Boys’ knitting roundup #8

Let’s check in on the world of knitting patterns for boys! Some months the well seems pretty dry, but this time we’re spoiled for choice….

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The big news in boys’ knits this month is that Kate Oates, the designer behind the Tot Toppers line, has released an entire book of knitwear for boys, and not surprisingly it’s fabulous. Knits for Boys includes …

29 patterns for sweaters, tops, vests, hoodies, mittens, hats, and more that boys will want to wear sized from 4-12. It also features an incredible reference section on how to knit for kids: choosing colors and styles, sizing, how to make a sweater “grow with” your child, how to find a comfortable fit, and even tutorials on simple additions to any design like hoods and installing zippers.

I have always found Kate’s patterns for boys to be clear, practical, and well-illustrated, and the range of projects in this collection will serve well anyone who knits for boys. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Knitted long johns! How cute and snuggly are these? You may be thinking it would be crazy to knit these, but I can tell you: having seen how much my son wore the knitted pants I made for him a few years ago, I can say that this is a more practical project than you might initially think…

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Most of the designs in the book are sweaters, and my favorite of the bunch is the Twisty Crew. It is worked in a bulky-weight yarn and features some smart, unfussy details on a raglan pullover design, a style that I think always looks especially great on older boys.

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You can purchase an autographed copy directly from Kate via her website, and the book is also available on Amazon—or perhaps you could encourage your LYS to carry it!


My favorite thing about this next new sweater design is that it starts from the assumption that brilliant, hand-dyed color might just be great in a boys’ garment, too—and wow, is it ever.

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The Lennix jacket by Rebecca Newman is incredibly versatile: it includes 14 sizes ranging from 3 months to 12 years; has instructions for sport-, DK- and worsted-weight gauges; can be worked with either a collar or a hood (as shown here); and suits boys and girls both. Now that’s a pattern you can get a lot of use out of!


You can always count on English designer Woolly Wormhead for a great twist on a classic design. Her new Headcase pattern looks great in the self-striping Zauberball yarn. And since this is Woolly, you know there will be some interesting shaping in there to sink your needles into….

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Finally, I love this sweet cowl called Ag Sugradh sa Sneachta by Irish designer Ciara Ní Reachtnín. (OK, all you non-Gaelic speakers: say that ten times fast.) Worked in a fingering-weight yarn, the cowl has puppies running around its circumference.

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Boys’ knitting roundup #7

In the northern hemisphere at least, we have entered those months when even boys will admit that it’s cold outside. So let’s take a look at some great knitting patterns that have been released recently for boys in the 5–18 age bracket!


I gasped when I saw this next garment: the Gossamer Sweater by Ukrainian designer Natalie Pelykh.

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Worked from the top down seamlessly using the contiguous method, this piece should make for a very enjoyable knit, with just enough texture to make a knitter happy. And I love how rich it looks in a hand-dyed semi-solid. The garment comes in a very wide range of well-gradated sizes (from 12 months to 14 years).


Here’s a fun one for the young fantasist in your life: the Bilby hood by Cristina Ghirlanda.

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For years, my son has wanted a wolf hood to wear when he’s terrorizing the backyard. Even though this is sized for toddlers through 6-year-olds, it’s knit in fingering weight, so I imagine moving up a yarn weight or two would make this piece large enough for larger noggins.


If you’re looking for a stash buster and are knitting for a kid who likes a good ski hat style, check out Cindy Dell’s Yellowstone Hat pattern.

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You can always omit the pompom if Mr. Man is not amenable to such frippery, but I hope for your sake that the recipient is pro-pompom.


Finally, for a quick way to turn boring boots into the Funnest Footwear Ever, check out this great tutorial on the Glamour 4 You blog. With some simple chain stitching, your whole family can have more colorful (and warmer!) boots.

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Watch me not mess up on Knitting Daily TV!

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See me in this photo looking all casual and relaxed with the lovely Vickie Howell on the set of Knitting Daily TV? That was just before we filmed my segment for episode 1408, which will be airing next month!

Despite the entire colony of butterflies I had swarming in my stomach, the taping went very smoothly. On the worktable in front of us—which I, remarkably, did not even throw up on at all—you’ll see the Bag! For Things! design from my Kung Fu Knits book. On the show, I demonstrate how to do a few of the techniques you need for the bag, such as working a knitted cast on in the middle of a round and a simple method for sewing in a zipper.

I don’t have an exact air date yet, but I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, you can either click here to find out how to watch Knitting Daily TV in your area (in most parts of the US, the show airs on a PBS station) or click here to order the entire season on DVD.

