Patterns for mature men

Hi guys,

I'm just wondering where do you fellow mature guys go for patterns for yourselves? So many of the popular magazines tend to cater to the younger guys. All well & good but...........

Do you adapt patterns?

Look for vintage designs?

Create your own?

I'm at the stage where I'm about ready to knit for myself & not thrilled at the choice out there. Yes I did the course at F.I.T. but I am interested to hear what you guys have to say.

A lot of us knit for other folk. Family, friends or charity, not that many of us seem to knit for ourselves. Is there a reason for that? 


that's a solid question.  i love knitting for other's and frequently set things on the back burner for myself to knit a gift.  i think there's a general consensus that men's patterns are few and far between in designs I like so I have been making them up myself lately, but it's usually inspired by 2-3 features of other patterns. 

ronhuber's picture

I think that we knit for others because it is an expression of love.  We want to say. "I love you,"  and spending hours, weeks, months, making something for that person is a wonderful way to say it.  As for patterns for men, you are right.  They are few and far between.  Those horrible sweaters knit in bulky wool with the unflattering drop sleeve construction.  In order to accomodate a belly the shoulder seam is at the elbow.  And there is room for another person in them.  If you have read anything by Elizabeth Zimmermann you will know how to construct your own.  She suggests short rows so the sweater doesn't ride up in the back but short rows would accomodate a mature stomach and make sure it didn't ride up in the front.  Raglan and set in sleeves, both very easy for knitting in the round, are far more flattering and fit any sized man  so much better.  Saddle shoulders are also a good option.  A hem at the bottom of the sweater draws less attention to the huge gut as opposed to a ribbing and actually is more slimming.  Thin wool also makes a nicer sweater.  You will say that it will take forever, but most people knit up to twice as fast on smaller needles as compared to bigger needles so it really doesn't take that long.  Try ordering some real Shetland wool from the Shetland Islands.  A sweater knit from this will last for the rest of your life and you can renew it by washing and blocking it.  You will have a sweater that is worth hundreds of dollars and will look it.  If you get bored with plain knitting, add a design feature such as a two stitch cable (twist 2 right) every ten stitches or a dramatic six inch honeycomb cable that runs up the middle front.  Try a three inch cable pattern that is offset at the front and runs from hem to shoulder.  Maybe we should design a few and publish a book!!

Weeeell, I'm now of an age (and build) where I can but admire some of the fabulous patterns out there but realistically have to go for something classic.  I find Rowan's patterns really spot on.  Also, their wools are wonderful.  I have a collection of several good, solid basic patterns that I adapt by using wools with texture and by varying the colours - and choose a colour that's not Highstreet - so it's clearly designed and not off the peg.  Several patterns are in multi-yarns so one can use either a chunky or a 4-ply weight - very useful. 

I'm withdrawing a little from knitting for everyone else.  I'm keen to be known as a knitter that wears his own creations! and something unique at that!  And on a mean note, I'd rather spend out on some expensive wool for me rather than end up wearing a shop-bought sweater 'cos I'm spending time and money on others.  It sounds a bit stingy but when others ask you to make something for them, it gets a bit expensive and I rarely end up with something good for me to wear.

Well, living in Tampa, scarves are out, as are Alpine knee socks - Willy-Warmers are ok as long as they're made with really wide & open lace -  I'd look silly in a shawl or stole, and Mobius scarves, no matter how Angelic they promise to transform, would never lead anyone to swallow my 're-discovered' virginity.  BUT:

We have beaches.  Lots of 'em.  Acres of 'em.  So, for several years I've been trying to design and whip up a decent meshy tank-top to wear to the beach.  Well, the long and short of it is that it's damned near impossible to find a good pattern thats not for Twiggy.  So, I've taken matters into my own hands - as one is wont at times to do - and am fiddling around with a formula (not unlike the toe-up sock formula I love) for a tank-top that any guy can make for himself with but a few crucial measurements.  (You'll be cheered to know that I developed one for the Willy-Warmer based on the sock formula, too!Laughing)

Whilst doing this, it occured to me that there really is a desperate need for practical duds for male knitters.  Viking Cowboy, a fellow spinner/knitter over in Norway, knits up his own britches, shirts, socks and I'm afraid to guess what else.  So, it's being done out there.  We just don't see anything on the shelves at the Local Yarn Pusher or online.  I've done every available search possible and either the garment is for someone living just southeast of Minneapolis, or it was designed by and for one of those "things" that 'slide' up 8th Avenue in NYC.

So, I *have* been thinking on this very question A L O T ! ! ! 

~Mike in Tampa (who thinks those knitted thongs are just toooooooo odd . . . and pr'olly binding . . .)

~Der Gefährliche Schal-Stricker

Yahoo Id: stickywarp2001

First Time = A Mistake

2nd Time = A Mistake

3rd Time = A Pattern!


kiwiknitter's picture

 I knit almost exclusively for myself, sometimes for the partner but he doesn't really like to wear jerseys.  If someone else asks me to knit something for them, I gracefully decline but do offer to teach them how to knit it themselves!

Now that I've discovered "The Sweater Workshop" by Jacqueline Fee, I'm knitting another jumper that is sized to fit me.  I, too, am tired of patterns for men's wear that is either "roomy" (which means you and your roommate can fit in it at the same time) or for young, slim men.  Ms. Fee has freed me from these patterns.  I have books of stitch patterns that can easily be incorporated into the jumper design.

Here where I live I find myself limited by the poor selection of wool, especially colours.  I don't have a stash as I like to select the pattern and then the wool to compliment it.  I usually knit in DK but I'm looking for a nice 4 or 5 ply for a cable vest I want to knit.

I, too, am sick of the generally poor selection of men's knitwear patterns.  As I improve the science of my craft, I hope to improve the art as well. 

Friends don't let friends knit drunk.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

Warren's picture

I think I knit for my loved ones partly because I love them, partly because I love to knit, and perhaps the egotistical part for me is knowing that I'm giving them something that is of myself rather than something I bought off the shelf

kiwiknitter's picture

Lars reply has reminded me of the book "Sweater Design in Plain English" by Maggie Righetti.  I loved her book "Knitting in Plain English" and that was the book I used to learn to knit. 

I've never used the book but do glance through it from time to time for little tips.  Her designs appear to be mostly for flat knitting and I'm off and running with circular right now.  But, now that I've looked at it more closely, I'll do some reading in it about body shapes.

In the design book, Maggie discusses design factors such as understanding body shapes, measuring, matching design and fibers, colour, etc.  There is also a chapter on choosing the most flattering design for the wearer.  I noticed a place that shows where to put in decreases to accomodate "barrel chests and tummy paunches".  Sounds useful to me! 

Friends don't let friends knit drunk.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly