Men’s knitting roundup #10

It’s been several months since we peeked into the latest men’s knitwear designs. Let’s go exploring…. Today we’re all about color.


Looking for new men’s designs can sometimes be an exercise in despair—frankly, most of what I see is either awfully frumpy or is really designed for women and has been questionably tagged for men. (Mind you, I have pretty wide-ranging beliefs about what looks great on men, but even my liberal limits are frequently tested by overzealous tagging.)

And then, like a bolt out of the blue, you come across something like this…

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PINCH ME but that is luscious. This is Wester Ross by Welsh designer Jane Howorth and knit, of course, out of Noro Kureyon. Pictured here on a teenager, the sizing ranges from 34.5–53.5 inch chest. I absolutely love the way the cabling and knit-and-purl texture plays with the striping effect of the yarn, the way the saddle shoulder cleverly travels across the top back (see below), the extra-long ribbing and thumb holes at the cuffs, and the impeccable shaping (no slouchiness!).

Jane has designed some other gorgeous men’s sweaters that you should also take a gander at; I will definitely be keeping an eye on her from now on.

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Bristol Ivy’s Quoin cowl is worked in three colors of worsted-weight wool—potentially yarn you already have in your stash. I love how she has combined asymmetrical striping and deep chevrons into a simple-to-knit but bold design. It’s like a Color Affection Shawl for your neck … with a lot less knitting.


Looking for a more ambitious knit to occupy the long summer days? I love this Mayan Ouroboros scarf pattern from Tania Richter. The instructions can be purchased individually or as part of an eight-pattern e-book called Fantasy Art Knits—all double-knit scarves with fantasy creatures fabulously charted out (in both senses of the word fabulous!). Five patterns have been released so far, including a Nine-Tailed Kitsune that is screaming my name.

Men’s knitting roundup #9

Many of you in the northern US are blanketed under snow right now, so it’s a good moment to check in on the world of men’s knits. As it happens, most of my favorite recent patterns for men are for your neck, so let’s warm up that throat!


First up is another fantastic shawl pattern by Josh Ryks, called Tailspin. Originally knit with Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, this would make a great project for sock yarn scraps, as you only need one full skein of one of the colors. The remaining colors only require anywhere from 50–200 yards each.

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If you are as charmed by Josh’s style as I am, you should also check out his video podcast, Sword of a Knitter.


Speaking of keeping your neck warm, here is an unusual but very wearable style for your next men’s cowl. This is the Neckwarmer Cowl with Toggle by the prolific British designer Ruth Maddock. The toggle can be tightened to snug the cowl up around your neck for extra warmth.

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The original uses an Aran and DK yarn held together, but you could also substitute a bulky yarn.


If you’ve got some handsome buttons burning a whole in your craft drawer, check out the luscious Garfunkel cowl by Polish designer Justyna Lorkowska. This piece requires about 250 yards of a worsted-weight wool. It buttons just at the bottom so that you can wear it either buttoned and scrunched around your neck, or open and spread out to protect any part of your chest not covered by your coat. Very stylish.

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I’ve published a new pattern for men as well! My husband (pictured below) has a very handsome, but often chilly, shaved head, so when Bijou Basin Ranch sent me a skein of their delicious Lhasa Wilderness yarn, I knew just who was getting a hat. Lhasa Wilderness blends yak down and bamboo, giving the fiber an incredible softness and luster that are perfect next to the skin.

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My Aftershave Hat pattern uses a simple textured pattern to show off the drape and luster in the yarn. You’ll need 160–180 yards of a sportweight (depending on which size you make), and any drapey luxury fiber such as alpaca or cashmere would make a fine substitute.

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 #5

Time to check in with what’s new and awesome in the world of boys’ knitting patterns!


My jaw dropped when I spotted this sweater from Danish designer Nanna Gudmand-Høyer.

