In 1972, when men were struggling to free themselves from the contraints of the Eisenhower 1950’s by wearing colourful clothes, jewelry and experimenting with pursuits formerly considered outside the realm of the real man, Dave Fougner found the time was right for bringing men knitters out of the closet and so he published his booklet “The Manly Art of Knitting”. .
From the forward: “There is definitely a dual purpose in the writing of this book. The first is to introduce knitting to those men who have an interest but are reluctant to try. Then too, it is hoped that the many men who now knit will become less reluctant to admit it.”
There are only 64 pages in his book but everything anyone needs to learn to knit is included between the covers. He discusses, without all the verbage and in simple language, the basics of needle size, cast-on, knit and purl stitches, as well as increases, decreases, binding-off, gauge and assembling. The drawings of how to do the techniques are so clear that even my knitting-challenged partner exclaimed, “Wow! I can figure that out!” The pattern stitches are garter, stockinette, purl, rib, moss, rice and basket weave. The best part is the projects chapter: a dog blanket, a beanie, a wall hanging (for your horse’s best-in-show award), a saddle blanket for your horse (knitted circularly with sharpened garden hose and “jumbo” yarn), a slipover (jumper) and a rope hammock (knitted with either shovel handles or pool cues with manila rope). There is then a section on problems. I learned here how to pick up dropped stitches with the end of a knitting needle and a toothpick instead of a crochet hook!
I had seen the cover (in itself worth the price of the book!) before but hadn’t known anything about the book until reading about it in “Men With Balls”. A close-up photo of the cowboy is attached. The imagine runs wild wondering just what the cowpoke is knitting... I found a copy and paid an exorbitant price but I didn’t mind as I love quality vintage knitting items which are male-related. Dave’s book is really quite a gem of men’s knitting memorabilia.
As might be surmised from the title, Dave was concerned that he and his hobby wouldn’t be seen as less-than-manly (read faggy) and so he over-empasised the butch side of knitting (not unlike the strategy of Rosy Greer in his needlepoint for men book). I’ve included a photo of the frontpiece which I call “Male Knitter Power!" From the back cover: “Only a man would knit a hammock with shovel handles for needles and manila rope for yarn.”