Manly men knit, right?!

Earlier this week, I had mentioned in my email newsletter that Nathan was embarrassed to let his friends know that he knits. Well, I got so many email responses from wonderful, supportive readers that I thought it would be great to post this on Steamy Kitchen and let Nathan read all the responses.

Last Thursday, we had a neurological check up for his epilepsy (which is now under control, thankfully) and he had to draw blood for routine analysis. Nathan is terrified of the needles (as am I) – we were in the waiting room for a good 20 minutes while he cringed in the corner. Every time the door opened and a nurse came out to call the next victim’s name, Nathan would just have this dreadful look. Poor baby.

He tried so hard to convince me that the nurses were out to lunch already and maybe we should come back another day (didn’t work). When they finally called his name, he took the tinest of baby steps, hoping that by the time he reached the evil blood sucking station, they’d forget about him (nope). Without any other excuse or stalling tactic in his pocket – he braved the needle. Surprisingly, no screams, no tears this time. He gave up, gritted his teeth and took it like a big boy.

We walked out and I said, “You were so awesome that I’m going to let you ditch school the rest of the day!” And so we partied the rest of the afternoon, frozen yogurt with 3 toppings, Barnes & Noble book spree, lunch at McDonalds and a visit to my local yarn store, The Good Yarn in Sarasota. Owner Susan and the ladies who work there are amazing – they’ve seen me through my beginner days when they sat patiently teaching me how to knit – and have watched me grow into a freaky speedy knitter who has trouble finishing projects because there’s always something shiny new catching my eye (I know, I have issues).

My boys have always embraced arts and craft (though, what kid doesn’t?!), so much that we built a ‘craft room’ in the back of the house, filled with markers of every shade, enough glitter to fill the swimming pool, crafty paper in pretty patterns and a massive square table to work on. This is also where I keep the yarn stash, I think we have enough yarn to knit a striped scarf from here to Texas.

Part of my yarn stash. Some of my needles. I keep the straight and double pointed needles in vintage blue glass mason jars. The rest of my yarn stash is hidden from my husband.

Normally, when I go to the yarn shop, the boys are with me and they LOVE helping wind the yarn, picking out colors with me and getting tons of attention from the ladies who come to sit around the table to knit. It’s social hour every hour there at The Good Yarn.

A pillow I’ve got to finish up – based on The Beekeeper’s Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits – knitting a giant quilt that takes a year to finish is too big of a project for me, but a pillow for the couch is perfect!

This particular afternoon, Nathan asked Amy, one of the ladies who works there, if she could teach him how to knit. A little boy asking to knit!? In a roomful of cheek pinching grandmothers!? It was as if angels overhead had started singing.

I’ve known Amy for a long time now – my first stitch that I casted on was 9 years ago, when I was pregnant with Andrew. Mimi (what my kids call Scott’s mom) taught me the basic stitches and I took off from there, daydreaming about knitting baby booties and cuddly hats. Amy taught me the rest – complicated stitches, how to read patterns and walked several miles going around and around in the store looking for the perfect yarn for my project. She even knew me when I told her, “I think I want to start a food blog.”

My boys looooove Amy. And so Nathan sat down with her and she began teaching him, step by step, stitch by stitch.

While at the shop, he finished a little knitted patch, Amy helped him bind off and they tied the two ends together to make it into a cool necklace which he proudly wore. He was so excited and proud of himself that he spent his own allowance to buy needles and a skein of bright green yarn.

On the way to school to pick up Andrew, he took off his necklace, put it in my purse and said to me, “Mommy, I took it off because I don’t want my friends to laugh at me for knitting, okay?”

awwwwww….sobsobsob…..oh that’s so sad. But I didn’t say anything to him right then while I was driving….there really was nothing I could say that would change his mind at that time. It would take more than “mommy saying so.” I needed references, support, physical proof that manly men knit, that knitting was cool, that the kids at school wouldn’t make fun of him (or if they did, that it wouldn’t matter.)

My winter yarn is at the bottom…you can tell summer is almost here by the happy colors on top!

After I sent out the email to my newsletter subscribers, reader Kathy emailed, “I thought you might like to know about Rosey Grier. He was a pro football player, whose hobby was knitting and needlepoint. He even wrote a book about needlepoint for men. You can’t get more manly than that. You can Google him and read all about it.”

Another reader, Faleen, pointed out that football great, Rosey Grier, wrote a book on needlepoint and loved to knit! I’ve just now found out that Laurence Fishburne, Ringo Star and Russell Crowe knit too.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and any special messages you have for Nathan – I’ll be reading the responses to him!