Swatching for Bob

Swatching for Bob

Ok, I’m on the brink of casting on my first sweater for my husband. Let’s recap my concerns/criteria for this project:

1. He has to love it and wear it, which means
2. it has to fit perfectly and
3. not be too hot (i.e. not 100% wool) while
4. being washable and durable. But also,
5. I have to enjoy the knitting or I’ll never finish it.

We had decided Fort would be interesting enough for me to knit but not too interesting for him to wear, and to my surprise, he even wants the elbow patches. I believe I’ve narrowed the yarn down to O-Wool Balance, which has some nice heather to it, not too far from the look of the Shelter that Fort is designed for, but is a washable merino/cotton blend. I ordered two shades of green to have a good look at (along with a hefty load of charcoal for myself) and we both love this Emerald one, which is really a sort of earthy Blue Spruce hue (not a jewel tone) that looks awesome with his blue eyes. So far so good!

But given how daunting this feels — and also because I’m thinking of using all that charcoal for my Channel Cardigan — I’m being more diligent than ever about getting to know the yarn. I knitted this big ol’ swatch so we could get a feel for the fabric and the stitch pattern. I washed it, abused it a little bit, even threw it in the dryer, which it totally shrugged off. LOVE YOU BALANCE! But as for this stitch pattern, it’s been blackballed. Bob thinks it’s too chunky looking, and I can see his point. And as much as I think it’s more interesting than stockinette as a fabric, and I do love him enough to put myself through an entire sweater’s worth of k2/p2 if his heart desired it, I can’t say I’m sorry not to be doing that. So it looks like we’re going to stick with Fort and all its other nice details, just doing it in stockinette instead of this waffle texture.

And here’s the thing I really want to mention. It turns out there are quite a few people on Instagram who are about to embark on a sweater for their husbands (all firsts, I think!), so we’re doing a knit-along. A very loose one: all that’s been declared is that we’re knitting for dudes and starting on or about May 1. I don’t think we’ve picked out a hashtag yet, but keep an eye on my @karentempler feed or @byannieclaire, who is the ring-leader on this, and we’ll make sure it’s known when we have one. [UPDATE: It’s #knittingforhimalong.] Do join in!


p.s. I also cast on another sweater this weekend. So much for small palate cleansers! Or is that what the swatch was?

27 thoughts on “Swatching for Bob

  1. very tempting… I’ve knit one sweater for my husband, which he loves and wears ALOT! However, the waistband is too big and the overall fit, not what I was hoping for – I will definately try another one for him and this one looks really great! No instagram for me though – are you sure you don’t want to declare a KAL here?? Like that yarn you picked too! hmmmmm… still thinkin’! again, thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I’d love to knit my husband a sweater, but he’d never (even at -50•c) wear it. He refuses to wear more than a t-shirt.

  3. Wow, that’s actually one of the nicer men’s sweater patterns I’ve seen! I think they’re few and far between. It also strikes me as something my boyfriend would wear, but he’ll have to pop the question first before he gets it. The thoughts of knitting an entire sweater K2P2 make me feel sick, it looks gorgeous though.

  4. Ha, ha, the famous sweater curse. You’re supposed to be free from it if you already tied the knot, so you’re safe. ;-)
    I’m like Anne who would love to knit a sweater for her husband, mine loves sweaters but he is also very very particular when it comes to color, texture and fit. I think I will wait a bit more and fine tune my sizing and fitting skills with my own sweaters first. Plus he is quite tall so I’d rather be entirely sure that he will love it before committing to miles and miles of knitting.
    Love the color and the swatch.

    • Bob’s not too much bigger than me, so I keep telling myself if he ends up not liking whatever I knit him, there’s a good chance I’ll wear it.

  5. My husband has been asking for a sweater ever since I learned how to knit 8 years ago. He even has a pattern picked out, of this beautiful Norwegian sweater, complete with arm steeks and gorgeous colors in fingering weight yarn so it won’t be too hot.