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This design is appropriately named Robotto, and the pattern is available for free in English, Danish, and German (Ravelry link). Sizes are 6–12. The colorwork is so brilliantly designed, and I love the designer’s suggestion to have the wearer help you pick out the colors. For best results, just make sure to choose a set of colors that ranges from pretty dark to very light.


If Robotto looks a little (or a lot) past your current knitting skill set, check out Lori Versaci’s Basic Kid Pattern.

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Sized for 2–14 year olds (there’s also a separate baby pattern), this classic crew neck comes with instructions for either a pullover or cardigan version. Imagine how much use you could get out of this one pattern! The shaping is simple (modified drop shoulders look good on kids but are easy to knit), and I know from firsthand experience how well-written Lori’s patterns are. If you’ve not tried knitting a sweater before, what better way to start than with a smaller canvas!


If it’s still warm where you are (it’ll be 102 degrees here today) or if your kid isn’t so much into sweaters, why not check into some cool new crocheted toys? Megan Kreiner’s new book Bathtime Buddies is a riot of original sea creatures and people (Ravelry link). If you’ve not done any/much crocheting before, these fun and simple animals would make the perfect way to cut your teeth.

How about this sweet-faced otter trying to break open a clam? Or a swarm of jellyfish?

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There are 20 patterns in all (narwhal, manatee, octopus, lobsters deep-sea diver…) that perfectly straddle that line between realism and cuteness. The book even comes with a digital download so you can view it on your tablet or computer.


And let’s not leave out the older guys—for you, I’d point out a new handsome scarf-shaped shawl, Descent into Madness, by Josh Ryks.

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So many knitters love making these sideways shawls—they knit up quickly and you can use up all of that luscious hand-dyed skein—and it’s great to see one modeled here by a young man to make visually clear just how gender-spanning this style of shawl really is.

This looks like a really fun knit, as you can see from this closeup of the varied stitch patterns, knit with two coordinating colors of fingering-weight yarn. The pattern is available either for individual sale or as part of a collection of three geometric shawls.

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Finally, I can’t resist mentioning that I’ve got a six-pattern collection for boys coming out very soon from Cooperative Press—September 15, to be specific. It’s a comic book and pattern collection in one: the comic-book storyline designed to entice your favorite kid into DESPERATELY wanting the hand knits. (Because we all know what a tough sell that can be sometimes.) The book will be available both in PDF-only (for $9.95) and paperback + PDF (for $15.95). I’ll let you know when the preorder page goes up!

Here’s a photo from the book that I haven’t released yet…

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Shown here are the three pieces in the kung fu uniform (gi): the jacket, pants, and belt, all knit in Berroco Vintage. My son, Liam, did the modeling for the book, and he couldn’t have been a better sport. It’s rarely very cold here in Texas, so he got a bit toasty shooting this, but never broke a sweat, as it were. I love his tough-guy expressions in some of these shots, too.

Men’s knitting pattern roundup #2

Let’s check in again on the world of men’s knitting patterns.

(If you missed the first men’s knitting pattern roundup, you can find it here, along with an explanation of what these roundups are about.)

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Interweave Press just released a delicious magazine of Harry Potter-themed knits, a full third of which are suitable for men. My favorite of the bunch is Hagrid’s Sweater by Anne Podlesak. Like the other two men’s garments in this collection, this one is beautifully cabled and comes in a good range of sizes (34.5-50.5″ finished chest in this case).

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Such a thoughtful use of cabling, including some strategic yarnovers that will keep this pullover from getting pulled off an over-heated body.

But what really sells this for me is the fact that it’s modeled by a bearded, handsome bear of a man. You know how excited we plus-sized women get when we see actual, plus-sized models? Same applies here. Big men like sweaters, too, and it’s great for a change to see how the finished garment would actually look on said big men.

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While we’re on the subject of magazines, the new Cast On (Aug-Oct 2013) focuses on men’s designs — 11 patterns in all, including sweaters, vests, socks, hats, and scarves. (Not all of them are listed in Ravelry yet.) I’m particularly fond of this scarf by Jennifer Donze.

