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Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!

In the summer of 2021, the sight of British diver Tom Daley at the Tokyo Olympics happily knitting poolside sent the world into an excited frenzy. Viewers across the globe seemed more astounded by the fact he is a knitter, than by his spectacular gold medal-winning dives! News and social media outlets marvelled at his skill and desperately mused over what he could be making. It turned out to be a dog coat, then he moved on to casually whip up an Olympic cardigan in a matter of days, complete with intarsia details that were as neat as a pin.

But hang on a minute. It’s 2022 – are we really that surprised and amazed at seeing a man knitting? Men have knitted since the craft began, they famously knitted during wartime, fishermen have knitted ganseys for years, and some of the biggest names in the world of knitting are men; yes Kaffe Fassett, we’re looking at you! Here at Let’s Get Crafting, we know there is an ever-growing community of male knitters out there, so we put out a call to guys who love to garter. Men everywhere responded with an almighty clatter of needles and crafty stories that made our hearts sing. So, sit back, relax and celebrate with us as we find out more about bros who knit rows… 

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
Tom has recently launched his own range of knitting kits, bytomdaley.com
Kaffe Fassett

Kaffe famously learned to knit on a train travelling from Scotland to London in the 1960s. He’d purchased wool and needles from a Scottish mill and asked a fellow passenger to teach him the basics

“I love knitting. There’s just something about it that’s totally satisfying and enjoyable. I like the process from beginning to end. And I can’t say that about painting. If I do a series of paintings there’s a few of them that are just agony to finish. But I find that with knitting I’m motivated from beginning to end and I absolutely love it.” Visit kaffefassett.com to see his work

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
The king of colour loves nothing more than picking up his pins
James Chandler

James has been knitting since childhood. After a lull in his teenage years, he picked up his sticks again as an adult, and now runs his own hand-dyed yarn business, James Makes Yarn

“I started knitting again to help deal with some struggles I was facing mentally, and it quickly became the relief I was looking for! I love being a part of a community that is so welcoming, kind and full of advice. I’ve made some amazing friends by showcasing my knitting online and I think it’s just so wonderful how a shared enjoyment for a craft can bring so many likeminded people together. I think seeing the likes of Tom Daley knitting in the world’s media is a massively positive thing, and a huge step forward as it allows people from all walks of life to see that a man knitting is a ‘normal’ thing. It’s so great seeing so many more men knitting, crocheting and crafting, and I for one hope that one day it’s the norm for all people to be brought up with knitting as a choice of hobby, regardless of what gender you were born with.”  Follow James on Instagram @jamesmakesthings

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
James always has his knitting with him, you never know when you can get a few rows in!
James McIntosh

James coined the term ‘knititation’ – a combination of knitting and meditation – and runs his own yarn company, McIntosh Yarns

“I’ve been knitting for about five years now, and I love it! I learned with YouTube.  I simply googled ‘how to cast on’ and with a bit of practice, 12mm needles and a chunky yarn I kept going. Knitting is more than the sum of its parts. From adding colour to my life, to making something that I actually want to wear or decorate my home with, to knitting for my partner or my niece. But most of all, it’s the mindfulness of knitting that I call ‘knititation’ that I love. It’s me-time and it’s how I practise my wellbeing. It got me out of depression, keeps my mind healthy and more recently has allowed me to stop smoking!” See James’ selection of fibres at knitmcintosh.com

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
Knitting has been a lifeline for the toughest times in James' life
Stuart Hillard

Our columnist Stuart has knitted since childhood, and was a contestant on the first ever series of The Great British Sewing Bee

“Mum taught me to knit when I was three. It was a vain attempt to keep me busy and quiet! But she sparked my creative energy and I’ve been knitting ever since. Mum cast on and taught me garter stitch, and I knitted my Action Man a maxi dress which I accessorised to the max! Knitting is creative, calming, helps me focus and relax, and is a brilliant icebreaker – I once attempted to teach Olympic boxer Audley Harrison to knit on a train to London. I failed but we had a good laugh trying! I find it very odd that knitting is ‘gendered’ by so many people, but I always turn the novelty of it into a reason to chat and share what I’m doing.” See Stuart’s work at stuarthillardmakes.com 

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
Stuart's first make was a knitted maxi dress for Action Man
Adam Brooks

Adam was a 2021 contestant in The Great British Sewing Bee, making it to week five of the show. He is a lifelong knitter and designs his own knitting and sewing patterns

