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Once a Marine, Always a Marine . . . Knitter

I used to sit next to my girlfriend, Elizabeth, in front of the TV and just watch...her.  Her hands would go at a steady 90 miles per hour and create a gentle clicking sound that would put me in a trance. 

I tried to follow what she was doing -- her fingers flying, yarn wrapping, needles sliding, clicking, twisting -- but I always found myself getting lost (or caught staring) and would return to watching the TV. I was so intrigued by her passion for a past time that starts, simply, with a ball of yarn and some needles.

I would tease her because, "knitting is for Grammas, not young people." But I was still interested.  My curiosity was obvious, despite my efforts to avoid becoming a knitter.

Finally she offered to teach me but I was defiant to try the craft. I found it acceptable for older women to knit and was warming up to idea of young women knitting, but guys definitely do not knit...right? 

All I needed to make the first step toward becoming a knitter was the right project. I asked Elizabeth if a beanie would be a good start for a beginner -- it would be a great gift for my brother.  She tried to hide her excitement when I finally gave in and let her teach me the fundamentals of knitting.  I conceded on one condition: she would not tell anyone. 

Elizabeth and her sister were thrilled to call me a knitter, but I fought the label. I did not want to become a failed knitter -- to start a project and not be able to finish. But once I got started, I was hooked! I made beanies for both my brothers and one for my Marine buddy. I DID call myself a knitter now.

After I had completed a project and saw what a great reaction I got out of my brother, Luke, I felt a little more comfortable telling people. He introduced me to all of his buddies in a bar and promptly said, "Tyler knitted this hat for me!" I then started to tell everyone. Elizabeth and I would go to a party, she would be talking about knitting and I would say, "I knit too." She looked at me in shock at first, but was soon happy I finally felt comfortable admitting, "I am a knitter."

When I tell people I know how to knit they are taken aback. They think it is funny that a male Marine has taken up such an uncharacteristic hobby. Some people think I learned in the Marines, but I proudly correct them that my girlfriend and her sister taught me. I knit everywhere I go, on the plane to Australia and now in Kuwait in my camies with my M16 next to me. In the care packages my girlfriend mails me, she puts in skeins of yarn, knitting needles and a pattern for me to start a new project.

Knitting isn't just for Grammas. In fact, it's very stylish. It's cool because I made it cool. None of my Marine buddies know how to knit and so they are very curious. They are quick to make jokes, but it is followed up by a request for a beanie, a sweater, or an M16 cozy. My curiosity about knitting turned into a fun obsession and a great way to spend time with my girlfriend.



Tyler is a US Marine currently stationed in Kuwait.

He has made three beanies, a scarf for his mom, and just finished a bikini for his girlfriend, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth is the hottie seen on the website of her sister's company, Jordana Paige, and in the pages of Knitty.