How uncommon is it for

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by klmno, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    a boy to be interested in knitting? difficult child is taking Independent Living this school year coming up. Part of that teaches them to knit, so I bought him the required supplies. He has really taken to this, and I don't mind- I haven't said one negative word about it and bought him a beginner book and extra yarn so he could try to knit his grandmother a scarf for Christmas.

    I thought at first that he was doing it out of boredom, since he was on that ankle bracelet. Now, I think it might be more to "unwind" while he's watching tv. I knew of a man, actually a teacher while I was in high school, that knitted and crocheted. The adults didn't mind, but the other kids who knew assumed he was gay- he had a couple of effeminate traits.

    Anyway, is this so uncommon that I should mention (forewarn) difficult child about not going to school and talking about this? He is starting 8th grade and is HIGHLY self-conscious about what others think of him. Of course, I don't want him to be ostracized or teased or harrassed over it. From everything I can see and hear from him and tell from his actions, he is heterosexual, so I don't want to handle it in a way that might "rough up" that male image of himself.
  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    It may be a way to draw girls around himself ...

    If he knits a scarf for an NFL team, most everyone woulld tihnk it was cool.

    Just some idea for a slant. :)
  3. Calgon_Take_Me_Away

    Calgon_Take_Me_Away New Member

    My exFIL used to do macrame (sp?). I would think with changes in cultural norms that it's more common now than it was 30 yrs ago. If they're going to be taught it in this class, he's better to have a jump on it so he feels comfortable doing it (self conscious preparedness).

    I never learned any sewing ~ had/have no interest in it (I can't even put a button on). My mom, however, earned the Betty Crocker Award for 1972 her senior yr because she was so talented in her abilities.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Oh- he mentioned that aspect, Terry!! I just don't want him to be shocked if a group of "cool" guys harrasses the &%## out of him- it wouldn't be the first time that he has had that happen as a result of not picking up on what is acceptable to other kids his age and gone around bragging about something that he should have kept to himself.

    Good point, Calgon!

    Supposedly, another thing they do in that class is get the "babies" (dolls that cry at certain times and need to be fed, changed, etc) to tag along with them for a certain period of time. I thought they only did that in the 7th grade class, which difficult child didn't take, but he says they do it in this one. We'll see- I really hope they do.
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    Wasn't it Rosie Grier, the great NFL player, who knitted or cross-stitched? While it may be uncommon, it's not odd. My oldest easy child loved to bake and make candy.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Rosie Grier Embroidered. It is unusual for a boy his age to do this, but I think that it is a valuable tool to help him "unwind". I would encourage it, but also encourage him NOT to talk about it at school. Kids that age are vicious, though girls are much worse than boys. BUT it will be used to make him see "gay". Heck, thank you is only in 3rd grade. LAST YEAR a couple of kids teased him about being "gay" because he didn't play football. (He hates football, but loves basketball and beat the crud out of these boys in basketball in gym. This is WHY they were teasing him.) Poor thank you came home not even understanding what "gay" meant. It took a while for the teacher to stop it.

    Anyway, good knitting to difficult child. The knitters I know are much relaxed by it. I think it is more common among men in Europe, from what I have read in European craft mags.
  7. OpenWindow

    OpenWindow Active Member

    My easy child took a similar class last year and he started liking sewing. He enjoyed the project and made a pillow - but he chose black because it was "manly." He has also loved cooking and baking since 6th grade, so he was way far ahead of the boys on the cooking part of class. He did get teased a lot but he took it well and laughed with them, unlike difficult child who would react poorly and then trouble would start.

    My difficult child used to love pink and wanted to wear it all the time. We let him, but warned him ahead of time that if he wore that color, there was a chance someone would tease him about it. We prepared him with how to handle what they said (using specific examples) and what to say back to them. He did get teased, but was able to handle it because we rehearsed with him.

    I'd give him a heads up that if he tells kids at school he may get some teasing.
  8. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thank you all! These are good pointers. difficult child likes to cook too, which I esepecially encourage because I'm a single Mom and his efforts are really helpful. I have a cousin (male) who always liked to cook and became a chef, married and has 3 kids. I guess it never even occurred to me that some kids might still be teasing others over that.

