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A Classic of the Genre: Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men
I've coveted this book for years, and finally found a reasonably-priced copy on Amazon. First, do you know who Rosey Grier is? Well, aside from being completely freaking awesome, he was a defensive lineman for the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Rams in the late 50's/early 60's. He was one of Robert F. Kennedy's bodyguards. He did numerous TV and movie appearances. And he's a devotee of needlepoint and macrame, and he wrote this book in 1973.
I adore this man, and I adore this book.
Rosey tells a great story in the introduction about how he's always loved to get into conversations with people where he pretends to be an expert at something and bluffs his way through. He was visiting a friend who worked at a needlepoint shop in Beverly Hills one day when a customer came in to ask a question. According to Rosey, he "flew into action with my bluff act," explaining to this poor woman that she'd have to rip all of her stitching out and start again. And then…
"Well, she was nice enough to listen to me and really cool – she let me talk until I even started to believe that I knew what I was talking about."
…And then, she challenged him: if Rosey was going to hang out at a needlepoint store pretending to be an expert, why not learn a thing or two about the craft first? And so he did.
To be sure, Needlepoint for Men is a solid primer on needlepoint for beginners. But what I love is the manly orientation. Football metaphors abound, and whatever blessed person edited this thing retained Rosey's distinctive voice. It's the best crafty read ever.
The captions are so wonderful, I've composited them with their photos here so you can enjoy.
There are chapters on making needlepoint for your sporting interests (like tennis racket and golf club covers), for the ladies in your life (better than "wining and dining her in some classy joint"), and best yet, needlepoint projects for boys. I have to quote this:
" I've started getting letters from boys all over the country saying how they used to be ashamed to tell their pals that they liked practicing their violins or pianos, or how they'd die before they'd let anyone know they baked cookies or sewed with their mammas – all until they saw that big old Rosey does needlepoint."
The whole thing is so earnest and honest and beautful. There's a great chapter about other men who do needlepoint where Rosey also shares some of the teasing he got when it first became known that he was into the craft. The whole NFL seemed to feel threatened! And then Rosey proceeds to tell how he conned many of his detractors, Tom Sawyer-style, into trying needlepoing themselves. You go, Rosey Grier.
The whole thing makes me want to burst into delighted tears. And, as it turns out, that's all right:
Want a copy? They're on Amazon and eBay, but prices fluctuate – keep looking! ISBN 0-8027-0421-2