Tag Archives: Crafts

Knitting for Dudes (or, the ticking timebomb)

Knitters are a giving bunch. After all, a gal can only wear so many of her own creations. It’s only a matter of time before the men in a knitter’s life start to look suspiciously in need of a handmade sweater.

So, after weeks of hard work, you hand your man a masterpiece. You picture delight, gratitude, and awe for your knitting prowess. “Aw, shucks,” he’ll say, as his friends ooh and ahh over his new oversized alpaca hoodie. After weeks of tireless knitting, how could you expect any less?

Here’s the thing; non-knitters will never appreciate the amount of love and anguish in every stitch. More importantly, few things are worse for the knitter than shelling out big bucks and lots of time on a project for a guy that rejects them.

So, here are my suggestions for gift-knitting for men without the heartbreak.

The Guy Friend: Scarves are the perfect gift for friendly guys of all non-romantic varieties, from your next door neighbor to the barista slinging lattes for your weekly Stitch and Bitch. While they’re super easy, scarves tend to take FOREVER, and are best saved for someone who’s going to be around awhile.

The Hey-I-Might-Like-You Guy: You’re fresh in the throes of love. He’s everything you dreamed, he treats you like a queen… but you’ve only been dating three weeks. Do yourself a favor, and stick with a Simple Hat for this one. A nice crocheted beanie will show your affection and skillz without scaring him off. Avoid fancy patterns and pompoms, and show the depth of your feeling with the caliber of yarn you choose. Try an inexpensive cotton for your summer fling, or spring for a sumptuous cashmere blend for a real keeper.

The Serious Boyfriend: He knows all your friends’ names, he waters your plants, he uses the words We and Our. This one gets an Afghan. An afghan you say? Isn’t that the most committed project ever? Well, yes and no. Yes, afghans are gigantic. BUT, with a simple pattern and large needles, toiling away on a collection of squares or strips will ultimately cost you far less pain and heartache than weeks of sweater shaping. Besides, if he’s around long enough for you to finish a blanket, he probably deserves it. I like Granny Square Afghans for the endless variety.

The Husband: He shelled out for the ring. He’s danced with grandma. You share dental bills. This dynamo deserves a Fisherman Sweater. Now that he’s stuck with you through thick and thin, knit him something that will keep him warm in all kinds of weather and last for decades.

All pattern ideas are clickable links to free patterns. Knitting With Balls is another great resource, as are vintage patterns. Choose your own adventure!


Hot Little Handwarmers

I have a craft crush on creativeyarn’s blog. I will admit it. She whips up handwarmers and crocheted necklaces like nobody’s business AND shares a bunch of her patterns with all the world.

I just finished a pair of her “Emerald Green Handwarmers,” which are little fingerless gloves worked up flat and then sewn together. Her pattern does not taper at all, meaning it’s the same width at the wrist as it is through the hand and fingers. This did not fit me at all, so I tried altering it a bit. I  still love this pattern, and should note that I also didn’t swatch and I have very small hands. AND I used acrylic yarn, so most of the problems I had could have been solved with some good blocking. So give her pattern a whirl, with or without my changes. I added some shaping and an edging around the thumbhole, and switched the yarn to a flaming hot pink.

Cast on 28 stitches, leaving a long tail for sewing seam later.

Work in moss stitch (row 1, knit 1, purl 1 all the way across. row 2, purl 1, knit 1 all the way across) for three rows. Work in stockinette for 11 rows, ending with a knit row.

Purl 5, increase one using bar increase made purlwise. *Purl 4, increase one stitch using bar increase made purlwise*  all the way across. At least, I think this is what I did. You want to increase 5 stitches spaced out evenly across your last stockinette row.

Continue according to creativeyarn’s pattern, working with 33 stitches. Bind off loosely in pattern leaving a very long tail for sewing AND thumbhole. (note: if you have little hands, I recommend doing only 5 repeats of the pattern.)

To make thumbhole:

Starting from bottom and using long tail left over from cast-on, sew first 2 inches of seam shut.

Starting from top and using long tail from bind-off, sew 2 inches of seam shut. Switch to a 5.00 mm crochet hook and pick up stitches around open thumbhole. This is a little tricky as the edge won’t be perfectly even. You should have around 15 stitches. Chain one, and single crochet all the way around twice. Do not chain one at the beginning of round 2, just work in a spiral. Snip excess yarn, pull end through, and weave in all ends.


Manly Hat

Men are notoriously hard to craft for, but damn it all if I don’t get the warm fuzzies whipping up something toasty for my man.

This pattern is for the kind of solid, fitted beanie popular with foxy snowboarders, college kids, and boyfriends. This is a great portable project, easy to remember and you only have one ball of yarn to truck around.

Yarn is 2 balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto Dk in 23020, a slate blue, 100% Merino extrafine superwash. Hook is an H/5.00 mm. Nice and warm, but still fits under a helmet.

Begin using the “Magic Loop Method.” Click the link for a quick tutorial. This cast-on was new to me, but easy to learn and wonderful for hats, small toys, or any project where you want an invisible start rather than a hole.

Abbreviations: DC = double crochet, sl st = slip stitch, DCtog = Double crochet together. To DCtog: *Yarn over, insert hook in next stitch, yarn over, draw yarn through stitch, yarn over, draw yarn through 2 loops on hook* twice, yarn over, draw yarn through 3 loops on hook.

Round 1: Chain 3 (acts as first double crochet), 9 DC into magic loop. Sl st into top of first chain. You now have ten DC in magic loop. Pull loop taut, and be in awe of how the hole disappears!

Round 2: Chain 2 (see note at bottom), 2 DC into every stitch all the way around. End with sl st into first chain (20 DC).

Round 3: Chain 2. *1 DC in next stitch, 2 DC in following stitch* all the way around. End with sl st into first chain (30 DC).

Round 4: Chain 2. *1 DC in next two stitches, 2 DC in following stitch* all the way around. End with sl st into first chain (40 DC).

Round 5: Chain 2. *1 DC in next three stitches, 2 DC in following stitch* all the way around. End with sl st into first chain (50 DC).

Round 6: Chain 2. *1 DC in next four stitches, 2 DC in following stitch* all the way around. End with sl st into first chain (60 DC).

Round 7: Chain 2. *1 DC in next five stitches, 2 DC in following stitch* all the way around. End with sl st into first chain (70 DC).

Round 8: Chain 2. *1 DC in next six stitches, 2 DC in following stitch* all the way around. End with sl st into first chain (80 DC).

Round 9 and continuing: Work even until hat is desired length. For me, this was 23 rows total.

Optional: Folded Brim

Round 24 (or whatever. Folded brim will be flipped up, so begin these instructions after working to your desired final length.): Chain 2. *1 DC in front loop only of next 12 stitches. DCtog* all the way around. End with slip stitch into first chain (75 DC).

Round 25-28: 1 DC in each stitch all the way around. Fasten off.

The brim should turn up naturally with the front-loop-only row.

* Chaining only 2 stitches at the beginning of each round makes for a smaller, neater seam. If you’re used to chaining 3 stitches, it takes a bit of getting used to but it looks much nicer.