Knitting Books for Children

kiwiknitter's picture

We encourage our 11 year old son to try his hand at many different things so that he can appreciate the variety of life.  He plays on his school soccer and cricket teams, loves movies and music, competes aggressively on the playground and likes to do latch hook rugs and tapestry (children's kits).  He took a brief knitting course for kids during his spring school interval and liked it a lot.  I decided to buy him some knitting books and get him going on another project.  Even if he never learns to love knitting, at least he will know something about it and have an appreciation for the craft.

 I recently purchased 10 children's knitting books from Amazon.com.  I was shocked at the inherent gender bias in all but 2 of them.  Looking through the books, there could be no doubt in anyone's mind that knitting is for girls, not boys.  The references were to Girl Scouts, girls' clubs, and the projects were mainly geared towards girls.  The few photos of boys (and of some of the girls) clearly give the impression that these children have never held a knitting needle in their hands at any time in their lives!  I could see that the majority of the books were not giving the correct message, not to mention they were filled with stupid projects.

 The 2 books I'm showing here were the exception.  They are basically gender-neutral and actually have some believable boys-knitting photos in them.  No, they're not filled with pictures of boys knitting, but the over-all impression is that all children can knit.  In addition, the projects (in my opinion) were more appealing.  The directions in each are clearly written and fairly easy to follow.

We all know the sting of unwelcome that often comes from clerks in yarn stores, at knitting classes, etc.  It's not universal but this discrimination exists.  I just experienced a patronizing condescending attitude today at a yarn shop near my work.  I asked about advanced knitting classes and the clerks could not believe that I was capable of anything other than knitting dishcloths.  If we men knitters are going to increase our numbers, we need to let boys and young men know that knitting belongs to men as well as to women.  How many of us here at MWK didn't come to knitting until later in life?  Why do we still experience angst when we knit in public?  It is heartening to see that today we had a young 15 year old knitter join us!  Good on you, mate!

If anyone knows of other books that present knitting as a craft for both boys and girls, I'd love to know the title.  The titles shown here are: Kids Knitting: Projects for Kids of All Ages by Melanie Falick and Kids' Easy Knitting Projects: Quick Starts for Kids by Peg Blanchette.

Cheers,  Jesse

Comments

I have this book, it's OK.

I have this book, it's OK. The kids in my knitting class are not drawn to it. I think that it's well intentioned etc. 

Knit away, knit away

kiwiknitter's picture

 Gary,  Thanks for this. 

 Gary,  Thanks for this.  If the inside is anything like the cover, it's got to be a winner!  I'm headed for Amazon.com right now to find a copy for my son. 

Cheers,  Jesse

I've got knitting fever in the worsted way.

garykfc's picture

I found this one in

I found this one in Michael's craft store in Houston.  My 5 year old son pulled it down from the books.  I bought it just to have it but I think I have to wait a year for him to be more focused.  This company appears to make male gender friendly books.

JPaul's picture

Here's another to add to

Here's another to add to your list.  There Berenstain Bears have been around for years.  In "He Bear, She Bear," the brother and sister learn about all the things they can do, regardless of gender.

drmel94's picture

I'd also recommend this one.

Kids Knit!I'd also recommend this one. I know the author from the glb-knit listserv and bought the book for one of my brother's stepsons who has expressed an interest in knitting. The images are mostly of girls, but there are some boys knitting, as well. The book is written as a series of lessons and projects that utilize those lessons in a progressive fashion - building skills as you work through the book. Some of the projects are fairly frilly, but I'd say it's pretty well-balanced with projects that are gender-neutral.

As for LYS experiences, I can't say that mine have ever been negative. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've felt welcome at every LYS I've been to. When asked if I need help, my standard answer (unless I have a specific need) is that I've come to fondle the yarn. I think most of us come to fiber arts not just because of a desire to create something, but at a very fundamental level because of the tactile nature of it. So when I tell shopkeepers that I generally get a laugh and a nod because it tells them that we share the need for handfeel and, I think, puts them well at ease. 

Knitting in public is a

Knitting in public is a hoot! For many years, I have knitted in coffee shops, on the bus, and in doctor's offices. Never had a negative comment from anyone, although receiving many funny looks from people. I've also acquired any number of students, people who have thought of taking up knitting and not done it yet.

Making beautiful craft objects is a gender-neutral issue, in the long run. We all desire to make useful, artistic, and beautiful items. Knitting binds people together rather than separating people into little groups. That's one of the main rewards I get from my knitting.

Jordan's picture

Jesse--Though I don't have a

Jesse--

Though I don't have a child, I guess I was one, and your points are well said and resonate with me.  Thanks for saying them!  It seems to me that what you must be teaching your son by being a knitter yourself (and surpassing traditional gender limitations in other ways!) is a great lesson.  I'm sure it speaks loudly--he's lucky to know he has more options.  And bravo for thinking to donate those books to the school! I wish I knew of other books to recommend.  Maybe one of us will write one someday.

Yarn shop experiences.  Now there's a weekly discussion topic for ya!

Best-

Jordan 

 

kiwiknitter's picture

Thanks, for the comments,

Thanks, for the comments, Bill & Martin.  Equal rights now!  Reverse discrimination isn't pretty, either.  As for the book, "Boys Don't Knit" I've already posted it in the Image Gallery.  It's a nice book about a boy who learns to knit from a friend's grandfather.  It's a short book but the message is very positive.  We're giving it to our son for xmas (belated this year due to traveling/holiday) and I'll let you know how much he likes it.  As for the other 2 books, I'm going to purchase extra copies and donate them to our son's school library.  Cheers, Jesse

Good points Jesse. It's not

Good points Jesse. It's not that we want to take over the world of knitting but at least have a balanced share. I work as receptionist at my school 3:00-6:00 one day a week & boldly sit there knitting. It's a bold move & the looks I get. the deep breath & a comment "Oh, you knit," "What's that you're knitting?" Word has got out via the parent body that I have organised a baby blanket knitted by 20 faculty & staff to be autioned at the benefit in March to raise money for the scholarship kids.

Away with conventions.

Martin 

Knit away, knit away

Jordan's picture

That's excellent!  It's one

That's excellent!  It's one thing to have other people know you knit.  And it's an entirely other thing to actually knit in front of them.  (I'm imagining, not having knit publicly before.)  That's great.

Bill's picture

I think perhaps my grandson

I think perhaps my grandson is too young to give a knitting book...he's just nine months... but I'm wondering what this book is like??? ...his mother knits... and I think she'd get a kick out of it... my understanding is that it's a positive outlook on knitting for boys! Bill
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