Thursday, 5 November 2009

An Ode to Men's Sweaters

Last spring, I started the Avast sweater for Bry. I don't know why I chose this project for spring, but like all woolie things, it got put down pretty quickly once the weather got warm. It starts out with a cabled band, and I loathe making small cabled things. Way too much attentive time to be following a complex chart over 16 stitches.

Eventually (months later), I finished that tedious cabled band. Now I feel like I can get the rest of the sweater made.

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I'm using Valley Yarn Northampton in charcoal. It's a plain, sturdy wool. Nothing fancy.

I usually make Bry a sweater each year. Every once in a while, I want to knit long mindless fields of shapeless stockinette and men's sweaters fit the bill. The key to wearability success is this: I let him pick the pattern and the yarn color. I know him well enough to be able to predict his taste in clothes (boring) but the knitterly side of me will get carried away as to what he would actually wear. He likes pullovers, nothing too ornate or fancy, but small details are nice. He tends towards grays, browns, hunter greens and navy blues.

My eye is pretty trained when it comes to making something for myself that fits, but I find myself second guessing ease and size when I'm making him a sweater. I take out one of his old favorite sweaters that he likes and is flattering and I use that as a template.

As for yarns, I like to use wool blends. Anytime I'm freezing cold, he's usually comfortable. He just doesn't need a super-warm sweater unless it is meant to be outerwear.

Here's the Cobblestone from last year:


I used Valley Yarns Northampton in light gray. I loved this pattern and I want to make myself one as well. Seamless sweaters are the best.

The Plain Guernsey from Rowan:

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Knit up in Rowan Cashsoft DK, which is a soft, drapey wool/microfiber/cashmere blend. It's a nice light yarn, perfect for a man's sweater. This one got a lot of wear and it still looks great. I had a lot of trouble with this pattern and ended up re-writing it. The pattern as written had a whopping 8" of positive ease, making the smallest size 52" at the chest. That's a whole lot of ease.

The Mixology Sweater from Son of Stich and Bitch:


I used one strand of Noro Silk Garden and one strand of black alpaca doubled. He totally surprised me with his color choice of very 80's neons, but I was more than happy to oblige. It's very warm- he wears it as outerwear.

The Marine Pullover:

Marine Pullover

I can't remember what I used for yarn. Wool of some sort. We were at the Empire Diner in Chelsea when I took that. It's one of those NYC landmark diners that's been around forever and has a high dose of wonderfully greasy comfort food all night and good people watching. When the clubs close at 4am, this place is packed.

I'm off to pick up stitches on the cable band and start 44 inches worth of stockinette stitch. I'm not going to give myself a huge deadline, but Switzerland is rumored to be quite cold. I wonder how much I can get done on this in the next couple of weeks...

PS, Bry won't wear anything around his neck, hats are too warm for him and he doesn't care to have gloves on. He'll wear handknit socks and sweaters. He's picky as hell. The only time I got him to wear a hat was when he was hiking in the Himalayas in Nepal.


1 comment:

  1. Some really nice sweaters in your post. Just recently bough a few mens lambswool sweaters but I think I need some more thicker ones like yours.