The Knitting Man(ual)

comments: 37

Knittingmanual1 We have a little morning fire in the fireplace this morning so I'm thinking about knitting. My friend Kristin came over on Tuesday for a hang out. I haven't had much time to see my friends lately so it was nice to bake and sit and talk. The sun was shining, low and golden. I hope it comes back. I hope and pray the humidity kicks up and the winds die down in southern California.

Kristin's a phenomenal knitter and all-around incredible person. I met her, probably six years ago now, when she worked at the Yarn Garden, which I think was the first yarn store to open anywhere near my neighborhood. When I first moved to Portland in 1997, I had just learned to knit. I didn't know my way around town, and when I wanted to find a yarn store I looked in the yellow pages. I think I went to three different locations that were no longer even open. When the Yarn Garden opened a couple of years after this, it really took off, coinciding perfectly with the renewed collective interest in knitting. I went down to find yarn to make a shrug to go with a salmon-pink dupioni silk dress I'd made to go to a friend's wedding. I was a very nervous yarn-shopper — I knew nothing about yarn, or gauge, or fiber content — but Kristin was there and she was so nice to me, walking me through possibilities gently and patiently. And now, years later, I know that that is just how Kristin is in everything: gentle, patient, generous, wise.

I think all of these qualities are exponentially displayed in her work, for in addition to being a lovely person, she is an illustrious and incredibly talented knitter — a technician of great skill and integrity and a truly creative designer, she has already written four knitting and crochet books: Knits from the Heart; Crochet from the Heart; Blankets, Hats, and Booties to Knit and Crochet; and her latest, The Knitting Man(ual) just came out from Ten Speed Press last month.

The Knitting Man(ual) is a collection of patterns for guys that anyone, men or women, will enjoy knitting. Taking traditional designs, including many Scandinavian inspired patterns that reflect her own Norwegian roots (my favorite is "Dad's Sweater," which she designed based solely on a little black and white photo she had of her dad wearing a sweater hand-knit for him by one of his sisters in the 1960s — so cool — it is such a cute picture), Kristin has updated classics to include contemporary colors and modern construction. Everything is classic in the best way — but classic with an edge of cool.

In the introduction, Kristin traces the history of men knitting, and interviews many males knitters to discover just what it is about the craft that appeals to them. I love reading stuff like this. What I also love about the book is that she used many real-life models — everyone photographed wearing the projects from the book are members of her own circle of friends and family and there is such a wonderful, accessible, friendly feel to the photography. Even local knitting rock star Jesse Stenberg's tattooed chest ("Born to Knit" in a modified skull and crossbones) is included. I remember once watching Jesse knit a present for his baby nephew while explaining that he intended to be the world's greatest uncle, blowing every other potential baby gift that anyone else might deliver out of the water. I just busted out laughing when he said that. I thought that was hilarious.

Christmas presents, peeps! It's time to start!


i'm just starting to knit and become interested in cross stitching. i'm going to request "the knitting man(ual) for christams as well as knitting for dummies and anything else to help me start. thanks for inspiring me and bringing out my creative side!
i just can't go another fall/winter without being able to make my own scarves. :)

I keep trying to learn to knit. I try! But I'm a childhood crocheter and I can't seem to get the kitting to stick. I'll try again this season--maybe with a great book like this one I can make it stick--I can just see my man in one of those sweaters! ~A :-)

I just learned to crochet, I will have to check out Crochet From The Heart and add it to my ever growing wishlist on amazon :) As of right now I'm stuck on Granny Squares, they are highly addictive! As for knitting I'm only a basic knitter, I really need to give it another go!

When I think of men knitting, I think particularly about an man I met when I was in Ireland, who for some reason only need 2-3 hours of sleep a night. Because of all the extra time he had at his disposal, he had many skills. He knit, he spoke several languages incl Mandarin, he played several instruments well, incl uilleann pipes which are fiendishly difficult. I always envied him his lifestyle, but maybe that's a useless exercise. Maybe he's since envied that plump woman with the long brown hair who plays violin and has a Canadian accent :)

Seeing as how you just got the new poochy... maybe you should look into this book for the hubby.

I don't know of any male knitters, but my great grandfather was a farmer who after a long day in the fields relaxed by making beautiful needlepointed cushions. His work was exquisite. I think that men can be attracted to needlework for many reasons, but my great-grandfather loved the precision.. after dealing with animals all day.. it's nice to work with a needle that usually does what you want it to.

(sigh) - I wish I knew how to knit. I can only imagine what hidious thing would come from my needles and hands - ha ha ! Please tell me I could really learn to do this ? Please???

Have a good day, sweetie!

