Men’s knitting pattern roundup #1

If you’ve stumbled across my blog, then it’s no doubt because you are searching for men’s knitting patterns — and you’ve probably also noticed that they can be hard to find.

If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you know I sympathize … and that I frequently write knitting patterns for men myself.

The patterns are out there, so I thought it might be time to do a little curating of my own — bringing you weekly roundups of some of my favorite patterns for men that I’ve found around the interwebs.

I’ll favor new patterns, but will probably include some older patterns each time as well. Your tastes may not be the same as mine, and my reach is not perfect, so please feel free to share your own favorites in the comments.

(I’ll also start doing a weekly boys’ pattern roundup — stay tuned for that in a few days.)

Let’s get started, shall we?

First up are the fabulous Rock Strata fingerless mitts by young, up-and-coming designer Josh Ryks ($6 on Ravelry):

Rock Strata Mitts

The unusual shaping in these great-looking mitts is created modularly — easy to execute but much more fun than your average brown mitt. I always say that the biggest challenge with designing men’s knitwear is to create something wearable while still providing the knitter with something fun to make. Josh’s design hits that sweet spot perfectly.

If you’re looking for more graphic accessories for men like this, check out Josh’s other designs as well.

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If you’re looking to get a headstart on sweater season, check out this beauty from Kirsten Johnstone:

Sankai Man 4

This design, Sankai Man ($8 on Kirsten’s website), is worked in the luscious yarn Brooklyn Tweed Shelter. The designer’s architectural training shows itself in this sweater’s impeccable construction. Don’t you just love that yoke? (The pattern also comes in boys’ and women’s versions.)

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And finally for this week, I can’t resist including a shawl. We largely have popular knitwear designer Stephen West to thank for making the geometric shawl a cool menswear piece. So while the Nangou shawl by Melanie Berg (€3.90 or about $5 on Ravelry) may be modeled by a woman in the photos, I can readily picture this on a man as well, especially worn scarf-like as it is in the photographs. These simple, classic knits can be a real pleasure.

nangou4

New hat pattern! or, another way to cable without a cable needle

There are some great tutorials out there about how to make knitted cables without using a cable needle. The hat above represents a completely different way of thinking beyond the cable needle: use colorwork to create a faux cable. The next photo shows the effect even more clearly:

See how the sage green sections look like cables crossing over each other? I think it would be lovely on socks, too. If you have Luise Roberts’ wonderful little colorwork stitch dictionary called 1000 Great Knitting Motifs, you will find this stitch pattern on p. 105.

I just made this hat pattern available on Ravelry, and it will soon be up on the KnitPicks web site as well. It’s a quick knit, so if you’re looking for something last-minute for the holidays, this might just be the ticket.

On an unrelated note, I would just like to note that we here in the Land of the Large Eyebrows do not believe in trimming our eyebrow hair. No, we do not.

Sizing up

As a designer, you never really know which of your creations are going to grab the most attention. In my case, one of my earliest designs is also one of my most popular: this kids’ pullover called Langstroth, as worn by our resident cutie pants.

The sweater has a really simple construction — easy stitch pattern, raglan shaping, all in the round. I knew I had to eventually add some men’s sizes, too.

Et voila, Langstroth Sr, as worn by Cutie Pants Sr.:

(Gorgeous photo taken by my brother-in-law, Danny DeAngelis.)

One of the many pleasures of working up this new version of the design was working with the test knitters (ComradeYarnman, AntBee, and amhart on Ravelry). Their ages ranged from teenager to middle aged, and both men and women were represented. Each handled the job so conscientiously and each gave me great suggestions for clarifying the pattern. I really appreciate their help.

I’ve got more in the works, including a kids’ scarf and a men’s cardigan – stay tuned!

Jeny’s surprisingly… good edging

I stand in awe of people like Cat Bordhi, who invented several entirely new ways to shape a knitted sock, and Sarah Hauschka, who taught knitters how to knit around tiny circumferences on just one very long needle.

One of my favorite recent knitting technique inventions is Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. One of the notoriously difficult things to do in knitting is to bind off (finish) loosely. If you have ever tried to squeeze an ill-fitting sweater over your head, and felt the neckline about to squeeze your brains out through your ears, then you have felt the personal wrath of an edge bound off too tightly. Jeny’s technique adds one extra step — a yarn over before working each stitch — that makes all the difference in the world.

Serendipitously, I just found a great way to use this bind-off: as an edging. I wanted to put a simple, decorative edging on a baby vest that I just knit, so I picked up stitches around each edge, using a contrasting color. On the next round, I bound off all the stitches, working each stitch as a purl and using Jeny’s bind off. Look what a sweet edging it makes.

Sanity socks

Do you have any idea how many of my colleagues (including myself) are still alive because of these socks? These socks took me through all of the meetings about my college’s massive curriculum change. I just finished them at yesterday’s faculty meeting, wherein we wrapped up what seems to be the last major business in that curriculum change.

If the making of such things preserves one’s sanity, what powers do such socks impart to their wearer? Is all that sublimated vitriol going to ooze back into the soles of my feet? Yee-gads, I hope not. No, I choose to think that these socks are like armor, steeling me for what lies ahead. Actually, the gauge is tight enough that they might as well be armor. The B-2 bomber could not get through these things.

A soft fuzzy

All done!

It has been cold, cold, cold here in Texas…. OK, wait, now everyone on the east coast of the U.S. is going to want to strangle me because “cold, cold, cold” is not quite the same thing as “buried alive under 5′ of snow.”

But considering that usually in mid-February the highs get into the 70s, this year’s highs of 40s are quite a shock to the wardrobe. I simply do not have a lot of winter clothing, because normally I use it for about 10 minutes of the year. (Before you again reach to strangle me, let me remind you that for six months out of the year, you could bake a cake on my front lawn. Without an oven.)

So this year I’ve had a taste of what it’s like to be a knitter in colder climes, where you decide to knit things based on “what you need to keep your body warm,” rather than “what you are willing to sweat in because damn it, you’re going to wear knitted garments for at least a few days before summer hits.”

This scarf is a happy. It is soft and toasty and light on my skin. It does not tickle my nose, nor make my skin itch. It’s purty. It’s a nice change after once again failing to knit a sweater for myself that I like.