Tuesday 7 July 2009

Male needleworkers are waiting to join you

The first time I went to weight training in the 80s I was very nearly put off by all the grunting males with their huge body belts and total saviness. But I steeled myself, got used to it and, after a time, hasarded questions and received a great deal of help. It can be so intimidating to be a minority amongst a group who seem to have everything stitched up, as it were. There are many men out there who stitch and who would love to have the company of other stitchers, but feel the guilds are the proud preserve of women. Would you welcome men into your guild? Do you positively advertise for male members? How could you make men feel less intimidated and more welcome amongst you?
Men have been stitching for a thousand years and more. Many learnt to stitch to repair canvas sails in the navy, and when becalmed or taken prisoner, would stitch decorative items. This superb item is 19th century sailor's long-stitch woolwork of HMS Minotaur and HMS Trafalgar, by Able Seaman Edwin Hayward in its original maple frame. Edwin Hayward was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and entered service 27th August 1862 at the age of 10. He served first as an Able Seaman on the Minotaur 31st January 1867and on the Trafalgar 17th August 1870. He finished his naval service in 1872. This image is copyright Sampson and Horne Antiques.
For more details from Sampson and Horne just click here.


  1. My grandfather was in the navy, he was a "boy", the youngest rank then, at Gallipoli in 1915-16. I remember rugs he had made while on board ship during his long career and he was also knew how to do macrame. In those days, the 20s and 30s, a sailor didn't take his family with him so my mother had few memories of him when she was a child.

  2. I think it is wonderful that men stitch and love the art as much as women! I would think we should welcome them into our stitch groups or perhaps there are men out there that would like to form their own group(s). Good luck and keep stitching! It is a wonderful art that binds regardless of gender, race, age or ability,

  3. I learned to stitch when I was in the Navy and have been stitching for over 25 years and find it to be a great way to relieve stress. The local guild - Tudor Rose Sampler Guild - has welcomed me into their guild in which I have been participating for about 5 years. They are a great group of women and I enjoy sharing this hobby with them. As Julie stated "it is wonderful art that binds us".

  4. Welcome aboard, Mr Harris. It's good to have men stitching amongst us!