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Finally, the supremely talented Veera Välimäki (the genius behind the Color Affection Shawl) just published in Finnish the pattern for this well-tailored men’s sweater. In this garment, Veera does what she always does best: takes a few simple elements (basic knit and purl stitches in this case) and combines them in a new, stylish way that is utterly appealing. That neckline is not quite cowl and not quite yoke. And those buttons! An infectious shot of color on what is already a gorgeous neutral backdrop. Those patches of reverse stockinette complement the texture of the hand-dyed yarn. Gorgeous.

Veera’s Ravelry page promises an English translation at a future date.

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Oh, and not that he needs any help from me, but in case you haven’t heard, Brooklyn Tweed has recently issued a men’s collection as well. It’s classic and beautiful in the way that all Brooklyn Tweed productions are.

Been caught stealin’, once when I was 5 **

We here at Dark Matter Knits design studios like to encourage delinquency in our youngest members of society, and so I have created the Better Pocket Scarf, just right for tucking sticky, sticky candy into.

This is all part of my campaign to come up with better knits for boys. The idea is simple: if we start from what they want — instead of what we want them to want — and figure out how to knit that, maybe they’ll actually use what we knit for them.

And what my son wants is POCKETS. Big, deep pockets on every piece of clothing. Pockets into which he can cram all manner of things and then promptly forget about them so that in the washing machine several days later they turn the family laundry into an ink-stained, gum-fused monstrosity. Pockets that can withstand 80 interesting rocks from a hike, an uncapped pen, a half-chewed piece of fruit leather, a gnawing reptile of some sort, and a small explosive device.

If this is the tall order, knitted fabric does not seem to be the ideal metier, but we are knitters, by gum, and we can make ANYTHING WITH YARN. With, in this case, a little bit of plastic thrown in for good measure. So this scarf’s pockets each have hidden inside a plastic CD sleeve so that no matter what gets tucked into those pockets, the yarn blissfully goes on thinking it is being worn by a middle-aged shut-in with manicured nails.

Oh, and also, the scarf has cool shaping (the pockets are knit like hats so that you can knit all the lovely color work in the round) and a fun color scheme courtesy of the affordable Berroco Vintage.

the obligatory Twilight reference

The scarf appears in the just-released Winter 2012 issue of Petite Purls, which is a beautifully produced online magazine of free knitting, crochet, and sewing patterns for children. This issue focuses on accessories, and — I’m warning you — you just might collapse from how sweet they are. I’m especially partial to Alison Stewart-Guinee’s mittens made to look like the Fantastic Mr. Fox. And I want to bottle her kid’s geeky cuteness.

All right, now, get back to work! I’ve got to go get my teeth cleaned, which is so much more fun than anything else I could be doing right now.

** Bonus points to you if you know the song from the title. (It’s one of my favorites — one of the best song bridges ever — though the video creeps me out.)

Lace love/hate

Here’s the latest thing off my needles, the Alhambra scarf, designed by Anne Hanson of Knitspot. (I can show it to you because I didn’t design it — weird how that works, isn’t it?) It’s knit out of some lovely KnitPicks Shadow that a thoughtful former student gave to me.

Like so many of Anne’s designs, Alhambra hits that sweet spot where complex-looking lace meets actually-not-so-difficult stitch pattern. Just enough repetition that you don’t have to be a slave to the chart, but just enough variation that you don’t want to cut yourself to death ever so slowly with your thindly thinny little laceweight yarn.

Here’s the thing, though: I’m not a fan of lace, generally speaking. It would seem that in the universe of knitters, this makes me the inhabitant of a remote planet, population 4. Knitters get FREAKY for lace. Even women in their 20s are churning out lace shawls as if they had actually come back into style.

Don’t get me wrong — I kid you lace lovers because I love. And I get the delight in the technical challenge that is lace. My tastes just run on the other end of the spectrum from Super Femme.

But this scarf? It has a different quality that isn’t quite so…. lacy. I think it would be possible for a man to wear it, too. What do you think?