I get asked to design men’s sweaters fairly frequently. It’s definitely more of a challenge than designing for women. For a woman’s design I can think about what I’d like to wear, what’s flattering and useful. Men’s designs are just that little bit different in both style and fit. The most loved sweaters usually have more subtle design features or texture. This allows them to be worn with a much bigger variety of clothes. In terms of fit men’s shoulders and upper arms are larger usually than women so there needs to be a different fit in this area. For a saddle shoulder like this design with set-in shoulders this did take a bit of time to get right, with much thanks to my wonderful tech editor, Heather Murray.
Last year I decided that it was high time my dad had a new winter sweater. He’s now been on constant chemo for 2 and half years and really feels the cold. The sweater I made for him many years ago is being worn so often that it’s showing its age so I know a new sweater would be well loved. I find it easier to design with someone in mind, I know how he likes his sweaters to fit and I know the styles he like to wear. This really feels like ‘his’ sweater!
My friend Sue loves knitting for her husband (Phil pictured above) and regularly asks if I’d design a men’s sweater. Looking at the gauge, I realised that the sweater I knit for my dad would comfortably work for Nua Worsted at the same gauge. Phil had a few different requirements from my father; soft yarn is a bonus and a lower neck so it doesn’t catch on his beard. I think he looks pretty happy in his new sweater!
So now to tell you a little bit about how the sweater is made. Its got a top down saddle shoulder construction. Starting at the centre of the saddle (at the back of the neck) you use a provisional cast-on to work the thermal stitch in both directions to the full width of the shoulders. From here stitches are picked up on the back, short row shoulder shaping is worked and the back is worked down. Now the front does the same thing and both front and back are joined in the round at the underarms and worked to the bottom hem.
Finally the thermal stitch saddles are put back on the needle and stitches are picked up on each side around the armhole. Now short rows are used to shape the top of the sleeve cap and the textured thermal stitch can run down from the top of the shoulder right to the cuff.
You can check out a few more tests that were done on ravelry here, it proved a really big hit with all the recipients!
Where to get the pattern & Yarn