I am always on the prowl for the perfect guy sweater. Men are very particular- they usually have a well-defined comfort zone when it comes to fashion, and anything teetering on the edge of normal will not get worn. It has to have unique details, but not too complicated or fussy or delicate. Color is important as well- the more drab and boring the color, the more loved it will be. Think of dirt, of UPS Brown, or the color you get when you mix all your watercolors together. That's what we're aiming for.
Cables are okay, but he says, "nothing too Irish". So no crazy cabled fisherman sweater, which aside from the basic plain sweater, seems to be the most popular men's pattern.
I found a pattern in Knitscene the fit the bill. It's called "The Lattice Sweater". I dug around in my stash and found some appropriately drab Cascade 220 Heathers in the color "Sparrow". I got to work on it- I knocked out the sleeves first and then did the body up to the 'pits when I was in Orlando on a business trip.
Everything gets joined at the yolk with raglan decreases, and the neck is split and the lattice cable gave me something interesting to do, finally. Except that I mis-read the instructions and ended up doing half the amount of decreases necessary and realized pretty late in the game that this would fit off-the-shoulder. Sigh.
I tinked back to the armpits, joined everything again, and did the correct amount of decreases. Much better now. Funny fact- when I realized my error in decreases, I denied it at first and continued to knit another few rows before I ripped it back. What the hell is wrong with me? In the end, knitting the yoke a second time didn't kill me as much as I thought it would.
I am going to re-knit the shawl collar though. As it is now, it's not big enough, and it's always teetering on wanting to stand up on its own. I want it to be bigger and drapier. He agrees. A little drama is okay once in a while.
Despite the fact that half the sweaters I've made haven't gotten any use at all this year due to the fact that it rarely hits a temperature cold enough, I keep slogging on with woolie knitwear with the plan of moving to someplace very cold one day. Maybe I should start taking classes in Scandinavian languages and brush up on my reindeer-herding skills.
At the suggestion of a friend, I think there should be some short-rows in the back to give it more shape. The front wouldn't ride up if there was more space for the shoulders. When I fix the collar, I might as well just keep going and rip back a few inches into the sweater as well.
Aside from the minor fit issue, he loves it. It was finished in time for his birthday, but since I fitted it to him multiple times it wasn't a surprise. Surprises when it comes to fit = not a good surprise at all.
I used a full six skeins of Cascade 220 and size 6 needles (size 5 for the ribbing and the collar) to get 19 stitches per 4 inches. I made the 44 3/4" size- his chest with a t-shirt on is 42". It's fitted, but it still gives him a good amount of ease. He loves it (and if he didn't, he wouldn't have the heart to tell me, but since he's already worn it a bunch I'm just going to stick with "he loves it") and I'm happy with it as well. Viva winter!