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The Knitting (Man)ual

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The Knitting (Man)ual.

The Knitting (Man)ual by Kristen Spurkland.

10 Speed Press.

It can be difficult to find knitting patterns for men that are actually projects that men will enjoy wearing (and knitting, if they happen to be knitters as well).

Freelance designer Kristin Spurkland takes the guesswork out of planning projects for men with her The Knitting (Man)ual: 20+ Projects for Guys.

Perfect for men who knit, or women who knit for men, the book focuses on classic, vintage designs with modern colors and embellishments that won't make the man in question feel old-fashioned.

Projects for Men Who Knit

While this book is perfectly suitable for women who knit projects for the men in their lives, it seems to me that it's really more of a knitting book that's actually for men.

It begins with an essay on knitting history and the fact that men have been knitting as long as knitting has been a craft (especially back when it was a career choice -- the professional knitters in the guilds were all men).

Spurkland also talks to a few current male knitters about why they knit and whether they follow patterns. Much like female knitters, some use patterns as jumping off points, while others follow them religiously and still others just make it up as they go along.

For those who aren't in the make it up camp but still want to have some creative control over their knitting projects, this book is a great choice.

It also includes a good section on the basic vocabulary used in the book and a quick overview of techniques required in the patterns, from stranded knitting to picking up stitches and reading charts.

The Patterns

The book contains 22 different patterns for a throw, slippers, two pairs of socks, seven sweaters (one a cardigan), a hooded vest, several hats and scarves, mittens and gloves.

The patterns range from relatively easy to much more complicated. They often use relatively simple stitch patterns and techniques, which offers plenty of options for personalization and embellishment.

In fact, many of the patterns have an "options" section at the end providing suggestions for how a pattern might be made differently, such as working stripes instead of plain, omitting a pattern stitch, adding earflaps to a hat or making gloves fingerless, open fingered or with knit fingers.

Other patterns have the variety built right in, such as the Nordic Hat Three Ways (plain, with dancing grannies or a star motif, and with or without earflaps) and the clever Top Down Hat, which involves increasing until you get the circumference you need and then knitting the body of the hat straight as long as you want.

The basic, classic styles are great for men, of course, but many of the patterns could be altered to work for women who love the old-school look of these patterns (or who like the idea of knitting a "boyfriend sweater" and keeping it for themselves).

And the Seaweed Throw is so handsome, it should be on every knitter's list.

If you're a man who knits, this book belongs on your shelf. If you're a woman who likes to knit for men, or who would like to start knitting for men, you'll have a lot of success if you use the patterns in this book.

Author's website

Publication date: September 2007.

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