Bruce Weinstein has insight into what men want when it comes to knitwear that most knitters don't have because, well, he's a guy. He's also a long-time knitter who has knit for himself and for other guys, and he's distilled that knowledge into 10 rules and 10 projects that women -- and other men, no doubt -- should keep in mind when trying to knit for a man.
His book Knits Men Want: The 10 Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting for a Man is full of good humor and good advice that should help keep you from being afraid to knit for your guy or being disappointed by his reaction to or treatment of your work.
About the Book
- Pages: 128
- Format: paperback with flaps
- Number of patterns: 10
- Skill level: none given, but they range from advanced beginner to intermediate
- Sizing: the patterns are all for men and offer a range of six sizes, from 40 to 60 inch chest measurements
- Illustrations: full-color photographs
- Knitting lessons: a section at the back covers special techniques like grafting and getting gauge for knitting in the round
- Publication date: April 2010
- Publisher: Stewart Tabori & Chang
The Rules (and Patterns)
Each pattern in the book is presented as a way to work within the rules of knitting for men so that both the knitter and the recipient will be happy with the results. It starts with the idea that men can't fake it; if you knit them something they don't like they are never going to wear it.
That truth is combined with a basic ribbed ski sweater with a high collar made out of baby alpaca yarn that's super soft and warm enough to wear without a coat (because guys get warm easily and don't like bulky layers under their jackets).
It would also serve for another rule: men are babies. Men don't want to wear anything that will touch their skin if it has the slightest bit of scratchiness. This truth is paired with fingerless gloves worked in alpaca and merino.
In all their are six sweaters (one with a vest variation), a pair of socks, a reversible cable scarf (because guys are oblivious and wouldn't notice if they were wearing a non-reversible scarf wrong), a pair of mitts and a watchcap billed as the pattern that could please any male you might want to knit for.
The patterns are presented in multiple gauges and sizes, so you can use yarn you already have on hand or whatever your guy likes, should he be willing to go to the yarn store with you.
The "rules" are rather cliche but they're also true of most men. They're resistant to change so you should knit things like things they already own. They don't know how to take care of nice things so you shouldn't knit them anything cashmere (save that for yourself, honey!). They don't like fittings so measure one of their sweaters, or try socks on them while they're asleep.
Knits Men Want provides a lot of nice, basic but pretty projects that the men in your life probably would actually wear and use. And there are little touches in several of the patterns that will make them a little more interesting for the knitter, too, like a saddle shoulder instead of a classic raglan or the option to shape the toes of a sock so they fit one foot only.
The photographs by Jared Flood are lovely, and the men really do look happy in these projects. It's almost enough to make me want to knit a sweater (it would probably have to be the basic pullover) for my husband. Almost.