A local yarn shop in South Etobicoke is raising awareness for prostate cancer by offering free knitting and crocheting lessons to any men this November.
Spin Me A Yarn, located at 2855 Lakeshore Blvd W., usually offers classes and private lessons for about $20-$35 including materials, but for this month men attend for free.
This is the first time Spin Me A Yarn is offering free classes for Movember – an annual fundraiser for prostate cancer research.
Treena Evans, owner of Spin Me A Yarn, organizes the classes and lessons in her store and has participated in cancer awareness campaigns in the past. Evans says her involvement with Knitted Knockers – an organization that provides breast cancer survivors with volunteer knitted prosthetic breasts – motivated her to offer free lessons for Movember.
“My husband does Movember every year and we did Knitted Knockers for Breast Cancer Awareness last month, so it seemed fitting to include Movember awareness this month,” she says.
Evans says she hopes to raise awareness for mens’ health and encourages men to join the knitting community despite any stereotypes.
“Offering free classes seemed a good way to get men started with knitting and to enjoy the benefits that knitting brings.”
Knitting enthusiast, Taylor Whittington-Heeney, says he has been knitting since the first grade and explains the benefits he has had with yarn arts.
“It’s fun and makes me feel independent being able to make my own stuff,” Whittington-Heeney says. “I love any hobby that lets people resist the throw-away society we live in…The sense of pride and independence you have when you finish something you can hold and go – ‘I made this’ is hard to beat.”
Whittington-Heeney says the gendered stigma about yarn arts is slowly changing.
“I think the stigma started in the post-war era when gender roles became more cemented… In the World Wars it was common for men to knit during down time,” Whittington-Heeney says. “There is still plenty of stereotypes around the hobby… I think things are slowly changing though.”
Nathan Jones is not a knitter but says he is open to learning.
“I’ve never really took the time to try mainly because fine tasks sometimes frustrate me and I’ve never really needed to,” Jones says. “I don’t really know where to start with it.”
For Jones, gender was not a factor in whether or not he learned yarn arts. Jones says he is open to the idea of learning with lessons like the ones Spin Me A Yarn is offering.
“I would be more inclined to give it a try,” Jones says.
Evans’ free Movember classes and lessons have attracted her first male attendees to any classes or lessons hosted since she opened the store in September 2017. Evans explains these opportunities can benefit the knitting community and the “men with stix” joining it.
“I think it shows that anyone can knit and that it is not something just for Grandmas!,” Evans says. “It can be something that couples can both do. Free classes open it up for guys to give knitting a try without any financial commitments if they do not like it.”
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Movember can be a lot of fun! Alex, from Big Rock, brought a sampling of their fine beers last night and our first Movember event was a hit! With Cashmere Crooner as a beer option and their Holiday Cheers can celebrating the coziness of knitting, there was even a surprise knitting tie in to the beer tasting! Cheers! @bigrockbrewery @hart_ingrid @tritech.ca #smayevent #smaymovember2018 #beerandknitting #beerandknittingequalsperfectpairing #menwithsticks #localyarnstore #torontoyarnstore
In addition to free classes, Evans is also hosting beer and pizza nights and offering discounts on any patterns purchased by men.
For more information on the events and classes offered at Spin Me A Yarn visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/spinmeayarnstore/.