    When difficult child signed up for this class, I asked him if he was sure that's what he wanted to take because it might be mostly girls- he told me that is why he wanted to take it. LOL! I just hope they don't tease him. I'll talk to him a couple of times before school starts.
  9. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I was thinking of Rosie Grier too. As an avid Crocheter, I think it's a great way to relax. It keeps my hands busy and my mind quiet.

    Son still has Max his baby (doll) that I got him about three years ago. He loves babies, and wanted one of his own. I hesitated and even posted about it here. His therapist advised against it because of Son wanting one so badly I was "feeding" his "obsession".

    Before I got one for him, I had several discussions about him getting a babydoll. You know, teasing and ridicule. His response was, "I don't care, I want a baby". So, I got him one from Walmart. husband didn't have a problem with it because he had his beloved Schroder (peanuts) doll when he was a kid. Son is also very aware of the opinions of his peers, so I just wanted to make sure he knew what he was getting into.

    Son slept with him and would carry him around. He would have me wash his "nappy". However, he did tell me to NEVER mention Max at school or to his friends. Son being in middle school know, doesn't carry him around anymore, and there has been talk of "getting rid of" Max. I just told Son if he decides he's tired of him, to just give him to me and I'll make sure he's taken care of. I just want to save him. But, Son changed his mind. Even a couple of his buddies know about Max, but don't hassle him about it. He does hide him when certain kids come over. I know poor Max has been thrown around the room, etc.

    A guy can make a lot of cool stuff knitting. Masculine stuff. Hats, scarfs, maybe some fingerless gloves. I would advise not to broadcast his knitting, but what if he makes something that he gets a lot of compliments on? It could go both ways. He could be teased, or admired.

    For me, I always admire anyone who does something they enjoy despite prescribed gender roles.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
  10. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Rosey Greer did needlepoint. He wrote Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men. If anyone had a problem with it, they didn't mention it to him. He was a defensive lineman who stood 6' 5" and weighed 300 lbs.
  11. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah- I remember that now that it has been mentioned here. That will help- especially since difficult child was just out passing football with another boy this afternoon. I just want to prepare him as best I can- I'd love him no matter what, but I worry about the teasing and his difficult child'ish reactions to it.
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Just a very quick note - look up the history of knitting on the Isle of Aran. Also look up exactly what is involved in Aran knitting - it was traditionally done by the menfolk who were fisherman in the North Sea, but during fierce winter storms they couldn't get the boats out very often so they used their time to do the knitting. They used specific designs which all had family 'information' knitted in. Only the men knitted and the jumpers they knitted were often greasy wool (ie the lanolin never washed out), to keep them even warmer on the boats even if they got soaking wet.

    So teach him to knit with cables, bobbles and moss stitch and he can be a very macho fisher knitter from Aran.

  13. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    My late husband, who was a tough as nails former Army 1st sgt, was a serious knitter.

    He carried projects with him on field exercises and deployments and I can assure you that no one questioned "Top's" masculinity.

    It's an excellent hobby and not only do you get something permanent out of it, but it keeps the hands AND the mind occupied--think of the math involved in working up one's own patterns and the like.

    I taught husband to knit years and years ago when he was laid up with an injury and on medical leave.

    He was going nuts, and with his ADHD, I was going that way right along with him.

    by the way. The bulk of knitting has always been done by men, usually fishermen and farmers who had "Off" seasons. Women were just too busy year round to knit.
  14. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    Actually when difficult child 2 was in his first placement they used crocheting as a coping skill. He actually crocheted the window coverings for all of the windows in the one hall he was in. A couple people paid him to crochet some stuff. I don't think it is as out of the ordinary today as it would have been. Of course there will always be kids to pick on other kids for what they like to do. But I know that crocheting was one thing that difficult child 2 always loved. He isn't allowed to do it in juvie as the hook is considered a weapon.

  15. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You are right about Rosey Grier - it was needlepoint. I was mistaken.

    there are some really COOL books of things to knit/crochet/needlecraft for the youngsters of today. I had a great time giggling over them with my mom one day. We were at Barnes and noble. They were near the "Stitch n Gritch" (that is gritch with a b) books.

    I was searching for the book and saw a book of dog sweaters (Doggy Knits by Alison Jenkins and there is another Doggy knits by Corrine Niessner). This is not the one I originally saw, but it might be interesting: Pretty in Punk: 25 Punk, Rock and Goth Knitting Projects by Alyce Benevides et al. I am sure it is available at amazon, and if you order through the site it helps Cheryl with costs.

