What Men Really Want

If I’d been a more responsible blogger, I’d have told you about the survey from Knitting Daily that asked what men really want in a hand-knit sweater. As it is, I’m just in time to point you toward the results, which many of you have probably already seen.

The surveyors were cagey about the absolute number of responses, and they astutely avoided stating any results that would allow us to calculate it. Nevertheless, one of their numbers is quite surprising: 52% of the responders were non-knitting men. This makes me very happy, because . . . well, when I’m about to start knitting a sweater for a woman, here’s a typical example of her side of the conversation:

“Oh boy! I really prefer cardigans to pullovers. They’re much more flattering to my shape. Maybe a cable or two, but not too many. Gets too busy, you know? And can you bring it in a bit around the waist? That would be fabulous. Let’s see . . . colors . . . I like light-ish greens, some blues. No pink. And how about . . .”

But what happens when I ask a man?

“Um . . . I don’t know. How about brown?”

I’m generalizing, of course (sort of), but the fact is that when you’re planning out a sweater intended for a non-knitting male, you have to ask leading questions. The Knitting Daily survey asked those questions, which I’m adding to my repertoire the next time one of my guy-friends asks me to knit him something.

The other survey results were not so surprising. We males prefer dark colors and minimal texture, with exceptions made for minor ribbing and the occasional cable. All of this confirms a brute——but little-discussed——fact of knitting: the sweater your guy wants the most will be, from cast-on to bind-off, the most boring thing you’ve ever knit. It’ll look fabulous on him when you’re finished (and he will actually wear it), but in the meantime, it’s yard upon yard of stockinette stitch for you, with nary a cable in sight. But fear not! There are two things you can do about this:

  1. Embrace Buddhism, which will cause you to realize that boredom is merely beginning of the path to The Four Noble Truths.
  2. Take my men’s pullover sweater class at Article Pract in Oakland, at which we’ll be knitting this:

    Well, almost this. See how those raglan seams go right up the collar? That’s cheating. We’ll be doing it much better.

There’s a third option, of course. You can shift gears entirely and take my poetry class at the Writing Salon. Knitting and writing aren’t all that different from each other, really, except that . . . we’ll, never mind. Come and find out for yourself.


  • Elemmaciltur says:

    I would love to take your class…but alas, there’s an ocean between us.

    Glad to see that you’re still out there and knitting. 🙂

  • Toni says:

    So glad you’re back.

  • Yerson says:

    That’s such a nice sweater! I was about to cast on for a size 2 years for my dathegur. Now I think that I may be able to finish hers before you publish this one, and I can start knitting that! I really like it 🙂

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