting to create designs that I would wear and other people, regardless of gender, would also wear. Just giving a few more options to the options that are already out there.
I’m not the most confident person. You might think that’s strange looking at my photos, but I am mostly in environment’s where I feel comfortable. When I first started knitting, there was a lot of self-doubt, and I was scared of how people would perceive me as a male knitter. I was at that age where I was partying, travelling, and drinking a fair bit more, so for me, I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted. It wasn’t until two years that I worked out what it was that I wanted in life.
All this self-doubt that I had developed throughout my life definitely didn’t help me as a male knitter! I chose this hobby and chose a hobby that I would be a minority in (classic privileged white male creating issues for himself), but I really enjoyed knitting and the healing it provided me! Bit of a double-edged sword really. Make yourself feel isolated doing something that makes you happy. Well Done Brendan…
I’d say I had been knitting for a few months when my mum first took me to the local yarn store, Crossways Wool and Fabrics. This was daunting to say the least and I hid behind my mum as I looked around. Like many others, it takes me time to become comfortable and acclimatise to my surroundings and this was no different, but I feel as though this was such a turning point in my life as a knitter and person. I’m under no illusion that, at the start, I was helped a bit more because I was a young male knitter and it was probably rare to see one of these people walk through the door, but that was thoroughly appreciated. I don’t really like the added attention or looks I get but I definitely enjoyed the extra help I got! So, I need to take the good with the bad and accept it for what it is.
I feel as though Instagram has been a significant help for me as a knitter. I see it as a platform where I can see other knitters in a concentrated environment. I don’t know about you, but I never really saw knitters out in public, and I still don’t really see them now. When I see someone doing something that I do, it kind of gives me confidence in what I am doing, but I never got this from seeing knitters out in public. I got this from seeing knitters on Instagram and other social media platforms. It has also provided me with a platform where I can showcase my craft. Self-doubt is developed from your idea of how others will perceive you and being a male knitter, that was always filling my head. I posted photos on Instagram to shield myself in a sense. I could knit, post photos online but remain somewhat anonymous. It was a way for me to build confidence in the online world, which I hoped would be able to flow into my real world. And to be honest, it kind of worked. I was always scared of how people perceived me, but I have received nothing but love and support online which has given me the confidence to continue and spread this in the real world. I’ve literally received three or four negative comments online in my entire knitting journey…
I highly encourage other guys out there to give knitting a go. It’s daunting at the start, but I feel as though the support that is out there in the knitting community is some of the best and surrounding yourself with supportive people makes life that much easier. I’m not living my life trying to convince anyone to knit, I am here showcasing the joy and life that knitting has provided me and hopefully others can make their own (smart) choice and start knitting! Hopefully you gained a little insight into my life as a male knitter. It has shaped how and what I knit, and although it was a struggle at the start because of my own insecurities, I really love just being a guy who knits.