Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Recently I was asked why I’d kept this blog quasi-anonymous.  Was I afraid of the stigma associated with being a guy who knits?  And wasn’t I perpetuating the stereotype of knitting as somehow effeminate by “selling myself as a novelty”?

Weighty questions, these.

The first is easy to answer.  I’m not afraid of people knowing that I knit.  In fact, most people who know me on a personal level have seen me in the middle of a project.  And since I’m a big proponent of knitting in public, and do so essentially every workday, I feel like if I had anything to prove in terms of knitting bravery I would have proved it long ago.  I’m afraid of many things - spiders, for example - but having people learn that I like to knit isn’t one of them.

The second question, though…  That’s a doozy.  Am I perpetuating a stereotype with this blog?  I hope not as it certainly isn’t my intent.  For that matter, I’m not particularly comfortable with the idea of “selling myself” – regardless of whether it is as a novelty or otherwise.  There’s something a bit too transactional about that notion for my taste. 

But regardless of whether perpetuating a stereotype was my intent, is it a consequence of my actions?

I don’t know.  

But after discussion with my most trusted advisor (Mrs. TSMK), I’ve decided that it makes sense to clear the air, state my position on a few things, and try to put to rest any questions that might otherwise linger about who I am, or why I write these intermittent and frequently goofy posts.  So here goes.

My name is Brian.

I am 38 years old. 

I grew up primarily in the Southeast and now make my home in the Pacific Northwest.

I am happily married (15 years) to a woman I began dating when I was 17.

I am the father of three boys.

I am a practicing Buddhist.

I believe that my purpose on earth is to try to help alleviate the suffering of others.

I believe that the idea that one’s gender or sexual orientation dictates all of one’s choices in life is false, and that this falsehood is one significant cause of suffering.

I am hopeful that by writing these posts I may help to eliminate this suffering.

And I am hopeful that by writing these posts I may provide some small measure of enjoyment to those may read them.


With that out of the way – let me share with you my most recently (almost) finished project.  It is a messenger bag, knit and then highly felted.  All that is left is to attach buttons for the front flap.  But with this bag, I’m thinking that I want something handmade for buttons.  So I’ve found some particularly nice beach rocks – which I hope to make into buttons for the bag. 

I like this quite a bit, and plan to use it for my commuting bag for the foreseeable future.  In fact, I like it so much that I've decided to part with what was previously my favorite bag.  I put that one up for auction.  Should someone of a particularly crafty mentality decide to buy it - I hope you will let me know as I'll make sure to include some sort of yarn or other knitting goodness inside when it is shipped off.

may you be free from danger
may you be healthy
may you be happy
may you live in peace



  1. Hi Brian,
    I wouldn't stress too much about reinforcing gender stereotypes about men who knit. Our whole world is subjective and there will always be someone who perceives your message differently to how you mean it. Also, your bag is awesome!! I've been planning to make one for ever but still haven't gotten around to it. Well done! I'm glad to find your blog, It's just gone into my 'favourite blog' bookmark list..
    Reuben :)

  2. Reuben,

    Thanks for the note, and welcome to the site. The bag is fun - and a very quick project so don't put it off. It took me just about week from cast-on to felting, and I only worked on it during commuting and evenings. Honestly, I think making the buttons may take longer!


  3. Thanks, Brian, for making your comments re: stigmas about men who knit. I recently (over the past three weeks) taught myself how to knit. I am a serious novice, but a VERY serious one!

    I, too, am married, and have kids. Mine are all grown up, graduated and gone away from home. Now in my second marriage. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Illustration from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design in Denver, Colorado, and currently work for the public school system as a para-educator, working with developmentally disabled adults (18-21 years-of-age). I learned to crochet and knit by being inspired by one of my co-workers who was teaching our students how to crochet. I decided that there wasn't anything wrong with a man learning how to knit. I heard that my ancient Scottish ancestors who were men knitted their own socks. Don't know if this is necessarily true, but I use it as a good excuse to learn to knit.

    I have been knitting wherever I go: on the bus, sitting at a restaurant, sitting at the park, watching television, and most of it is when I am with my DD students. I figure this: it is a great example of how our students can make the most of their leisure time.

    Anyway, good to meet another guy knitter online. Hope to hear from you soon. I am at thirdimension@mac.com if you would like to communicate with me via e-mail.

    Michael A. McGrath

  4. Thanks for saying something that has been needed to be said for a very long time. Too bad more people don't "get it." I have been a "closet crocheter" for over a year now, but decided "to hell with it" and recently let people know that I have semi mastered that folk art. Surprisingly, my friends are impressed and supportive.
    I too, have been married for a long time, (but now am a widower), am a retired school teacher, a father of two adult children, and Gramps to 3 grands. And have lots of time on my hands, so I crochet. I tried knitting, but just can't handle the "stress" of having two needles going at the same time.
    I love doing the handwork, find it rewarding and as far as I am concerned, at age 67, who cares what other people think!!!

    1. Jimmie -

      I too am impressed if you've managed to master crochet. So far, it is something I've only attempted under duress (like when needing to make trim around the eyes of a wrestling mask).

      Keep at it - and if you feel so inclined send me a photo of some of your work. I'd love to see it.


    2. TSMK, I just posted my latest creation on my blog, Moment by Moment. You can find it here:http://jimmyrf.blogspot.com/. Feel free to comment.
      I admire your knitting. But to go to all that trouble, whether knitting or crocheting, then to "felt" it on purpose. I just can't do it! Maybe someday.

  5. I like your blog, I wish my husband would pick up knitting! I'd LOVE it!

    I agree with the other commenters, who cares what other people think. If you can look at yourself in the mirror everyday, that's all that matters.

    You make lovely things and your wife is a blessed woman.


  6. Thank you for writing this Brian. Being a straight man in my thirties who doesn't do things that fit the straight male stereotype it's nice to see there are other men like me. I want to learn how to make an afghan blanket, but I don't know where to start. What's the best way to get started?

    1. Roy -

      I like your initiative. Most people (myself included) start with something relatively small for their first project. By beginning with a blanket you're grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns. Very cool.

      I'm very lucky to have an excellent local knitting support group in the form of a fantastic local yarn shop and many friends who also knit. I've learned tons from that crowd. But I've also learned a lot from videos posted on youtube. In fact, I suspect that a complete beginner could learn entirely by watching some of the better videos on that site.

      Good luck!


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  8. Brian, you GO, GUY!!! So cool to see guys like you exist! LOVE the messenger bag and the rocks for buttons idea is fantastic! Hope you'll post photos when done.