Meet James: A man who knits

James Cox pictured with sketches – James Cox Knits

While men who knit aren’t so rare today, when my very practical mother taught my three sisters and me to knit in the early 1960s, it seemed men never knitted. So neither did I until 1980, when one sister wove some fabric for me on her loom, then sent the yardage along with a box of leftover yarn. When I saw the various balls of remnant yarn, I called both my mother and grandmother and asked if they’d make me a sweater. Grandma said, “Honey, I gave up knitting long ago.” Mom said, “You can do it yourself.”

Soon after that, I was in a checkout line at a Woolworth’s variety store and spied a little book titled How to Knit. I flipped through the pages and said to myself, “Oh yes, I can do this.” I promptly went to the needlecrafts section and found a pattern for a cardigan.

Two years later, I finished my first project: a cardigan, yes, but not the pattern in the book. Instead I designed a Fair Isle using the potpourri of remnant yarn I had received, and along the way became hooked on a wonderful new hobby.

It’s now more than 30 years later and I’ve been knitting almost every day since that fateful moment at Woolworth’s. The result is a collection of men’s knitwear that friends keep telling me I should be selling. But instead of selling clothes, I prefer to sell ideas—patterns that make great knitting projects for men (and women who knit for men). I hope they will inspire you to make more handcrafted gifts for the men and boys in your life, and, if you happen to be one of the not-so-rare male knitters of today, for yourself.