From the magazine: Stitch to wear

Style Queue
The benefits of handmade knits

Knit_Guy prefers to remain anonymous, but he is happy to share his knitting projects with the world via his Instagram account. He is a 43-year-old family man who works full-time in downtown Portsmouth. In this interview, he talks about how he got into knitting, what knitting has in common with high-school band, and whether he would quit his day job to knit full-time.

Who taught you how to knit?
I’m self-taught. About two years ago, I wanted to make a scarf so I bought a kit online. The kit included needles, yarn, and a booklet. I just figured it out as I went along. If I got stuck on a stitch, I’d watch a YouTube video to figure it out. The Internet is phenomenal in that way. Anything you want to know is out there — just Google it.

I started with the simple stuff, like casting on and learning knits and purls. It took a fair bit of work and some trial and error. Understanding the tension of the yarn and how to hold the needles can be a challenge. Over time, I have progressed to more and more complicated stuff.

What is your favorite thing about knitting?
It forces me to focus. Many times I’ll knit while I’m on a conference call. Knitting keeps me from picking up my phone or looking at an email. It basically ties my hands so I have to listen. The other thing is I love seeing the fabric getting created. I love seeing the finished work. Lastly, when you knit you are creating your own clothing. You are creating something that fits you perfectly. It’s nice to get a compliment on something that I created. Handmade knits are a great conversation piece. I’ve had conversations with people that I would never have had if I was just in a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.

Knit Guy

Knit_Guy poses in a fully knitted suit designed by famed German knitter Modetempel. photo by Jennifer Moore

What is your favorite time of day to knit? Do you watch movies or listen to music while you knit?
My favorite time to knit is whenever I can. That’s the problem. It’s a time-consuming process that requires focus. I haven’t achieved the level where I can watch a movie and knit at the same time. I want to make sure that my stitches line up.

What is the hardest part about knitting?
Understanding how to size the fabric to fit the body.

Do you wish you could quit your day job and knit instead?
Yes. If I won Megabucks, I would be a knitwear designer. I would love to design knits for men and women.

Do you get sexist comments when people learn that you knit?
Yes. I get a different set of reactions depending on the person. Women tend to be more appreciative. It’s like the paradigm of kids in the high-school band. Kids in high-school band are considered nerds, but when they get out of high school and they play in a band, then they are the coolest kid in town.

You know, you see a lot of knitted sweaters and a lot of knitted cardigans; you don’t see a lot of knitted pants.

Tell me about what you are wearing.
My outfit was designed by an amazing German knitter by the name of Modetempel. She designed the cardigan. I gave her my measurements and worked with her to design a pair of matching pants and a hat. I wanted a fully knitted suit. It was the first time she’d ever designed pants. You know, you see a lot of knitted sweaters and a lot of knitted cardigans; you don’t see a lot of knitted pants.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to learn how to knit?
Buy a kit. Wool and the Gang and We Are Knitters have great starter kits.

In what ways do you practice sustainable style?
Well, I knit some of my own clothes. Also, if there is a sweater that I created and I don’t like it, I can just unravel it and redo it. I recycle the yarn. I have a black sweater that I made a while ago that didn’t come out like I wanted, so I am going to recycle that and turn it into a seed-stitch cardigan with a shawl collar.

What are your favorite places to shop for knitting supplies?
A Loom with a View in Newburyport, Yarnseller in York, Maine, and online at Wool and the Gang.

Who are your favorite knitters on Instagram?
@vingil_lab — Huge chunky knits.
@ulyana.atwood — Amazing Russian knitter.
@thethirdpiece — Knitter outside Boston.
@ilovemrmittens — Pure chunky awesomeness.

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