    It is one project I am terrified to do. Not because of the pattern. Color work doesn’t scare me anymore, though I’m still not totally comfortable with steeks. Mostly because I made him some Norwegian mittens 2 Christmas’ ago, as a trial project for him and I had to redo them 3 times before they were “just right” in his mind. He thinks my needles are actually magic wands, and you can adjust things as simply as you can in sewing. It’s just not the same, and he’s one who would try on the sweater and say, “could you take out 2 inches here around the waist?” He doesn’t understand the project he picked out is boxy, and I know he’s going to want me to tailor it and it’s not an easy thing to do with the color work involved. I want to say “you get what you get” but if I’m going to pour my time into such a meticulous project, I want him to actually wear it and love it.

    So it will likely be his present for our 50th anniversary…which gives me about 38 years.

  6. Ha! I’m free from this knit for the husband deal. Mine loses EVERYTHING. And if it doesn’t get lost, well, it will eventually. Plus, he’s way too picky on color, sizing, shape…you get the idea. Maybe I’ll start my husband sweater along by…knitting another sweater for me. Yes, that’s a good idea!

  7. Given my husband’s propensity for painting and doing home repairs in whatever clothes he has on at the time, giving no thought to the fact he may have on a brand new pair of pants, etc., I would fear for his life if I knit him a sweater!

  8. I think I’d have heart palpitations if my husband wanted an entire sweater of k2p2, so can’t blame you one bit for being relieved! Brooklyn Tweed for men is just the best – I made him a Ranger and it’s been loved to death, so it’s time to make another. Less successfully, I made my 92 year old dad a Reverb and I don’t think he’s wearing it (kill me now) (and it fit my husband perfectly when he tried it on before I presented it).

    I must say you have the most beautiful k1p1! Mine always looks like crap so I avoid it like the plague.

  9. Delia’s husband and mine must be related. Besides that, I haven’t progressed to sweaters yet, so it will be a long time before he gets any sweater from me.

  10. Oh, it is tempting to join in the husband sweater KAL! I haven’t knit one for mine, yet. I’ve been thinking Redford from the same collection would suit, though – simple enough for him, lightweight enough for regular wear (especially in Loft). Truly not that far off from his favorite sweaters, but just a *little* bit more interesting. We shall see… I have plenty to keep me busy already!

  11. My fiance and I are planning a sweater for him. He seriously believes in the boyfriend sweater curse (something I told him about to be funny) or at least doesn’t want to test his luck. I’m lucky though because he is very stylish and won’t condemn me to kniting a black, gray or brown sweater. We joked I’ll cast on for his sweater on the plane to our honeymoon destination.

  12. I’m lucky – my husband would wear anything I made for him! I’m also lucky in that he manages to make the most ridiculous things look wonderful (like the Conehead Oops Hat, which has become his favorite thing ever). He recently brought home a guy he’d just met (yes, he did) so that I could see the sweater he had on and replicate it for him. Miles of machine-knit seed stitch that might be hand-knit on size US 1 needles….

  13. I’m going to throw caution to the wind and join the kal and cast on Slade for the man in my life (mmm shawl collar). He suggested the pattern himself (!) so now all we have to figure out is color.

  14. I’ve had two planned for my guy for about a year (from Brooklyn Tweed’s men’s collections, naturally). Maybe I should finally get the yarn and join in!

  15. Love the O-Wool you are using. I am looking to support the US yarn industry and ethical fiber practices anywhere and this company looks great. How would you describe Balance? Is it soft? How springy is it? Some cotton based yarn can be so unforgiving and a chore to work with.

    I always love to hear the yarn you are using and learn from other knitters’ experiences with the yarn.

    • It’s half wool and half cotton, so I would not describe it as springy, but it is not as ropey as 100% cotton, either. Softness is such a subjective matter. I would call this soft (as in not prickly at all), but definitely not the kind of soft I think of as artificial softness, which comes at the detriment of the fibers. This feels like natural fibers naturally feel, and still has enough of the original crunch of the fibers to give good stitch definition and to (hopefully) wear well over time.

  16. Pingback: How to start knitting a sweater | Fringe Association

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