Diane from Baltimore

jeanne-marie says: October 25, 2007 at 11:04 AM

I still wear sweaters that my grandfather knitted for my mother when she was in her teens and twenties. We have all kinds of blankets and afghans around that he knitted while watching football. He was an amazing guy. I wish he'd lived long enough to teach me some of the things he knew (photography, musical instruments, greek, painting, writing...).

I do love knitting but I've found knitting for Christmas is not practical for me. This year I'm making tote bags for the women and girls on my list. I just taught myself to sew. I hope everyone will overlook some minor imperfections. It's so much faster than knitting.

oooh - scott needs a hobby and i'd love to learn to knit! we'll see what happens. thanks for telling us about the book.

Time to start! I had set my task on Christmas Day last year. Crochet a blanket for everyone in the family. Really. Really. And you know what? I'm almost there- I have one and a half more to go (out of 7) for just immediate family, but you know, there is always the want to make them for that other "family". Sigh. I won't do that again this Christmas. Promise! And, I am jealous of your piccilo playing sweater knitting, and really want to do more cables...

I have just GOT to learn how to knit, darn it!

and yes, pray for RAIN - please! It was in our forecast, but now it's gone again. *sigh* Those of us that aren't being evacuated have been breathing ash for almost a week now. I've given up trying to clean everything until it's done. You remove one layer of ash and it's just back the next day. Ick.

I've just started knitting, AGAIN!!! It's something I've done off & on for years (not very well) but there's a 'new revolution' going on and the patterns are just awesome. I've been wanting to get my hands on the Knitting Man(ual) and haven't found it locally so will have to head on over to Amazon.
I have to tell you that you're the one that inspired me to pick up my knitting again. The pattern you shared with us on Sept. 29th got me in the 'mood' to knit again. Thanks for the inspiration!

A couple of years ago my sister and I caught the knitting bug and would spend the evenings knitting. My youngest son (then 18 years old) was really interested so we set him up with his own knitting needles and let him have at it. He didn't care that he was dropping stitches or adding them - he just liked the knitting.

Then my young cousin (early 20's) who is, seriously, a rocket scientist, got intrigued so we set him up too. I would give anything to have a picture of these two strapping young guys sitting on the couch, knitting away.

ONE of my favorite things about the new show Pushing Daisies is how just about every week they work in the big bald detective's hobby of knitting. What'd he say last night in reference to money? "Daddy needs some more yarn" or some such thing. Cracked me up. :-D

That line from Pushing Daiaies cracked me up too!

sorry about the spelling -- had to run for the oven timer

I may pick up that book for my oldest. He doesn't knit (neither do I) but I've been trying to talk him into it, if only so I can benefit. LOL!

My father was encouraged to knit after a bad motorbike accident - not sure if it was to entertain him in hospital or focus his brain on something. Anyway he made the most beautiful detailed, patterned gloves for my mother and other lovely things. I love the look of that pattern book - they are all so much groovier these days aren't they.

I just bought this book from Amazon about 2 weeks ago. I'm always on the lookout for decent men's patterns.

My Grandfather was a wonderful knitter - the harder the pattern, the more he enjoyed it. My sister and I always had the most wonderfully intricate Aran jumpers as children. He had been taught to knit in the mid-1950s whilst recovering from a heart attack which had left him an invalid. He would have so enjoyed some of the wonderful knitting patterns that are around today, especially the Kaffe Fasset style ones which are so intricate and so beautiful. Sadly, although I do knit, my knitting is only basic at best.

Go and check out this knitting man- he is awesome and I need to make my own Hemlock Ring blanket...

Oh, i am sooo glad that you introduced her and her books to me!! Yes, i recently learned how to crochet, and i am very interested in how to knit too. Yesterday i made crochet hat. I am sooo proud! :)) Yes, because i really can`t read tutorials. Well, sort of, but i never remember the names of the stiches. So i just trie by myself. A couple of weeks ago i crocheted a flower and i guessed I could make the hat with the same method as i used with the flower. And yes, it worked!! So there i was sitting, without a tutorial and made a hat! :))) I made a flower as well, and then i bought a few final touches to decorate it. It made me realize, i really want to learn how to do it the right way. And also how to learn how to knit. The winter is coming, i need a beautiful scarf.

Look at this site, sooo many beautiful patterns! Crocheting and knitting..


Now I KNOW you finished the sweater with the cables before starting a new project, right? Yuck-yuck! (I am the master of starting and not finishing things!)

Laura in Naperville

LOL at Jesse's comment! That's something my Hubby would say!

I will have to check those out, I am still stillllllllll working on my stripey afghan, let alone getting to the granny square, but I love crocheting!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at