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Published October 04 2012

Benshoof: Why not get knitting this winter?

FARGO – Mother Nature seems to be having a bit of an identity crisis these days.

Just a matter of days removed from a weekend that felt downright like summer, on Thursday morning we awoke to cold, snow and slush.

The first snowfall of the season always seems to surprise us. We’re shocked, disgusted, enthralled and overjoyed (which, as a side note, is also the range of emotions I went through during Wednesday night’s presidential debate).

The weather is going to warm back up next week, thankfully, which means that we have time to prepare ourselves more thoroughly for real winter.

In keeping with this column’s theme of learning new things, this year I’ve been encouraged to try to learn to knit to keep myself warm before winter comes.

However, I was initially more than dubious about this. Knitting – the activity I imagine to be a favorite of older women sitting in a church basement gossiping about neighbors while drinking tea? According to various sources, that’s not necessarily the case. For example, a book aimed at men called “Knitting with Balls: A hands-on guide to knitting for the modern man” claims that men have always been knitting, and “have been responsible for countless fiber-related inventions.”

The Art of Manliness website (www.artofmanliness.com) also lists knitting among its “45 Hobbies for Men,” along with things like adventure races, metalworking, marksmanship and whittling (which, coincidentally, are other hobbies I’ve been meaning to pick up).

To get me started with knitting, it just so happens that there’s a local option: Unglued, a craft shop in downtown Fargo, is offering several basic workshops this season.

Ashley Morken, a founder of Unglued who is signed up to take one of the workshops, says that the knitting events have been a popular draw so far (only among women, though – zero men have taken the class, she says).

Many of the knitters who have signed up are younger people, which Morken thinks is possibly because the hobby is becoming trendier.

“I think people are going back to traditional crafts,” she says. “I don’t know if it’s because of budgets, or if people want to get a new hobby going during winter, but I think people do want something handmade by themselves.”

So perhaps I’ll give knitting a shot. I’m a trendy guy, after all. But, if it is to be my new hobby this season, I doubt I’ll start with something big like a scarf or a hat. Rather, I might just try to knit myself a small bowtie.

Just imagine – it’s warm, perfect for the bizarre weather being thrown at us, and fashionable, doubling as a handy accessory for this election season’s next five weeks.

If you go

What: A winter headband and knitting basics workshop

When: 5:30 p.m., Wednesday

Where: Unglued, 408 Broadway, Fargo

Info: Registration is $15 plus supplies and pre-registration is required. Email ungluedcraftfest@gmail.com or call (701) 205-1597.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sam Benshoof at (701) 241-5535