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Image by Aaron Burden

Men's knitting vs women's knitting - is there really a difference?

When I started knitting as a man in 2010, I still had a feeling after all only women knit.

At least it was always like that in my surrounding: my mother and grandmother were always the only ones who knitted before me. (My sisters felt that knitting was an endangered craft, not worth saving.)

I had never before seen a male person with knitting needles and wool.

Except, of course, when I caught a glimpse of myself knitting in the mirror.

Five years later, however, I knew that was complete nonsense.

At that time I was still young and innocent and didn't know how the knittingworld worked. I'm more aware of that now.

If I had known back then that the art of knitting doesn't matter whether you're a man, woman, child, dog or alien, then I might have sought out contact with other male knitters all those years ago.

Because now there are even quite well-known male knitters, such as Steve Malcom, who also has his own blog for all his creations ("It takes balls to knit"). People knit everywhere in the world and by every gender, every class, every skin color and every season - after all, the wool and the needles don't care who or what uses it.

With this opinion, knitting is miles ahead of some people.

Now that we know that both women and men knit, is there a difference in what is knitted by both sexes?

Basically, there are hardly any differences: Men and women knit sweaters, scarves, gloves, slippers, blankets, hats and whatever else comes to mind.

But over the years I've noticed that men tend to want to make knitting a little "masculine". For example, they like to knit masks to be worn by their wrestling idol. Or they knit hats with beards on them. Or brains to offer to the zombies at the apocalypse.

Women, on the other hand, like to stick with the classics mentioned above, which are practical and ready to use quickly, because the family wants to be taken care of in winter.

But that's just a rough generalization, of course.

Both sexes have the craziest ideas when it comes to knitting and will bring all sorts of ideas (such as eyeballs, beer bottle warmers, knitted pets/food or adult onesies) to their loved ones and those around them. This means that there is little to no difference in the way women and men knit.

Why should it?

After all, knitting a sweater is hard work and we should all know by now that both sexes can do this work equally.

Everyone has it. In a dusty box in the attic, in the back corner of a drawer or always reachable in the wardrobe - we all have clothes that connect us with our past, that tell our story and that we cannot part with.

And for most of us, it's knitted.

It doesn't matter whether we made it ourselves or it was given to us. With a touched smile we rediscover the yellow baby shoes, dreamily caress the old christmas blanket, bury our face in the magnificent wedding stole in search of the scent of this wonderful day, cuddle with the out-of-shape jacket that gave us consolation when we did lying in the hospital with a broken leg, gratefully holding onto the lucky scarf, without which we would never have passed the exam ... Knitted pieces have a special place in our lives.

They are as incomparable and irreplaceable as the moments themselves, for which they stand and which we see in them. What connects us with them remains even if we no longer wear them because they have gone out of fashion, we no longer have any use for them, or simply because the years have left too clear traces and we decide with a sad heart that they can no longer participate in our everyday lives.

Whether they are there for us every day or are allowed to spend the rest of eternity lovingly wrapped in tissue paper - they never cease to be part of who we are. They are a piece of memory and identity, a photo album of our lives. Pieces of knitting are sometimes our last bridge to people who have left us. They tell of smiles that are forever extinguished, bring back some of the warmth that we miss so much, and are a little happiness wrested from time. Even if we no longer have them, or if they have been sacrificed to a move or a clean-up, knitted garments are always present.

A cozy afternoon on the couch with your best friend is enough. "Do you remember the concert ...? You worn this great sweater ...!" The music is back, the bass flows through the body as if it were yesterday, the feeling on the skin is like it was back then. A whole film unfolds in front of the inner eye. And you feel so infinitely young and free again ...

You can wear clothes. But knitted pieces can be loved.

Touching them, seeing them, smelling them, describing them and talking about them is a journey through long faded days. They are small milestones in our memories and testimonies to our lives. They bring back the irretrievable quite unexpectedly and make moments tangible and tangible again.

Is there a piece of knitting in your closet, in a box or in your memory that you associate with a part of your life story?

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

A few weeks ago I flew to Belo Horizonte in Brazil with a friend. We originally only wanted to spend a month there, but as life would have it, it has become an indefinite period of time. Now I am still in this exotic country. As the first few weeks went by, I spent a lot of time settling in and getting used to the new situation in life. But somehow it didn't work 100 percent. Something was missing in my life, but I couldn't quite tell what it was.

When we rummaged through a sundries shop in Belo Horizonte in the third week, I found a ball of yarn. And then: What I missed was knitting! Straight away I bought a circular needle and two balls of yarn. At that moment I didn't really care what colors they were and what size the needle was - I just wanted to knit and experience something homely again.

I had spent all the days and weeks before settling in, and yet I developed something like homesickness. That doesn't usually happen to me because I like to travel and I travel a lot. But this time it was different. But when I held the knitting set in my hands, I felt worlds better.

Many people are sure to feel like this: For them, knitting means having something familiar, something that reminds you of cozy hours.

And almost 10,000 kilometers away from my home country, I happened to find this something that brought me exactly these memories and feelings. For me, knitting at that moment was like the soothing words of an old friend, like a hug from a loved one - no lie! I then immediately went to browse the Internet and look for a suitable knitting pattern. When I found this and then cast the first stitches on and started knitting, a familiar feeling set in my hands. They finally had something to do again, something they had known for years and did with passion. I was home for a moment, in my familiar surroundings, and I was fine again.

After all these weeks I finally settled in and knitted a few house slippers for a friend here, because yes, even here in the south it gets too cold to walk around barefoot sometimes.

Knitting is not only good for keeping your feet or neck or head warm; Knitting is also good for the soul. This experience in Brazil showed me that when you knit (regardless of whether you are at the other end of the world or just two streets away) you always have something that connects you to yourself.

The soul is fine, the hands are really exhausted again and the hours just fly by:

Knitting is truly an art that sweetens your life!

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