Men who Knit – Part 4

Men who Knit - Part 4

We talk knitting and gender prejudice with world famous knitting artists… and men who just really like to knit.

What draws you to knitting? | How did you learn to knit? | Have you faced any gender prejudice? | Favourite knitting project?

Do you have a favourite completed knitting project?

Kaffe Fassett: If I had to choose from the flow of projects from my knitting needles I’d have to say one of the big throws or bed spreads I’ve made. A chance to do such a large plain of pattern and colours is a thrill indeed.

Knitted cross-hatch throw by Kaffe Fassett

David Demchuk: I always enjoy making toys and clothing for the children of friends. One friend’s son has a toy ninja that I made, and another a toy robot. Another friend still keeps the flowered baby jacket I made for his (now much older) daughter. Gifts like these are small and simple, and are so quick and inexpensive to make, and create so much happiness because everyone knows someone took the time to make them by hand. They’re really my favourites.

Barry Klein: I would say that every completed project gives me satisfaction. As the designer of most garments for Trendsetter, I have lots of deadlines. I work on one sweater or accessory at a time. I know this idea is scary for most knitters. I love seeing the process move from yarn selection to swatch to writing the pattern to seeing it come off the needles. When it is done and it looks like my vision, I’m so happy. I can even knit the same thing multiple times and enjoy the process. To be honest, what gives me the most satisfaction is seeing others wear my garments or accessories. I love the way things fit on a woman’s body. A man designing for a woman is completely different than a woman designing for a woman. The vision is different. A woman will design for herself and how it will fit on her body and/or her body needs. As a man, I have to think about what parts of a woman’s body I want to see, I want to flatter and I want to cover when I’m designing something. When it is done and she wears it and it fits as I’ve imagined… big smiles all around.

Mike Bates: Well… I guess that despite its abject ugliness the first object I knitted with my handspun yarn (a hideous orange, blue, and red hat) was particularly satisfying because not only was it a complex colourwork piece, but it was the first pattern for an item of clothing that I designed myself, and it also showed that my handspun was actually ok to knit with. The gauge of the yarn is inconsistent, which obscures some of the pattern etc., but it worked! Which was surprising.

Otherwise I treated myself to some very nice yarn – Noro’s Kogarashi – which is a silk blend with lovely colour changes throughout, and knitted a sweater from that, which is now the most expensive item of clothing I own. It’s lovely and toasty, worryingly soft, and just fabulous as a slouchy sweater.

And I can’t forget Colin. I had some spare grey and white yarn, so I knitted a Schnauzer.

Kaffe Fassett is a renowned artist who has inspired people across the world with his colourful work in fabric, knitting, needlepoint, patchwork, painting and mosaic.

Barry Klein is the owner of Trendsetter Yarns and is a past president of the National Needlework Association. He has designed patterns for Vogue Knitting, Interweave Knits, and Knitters Magazine among others.

David Demchuk was born and raised in Winnipeg and now lives in Toronto. A playwright, independent filmmaker, screenwriter, essayist, critic and journalist, he has been writing for theatre, film, television, radio and other media for over thirty years. Known primarily for his work in Canadian theatre, David’s plays have been produced internationally.

Mike Bates is a man who keeps asking himself the question “how does it work?” and eventually began to direct that question at a pair of knitting needles.