    I did ask Jessie (age 13, now in 8th grade) what would happen at school if a guy let others know he could knit and her comment was "World as he knew it would end." Remember though that we are in Oklahoma, NOT the tolerance capital of the world.

    When Jessie first wanted to learn to knit we asked a crafter at the church craft fair and she recommended circular needles - they are connected through a piece of flexible plastic. This way things can't fall off? I don't knit, so I don't totally understand. She also tried those round knitting looms. She didn't like them, but then, she didn't really try them. I am fascinated by them though. If the new medication works they are one of the things I want to play with.

    IF he sticks with it, introduce him to some of the other fibers. And if he has questions there are some pretty good web boards. One that I know of is just for cross stitchers and knitters, so I can pm the site if you want it.

    Personally, I think it is cool that he knits. And if his friends see a basket of knitting stuff sitting around he can just tell them it is yours.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Forgot to put this down, just a funny.

    I used to get my hair "done" by a guy who owns a cosmetology school and teaches for Redken. One day a student asked how he got into the "hair gig". He was in the vocational school to sign up for welding with some guys he knew. Gary noticed that the girls were ALL in the cosmetology line (or, as he put it, the cute ones were). He ditched the guys he knew and went over there. He signed up and got a LOT of ribbing. Until his friends were ending the day all stinky and sweaty and HE was ending the day looking sharp and going out for drinks or a meal with fine looking ladies. And he spent his entire career surrounded by women. NOT a bad "gig" for a ladies man - and he IS!

    Just thought it was funny, esp iwth your difficult child's reasoning for choosing his class because the girls are mostly the ones who take it.
  17. seekinghope

    seekinghope New Member

    My son's RT also taught the boys knitting.
    On visiting day I was impressed to see how many boys were doing the amazing jobs.
  18. rob#30

    rob#30 hangin in there

    My difficult child loves to knit, needlepoint, cook, clean ,shop etc... He is relentlessly teased by my easy child. Im sure you can imagine the names he's called. Until recently I was absolutely convinced he was gay. With all of the other problems he has I was worried how that would add to them. He seems to have a new interest in girls, maybe a little bit to much of an interest! He has a strange attachment to my mother. All her "stuff" like her purfume, jewlery, shoes etc. We all have always thought it was cute. Of course we all have had many conversations about difficult child's sexuality. None of us care weather he's gay or not. We just all love his eccentricity (?) I have a one year old daughter & from the minute she was born difficult child was like a natural mother with her. He knew exactly how to hold her, feed her, burp her etc. Now sometimes I think she thinks he is her mother!!

    My point is, who cares really if any of this is normal or not?? Normal by whose guidelines?? As long as difficult child manages better because he is allowed to express himself, isnt that all that matters?

    PS My difficult child also happens to be the star of the football team. Not just my opinion, coaches were at my door begging me to make him sign up again this year!! So, football player/knitter,shopper,cleaner, loves babies... Sounds like a catch for a guy OR a girl to me!!!!!:D
  19. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member


    Chec out Kaffe Fassett's web site. He is a well known artist, who knits the most beautiful things.

    If your difficult child can stick to his hobby, stand his ground, and not get riled by any teasing that he might get, then the others will eventually tire of the teasing. One of husband's friends in high school registered for the sewing class "to meet the cute chicks". Worked a treat, and that's where he met his wife.

    My difficult child is learning how to knit. He finds it relaxing. It seems to get some of the knots out of his brain. One of his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) staffers is an avid knitter, and she volunteered to teach him.

    (I'm an avid knitter as well, but don't have the patience to teach difficult child)

  20. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Wow- all this info is great! I feel well- informed now to have a good discussion or two while we're on vacation. Thank every one of you! I think I can help difficult child feel comfortable with what he wants to do now -but still prepare him for the attitudes of some he might face at this age.

    We have been talking lately about finding a balance between doing things that are "cool" and accepted among peers and still having one's own tastes and individuality. Like music- he can have some cd's that most kids his age like, but if he likes some artists that other kids don't appreciate, he should still listen to them, too. It's important to not get so consumed by pleasing others or being accepted by them that we lose the opportunity to enjoy the things we like or want to do, even if they aren't the most popular.

    I think this can lead into the subject of knitting. Of course, chances are that once I think this is resolved, he'll lose interest. LOL!! But, you never know what they might get back into later and maybe he can get something from this talk whether or not the issue is knitting.