Thursday, October 30, 2008

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  • Harrumph!

    When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping.
    Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking.
    -Elayne Boosler

    Knitting for men is hard!

    I'm having a bit of a dilemma. I believe I mentioned that my second anniversary is exactly 250 days away. And we all know that the second anniversary is one of the knitter's anniversaries - cotton. (This is not a secret, if you're worried that the sandstorms have calmed down and my husband's internet might actually be working, by the way.) Well, I've been trying to prepare. And this is the scene:Pure chaos. I had ordered the yarn for the Tree Bark Pullover, which no one seems to have ever made. I've loved this sweater ever since the magazine came in 2002. But we (the husband-recipient and I) thought maybe some nice neutrals.See the problem? That brownish musk color is a non-starter, so just look at the other two. Apparently color cards from 2001 aren't entirely accurate since my color #104 looks exactly like the color #103 on the card - the strange green-ish undertone to the khaki. Ugh. Not a good color. Time to explore Ram Wools' return policy . . . Although the ivory and musk were from Webs and I think will be repurposed as baby yarns.

    So now I'm left reconsidering everything about this project. The pattern. Definitely the yarn. OK, let's think. Yup, you too.

    What do we need? A sweater. In cotton (the 2nd anniversary thing, plus he might actually get to wear it while we're still living in San Diego).

    What else? Well, he does seem to have somewhat more adventurous (but still classic) taste in clothing than the husbands of my knitting group friends. Note - he bought no fewer than FIVE Hawaiian shirts in Hawaii. And he really likes heavily patterned designs. I tried to talk him into a Cobblestone once, but he thought that was too boring. "What was the point of knitting it if you could buy something like it?" He even bought a traditional Aran sweater in the British Isles, way before meeting me.

    Option 1: Stick with the husband-approved Tree Bark sweater, but in the original colors as pictured in the link above.
    Pro: Who needs neutrals when it looks so nice in blue and green?
    Con: The last sweater I made him was green.

    Option 2: Go with second-choice Anniversary Sweater from Knitty, in a yarn to be determined. Rowan All-Seasons Cotton perhaps.
    Pro: Easy pattern to memorize, even if it is a lot of cables.
    Con: What yarn? And no one on Ravelry seems very happy with their finished project - a big red flag.

    Option 3: Perhaps the most daunting option - a cabled Aran. When asked to point out patterns he liked, the sweater-loving husband loved Kristin Nicholas (good taste, right?) and her book Knitting the New Classics. While "new" is a misnomer, most of the (cable) patterns transcend the early nineties.
    Some contenders (Rav links): Banjo Pullover (I have a Jo Sharp DK cotton in a bright Navy that would work), Evergreen Aran, Aran Family Cardigan (and there's a matching women's cardigan!)
    Yarn Matches: most of these are made in a cotton-wool blend, so Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece, or Rowan Wool Cotton or All-Seasons Cotton, perhaps
    Pros: lots of lovely cables
    Cons: lots of lovely cables

    Wow - long post. Please give me any input on this most difficult of decisions. In the meantime, start getting excited. Tomorrow is my last CCU call of the month AND I'm doing NaBloPoMo again. Welcome to November!

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    Blogger Jen B said...

    I made the tree bark pullover for my DH & it's his favorite. I used blue for the bottom & Burgundy for the top - he always gets a million compliments on it. He's a neutral kind of guy, but color just works for this sweater. I wish that I knew what the yarn was, but it was just a couple of cones of cotton yarn that I picked up at Webs. I say go for this sweater - the body was a bit of a slog, but hubby has an extremely long torso, so I had to add several inches. I'm a certified lurker, but had to jump in when I read this post.

    10/30/2008 6:16 PM  
    Blogger Liz K. said...

