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Knitting for Men: Cool sweaters he'll love

Apr 23, 2012

So many of my friends try to knit for their husbands or boyfriends, with very limited success. I guess guys are pretty picky about their knits because I know of only two successful guy knits in my entire circle of knitting friends, which is a pretty healthy number of people.

After the latest failure (we all thought it was going to be a winner but the recipient thought it was too girly even though he had okayed the pattern before the knitting commenced!), I decided to pull together some pattern ideas for my friends. I ran these by my brother, who's a fashion-forward type of guy, and he gave me the thumbs up on all three patterns.

Here you go:

Cobblestone Pullover by Jared Flood Surf Stripes Raglan by Christine Loren Lattice and Hollow Cardigan by Kim Hamlin

I think my friends' guys would love any one of these knitting patterns for men. It's tough to find them, but Interweave to the rescue, as always. I might knit one for my brother, too. Maybe the Cobblestone—I love its classic style and well-placed garter-stitch details. But the Surf Stripes Raglan is so cool, too. Oh, heck, I like them all. I'll let him choose.

Download one or more of these patterns today!


P.S. Do you have a story about knitting for the men in your life? Share it with us in the comments!

Featured Products

Cobblestone Pullover Knitting Pattern

Availability: In Stock
Price: $5.50


A Dublin inspired rustic men's sweater, this pullover is easy to wear.


Surf Stripes Raglan Knitting Pattern

Availability: In Stock
Price: $5.50


Man's raglan pullover with stripes.


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on Apr 24, 2013 12:27 PM

Oh one more thing for our friend Doodledaddy, it's great you want to knit and want some colour!! If you like colour and a little challenge try out

istex is an islandic company who also make great yarn!!

on Apr 24, 2013 12:05 PM

I've found as long as the pattern is simple and basic (to us boring) in soft preferably merino not too colourful yarn i think guys tend to like it. That is all i have learnt from trying to knit for my dad brother and boyfriend.. yeah knitting the same rib pattern in grey or shades of grey or brown  is not every ones idea of fun, but a nice feeling yarn to knit with, in a boring colour and in a boring pattern = something he will never take off and something you can knit while enjoying a good film or traveling in the car or well you get get the idea, knit the boring pattern entertain yourself at the same time end result is every one is happy!!! :)

Doodledaddy wrote
on Nov 10, 2012 8:34 AM

I am a man that has just recently started knitting, though I have been doing crotchet since my first grade teacher taught me, which was 38 years ago.  Personally, I would LOVE to see those patterns that were not a "hit" with those narrow minded men!  I am SO TIRED of seeing the same, old look on men, and it is long past due for men to start reclaiming patterns and colors and all manner of dressing styles that have fallen by the wayside through recent history.  (By that, I mean mostly the last century and a half, or so.  Women have easily transitioned from one look to another, and I see NO reason why men should not have the same freedom to do so. Unfortunately, it is because of men wrapping their masculine identity in preconceived notions of what is "girly" and what is "manly" that the rest of us men have to conform, or face ridicule.  I am speaking as a purely heterosexual man who loves women in every way, and I don't want to look like a woman, just to clarify my point of reference.  I do, however, think that a lot of today's modern men do not realize the vast array of designs and styles that once belonged to men in years gone by, have drifted into the domain or women.  Lace, florals, bright and pastel colors, fringe, tassels, ruffles, and, now, apparently, fancy knitted cables, are looked by these insecure men as being feminine and out of bounds for men, when all of those things were originally brought into being by wealthy men, for  themselves as status symbols of their wealth, influential power, and virile prowess!  In other words, women have comfortably taken over male styles, and left men without much to choose from.  That is why clothes for men have changed very little from decade to decade.  In fact, you could take a man from the 1950's and he would blend into a crowd completely and inconspicuously, in just about any part of the civilized world!  THAT is SAD!  I guess I got a little carried away making my point, but more men need to stand up and ACT like a man, and be daring enough to express himself with his clothing  style.  Please, I would really appreciate seeing those pattern rejects, as I believe that, like me, many other men would appreciate having access to them.  Oh, and ladies, please start encouraging your men and boys to think outside of the box, and help take men's clothing styles out of the dark ages!  

