Male knitting fan urges women not to see him as a curiosity

Uniqlo joins list of retailers opposing mulesed wool

Women should not perceive men who like to knit as a curiosity but should welcome their love of the pastime.

This is the claim made by a male knitting fan in the US, who claimed that people often stare at him when he starts knitting but he knows lots of men who create their own objects out of wool.

Speaking to the Seattle Times, Chuck Wilmesher explained that he attended a male knitting retreat with 48 guys and pointed out that fishermen in the past produced their own jumpers and hats.

"It drives me crazy when people act like they’ve never seen a man knitting before," declared the 44-year-old, who took up the hobby after losing his mother. He has even had a cardigan pattern published in Vogue Knitting.

The enthusiast advises other men thinking about taking up knitting: "Get over it and try it and who cares what anybody thinks. I wish there was some way to make men know that it is not a woman’s sport."

And Mr Wilmesher is not alone. In amongst the displays of patterns and colourful yarn at Vogue Knitting LIVE in Bellevue, Washington, recently was a panel discussion entitled Men at Work featuring male store owners and designers.

Rob Delmont, who works alongside Mr Wilmesher as the Skacel Collection's director of sales and marketing and was taught to knit by his grandmother, appeared on the panel.

He told the newspaper: "Knitting speaks to everybody differently. I love fibre, I love the creativity."

Knitting was recently hailed as the "new yoga" for men, with celebrities such as actor Ryan Gosling picking up needles and knitwear designer Brandon Mably pointing to its soothing potential.

"The motion of the needles is like the ticking of a grandfather clock or counting out worry beads. It helps with stress - knitting is the new mediation or yoga," he said.

Indeed, knitting fan Gerrard Allt explained that the calming effect of the pursuit helped him to stop smoking as it distracted him and reduced stress-related cravings.

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