“Like any craft, I find knitting helps me focus and is really good for the mind. When there’s a lot going on in my life, I pick up the pins. Some might call it procrastinating, but I call it centring myself. Dropped stitches were always my nemesis when I started to knit. In fact, the first square I ever knitted ended up with so many dropped stitches it was triangular and looked like a pair of pants – or maybe some swimmers for Mr Daley! I feel so lucky to live in a world today where things are changing and not so dominated by what is masculine and what is feminine. There’s still a way to go, but we are getting there! I for one would knit in secret, it wasn’t something that I was encouraged to do publicly or talk about, as growing up it was deemed a very feminine thing to do. But I can tell you ‘admitting to knitting’ is one of the best things I have done – and it’s opened so many doors and avenues I’d never have dreamt about before.”  See Adam’s designs on Instagram @adamjamesbrooks_

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
Adam says "admitting to knitting" is one of the best things he's done

“I was taught to knit by my mum when quite young. I suffered a serious illness aged 27 and crafting was an important part of my rehabilitation. I started knitting school sweaters, hats and mittens for our daughters and haven’t really stopped. My proudest achievement is a blanket knitted from a Rowan pattern designed by Martin Storey. Since retirement I’ve learned crochet and enjoy both crafts alongside my lovely wife” Peter Bartlett, Sussex

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
Peter Bartlett

“To me, knitting and crochet are the ultimate forms of artistic expression. Transforming strands of yarn with your hands into tangible objects that are both useful and beautiful is one of the most empowering things I can think of. When I knit or crochet, it feels much more than a craft or hobby, I am creating art with every stitch” Quayln Stark, USA

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
Quayln Stark

“My grandma taught me to knit when I was little, but I didn't properly take it up until a few years ago. I was struggling through a bad period of anxiety and depression, and I taught myself to knit to calm and focus myself. I find the rhythm of it and following the patterns relaxes me and keeps my mind occupied away from spiralling thoughts. Plus, I get to make beautiful things for friends and family! Now in the evenings I knit, and my husband sits beside me and crochets” James Davies, Sussex 

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
James Davies

"I started approaching the world of knitting 25 years ago, while I was volunteering in a retirement home. For years I worked only in garter stitch but experimented with different needles and yarns. I define myself as a riot of the craft world; I like to reinterpret, mix, deconstruct and create my drawings and volumes" Simone Villa, Italy

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
Simone Villa

“I started knitting amidst the pandemic. I heard ambulances all day and saw stores shuttered immediately and was looking for a way to connect with my mother who was dealing with the grief of losing my father. I taught myself how to knit, loved the way it made me feel, and now teach others and organise a group. To me, knitting means wellness and community” Miguel Bonilla, New York City, USA

Men Who Knit: Tom Daley, Kaffe Fassett and more!
Miguel Bonilla

The hashtag #menwhoknit has been used 129,000 times on Instagram. We heard from so many bros who love to knit rows!

“I taught myself with YouTube after a breakup. I was looking for a new hobby. I wanted something to keep my hands busy and off my phone! Two years later I always have a project with me” @monkeybinx


“I’ve been crocheting since 2014 when I was in between jobs and wanted to learn a new skill. After years of not wanting to learn knitting, I decided to pick up double-pointed needles in summer 2020 and knit a pair of socks, and now I’m a couple of sweaters and a pair of shorts deep” @dans.beard


“I knit because I need to be doing something most of the time. I’ve knitted a jumper, snoods, hats, scarves. I knitted on a beach recently and felt okay. We shouldn’t feel inhibited should we! I’m determined to knit in public more often” @trevorhuntart


“I’ve knitted since my grandma taught me when I spent a summer with her as a child. She taught me to knit, sew and embroider, but not to crochet – she said that was for hippies! @mychroniclesofyarnia


“I’ve been knitting for over 25 years as my mum showed me the basics. Since then I’ve learnt many different stitches and made small items for babies and my own kids when they were young. Since Covid I’ve been more adventurous with my style and keep myself busy as it helps with my mental health also. My stash grows and I can’t knit fast enough!” @andrewhenderson235


“I learned to knit early in the pandemic as a way to take a break from the news in a creative way. I’m now working on designing my first pattern!” @jays_knits

Are you a man who knits? Share your pictures with us on Facebook or email heidi.wilkins@aceville.co.uk

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