The 30 Day Sweater Challenge is still going strong. There’s just over a week to go to the finish line. As the end gets closer, I’ve been daydreaming more and more about what sweater to work on next. That’s what drew me to Boyfriend Sweaters: 19 Designs For Him That You’ll Want to Wear by Bruce Weinstein, photography by Jared Flood from Potter Craft.
Boyfriend Sweaters is an excellent resource for both the novice and the experienced sweater knitter. Right off the bat in Chapter One – Line and Drape, Weinstein goes over the basics you’re going to need to know to use this book. Weinstein guides the reader through charts, any techniques that might be unfamiliar (such as SSK and slip slip purl slip), sewing in zippers, seaming, and cables. I particularly like the use of diagrams in the various stitch and seaming tutorials. The diagrams are easy to understand and very simple in design.
Each chapter is designed to help the reader learn new techniques about sweater design. Want to take on reversibility? Chapter Three starts out by introducing the reader to double knitting, reversible cables, and the herringbone stitch before sending her/him off to cast on a beautiful Double-Knit Double-Knot Scarf. Interested in colour? Weinstein has you covered! Learn about intarsia, double-stitch embroidery, and Fair Isle or Stranded, and then cast on a Fair Isle Cardigan.
I love almost all of the designs. I just do. That’s what drew me most to this book. My favourites are the Double-Knit Double-Knot Scarf and the Textured Argyle Cardigan. The scarf looks just regal. I know, I swore I’d never knit another scarf again, but this one is gorgeous. The pattern reminds me a lot of antique tapestries, probably helped by the intricate looking tassels. The cardigan is simple and basic, and that’s what I love about it. The textured stitches add a little magic to an otherwise simple (though still stunning in its own right) cardigan. I don’t think my husband would wear either of these pieces, but I certainly would.
There are a couple of patterns I’m not super crazy about, though — the Reversible Cable Scarf and the Varsity Sweater. The first actually has less to do with the pattern and more to do with the photograph. While the Reversible Cable Scarf looks really cozy, the gorgeous cables are lost in the colour changes of the yarn. Until the photographer zooms in on the design in an aside about how to make the scarf more neutral, you don’t really get to see the stitch pattern.
I’m also not a fan of the Varsity Sweater. I appreciate the lesson of learning how to do Intarsia, something I desperately want to master. I just don’t understand the desire to have a huge letter on the front of the sweater. With all the classic-looking designs in the book, this one stood out, but not in a good way. Now, that all being said, someone out there is going to love this scarf and sweater exactly the way they are, and that’s the beauty of books like this. Not every design will appeal to everyone, but it will appeal to someone.
I do have a complaint about this book. The title makes it sound like you’re going to get 19 different sweater designs in this book. That’s not really the case. It’s actually 15 sweater designs, 3 scarf designs, and 1 hat design. The title is a little misleading, but I really enjoyed the book all the same.
In the first chapter, Weinstein encourages the reader to write in this book, and that’s something I’ve definitely done. I’ve stuck flags on patterns I’m dying to try and techniques I want to study closer. I’m thinking I might devote some time to swatching so I can practice the herringbone stitch, which I’ve tried before very early in my knitting experience, and intarsia in particular. I might even cast on a sweater for me, like the Seed Placket Pullover.
Take a peek at all of the patterns on the Boyfriend Sweaters: 19 Designs for Him that You’ll Want to Wear Ravelry page.
Which pattern are you dying to knit up? Is there a different sweater pattern calling to you elsewhere?