Knitting: It’s Mantastic.

Published on Sunday September 30th, 2007

Yesterday evening I donned my favorite stripey tights, a cute skirt, my Hourglass Sweater, and my best chocolatey Sherwood Forest boots, and I took myself off to the book launch party for Kristin Spurkland’s The Knitting Man(ual). Anyone who keeps a man of any size at home knows that good knitting patterns for blokes are scarce as good ideas in the White House. (Oops, did I just write that? Ahem.) Kristin’s new book, I’m delighted to report, goes a long way toward amending that. Her patterns are simple and clean, thoroughly modern but respectful of tradition. Click the link above for a peek at a few of the clever designs. And there are many of them in this generous collection. Mr. Garter took a gander when I brought the book home, and after he finished rhapsodizing over the handsomely shaped Saturday Morning Slippers (who knew the guy wanted slippers so badly? I feel so guilty that I never asked before!), he had praise for nearly every design. This is the kind of book that keeps on giving: the clean and inviting design of the book itself draws you on, and the good patterns just keep coming. Twenty-two are listed in the table of contents, but some are groups of patterns (a trio of individual hats, for instance) and many include additional directions for variations. Mr. G deemed the Everyday Sweater particularly alluring:


It’s just a brown wool pullover in stockinet — the perfect staple for gents who want a sweater to coordinate with all three pairs of their trousers and all twenty-seven of their geeky tech conference T-shirts — but the unexpected green square on the back elevates it to memorability and most likely to Favorite Sweater status.

Me, I’ve lost my heart this one:


It’s the kind of thing you’d knit for your sweetie just so you could steal it back. I’ve always been dubious about the faintly tacky hand of Rowan Felted Tweed on the skein, but the sample was soft as a bunny’s underpants — the stickiness was gone and served only to lock those colorwork stitches into place and to adhere the floats to the fabric. You could be nekked under there making your French-press espresso in total comfort.

It’s possible my first blush of allegiance to this book could have been influenced by the delicious handmade pretzels and free-flowing Bridgeport Ale at the signing, but the strong designs will keep me coming back for inspiration and counterchecks in my own work, and I feel certain that several of these patterns will be on my needles once the next wave is complete. Thanks and kudos to Kristin for her strongest book yet, and I’ll be looking forward to the next one!

14 Comments to “Knitting: It’s Mantastic.”

  1. materfamilias Comment Says:

    definitely going to check this book out — and I love the sound of those chocolately Sherwood Forest boots!

  2. Karma Comment Says:

    Thanks for the review, sounds like this book might actually have something my picky husband would wear! I laughed at the description of the 27 geeky tech conference tshirts… so close to home… speaking of close to home, I will be in PDX the weekend of Nov 3 for my annual girly trip to Kennedy School. I’m planning to go to Closeknit (have already been in contact with Sally re: some yarn I want that she has, yay) and perhaps Yarn Garden near Hawthorne. If you’ll be in town at the same time, I would love to meet you! I’ll email when we have our times ironed out to see if it might work.

  3. Lisa Comment Says:

    I do not doubt that Mr. Garter will have one of these fine sweaters by the end of winter! And I’m sure that you’ll give them a Blue Garter flair that makes them even more special!

  4. Jodi Comment Says:

    Soft as a bunny’s underpants?!? Tee hee…

    Sounds like a great book and a fabulous event. Thanks for the book review.

  5. Megan Comment Says:

    Great review! And while I do, indeed keep a bloke ’round these parts, he continually refuses my handknit sweater advances. Apparently, only socks, scarves, and hats are good enough for his delicate sensibilities. From the peek inside this book though, he’s missing out.

  6. mamie Comment Says:

    great review and and you made me jealous just thinking of free-flowing bridgeport. we lived two blocks from the brewery and spent many a night unwinding on their old patio, it was pre-reno when we lived there. how i loved my fresh bridgeport, it just is no the same from the bottle. i looked at the book on her site and i think i might have to add it to my bday list of books wanted, it really stands out from the crowd. smiles.

  7. Veronique Comment Says:

    Oh, that second sweater is lovely! I’ve been petting the felted tweed at the Point… Hm, maybe with a little shaping, it could be adapted to become a woman’s sweater?…
    Are you seriously considering a man-sized stockinette sweater?! Wow, that is love 🙂

  8. schrodinger Comment Says:

    You’ve made the book sound very tempting. Love that Mr Garter is all over the slippers, don’t feel remiss, I can certainly say that is something I’ve never have thought of either.

  9. carrie m Comment Says:

    what a truly delightful review! now that i’m engaged, am i immune from the boyfriend sweater curse? is there a fiance sweater curse?

  10. Katie Comment Says:

    Thank godness, ’cause the man knits out there now are, overall, pathetic. Sure, there are a few goodies in hiding, but I never have the patience to track them down. I can’t wait. And, you will love the felted tweed, I’m sure of it.

  11. Christy/ Not Hip Comment Says:

    I was worried about felted tweed being soft when I planned to make a sweater from it. So I did the swatch test (washed it and placed in in my bra). Hours later, I went to change and was like “What’s this weird fuzziness?” I had completely forgotten about…which definitely proved that it was soft enough for me 😉

  12. Debby Comment Says:

    Thanks for the recommendation! I didn’t know about this book and I haven’t made Chris anything in a while. I’ll have to check it out!

    In your previous post you mentioned your geek book club. I’m so envious! It sounds like great fun. I’m trying to think of a rain poem, because I know there is one, but it’s just not coming to my mind.

  13. Stephen Comment Says:

    I love the felted tweed pattern! I got enough of those shades in that yarn a couple months ago for that sweater pattern. I hope to start it this summer so it can be done by fall.

  14. Linda Comment Says:

    I was interested in one pattern, decided to go for the book! Nice Patterns….Linda