Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Different for guys

I've had Son of Stitch 'n Bitch: 45 Projects to Knit & Crochet for Men for awhile, but with as busy as I've been, it sat there being ignored with several other books I've been meaning to get to. Now it's time to weigh in on it.

The introductory section about knitting for men isn't intended for me, but the information about obtaining measurements for a sweater was helpful, even if after looking through this book I expect I'm a lot farther away from making one. Seriously. I look at the instructions, and my brain turns to mush.

I was glad to find instructions for how to wash handknits. I've been doing my own laundry for years, so I know my way around a washer and dryer. (Granted, I've shrunk some items because I didn't pay careful attention, and I prematurely destroyed a sweater I liked from drying it in a machine.) I have not been sure how to proceed with anything that yarn labels say must be washed by hand. Now I know.

As for the patterns, there is more in it that I liked or could see myself wearing than upon initial review. The first time flipping through it I must have been distracted by stuff I wouldn't waste my time on. I have no use for kitsch projects, such as pillows shaped like alcohol bottles and the dead teddy bear with a stinging bee stuck in its stomach (complete with a pool of blood). I have my doubts about how many men would wear knit ties despite them being adorned with robots or skulls and bones. The same goes for the sweater vest with an anchor motif. And a scarf with a stripper and pole done in shadow knitting? Really?

One of the book's best pieces of advice to women knitting for their men is to keep it simple, and a fair number of the projects stick to that maxim. I could see myself wearing the Speed Racer and High Fidelity sweaters and might attempt to make them if I can muster up the courage eventually. Mr. Stripey and the Ernie Sweater would probably be fine if done in colors different than the garish ones pictured in the book.

I haven't made anything from the book, but one potential complaint I might offer is how many projects seem to require sewing skills. I'm intimidated enough to attempt a sweater. Sewing in a zipper for the Cobra sweater? You must be kidding.

Especially considering the dearth of books with knitting projects for men, Son of Stitch 'n Bitch has enough worthwhile patterns for me to recommend it. OK, so it makes me think I'm not capable of making a sweater, but that's my problem.

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At 1:25 AM, Anonymous Ruth said...

I won't attempt a sweater that needs a zipper either. Have you seen "Knitting with balls"? From the previews I've seen there's lots of classy knits in there.

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Donna B. said...

I just bought the book (to get up to $50 for free shipping from Knit Picks), and flipped through it last night. I had the same impression -- when I first saw it in a bookstore, I fixated on the wacky stuff. But I'd say about 2/3 of the patterns are emininently wearable. My favorite is Mixology -- that yarn is so beautiful, and it just looks classic and luxurious.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Doniamarie said...

A scarf with a stripper. WOW! That takes some imagination!

I'm a long way from sweaters as well. The instructions alone are intimidating. I understand.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger the secret knitter said...

I looked at a couple books aimed at men's projects when I first learned, but at that time everything seemed out of my skill range. I expect that's still true. The sweaters seem really hard to knit.

Ultimately the Son of Stitch 'n Bitch patterns are mostly sensible or wearable, although some need to be envisioned with different colors. I didn't mention all that I thought were good. Mixology seems like a winner too. The crazier ones stand out at first look, which is why I had my initial doubts about the book.


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