    Well, I've been married longer than you, but I've only ever made my husband one sweater, the Dylan Goes Electric pattern. It is nicely patterned, but with very easy, predictable cables and ribs. The suggested yarn is Cascade Sierra, which would be a great yarn for your climate. In fact, I think you should consider Sierra (80% cotton/20% wool) anyway, for the Tree Bark sweater too. It comes in tons of colors, is extremely affordable, has amazing yardage, and holds up beautifully to machine wash/dry.

    10/30/2008 6:16 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Out of all the sweaters you posted, I like the Tree Bark one the best. (I like the anniversary one too, but if others are unhappy with the finished product well, humph) Burgundy would be great on your hubby I think. Burgundy and navy maybe a nice combo? Yarn-BS cotton fleece is always a nice choice tons of colors, washable mostly cotton.

    10/30/2008 6:34 PM  
    Blogger Unknown said...

    No interest in a gansey? There are some nice patterns using denim yarn. If not, I really like the Banjo pullover.

    10/30/2008 6:52 PM  
    Blogger Knitting Up North said...

    I like the Anniversary Sweater as well as the Tree Bark Sweater. I can see J in the Tree Bark with a nice dark maroon on the top and a navy on the bottom. I can also see him in the Anniversary Sweater with a navy stripe and beige/ivory main color. About the only sweater I don't like is the Banjo. The other patterns would all be lovely. The bonus with the Anniversary Sweater is that's actually for your anniversary. Love SC

    10/30/2008 8:29 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I really, really like the Aran Family Cardigan as a pullover. I know it's a lot of cables, but the one cable sweater I made actually got finished because it was interesting to knit. The stockinette sweaters seem to take longer even though they are easier. That's my 2 cents for the day. :)

    10/30/2008 9:38 PM  
    Blogger Jerry & Maxy said...

    Option one...all the way!!! He likes the sweater, he likes green, and he loves you - it's a win-win-win!

    10/31/2008 5:43 AM  
    Blogger Jenn said...

    Tree bark is so pretty, er, handsome. I say stick with it and if he has two green sweaters, that's ok if he wears them both! Hubby pretty much only wants grey, blue and green sweaters here. And you are so lucky that he wants patterned sweaters - hubby says cobblestone has "too much" going on - the more stockinette the better for him!

    10/31/2008 6:36 AM  
    Blogger Tracy Batchelder said...

    I think I'd go with Option 1. Blue goes with most everything and you can change the green if want to.

    10/31/2008 6:40 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I like the Evergreen Aran and Aran Family Cardigan.

    Of course, if J likes patterns, you could always do an Argyle. That would have the added benefit of you being able to counsel me through my own Argyle experimentation for Toasty's (one day) sweater.

    10/31/2008 10:06 AM  
    Blogger Donna said...

    I love the idea of doing a sweater in burgundy - it's a fun color without being fashion-forward. I also think it could work nicely with Tree Bark, or Dylan Goes Electric (a sweater I have loved from afar). Finally, I've heard Knitting the New Classics is chock-a-block full of eratta, so be careful if you do head in that direction. Have fun!

    10/31/2008 10:07 AM  
    Blogger Nikki said...

    I *love* Evergreen Aran, so that's my vote. Plus I would enjoy watching your progress on it. (Spoken like someone who doesn't actually have to knit all those cables, huh??) :o)

    11/01/2008 6:33 AM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What a total bust with the colors! Wonder if they changed the color numbers after they moved to the new mill. We should've thought of that during our discussion. :-(
    I still like the tree bark pattern best. I like the burgundy and navy suggestions or the original colors. Or you could go all solid with the ivory and have a more traditional looking sweater.

    11/03/2008 11:50 AM  
    Blogger JayJay said...

    I vote for Tree Bark. I think the heavily cabled ones would be too warm for San Diego, even in cotton. The original color or the navy/burgundy would be awesome. I have to admit that I have an ulterior motive in that I think my hubby would also love Tree Bark, so I'd love to see yours.

    11/04/2008 9:31 AM  

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