Sweater Challenge

Instead of going to college, my oldest son is trying to live a sustainable life with two other like-minded activists in south-central Oregon. He has a day job to cover his share of the expenses, but his joy is in raising their fledgling herd of goats and flock of chickens and cultivating vegetables.

When he said he “wouldn’t mind” a handknitted sweater (he buys most of his clothes from thrift stores), I pounced. Being male, he doesn’t care for flashy or fussy clothes so my challenge will be to come up with a design that will be dull enough for him to feel comfortable wearing and interesting enough for me to want to knit.

I’ve passed the first hurdle by choosing a dark blue yarn (why, oh why, do men always choose navy, brown, or charcoal?). But instead of choosing a solid yarn, I got him to agree to Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter in the Old Navy colorway. Yes, it’s a dark color, but it’s far from drab. Lively flecks of turquoise, cobalt, deep gold, and bright red literally dance across the navy base. My son embraced the casual, rustic look that includes small bits of vegetable matter and the slightly felted feel. I’ve worked with Shelter for the Guston pullover in Brooklyn Tweed’s Wool People Volume 2 and I’m quite delighted to use it again.

yarn photoThe next step is to sketch some ideas. Stay tuned!


4 thoughts on “Sweater Challenge”

  1. Hey Ann, I know just how you feel! I have 2 grown sons and a Hubby. When I say “grown” I’m not kidding. My Hubo is 6’7″ and is a 54″ chest (he also has size 17 narrow shoes, but socks is another conversation). Erik, our youngest son is 6’8″ has a 52″ chest (and to balance things out wears a size 18EEE shoe). The amount of yearn it takes to make either a sweater is crazy but the most brain wracking is what they want in a sweater. My son has to have a pocket that doesn’t show on the inside right upper ab area(he’s left -handed as is my Hubo) Both have very broad shoulders and long arms. One likes Pullovers but it has to be a V-neck with the bottom of the “V” is just the right spot. The other likes Cardi’s and Pullovers but the Pullovers he wants to fell more like a 20 year old Sweat Shirt. One likes all wool and the other likes a wool-cotton mix. The colours are just like you said,”dark”. One likes only steel or steel-blue grays, the other only navy blue.

    The real gist is that there is a lot of Sweater to knit! Nothing is harder than knitting, not only a colour that is the same for that loved one every time, or at least that’s how is feels, but trying to come up with some design interest that won’t make them turn up their nose. If texture is used, well, no one better be able to see it or they will never wear it.

    I will be following your adventures in “Designs for Males” and hoping that a new era of Fun actually goes with knitting For the Men in ones life.. I’m feeling rather hopeful! I wonder, if all men are really created equal,..when it comes to Sweaters! LOL!

  2. I think the yarn choice – colorwise- will be a winner. I have an old store bought sweater that is dark blue with the smallest of multicolor flecks and it is a favorite. Unfortunately it now has 3 small holes on the side. I just keep my arm down. lol

  3. Along with male items always being knit in blue, grey or black – everything also has to be PLAIN. No cables, bobbles, “holes” (what we’d call a yarn over) or anything fancy. They want it warm and easy to wash. So cast on and knit plain stockinette and have fun! 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing what you create. Your son sounds very cool. Maybe he can raise some sheep to supply you with yarn!

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