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 & Arne 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 underlayer 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.
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.
Yeah! I got everything to work on an external server as well, as you can see from the URL. Phew, so many things I had to do all over again and half of the time I was clueless. The biggest hurdle was the picture gallery on the sidebar. The practice was quite different from the theory, but now I am ready to launch the site.
I still have most pages with information on the knitting course set on invisible. Those I saved for a real launch to which I will attach a celebratory moment including a bite and beverage.
In the meantime I also worked on advertizing the site apart from facebook. This will be my business card / flyer:
Ordered with that company that also advertizes on TV: “250 business cards for € 3.98!”. Right! Then the mailing costs another € 7.- and if you upload your own image the price doubles as well. You can see how I messed the picture up a at the bottom, because I didn’t get the dimensions right, but I figured no one would notice once they are printed at that small size of business cards.
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:
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:
Measure a length of yarn and hold this point between thumb and index finger of the right hand.
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.
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.
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.
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 storeHandmade Heavenin 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.
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.
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:
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!