Friday 22 July 2016

Why The Lack Of Beginners Patterns For Boys?

My youngest nephew getting stuck in!
Last year on our annual family holiday I introduced my two nephews, then aged eight and twelve, to knitting. They'd asked to learn and I brought along chunky wool and needles for them to knit a garter stitch scarf each. With a lot of help from me and their Granny the boys finished their scarves, albeit they were rather too short to wear!

This year we have another family week away in August and my youngest nephew wants to do more knitting. The older one, now nearly 14, is too cool to want to knit again but I suspect that once he sees his younger brother get stuck in he'll want a go too.

So what can I teach them to knit this time?

Searching the internet brought little inspiration. Some patterns aimed at beginners assumed that they already knew how to knit, purl, increase and decrease - no good for complete beginners. There are some books and patterns for girls learning to knit - lots of pink headbands and phone cases - but nothing for boys. No self-respecting lad is going to want to be seen with a knitted phone case or get excited about knitting another of the internet's suggestions: a dishcloth.

Is the lack of patterns available due to no demand from the consumer, or is it sexism from the industry assuming that knitting isn't a boys hobby? Let's not forget that there are great male knitwear designers out there to act as role models, such as Martin Storey, Kaffe Fassett and Jared Flood.

There's a saying that 'if you want something doing, do it yourself' and that's exactly what I'm going to do. I will write my own basic pattern for a knitted monster. Pros: monsters interest boys; it doesn't matter if they are a bit misshapen because that makes them more scary; and it's a good way to use up odds and ends of wool left over from other projects.

When I've written the pattern I'll post it on this blog and hopefully it will encourage other boys to pick up a pair of needles. I feel a campaign coming along here ...

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