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.