It’s not often when you pick up a book you’re drawn in by the photographer. But in this case, “photography by Jared Flood,” would have been enough to convince me to pick up Knits Men Want. And yes, the photos are stunning and live up to our high expectations of Jared’s work, but luckily, the book and the patterns are clever enough to stand on their own as well.
Anyone who has tried to knit for a guy has probably thrown down their needles at one point or another. (My own dear husband has a half-finished pair of socks in time out right now because they are not a good “guy” color). Knits Men Want is constructed with a fun format, “10 Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting for a Man.” Each of the rules is an essay like “Not all Men are Worthy of Cashmere” (this assumes that some are?), and “Men are Babies.” Author Bruce Weinstein, writes in a fun, irreverent style that speaks to women, and shows he really does know what men want in the way of knitting. Each rule also has a pattern (“The only 10 patterns she’ll ever need.”) There are sweaters, vests, mitts, socks a scarf and hat, all looking very simple, lovely and (with the exception of a textured scarf) full of miles and miles of stockinette. I’m sure this really *is* what men want to wear. And the problem for women knitters comes where they’d rather be knitting something with more knitterly interest. I think that Bruce is right. If we want men to wear what we knit, we need to knit things that don’t say “Hey check-out this hand-knitting!” We can make those sorts of things for ourselves.
Bruce has offered to chat about how to pick the right yarn and stitch for a project. So without further ado, I’ll let him take the floor:
Okay, this sounds easier than it actually is. Get his opinion—on the pattern, the yarn, and the color. Take him to the store. Did I just hear a few snorts of laughter? True, some men will go to the yarn store willingly, and even enjoy it. But most won’t.
My partner Mark won’t go even if I promise him the moon. He hates stores, hates shopping. So I go and pick out some skeins. A good selection and bring them home. Now, they have to be comfortable. Don’t just let him feel them with his hands. He’s going to wear the garment against his body. Rub that yarn where the sun don’t shine. On his chest, his back, his shoulders. Make sure he likes the feel of it as yarn – or he won’t like the feel of it as a sweater.
Show him patterns, but remember that most men won’t be able to translate what they see on a young thin model to what they’ll see on themselves. So knit up a swatch. But keep a few pointers in mind before you waste anyone’s time.
In general, keep cables narrow. Kill the fringe. Lose the bobbles and picos. Crew and V-neck is better than cowls or turtle necks. And if you make a cardigan, choose buttons or zippers that are dark and simple, not shiny or flashy.
Thanks, Bruce, for dropping by, and congratulations on the release of your new book!