Man, oh man, oh man! Do I have a treat for you! Feast your eyes on those sweaters. The guys wearing them aren't bad either. ;-D
Even before we had finished our Paris project, the gals and I started plotting our next group endeavor. We wanted to switch back to knitting, but with a spin; we decided to knit for the gents instead of ourselves. Up to this point neither Liz nor Meg had knit for their guys, but they were ready to give it a try!
We'd all favorited the Lumberjack sweater by Marzena Krzewinska the same day it was published on Ravlery and thought it would be perfect. It was classic, simple, and it looked easy enough to modify to each of the guys' builds.
Now, I must confess, with sweaters like this, I consider the pattern more of a suggestion than instruction. I've knit dozens of sweaters for myself and several for Mike, so sweaters as simple as this are relatively intuitive for me. Besides, stitch totals and the collar, I didn't pay a lot of attention to what was happening in the written portion of the pattern. That is, I didn't pay attention to it until Meg and Liz started pointing out all the issues they encountered while reading and following the instructions.
The gauge didn't match the stitch counts provided, there were short cuts in the writing, and the proportions were.... unusual. The sizing is bizarre. Mike is a thin guy, and I had to knit him the XL in order to have a sweater that would allow positive ease. His chest measurement is 40", which usually translates to a men's size Medium.
Also, Mike is 6'1", so I usually lengthen the sleeves and body of his sweaters, but I actually shortened both by several inches each from what the pattern instructed. If you look at the pattern page for this sweater, you'll notice how excessively long the designer intends these elements to be. It could be classified as a design choice, I suppose, but as Mike not so subtly stated when I asked him about his preferences, he would feel like he was wearing a dress in a sweater that covered his 'junk'. And, he felt it would be irritating to have a bunchy midsection and sleeves in the alternative.
The removal of the extra length probably explains why we ALL had extra yarn left after we finished knitting. Like, skeins extra. I was actually very irritated by this. I bought yarn specifically for this sweater based on the pattern suggestion, and I had two (plus) skeins of Mulberry Merino left over. That's $48 I could have put toward another project that will now linger in the stash. Not. Cool.
Additionally, I added four sets of decreases(16 sts total) every twelve rows from the underarm towards the waist. I feel this shaping is as important in a man's sweater as waist and bust shaping are in a woman's sweater. Unless your guy is sporting dad bod, he's probably wider at the shoulders than he is at the waist/hip, and shaping give the silhouette of a man's sweater a taper than is figure flattering. Because, yes, guys totally feel self-conscious in ill-fitting, boxy clothing, just like the ladies.
As further indication that I barely skimmed the pattern, I have my collar the opposite direction. I've always used the mnemonic device, " Girls are always right, and boy are left over" to remember that women's garments close right side over, while men's close with the left side over. I don't know if it's applicable in a sweater like this, but like I said... intuitive knitting. I did what I know. All that said, this is the classic sweater we set-out to knit. I would not, suggest this pattern to a knitter looking to knit his/her first menswear garment, but if you have experience with knitting for men, and/or men's sizing it's a perfectly fine outline and it's easy to modify.
At the end of the day, we had three good looking sweaters. As a fun and totally unplanned coincidence, we realized that we had taken photos of our first sweater collaboration at the Lincoln Park Conservatory at the same time of year that we were taking photos of the guys' first group project. With a bit of prodding, they recreated the above photo from that first photoshoot. They're impersonations of us are shockingly spot on, no? LOL.
I think it was a little strange for the guys to be on the opposite side of the camera after all the behind the scenes work they're used to doing with regards to blog photos. And speaking of behinds....