Most female knitters don't spend very long as knitters before hearing about the "boyfriend curse." The story, often repeated, goes something like this: Girl likes boy. Boy seems to like girl. Girl wants to knit something for boy, chooses impossibly complicated sweater pattern, slaves for untold hours. Girl, full of pride, gives sweater to boy. Boy is unimpressed. Relationship ultimately ends in disaster.
Judith Durant wants to save knitters from this terrible fate with the help of her book Never Knit Your Man a Sweater* (*Unless You've Got the Ring).
Making a Commitment
Most knitters have a natural inclination to knit for people they care about. When that is family and good friends who've been around for a long time, that's fine.
When it's the guy who's just come into your life, that's not such a good thing. Knitting takes time, of course, and most people you give knitted gifts to (at least those who haven't been trained) who aren't knitters just don't appreciate the time and effort that goes into even the smallest knitted items.
That's what makes Durant's book so brilliant. Projects are presented in order of commitment level, from a new boyfriend to the one who's popped the question.
The book also includes sage relationship advice, like "if you've had three dates with the man of your dreams, do not, under any circumstances, start knitting him a sweater."
The book advises not making anything with shaping until you're sure it's a long-term relationships, and waiting until engagement (or until you've moved into a place where both your names are on the lease) before starting a sweater. It's a little unromantic, but it sure could save you from a broken heart in more ways than one.
Never Knit Your Man a Sweater features 22 patterns, from basic coasters that can be made in an afternoon for a guy you like to the gorgeous but incredibly complicated, time consuming Diamond Classic Cardigan, which is best for very experienced knitters and very committed relationships. You might even want to wait until after you say "I do" before you cast on this one.
Patterns in between these two extremes include three different scarves, three different patterns for socks, three hats, sets of mittens, gloves, and convertible mittens, an iPod cover and a laptop cover, as well as a trio of vests.
The patterns are basically in order of complexity as well as being in order of commitment. Instructions are quite detailed and there are many full-color pictures of each project.
The only potential problem I found with these patterns is that all the sizes are given in inch measurements and don't include generally what size a man that might fit. Even after you're married you might not know the measurement from your husband's wrist to the end of his middle finger, and whipping out the tape measure the next time your guy takes off his shoes kind of ruins the surprise if you're planning to make socks for his birthday.
Still, these patterns are lovely, useful, and certainly guy-friendly.
Not Just for Boyfriends
Never Knit Your Man a Sweater is a handy book for anyone who has guys to knit for. If the man in question is your father, your brother, a good friend, your son or anyone else on your list, you're sure to find a project that he will love and that you will enjoy making for him.