Denise_M wrote
on Sep 15, 2012 9:11 PM

I've had two successes in knitting for my husband. One was an adaptation of a Rowan pattern, a charcoal grey tweed hoodie sweater with vertical rib details - he wore it nonstop the first winter it was finished. The other was years ago - he loves Formula One and at the time was a Ferrari fan, so it was Ferrari red with a big white 27 on one side and 28 on the other (Ferrari drivers numbers) - but red isn't really his colour so it got lost along the way somewhere....

Muddled wrote
on May 5, 2012 2:22 PM

My hubby just likes plain stuff - stockinette st, v neck sweaters and cardigans.

Not very challenging, except for the size - even though he's a medium size. But good to knit and watch an exciting thriller or film!

ninjatails wrote
on Apr 30, 2012 12:57 PM

@Sezbet : I'm currently working on a hoody from a pattern I got on Ravelry (for $6) called "Èmilien". On the Ravelry page there are additional instructions for adding pockets. I love the way it is turning out (and I am a guy, soo other guys will probably like it too :D) it is very easy to knit, it's mostly stockinette, with stripes added to make it more interesting.

Sezbet wrote
on Apr 29, 2012 2:32 AM

I'm looking for a decent cardigan with a hood for my friend. Anyone got any ideas?

colima wrote
on Apr 28, 2012 10:22 PM

I will like to learn how to make a men vest or a swearter step by step, do you know any dvs or books

on Apr 28, 2012 9:50 PM

Jared Flood to the rescue again! I'm a HUGE Jared fan - and my two 20-something sons adore his designs. I swear, if Jared designs it, it can't go wrong. I'm putting the Cobblestone on my needles immediately!

Big thanks to "Raggy" for that Icelandic site - my youngest son, Casady (20) taught himself Old Norse beginning several years ago, and he has a classmate in college from Iceland, and she says she can totally understand him, but he sounds a bit like a "Victorian gentleman" does to us English-speakers - perfectly understandable, just old-fashioned. I should mention that Old Norse is a dead language, and it's closest living "relative" is Icelandic. Anyway, I can't wait to knit him a traditional Icelandic sweater, as it's his fondest dream to study abroad and travel in Iceland. Thank you so much for she reference!

Happy knitting,


screaminbean wrote
on Apr 28, 2012 7:14 PM

I've found the  key to knitting for anyone (besides yourself) is to knit people what they will love and wear.  For my husband, that is warm mittens, warm hats, and cozy socks.  For one of my best friends (male), who loves our dogs (Afghan Hounds), that was a hat made with yarn spun from our dogs' hair (personal touch).  For my best, very girly, stylish and often cold female friend, lacy shawls, lacy hats, and again, very warm mittens.  All received with gratitude and worn often!

helenfawcett wrote
on Apr 28, 2012 4:45 PM

Have knitted 2 Cobblestones for my husband- he loves them; one for my younger son, and one as yet to reach the needles for my elder son. A masculine classic!

sarakkatz wrote
on Apr 26, 2012 8:56 AM

I loved the first one, would be glad to make it.

For herbal incense visit:

RobinH wrote
on Apr 24, 2012 9:42 AM

The first sweater I made for my husband, back when we were dating, was warmly received and enthusiastically worn...but he managed to have some kind of laundry accident that made it stretch until it now reaches his knees!   After we were married (and hence I could request that handknits be left for me to launder), I made him other sweaters...but he refuses to give up the first hugely misshapen one (even though I would gladly throw it out!)...on cold days he adds it on top of one of his newer sweaters for an extra layer of warmth.   (He is in general gratifyingly unfussy, and proudly shows off his handknit sweaters and socks when we're out in public and people comment on my knitting!)

