Is He Handsome?...Or Is He Knitting Pattern Handsome?

I have found Jane Ellison's Queensland Collection Book 9 to be one of the few design books I have chosen to purchase. Why? I recommend you clap eyes on this remarkably simple, inspiring and easily modified set of baseline instructions for some of the best looking mens' knitted clothing I have seen in ages.

Oh, yeah...I'm so transparent...the models in these masculine, classic and well designed togs are...shall we say...easy on the eye? But I digress...

I have cast aside all the instructions for making piecework, modifying it all to do it in the round with blessed few seams...four so far, two eight stitches long under the arms and a three-needle cast-off on the shoulders.

As I have learned, patterns are merely guideposts. Damn, you have to stick to good knitting skills to get it to all work, none of which are acknowledged or hinted by the designer. This is why I like great technique books and writers who share knowledge...not just information. Big difference!

I chose to make the Harrison, a 2X2 rib with 10% fewer stitches to address the laziness of the yarn and my vanity. Hey, sweaters for bodybuilders! Someone's gotta do it.

I had to rework everything, because I chose BabyTwist Alpaca to make the thing. I steeked the arms and the neckline. Found thin but remarkably tensile reinforcement sock yarn in a near match color to crochet the steek locking stitches and to prevent the shoulder seams from drooping to my elbows. Alpaca yarn is soft, melting soft, and rewards the knitter with indifference and slouching unctuousness, like a brooding teenager. Twisting the knit stitches every other row gave it a crew cut and kind of garment!

The tube of the body is now finished, awaiting the steek stabilization, seaming of shoulders, pick up of sleeve stitches for the downward journey, and finishing the neckline...a three and a half inch climb up the neck, three buttons to allow it to get over your head.

I envision the work will continue at my snail's pace knitting, but I love the process. I chose a raspberry red for the bottom, and a dark red tweed color for the top and arms. The color transition is a simple 2 row-4 row alternation of 24 rows. I know what caught my eye was the lighter color on the bottom.

I suspect I'll also enjoy wearing it in midtown in NYC, as I catch people who see the worn object when finished. I should get a few nonchalant stares, smarmy gawks and sly about-turns. Priceless!


RickeScott's picture

After the first paragraph, I had to see this for myself...

And I agree...

WillyG's picture

Thanks for the link.

mrossnyc's picture

It's a great book and the patterns and models caught my eye as well. I'm working on the last sleeve of the Carey pattern at the moment and I completely agree about using the pattern as a guideline. This is the first sweater I've knitted flat and I decided weeks ago that the next sweaters from this book will be modified to be knit in the round and steeked. I started the project to see what it's like to follow a pattern since my other projects have either been major modifications of a pattern or done without a pattern at all. The novelty wore off before too long and before I knew it, I was making some slight changes. This is also the first time I'm using the yarn called for in a pattern and I do like how the Merino Spray knits up and the colorway looks completely different than in the pics.

Can't wait to see pics of your latest creation!

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

MY, MY. Thanks for the link, Rick. The sweaters look great and having them on handsome models doesn't hurt. Still, good thing knitting can be adapted to fit those of us who are not so photogenic. Same with ability to knit in the round rather than sew pieces together. I hate sewing seams. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Thank you Mark for writing about this book. I was looking for a new guys pattern book. And thanks for the link Rick, I too confess to the lure of the eye candy models even though my preference is a bit older, it is still nice to look look at the veal. I just ordered the book on ebay.

Bill's picture

my copy just's beautiful!
...and so are the photographs/men...
I'm going to try to combine two into a hoodie-cardigan...

BrentCLW's picture

If only even one of those sweaters would fit my thigh.....

Brent Troth  Clearwater, Florida

Brent Troth  Raleigh, NC

joeyune's picture

I just bought this book yesterday and I've got to say I'm really pleased there are plus size versions in here the looks are current and the patterns are easily tweaked for color and type of yarn ect. Not to mention the 2 modles are nice to look at and make u see the beauty in the designs. I really recommend this as well. I'm also in the process of the Alvin vest .

New York Built's picture

You remind me about the four possible answers to almost every choice in life...Yes; No: No, not now; We need to renegotiate!

Take a look at those member's blogs who have had a chance to make a few of Ms. Ellison's sweaters. Not unlike other designers, there are four characteristics about her designs that are consistent...

First, the depth of the armscythes are other words, the sleeves are designed for men with arms that are thinner than some. Measure your favorite sweater and see if it is the same. If not, you will need to make those changes. Say "Yes" to the truth.

Second, read and question the pattern directions BEFORE you start and save your surprises for Christmas morning. If you notice a design you like made by one of the members, don't hesitate to ask them what they modified to make the garment. You will get some great hints. Check also the Pattern Watch thread on the Men Who Knit group on Ravelry and other social networks. Just be wary...these sites are less warm and fuzzy, more brittle and bitter than here, for some reason. Don't be afraid to say. "No."

Three, the images have been heavily other words, the images exaggerate or hide something. This is normal for all publications designed to sell yarn, as most experienced knitters know from experience. You are the editor of your own sweater, so don't be afraid of changing anything. Patterns are just guidelines, not a religious belief system. Learn to think, "No, not now!"

Fourth, everything is negotiable in patterns. Everything!!!

Every person I encounter teaches me more about myself. Without whom not.