Men take to showing love a stitch at a time

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 February, 2006, 12:00am

Valentine's Day has always been a headache for guys desperate for gift ideas to please their demanding girlfriends. But 26-year-old Jeffery Kwok has everything under control - he is knitting a scarf for his girlfriend.

'I hope to make a special gift. Before, I bought her a mobile phone or accessories, which can be seen everywhere,' said Mr Kwok, who has been attending a knitting class for a month.

'I've never done any knitting in my life. The scarf I'm knitting for her is pink, with some special patterns. She might think it doesn't look good when she sees it, but I'm sure she'll appreciate my effort.'

Mr Kwok, who has taken a new knitting course at the Hong Kong College of Technology's Competitiveness Centre, is among a growing number of men who have taken up knitting after it became trendy in New York. A wool and craft store in Manhattan organises 'boyz nights' where dozens of men gather for a few pints and to knit. It is said knitting helps relieve stress.

Competitiveness Centre manager Santes Ma Sai-dan said the course had only recently begun recruiting men.

'Knitting is a very good way to show your love and to take your mind off stressful daily life,' said Ms Ma.

She hoped the centre would help promote the culture of knitting among males.

'In the past, you'd never see a man carrying a baby or feeding one. But these days, they are everywhere. Men and women are more equal now,' she said.

Irene Chan Ngai-chun, Mr Kwok's knitting instructor, said the men were better than some of the women.

'The males I taught are talented. I didn't have to explain much to them and they grasped the idea right away. Mr Kwok's technique is really good.'

While men in the US seemed to be more open about their interests, Mr Kwok was a little shy.

'I didn't tell anyone about attending the knitting class because it's quite embarrassing. People usually think guys shouldn't pick up such a girly hobby,' he said.

Ms Chan said Hong Kong people were still conservative about men knitting. 'People still think it's a bit girly. It takes time to change concepts,' she said.