Knitting Items Men Will Wear

Most Men Like Basics--Not these Neon Colors

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Set Yourself Up for Success

Before knitting anything for a man, the knitter needs to know some things about men (unless the knitter is a man, in which case I'm sure he knows a lot about the topic.) The most important thing to remember is that a man is not a woman. Not all men are alike, of course, nor are all women, but I can guarantee you that your boyfriend is different from your girlfriend and your son is different from your daughter.

Knitters (male and female) love to experiment with design and technique and color and fiber--that's why they keep knitting. It gives a knitter great joy to try out something new and different. Most men, however, value comfort above the latest style and do not want to look trendy, cute, artsy, or ridiculous. While I may knit some asymmetrical sweater in hand painted yarn and happily wear it to church or to the store, I would not knit anything of the kind for my husband. For one thing, my husband is an engineer and likes things to be symmetrical. I don't think he would even wear an uneven plaid.

Even the smallest departure from "normal" is enough to cause my men to reject an item. My latest experiment was to make a bunch of simple ribbed winter hats in the new reflective yarn and neon colors. My reasoning, I thought, was sound. When my sons went for evening walks or runs, they would be easily seen by cars. The neon colors were rejected by Konrad (my traditionalist) and Aaron (my tattooed musician.) My last hope is Kaleb (my athlete), who has actually worn neon-colored running attire--but now I'm afraid to ask him if he likes them. I may make one last try with the black reflective yarn that looks plain until headlights hit it.

Men's Knitting Poll

Have you knit for men?

  • Yes, successfully (meaning they wore it.)
  • Yes, without success.
  • Yes, and I am a man.
  • No, I have not.
See results without voting

Written by a Man Who Knits

Best Book on Understanding Men and Clothes

In Knits Men Want, Bruce Weinstein explains how to knit successfully for men. While he gives detailed advice, it seems to boil down to this: knit men what they want, not what you want them to have. Observing this simple rule will save you much wasted time and wasted yarn. Bruce also offers ten great patterns in his book for sweaters, a scarf, a watch cap, and fingerless mitts. This is your complete guide to knitting for men.

As I read this book, I kept thinking, "Amen! I know that's right." Like Bruce, I've found most men will wear hand knit socks. While Bruce suggests this may be because socks are almost invisible under pants and shoes, I think it is men's love of comfort that accounts for their embrace of socks. A hand knit sock, when done well, is so far superior to those bought in bags at a retail store that there really is no comparison. Even my sweater-hating (all sweaters, hand knit or store bought) husband wore socks I knit for him. In fact, I think it's time I knit him another pair!

Men like warm socks for outdoor work.

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Basic Hat: Pom Pom Optional

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Once You Succeed...

When you do knit something a man loves, figure out why he loves it. Bask in your success and when you cast on again, knit him the same thing. If he loves the plain black socks you knit, make him another pair in charcoal gray or even in the same black (why fiddle with success, after all.) If the camouflage watch cap was a success, knit him a matching spare to keep in his truck.

Knitting for men is not really difficult. One just needs to be willing to think more of the recipient than of themselves. Save your experiments for yourself and your girlfriends. Show love to men by knitting what they want.

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2 comments

purl3agony profile image

purl3agony 2 years ago from USA

I agree that most men just like the basics. I've had some success with items I've made for my husband. He'll wear scarves - as long as their basic navy blue. But he won't wear fingerless mitts, hats, or other items (I won't even *try* to knit him socks or a sweater). So I've just continued to make him blue scarves over the years. That way, we're both happy! Great knitting hub! Voted up and awesome!


kschimmel profile image

kschimmel 2 years ago from North Carolina, USA Author

Way to be in touch with what he really wants! Even a navy scarf can be mixed up a little without upsetting things: seed stitch, garter stitch, ribs...as long as the yarn is soft and the color is solid, most men won't object.

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