Do you know the kind of knits men like?
What kinds of sweaters do they like best? Crew-necks or cardigans?
What brand of yarns do they like? Noro or Cascade?
What is the safest color to pick for men? Navy blue or charcoal gray?
With all these choices to get right, you’ll need a knitting-for-men guide for your journey. Enter Brian Murphy, owner of TeaZaanti.com and my go-to expert on knitting for men. Here are Brian’s top 10 patterns, plus great tips and tricks:
Brian’s Top 3 Scarf Knitting Patterns For Men
#1 – Swelligant Scarf, by Tish Davisdon.
“This scarf has three fast, easy, and reversible cables running along the length. I knit it in charcoal gray in a merino/silk blend (Cascade Venezia Worsted) and the cables show up great.”
#2 – Red Scarf and Hat, by Josh Bennett.
“This is a flat pattern that I decided to knit in the round, because I wanted it to be reversible. I made it in five autumn colors of Cascade 220 (a 100% worsted-weight wool).”
Brian’s tip – to knit this pattern in the round without messing up the stripes, slip the first stitch of the second round of the new color, knit to the end, and then knit the slipped stitch. To avoid any puckering, be sure to leave slack in the first stitch of the new color.
#3 – Cashmere Scarf For Him (my absolute fave!) Knitting Kit by Jade Sapphire Yarns.
“I knitted this scarf from cashmere for a shop sample for Blazing Needles. The pattern includes seven different stitch-pattern options – the one I used was called ‘Zach.’ ”
Knitting For Men Lesson #1 – Make Scarves Reversible
Brian: The common denominator of my favorite three scarves: they’re reversible. I’ve made scarves that are not reversible, and I find that I don’t wear them – I don’t want to fuss with getting it “just right.”
Brian’s Top 3 Sweater Patterns For Men
Brian: My favorite so far has been one I made to fit:
#1 – Cinnamon by Kim Hargreaves.
“I tweaked the pattern to make it fit my gauge and personal measurements.”
#2 – José from Knitting Off The Axis.
“I bought this book just for the pattern, and I have no regrets. I love this cabled sweater – it was actually my first attempt at full-size sweater making. I managed to luck out that it fit so well with no alterations to the pattern.
“I am a little disappointed in the yarn, though; it bloomed more than anticipated after blocking – the stitches lost some definition and it grew a bit. I still love it and wear it often.”
Liat: Readers, I want you to learn from Brian’s mistake on this one. Knit a swatch and block it before you make the entire sweater! If the swatch grows after blocking, you’ll need to knit the sweater in a smaller size to compensate. Or change to a different yarn.
#3 – A custom-knit sweater from Custom Knits.
Brian: Here’s my ideal sweater: No boat necks! I do like a half-zip standup collar and a v-neck.
I’m ambivalent toward crew necks, as I have found they can be too small and they make my shirt collars disappear under the sweater (not so fashionable or comfortable). On the plus-side, they look pretty good with a classic turtleneck. (Does anyone still wear them, other than me?)
Construction: I love cardigans, but would also like a stand-up collar, half-zip pullover – and I don’t need another shawl collar!
When it comes down to it, I prefer a fitted garment of classic, basic construction with some architectural or pattern element. Nothing too wild.
Again, it all boils down to the fit.
Knitting For Men Lesson #2: Make Sweaters To Fit
Liat: Guys’ bodies vary widely in their measurements, just like girls’ do. Brian is tall with long arms – I know he hates sweaters with sleeves that are too short.
Be careful: even when you take careful arm and body measurements, you have to take into account the idea of ease, that is, how loose or tight he likes his sweaters to fit.
A shortcut to taking body measurements and calculating ease is to just measure your guy’s favorite sweater (Brian’s all-time favorite is from Nordstrom), and then use the custom sweater instructions in Custom Knits to get the perfect fit. Or hang tight until I make a custom sweaters e-book!
Brian’s Favorite Sock Pattern For Men
Basic Toe-Up Sock Pattern, by Liat Gat.
“Of course, I love socks, but you’ve ruined me: I don’t really follow patterns anymore – I feel confident enough to just wing it! Besides, they fit better.”
Brian learned to knit toe-up socks by taking my Toe-Up, Two-at-a-Time Socks class. He used the customizable toe-up sock formula that comes with the course to make socks that perfectly fit his (very big) feet.
Knitting For Men Lesson #3: Add Colors To His Socks
Liat: What about yarn colors? Can we safely make socks in crazy colors for guys?
Brian: I can’t speak for everyone, but I like colorful socks (within reason, of course). It’s kinda like “wearing wild underwear when dressed like a penguin” – but you can show off the socks.
Brian’s Top 3 Fingerless Glove Patterns For Men
#1 – Go Anywhere Gloves by Kristin Spurkland.
This pattern is great because you can make them into fingerless, half-fingered, or full-fingered gloves. I just wish I had made the fingers a little longer, because my fingers do get cold.
#2 – Beer Gloves, from Son of Stitch N’ Bitch.
I made these cabled half-fingered gloves in a light gray 100% wool, and they show off the cable really well.
#3 – Ragtop Mitts by Susan Lawrence.
I love these long, foldover-cuff mitts from Salt Lake City local Susan Lawrence.
Knitting For Men Lesson #4: Make The Fingers Long
“The main lesson I’ve learned from knitting fingerless and fingered gloves is: make the hand and cuff longer than you think. Men are babies, remember?”
Brian’s Tips On Choosing Yarn For Men
“As for yarn, it has to be soft (men are babies). I don’t get the whole Noro craze; yes, the colors are great, but I find the yarn is scratchy. The same with Kauni. I LOVE Malabrigo, although I find some of the colors too girly.
“I also prefer yarns that aren’t going to pill so much. I have a really nice basic black cashmere sweater, but I can’t believe how often I have to shave it. I’m sure that’s not good for the sweater.”
Liat: I don’t know about you all, but does your guy even know what a sweater shaver is? Save the grief and find a yarn (usually a multi-ply yarn) that won’t pill.
Knitting For Men Lesson #5: Choose Brown and All Shades Of Gray
Notice the colors in Brian’s favorite garments? The common factor is that they all look smashing in different shades of gray. Two of his projects are in brown, which is a great choice as well.
About Brian and TeaZaanti
Brian runs TeaZaanti.com, my absolute favorite place to buy tea online. A great variety is called Golden Pearls – I love it so much I brought four bags of it with me to Argentina so I would never run out.
They also give 10% of their profits to charity!
So, What Are Your Favorite Knitting Patterns For Men?
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