A Classic of the Genre: Rosey Grier's Needlepoint for Men

18 Oct 2011


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.

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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



Wow, that's amazing. I like how on the cover he looks all sorts of surprised that someone is taking his picture. I think I might add this book to my wish list.

Do! You will not be disappointed.

I can hardly believe you found a copy! I remember when this came out. I think Rosey inspired as many women as men to take up needlepoint. But, oh, the men's attitudes he changed!

I remember meeting my husband's VP boss for the first time in 1973 or 1974. Archie was driving to each of the stores in the district he managed, spending a night in each town. After dinner, he asked if we'd like to see his traveling project. In the trunk of his car was a freakin gorgeous hand-hooked rug in progress. Archie had gone to a local folk artist and learned from her how to dye his own wools, strip them, transfer a pattern, and hook evenly. He was SERIOUS about this stuff. I said, "Ooooooooooo! Far OUT!" And my husband said, "You're hooking a rug? Really?"

And Archie said, "If Rosey Grier can needlepoint, I can hook rugs."


I love that story SO HARD! Thank you so much for sharing that here, Denise!

That is SO awesome. I may have to steal that idea someday!!

I love this! And I showed & read the post to my boys. And, dork that I am, I actually searched on my own blog, b/c I was getting confused. It reminded me of when I discovered Bernie Casey, also a former NFL player who is an artist, actor, & poet.

post here: http://thingsbright.com/bright-things-bernie-caseys-paintings-at-artprize/

I love when people just go after everything they love. (Maybe because I can't ever make up my mind? ;)

OMG, how the heck did I miss Bernie Casey on your blog?! I'm so glad you shared that link.

p.s. You know the "who would you want to have dinner with?" I think my crafty version includes a meal w/ both Rosey & Bernie. Sa-weet!

Ratified! Seconded! :-)

Sorry, me again. Holy crap! He didn't just bodyguard, he subdued Robert's assassin & took the gun away!!

I'm with Kelly, above. I knew who he was (as a child of the 70's) and knew he did needlecraft, but did NOT know how awesome this book is or how totally hilarious he was! LOVE this. Thanks for sharing the details!

This is hilariously awesome! A needlepointing lineman- fantastic! I love that you share such fun gems with us!

Oh, MAN, I didn't even know this book existed!! I loved that guy!!

Yaaay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. This is just the coolest book ever.

Diane, this post made my day... no... my WEEK!

I knew that Rosey Greer was a crafter in the 70s, but I had no idea how hilarious and charming he was. Thank you SO much for sharing this!

I love this post. I had heard of Rosey Grier and his needlepoint. The book sounds great. I love hearing about people doing their own thing.

Great post, Diane!

My Dad did a lot of needlepoint when I was a kid. He was a superintendent of a big steel plant and my favorite piece that he did was framed and hung on his office wall at work. It was the letters, "YCDBSOYA" Which stood for You Can't Do Business Sitting On Your A**! :) Love it!

SWEEEEET! Best acronym sampler ever!

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! This is hands-down the greatest thing I have ever seen. Thank you so much for this post; it actually is making me a little emotional. I wish Derek Jeter or someone (I don't know sports!!) would do something like this today.

HAHAHA! OMG, I would love that so much!! I can think of at least a dozen NFL players who would utterly charm me by doing a craft book.

"Softer, fragile ladies" HAHAHA - these captions are killing me. SO funny.

That's awesome! I'd never heard of Rosey Grier before. I love coming across things like these that involve men & crafting & the further back, the better. :-) Thanks for sharing, I'll definitely have to check this book out soon.

Oh. My. Thisisfreakingawesome!!!!!

This is awesome. When I found out about Rosie doing needlepoint (when I was in junior high) I thought he was totally cool. Which made me totally cool because I was doing needlepoint too, which I hid from my friends!!! LOL

I have this book and it is funny every time I run across it on my shelf
I think I need to remember to put it in my shop!
Now I think this nudge will remind me..but can I still find the
book on my shelves???
Fun post!

Though I don't have a copy, I came across the book while working on a recent project. I agree -- simply amazing!!