Questions for a survey

Hello all,

I'd like to compile some information comparing men to women knitters. Obviously, there will be a lot of crossover. Probably mostly crossover. The results may be published as part of a book I'm writing. What questions do you think should be included in this survey? Also, do you have any information on this topic that you can share? If you see a question listed that you agree should be included, please let me know that so I can figure out which questions carry the most interest.

Thanks very much!


CLABBERS's picture

Is your book going to include a history of knitting? Wikipedia has some interesting facts about the craft, which includes men's roles in this fiber art...but back then it was more of a necessity than an art form. I especially like the old block print of a shepherd sitting atop three large tripod-type stilts knitting while he tends to his flock. I think putting together a good comprehensive history of the craft would make for interesting reading, especially if it included a good explanation of how and when it eveloved from a male's craft to one dominated in most modern societies by females. Good luck with the book!

RBrereton's picture

Hi Mark, Thanks. If you have any links that you'd like to share, I'd love to look them over.

New York Built's picture

All too often in the past four years, my time online with either Men Who Knit or on Ravelry, a questioner enters the fray with a set of queries around the sex-defined difference or similarities of fiberphiles.

This contrast is alluring, in some way...academic credentials, writing chops or intellectual exercise notwithstanding. I suspect the answer is mostly, if not entirely, centered in the Industrial Revolution. My reading and study suggests the Western world was transformed into the sexual divide it still is today. Before that, not so much.

I think that male knitters take up the craft for the exact same reasons mere mortals become avocational motorcycle riders, language enthusiasts, chefs, madrigal singers, carpenters, film-makers, poets, etc. They enjoy the recreation.

Practice comes before belief, because information fuels informed activity. Fire up the computer, get a library card, take a class or watch a relative and learn.

I believe the sex of the creator is meaningless, after 25 years of work with artists and artisans in all media, IMHO.

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.

RBrereton's picture

Thanks for your thoughts.

RBrereton's picture


RBrereton's picture


Potter's picture

I think it would interesting to see the answers of men vs. women to some of the same questions, such as,

Why do you knit?
How did you get started knitting?
What feedback do you get from others for knitting?
Do you knit for others, yourself, or both?
Does knitting make you feel more male/female? Yes / No / No relevance.
What sense of accomplishment do you get from knitting?
How do you measure yarn? By the grams, ounce or yards?

Potter's picture

I've been doing some research and found that there's circumstantial evidence that about 1 in 5 people who knit are males. That's pretty cool! The article with that information was from 2009. There are more and more people who learn how to knit every year, so there might be even more males who knit than the 2009 data suggests.
The data of the number of men knitters comes from this article:

In 2003 Hachet and Barnes claimed there were 1.3 million knitters in the US. That would make over a quarter of a million men knitters just in the US.

The craft yarn council has data for several years, but don't differentiate between male and female knitters. They seem to think only women knit?

I'm not sure why your response to my questions were **.

I have reasons for those questions.

I've found that, according to the data source above, the reason a large percentage of women knit is to feel creative. I suspect that would be the guys' answer as well, but I could be wrong. And that's the reason for the question of why do you knit.

I had read at one time years ago that sewing for women reduced their blood pressure and made them feel more feminine. I thought that was an extremely odd test result, especially since I (a female) don't enjoy sewing and would think I'd have raised blood pressure from the activity. Anyway, that's why that question was included.

The question about measuring yarn is from my experience here with the guys. I know in the store and with ladies, I can say "Super Saver 7 oz skein of yarn" and they'll almost always know what I'm talking about. But the guys I've talked with here seem to measure by length of the yarn. That means when talking about the size of my yarn bowls, I'll probably have to unwind some skeins and measure the length to accommodate those that work in length .
As a side question, I'd be curious to discover if the length is based on hand spun specialty yarn vs. store bought yarn.

Bill's picture

"sewing for women reduced their blood pressure and made them feel more feminine."
partly baloney!
It's been documented that sewing reduces blood pressure. ...but that's with women who enjoy sewing. Actually doing anything you enjoy will give that result. laughing.
...but I think some creative(?) reporter added the feminine part....
I sew a lot...and it does have a calming effect...unless I'm up against a costume deadline, as I am now....

docs1's picture

Interesting comments. I had some questions when I joined this forum relative to what kinds of yarn guys were looking for, but having seen the wide variety of knitting ventures featured here by members, it's pretty diverse! Maybe the noticeable thing about a number of the projects by members is the creativity and thinking outside the box.
I will say this, I consider myself more or less a novice in knitting (not other fiber activities), but I feel less intimidated on this forum than I sometimes do in other fiber settings. And, BTW, this is coming from a female spinner now trying to become a legitimate knitter.

RBrereton's picture

Just wanted to say thanks again for the ideas. There are several of us working on this project. We're looking for questions that will show the differences and similarities between men and women who knit. The survey will eventually be posted on survey monkey. Thanks again! If there are any more thoughts, please feel free to post them.