Tuesday, January 21, 2014

For the Boys….

We have a 50/50 family.  Husband, Wife, son, daughter.  Even our cats kept us on track.  They are brother and sister from the same litter.

From a purely personal point of view, I don't have a strong pull toward designing garments for one sex over the other.  I can get away with more decorative touches with girl's clothes, which can be fun, but designing a boys garment that is interesting without being overly fussy can be a fun challenge, too.

There are three factors that have pushed be toward designing more for females than males though, and they are completely out of my control:

1. More knitters are female than male.

2. Males tend to be "warmer" than females (just speaking very generally here), and the men/boys I know personally wear far less sweaters / outerwear accessories than the girls/women I know.

3. Patterns written for male garments / accessories just don't sell as well as patterns written for females.  Certainly, my sample size is pretty small, but the four patterns I've written where I used boys as the models have gotten almost no attention / purchases, whereas the patterns I've aimed at females have typically sold pretty well.

Because of these factors, I have focused my writing on designs for females.

Still, my husband, who has always been extremely supportive of my knitting business deserves a handmade sweater at least once in his life, even if it won't get much use indoors.  I've been showing him patterns for a couple months now and he finally made his choice.

Want to see the contenders?

Of course you do.
copyright Jared Flood/Brooklyn Tweed

 I liked the texture and overall "plain-ness" of Fort.  I was going to do it without the kitchy professor elbow patches…I didn't think Jason would be into those.

copyright Berroco
Beagle is a pattern by Norah Gaughan.  It's way more textured than the competition, but it doesn't come off as "busy".  And I thought it would be fun to knit.  A peek at project pages made Jason decide that it wouldn't look good on his body type though.  I'm not sure I agree - I think the beauty of handmade sweaters is that you can make modifications so the pattern better fits your body type.  But if he wasn't in love, I didn't want to spend the time / money on the project.  So it was on to the next candidate.

copyright brooklyntweed
The Cobblestone Pullover was another nice-looking Jared Flood pattern.  Again, high marks for "plain yet interesting".  When Jason took a look at the project pages though, it was another case of "most of these sweaters don't look as good on these people as the sample does on the model."  And I wasn't sure that a circular yoke was going to be the best compliment to my husband's shape.  So….NEXT!

copyright Pipibird

 Tea With Jam and Bread is a sweater that I had originally marked for myself, but it is a pretty unisex design.  Jason looked at it with interest, and I think it was one of the top contenders, but it just wasn't quite what he was looking for.
copyright CherylIN
I'll admit, I was rooting for Mr. Darcy.  Jason had a gray sweater in college that was almost identical to this one and I was ready to relive the college sweater days.  That gray sweater was the only one I've ever seen Jason wear so much that it eventually fell apart, so clearly it was a favorite of his.  Apparently, 16 years after graduation, he's ready to leave the college sweater days behind and move on to something else.  Maybe I can eventually convince my son that he wants a Mr. Darcy someday. 
Copyright Falling Stitches
This zip-front hoodie initially struck me as a little young for Jason, but I threw it into the mix just to see what he'd say about it.  Not that we're super-old (we haven't even hit 40 yet), but this is a sweater with some young, hipster attitude for sure.  I think he agreed, since he didn't say much about it after a spark of interest.  It was like his brain saw it and said, "Oh, that's cool!  Wait….I'm almost 40.  And also, I don't drive a Prius and have a Mac computer.  That's right….next candidate, please!"
So….you want to see the winner?

Yeah, I know you do.  Here we go.

I'm going to be making "Learn to Knit a Men's Sweater".  Yes, the name is terrible, but whatever.  I'm not 100% sure about the raglan sleeve, just because Jason doesn't currently own any sweaters in this style, but he's pretty broad-shouldered, so I think it will look good.  We both like the simple texture - it's just a very wide rib, and the fit looks decent on most of the sweaters shown on the Ravelry project pages.  Jason has a few zip-neck sweaters similar to this, so I know he's comfortable in that style.  

copyright Staci Perry
I haven't started yet - this is going to be my Ravellenic Games project - but I have read through the pattern.  I was pretty disappointed that gauge was only given as "5 stitches per inch".  It said that on the Ravelry page, but I assumed (and you know what they say about people who assume things…) that the pattern would give a complete gauge.  The problem with doing a raglan without knowing the pattern row gauge is that the arm hole depth is going to be written as a certain number of rows, not as a certain number of inches.  So if my row gauge is different from the pattern (and if my stitch gauge is right on, my row gauge is almost always different than the pattern), I need to know whether to throw in a few extra rows or do a few less rows in order to come up with the right arm hole depth.  Now this isn't a huge problem if you're an experienced sweater knitter and you know to go get a sweater that fits well and measure that arm hole depth, then compare it to your project, but it was an odd thing for a pattern to be missing, and it makes me leery of things to come.  Hopefully this is just a fluke and the rest of the pattern will be well-written….I'm sure I'll post about it again once the project is complete!  (And likely during The Games as well!)
Now it's time to pick a yarn.  I was initially leaning toward cascade 220 in "chocolate heather" since Jason isn't sensitive to wool, but when I asked him to show me his favorite sweaters, both the ones he pulled out were cotton blends.  I am very inexperienced with cotton, but I'm willing to learn.  Anyone know of a good worsted-weight cotton that comes in a darker brown color?


  1. Brown Sheep's Cotton Fleece comes in a "Truffle"...

  2. I like the pattern he chose. Good luck! I'm sure the finished product will be marvelous!

  3. Hilarious. I scanned the photos before I read through the next and when I saw that last one, my brain said 'BINGO!". That totally looks like a J sweater, and think it will compliment him well. I totally remember the Mr. Darcy clone college sweater. I like the striped zip up hoodie too..... pretty sure you guys have a hybrid AND a Mac now, so I don't know why you don't think he isn't hip enough to pull that one off. Maybe E? Red stripes, of course.