Book Review: Knits Men Want
April 14, 2010
STC Craft sent me a copy of their newly released title, Knit Men Want, The 10 Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting for a Man by Bruce Weinstein. I admit, I was intrigued. I have knit Fatty a total of three sweaters in the 16 years that I have known him. I have knit myself the same number in the last year. I'd like to even that out a bit, but it's hard to find patterns for men that appeal to both me, the knitter, and him, the wearer. This book is my answer.
Bruce does an excellent job explaining how to go about choosing knits for the men in your life. His approach is intelligent, practical and witty. The book includes 10 patterns. It doesn't sound like a lot, but the real value here is that Bruce gives you instructions and yardage requirements for six sizes and six gauges. You choose your yarn, knit your gauge swatch, measure it and then follow the instructions for that gauge. Brilliant! He also gives you guidelines for figuring out what style sweater will appeal to the man you are knitting for along with what fibers to use and how to choose a color.Color is tricky, in my opinion. It's no secret that I tend to favor green and would probably knit green garments for everyone that surrounds me. Fatty likes green enough, but when he buys clothes, he tends to choose blue first. I asked Bruce some questions about color and here is what he said:
Erin: In your book, you address the reasons men often don't wear the sweaters women knit for them. One of the reasons is bad color choices by the women knitting. Why is choosing the right color so important?
Bruce: Nature is funny. I just came back from a local organic farm, picking up some duck eggs for dinner and the turkeys chased me from my car to the barn. Not the females. Those plain, drab, and quiet birds stood back while their guys, loud, aggressive, and highly decorated with mutlicolored feathers came towards us. Us being my partner Mark, myself, and Jeff, the farmer. The three human males each dressed in either black or navy shirts and sweaters with no fuss or decoration. While in the wild, males tend to pack on the color—reds, greens, purples, yellows, and pinks, civilization has trained men to tone it down. The basic black suit, perhaps a navy pinstripe, or khaki. Sure, there are some men who'll wear pink hats and orange scarves but they are few and far between. Most men just won't put it one if it's not dark and subtle. And if I had a dollar for every time I've heard a gal say that she won't be caught dead knitting with drab dull yarn, I'd be rich. It's also amazing how many brightly colored hand knit men's garments I've seen over the years at goodwill shops and garage sales. You do the math.
Erin: What should a knitter consider when making their color choice?
Bruce: The only thing to consider is the wearer. If it's for a man in your life, and you're not sure, then go to his closet. Take inventory. Whats there? Are there half a dozen navy sweaters and sweatshirts? Great. make it seven. If all the blues are dark, you can consider another shade, like brown or green, but keep it in the same hue. If he likes navy, he might like deep cedar green.
Erin: There is not a single bright color used in your book. Do men really lack a sense of adventure when it comes to the color of their clothes?
Bruce: Here's where the difference between men's and women's perspective comes into play. I actually think the dark yellow scarf and green socks are quite colorful. Maybe some women would say they are only starting to lean towards bright, but from this man's point of view, they are as far most men are willing to go. It's not that we're not adventurous, I just thing that in general, men don't like to call attention to themselves. The like to blend in. And it's in socks and scarves, which are just accents not the main event, that we're willing to go out on a limb in terms of color.
I highly recommend this book. I had Fatty take a look through it and he asked for the baseball sweater, in you guessed it, blue. I'm happy to oblige.
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STC Craft|Melanine Falick books is conducting a Knits Men Want sweepstakes. For more information of the contest and to view the great prizes, go to this post. You can learn more about this fantastic book by following Bruce's blog tour. Details on his stops can be found here.
Thanks for mentioning this. My husband's in a similar boat and I want to knit more for him so he doesn't feel so left out.
Posted by: Casey | April 14, 2010 at 02:29 PM
I love that blue yarn! I would love to knit a sweater for my husband--only problem is, he doesn't wear sweaters! In the last ten years, he's maybe worn one four times. Sigh. I'm sure my dad would love a sweater, though.
Posted by: Meg Evans | April 14, 2010 at 02:43 PM
Looks intriguing I will have to check it out!
Posted by: keana | April 14, 2010 at 02:51 PM
the two i ever knit for my husband were brown and natural. go figure. interested in those patterns though and the flexibility. thanks E.
Posted by: sarah | April 14, 2010 at 04:03 PM
Interesting maybe I will take another look at this book. But I must say that the way this book is being marketed and the blurb they had from it in the recent issue of Twist Collective totally turned me off. According to that chart, I'm a man! It seemed very heavy on making generalizations based on gender. Not all women are into bright colors or like shopping for clothing and following fashion trends. The last 3 clothing items (2 sweaters and a vest) I have finished for myself were brown. My husband on the other hand regularly wears bright yellow, orange, flower print and other loud colored button down shirts.
Posted by: CodeCrafter | April 14, 2010 at 04:07 PM
I know plenty of women who like neutrals, too, but this book goes beyond the colors. It gets into why most men like certain types of sweaters and has some very nice patterns for these types of sweaters. And a great hat pattern for those men who don't like sweaters at all.
Posted by: Erin | house on hill road | April 14, 2010 at 04:13 PM
poor B. haven't knit him a sweater in YEARS. i actually had to tell him to PLEASE stop wearing the Christmas tree sweater!!! :)
looks like i need to check out this book!
Posted by: leslie | April 14, 2010 at 08:32 PM
I just got a copy of this book for my birthday ... from my husband (he heard me talking about it and knew I'd like it). I've made him two sweaters and he wears them both but both times he's watched me crawl through patterns trying to find the ones that are the sort of thing he'd actually wear. One of the ideas I liked best was realizing that I could make my husband the same sweater more than once (I checked this with Rob and he says it's true). Ever since I finished the Cobblestone Pullover I've been wanting to make another one. Now I'm thinking of looking for some tweedy dark blue yarn.
Posted by: peanut | April 14, 2010 at 08:52 PM
I WANT THIS BOOK! I actually have only knit scarves and hats, but I really want to make something for my husband. He's not picky at all, but I am, and the patterns in this book look amazing! I'm with you, CodeCrafter, I LOVE Brown! but I think there is something to a particular laid back style. The fact that if all of his clothes match, than he can just grab the first thing he sees (which is exactly what he does) and still look good! I just bought a ton of books, so... I guess it'll have to wait, but defiantly on my wish list!
Posted by: Brittney Harmon | April 15, 2010 at 08:04 PM
What a fab book! Thanks for reviewing.
Posted by: Sara | April 20, 2010 at 12:30 AM
So..I have a man's sense of color? lol I gravitate to the drab, muddy, subdued versions of any color. If standing in front of a shelf full of yarns, I would be gravitating to the blacks, and the army greens, and dirty celery greens, and the dark, dim reds, burnt oranges, etc. :p Interesting.
As for the book, I don't knit, and on top of that, I don't think I have seen dh wear an actual sweater in my life. But I think the concept of the book is brilliant, and a much needed addition to the crafting world. Making things for the guys is HARD! :p
Posted by: muralimanohar | May 07, 2010 at 08:31 AM