Guest Author - Lisa Linnell-Olsen
Knitting for the man in your life is often a great challenge. Patterns for men must be comfortable, fit their body shape and sense of style, all without a hint of femininity. It's easy to get bored knitting up neutral sweaters or accessories with limited detailing. Often, the fun of knitting for men is taken away when knitting up something bland that looks like it came from a store, rather than being a unique piece. Now, it is easy to take this misery one step further - try coming up with unisex patterns. An entire book of patterns that men would actually wear, and that their wife/girlfriend/sister/mom would want to borrow and wear herself. This is the challenge Bruce Weinstein undertook in the pattern collection of "Boyfriend Sweaters."
The patterns in the book have classic styling, good lines with minimal design elements and embellishments. Many of these pieces could easily become wardrobe basics that would blend in for casual or office wear. The size charts for each sweater sizer include both men's sizes and women's sizes. A few accessories such as hats and scarves are included. A variety of yarns from various producers in different price ranges are used in the project pieces. Affordable yarns like those from Lion Brand as well as upscale brands like Manos Del Uruguay are used. Gauge requirements are given, so it would be possible for a knitter to find a substitute yarn if their budget or availability required. The patterns appear to be well written, using a combination of charts and patterns text. There are simple solid sweaters and more advanced all-over cable patterns, and even a houndstooth sweater included. Each pattern has a beautiful photograph that shows the piece well to knitters. Many items are shown on both a man and a woman, to show how they would drape and flatter both figure types.
What I like most about this book is actually the rest of the writing included. There is the obligatory opening section covering knitting skills needed for the book. When Weinstein advises to make a gauge swatch, he words it in a different manner than other books do, allowing the importance of this activity to sink in a little more. Short one page vignettes are scattered throughout the book, each relating to the "boyfriend Sweaters" them. There is a short piece on the knitting curse, where many knitters have knit a sweater for their boyfriend only to have him break up with the knitter soon after the sweaters completion. Another vignette is a moving account of a lost favorite sweater.
This book is good read with nice menswear patterns. IF you knit for a man, are a man who knits, or like the classic unisex look, these patterns would be a wise inclusion into your personal library. I particularly like the off-Center half-zip mock turtle and the Large patterned Fair Isle Cardigan. I think they would each look good on myself and my spouse.
FTC requirements: I was provided a free review copy of this book by the publisher. All of my reviews are my honest opinion. I received no compensation from the publisher or book author for this review.