Men’s and boys’ knitting roundup: special Gift-A-Long edition

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With the Indie Design Gift-A-Long (GAL) starting on Ravelry tonight (at 8pm EST), I thought I’d show you some of my favorites of the men’s and boys’ patterns that are eligible for the GAL’s generous 25% discount.

There are 293 designers participating in the GAL, each person putting between 4 and 20 patterns on sale, so wading through everything can take a while. There is, of course, a great pleasure to be had in this browsing—a pleasure I’ve been indulging in last night and this morning—but if you’re looking specifically for men’s and boys’ knits, the search could get a little tedious.

Never fear! I’ve pulled together a substantial catalog of my favorites from the men’s and boys’ patterns that are part of this year’s GAL. This is by no means a complete list of what’s available in the GAL for men and boys—these are just some of my faves.

Also bear in mind that some of these designers have multiple patterns up for boys and men, so if you see something you like, click on the designer’s name on the Ravelry pattern page, and see what else they’ve got in their Gift-A-Long bundle!


MEN’S PATTERNS

Chum’s Pullover by Kate Bostwick
Such a great neckline. Perfect for men who are either slim or very muscular.

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Cashmere Cosy by Loraine Birchall
It is entirely possible that I am being influenced by what is—erm—not the hat in this photo.

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Saturnalia Infinity Scarf by Elizabeth Elliott
Modern look and a great way to make a neutral yarn fun to knit.

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Dawson by Elizabeth Green Musselman (that’s me!)
Shawl collars are perfect for the cold, and the texture keeps the knitting interesting.

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Askance by Rich Ensor
Rich has tons of great men’s socks available in the GAL.

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Bilateral Beanie by Karin Wilmoth
I’ve included two photos here to show you how cool this reversible, double-knit hat is.

Rayguns by Annie Watts
For the sci-fi fan, it doesn’t get any cooler than these gloves. Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

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Johannes by Suvi Simola
Excellent use of texture—and three cheers for the non-standard issue model.

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Pigment by Lee Meredith
For the man who loves color, this scarf is where it’s at.

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Black Slant by Anneh Fletcher
Anneh’s socks are modeled by women, but most are perfect for men and all have interesting construction.

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BOYS’ PATTERNS

There are a number of great designs for baby and toddler boys in the GAL, but here I’m focusing on boys aged 4–18.

Umberto by Sarah Ronchetti
Great classic knit, in both sweater and vest version, sized 3mos to 12 years.

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Little Fox Mittens by Birch Hollow Cottage
Birch Hollow has a whole range of woodland creature mittens in the GAL.

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Lighthouse Keeper by Andrea Sanchez
This adorable, quick, bulky knit comes in sizes 6mos to 12 years.

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Japhy by Elizabeth Sullivan
Will wonders never cease? A sweater pattern written just for teen boys!

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Texo Pullover by Anjali M
Who doesn’t love pockets? Just enough texture, too. Sized for toddlers to tweens.

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Mt. Hood Snow Cap by Star Athena
This hat is sized for children and adults, but looks especially dashing on this little guy.

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Langstroth by Elizabeth Green Musselman (yup, me again)
One of my first designs and still one of my favorites—just knits, purls and slip stitches.

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Limepop Sweater by Terri Kruse
Another classic use of texture and raglan shaping, sized 12 mos to 8 years.

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Have fun! And don’t forget to join the knitalongs that go along with the GAL.

Boys’ knitting roundup #6

Let’s check in on what’s happening in the world of boys’ knitting patterns!


Sometimes people hesitate to knit for kids because they’re worried they’ll outgrow the knits even faster than you can make them. When that kind of fear hits, reach for the Beckley pattern, new from Marjorie Dussaud (who has designed a number of snappy boys’ sweaters).

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Knit in a bulky-weight yarn, this shawl-collared sweater will work up very quickly. I love how the designer has used simple stitches to fashionable effect here. Even better: in all the photos, the kid looks very comfortable.


If you would like to tackle a garment with a little more texture, designer Lori Versaci again brings the fabulous with her new Open Star Kid pattern.

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I love how Lori has used a lace stitch here to rugged effect. Given how hot most little boys’ temperatures run, having a little extra ventilation is an excellent plan.


And finally, if you need a quick accessory to take the chill off the changing seasons, check out Tin Can Knits’ Paddle pattern. One of 14 patterns in their forthcoming Road Trip book, this design exemplifies how well the Tin Can Knits team can take a classic design, modernize it, and offer maximum sizes (in this case, toddler through adult L).

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Reviews of Kung Fu Knits have started to come out! My favorite so far appears in episode 53 of the Down Cellar Studio podcast (review begins at 15:15). The host, BostonJen, recorded a hilarious segment with her nieces and nephew in which they beg to hear the story again and to have all the things in the book knitted for them.

Kung Fu Knits book trailer!

Book trailers—that is, videos that give potential readers a peek inside a book—have become all the rage these days. For my first pattern book, I decided to create a book trailer of my own, especially since it helps me to better explain what this funny pattern collection / comic book hybrid is all about. Hope you enjoy watching it!

And while we’re on the subject of how to get a peek inside Kung Fu Knits, I’ve got a tour of some great reviewers lined up for the next couple of months. On the dates listed below, you can find each of these bloggers / podcasters reviewing my book! There are other reviews on the horizon beyond this list, but this will give you a great start in figuring out whether Kung Fu Knits is right for you.

Kung Fu Knits blog/podcast tour

22 September | Mixed Martial Arts & Crafts blog | http://www.mixedmartialartsandcrafts.com
24 September | Fibretown podcast | http://fibretown.blogspot.com
28 September | Must Stash podcast | http://muststashpodcast.com
29 September | Through the Back Loops blog | http://throughthebackloops.wordpress.com
2 October | Through the Looking Glass blog | http://noirbettie.com/blog/
5 October | The Knitgirllls podcast | http://theknitgirllls.com
10 October | Makewise Designs blog | http://makewisedesigns.com
15 October | Sunset Cat Designs blog | http://www.sunsetcat.com/blog/
17 October | Joeli’s Kitchen podcast | http://www.joeliskitchen.com/the-podcast/
22 October | Slate Falls Press blog | http://www.slatefallspressbooks.com
3 November | Wattsolak blog | http://wattsolak.com
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Available now on Ravelry and Cooperative Press’s website.

What I mean when I say Kung Fu Knits is “for boys”

I’ve spent many years trying to figure out what men and boys want in knitwear. Do they want soft? baggy? close-fitting? neutrally colored? what everyone else is wearing? something different?

When I first dreamed up the idea for Kung Fu Knits, my goal was to try a different approach. If boys are reluctant to wear hand-knit garments, maybe we need to think instead about what they DO want, and knit THAT. My son had been studying kung fu for a little more than a year at that point—he’s now nearly a black belt—so that seemed like a great theme to hang this idea on.

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As I began to work out the designs—a whole kung-fu outfit! oooooh! nunchuks! throwing stars!—it dawned on me that this wasn’t really just a book for boys. Lots of girls I know would love this stuff, too. Heck, would have loved this stuff as a kid. For that matter, not all boys are into kung-fu fighting. I began to talk about the book as a book of kids’ knits rather than boys’ knits.

And that’s when my lovely tech editor, Joeli, intervened. There are so few knits for boys, she said; why try to hedge your bets? Just call it what it is: it’s a book for boys. The girls who are interested will find it anyway. (Or words to that effect.)

She had a point. I knew I didn’t agree with her entirely, but I’ve been thinking about what she said ever since. She’s right that boys need more patterns, and that the whole ethos of this book is going to appeal to more boys than girls.

But, as I say, there are lot of girls who love this kind of stuff, and I was one of them.

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That’s me at age nine, circa 1980, rocking my Dorothy Hamill haircut and my favorite outfit—including my Mork suspenders, which just makes me sad all over again about Robin Williams. (I have no idea what the pin said. And yes, that is a VW van—our neighbors’.)

My point is that this is not the face of a girly girl. All of my friends at this point were boys. I found it so confusing that there were girls in my grade who liked to wear makeup and do cartwheels during recess just to impress boys. Foursquare (the game, not the app) and riding bikes were MUCH more interesting.

You may have noticed from the other photo above that my son doesn’t fall into easy masculine categories either. His hair is even longer now than it was when we did the photo shoot for Kung Fu Knits. And not all of Liam’s tastes run toward smashing and crashing and tearing things up.

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Here he is a few weeks ago about to blend up some strawberry mousse, which he learned how to make during a five-hour cooking class while we were in Italy. Because that and a pasta maker were what he wanted for his tenth birthday.

What I’m trying to say is that I don’t think boys and girls are simple, and I don’t think there are or should be clear boundaries of acceptable behavior or dress for either one. You knit what you want to knit, and you wear what you want to wear. I’m going to call Kung Fu Knits a book of boys’ knits as shorthand, but it’s really a book for any kid who wants adventure.


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Kung Fu Knits is now available for preorder at Cooperative Press and on Ravelry. The book will be released on or before September 15 and is available either as a digital download ($9.95) or in paperback ($15.95), which also comes with the digital download.