Thursday, 29 March 2012

A Man & His Needles

In this day and age most people think of knitting as a woman's pastime. There are some men who knit but not many and those that do sometimes hide the fact. And while its a pastime for many people for others its a way of life.
But back in the day the womenfolk spun the fibres and then the men knit em up. Back around the Middle Ages and Renaissance young men had to apply to knitting guilds. Before he could even apply for entry he had to find a Master Knitter to study for six years. Only then could he apply. And you just didn't knock on the door. With a three month deadline he had to whomp up a fancy carpet with a coloured motif 6x5 feet, a knit then felted cap, a wool shirt and a pair of hose. If he passed with his entry he became an apprentice in the guild. Can you imagine? I doubt many men made it to Master status considering the lifespan they had back then.
But lots of men were and are knitters. The Prince of Wales...who became Edward VIII... knew how to knit. And he was Mr. Fashion Plate back in the day. I have read that Russell Crowe can and Johnny it true? We may never know.
But anywho times changed. And the needles were passed. Knitting styles have changed with the times. Looser styles are favored today. But if you look at old patterns from the 30s and 40s they were very snug. Part of the reason for this was wartime rationing. A man could hope to get a new sweater once in five years. And he needed that sweater. It was a staple of the wardrobe.
Sweaters and socks and hats and mitts were knitted. But so were bathing suits. Special yarns were used that held up better in sun and water. And next time you giggle at a Speedo...think of rigging out your man in a hand knitted bathing rig. Men weren't allowed to show their chests so some of the suits didn't look very manly. Some of the suits had skirt attachments over the trunks....and that was in the 30's. Makes me giggle.
So the next time the man in your life complains about being second fiddle to your knitting tell him to button his lip or he might be laughed off the beach this summer.

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