Jillyon wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 8:12 PM

So pleased to have a success! I like the book "Guy Knits" -- made the Mandalay Turtle from that book for my husband. Turned it into a crew neck and used three shades of natural gray Eco Wool. He really likes it (proved by his wearing it to places where other people will be), and it looks good on him. Can also recommend the book "Knits Men Like," especially its commentary on why men like what they do. Very helpful!

LaurainATL wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 7:28 PM

I knit a scarf for my dad, which he said he loved. I'm not sure he wears it since we live in different stats and I don't often get to see him in the cold weather.  For this past Christmas, I  afghan for my BIL.  He and my sister are the typical couple - one always too warm and the other too cold.  Guess who the always cold one is.  Anyway, I used the Graphic Afghan pattern  from Knitscene Easy 2010 using Berroco Vintage Chunky.  It turned out great! My BIL, and the dog who hangs out on the sofa with him, both love it.  You can see a pic at LaurainATL in Ravelry.

rphenne wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 6:13 PM

I recommend the Cobblestone particularly. I made it a couple of years ago in Brown Sheep wool & mohair blend for my mid-thirties son. It was a success, and seems to be pretty comfortable.

r.m.l wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 5:45 PM

My Boyfriend went on a trip to Italy for a month and I couldn't go. I wanted to send something with him that would easily fit in his bag and be useful on his trip... ok yeah lets be honest, I wanted him to think of me while he mingled amidst all those gorgeous Italian women. I'm still new to knitting but I thought a hat would be nice in the cool Italian air. So I made a simple charcoal gray cable beanie with a thin hunter green stripe around the brim. He loved it so much he wore it practically the entire trip. It's in all his pictures and he still loves it today! I think a sweater might be my next venture into handmade gifts :)

jangail719 wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 4:12 PM

I made a sweater for my boyfriend before we were married.  It was a cardigan and had a large collar.  It fit well, but the collar was a disaster because my husband has a short neck and he got lost in the collar.  He wore it though.  I on the other hand have a long neck so I never thought what that collar would look like on him.

MaureenB@20 wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 3:24 PM

I knitted the Cobblestone for my Dad using the original yarn called for in the pattern, only in blue, to match his beautiful eyes. He LIVED in it. I was so proud!

on Apr 23, 2012 2:04 PM

When I returned to knitting and was getting my gauge finally right, I decided to knit my husband a replica of his beloved Navy watchcap. I found a vintage pattern. I happily gave it to him and he promptly hated it. The gauge was too loose for his taste and "this is NOT like my watchcap!". I recently unraveled it and am going to try again. His Navy cap is double fabric and tightly knit.

I also knit socks for him but he does not like them "because my feet get too hot". I did buy some cotton wool yarn but am afraid to put all that work into socks he will not wear. He's a size 11 in shoes. He does wear his socks to bed. He says he sleeps. Egret when he wears his hand knit socks.

I did knit him a "hand to hand" Aran sweater that he does wear. Unfortunately, it does not super cold In northern California. He wore it halibut fishing in Alaska.

My daughters have knit him a scarf and fingerless gloves that he does wear.

kamknit wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 2:01 PM

I have knit several sweaters for my husband.  He wears them for hunting , originally worn under his uniform.  These aren't fancy by any means, meant to be washed and dried in machine.  But he loves them.  I am currently knitting the fog sweater for him in cascade Eco.  He picked out the pattern and the color.  So I know he will like it also!  

ajpadilla wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 1:53 PM

My biggest problem is finding simple guy sweater patterns with a V-neck. The men in my life will even accept some cables, but their big issue is V-necks and will not wear anything else. Would love to see more of that type.

on Apr 23, 2012 1:29 PM

I've learned that my husband (who hates sweaters) and 2 sons (who think that all sweaters are itchy, regatdless of their fiber content!) are always happy with basic socks, so I stick with that!  My daughter is the hardest to knit for, as what she likes is constantly changing (oh, to be 13 again).  I knitted my husband a warm, wooly hat for Christmas this past year, and I had to constantly tell him to wear it, so I'm done with it.  Socks it is!  Men can be so difficult.  :-p

csi-artist wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 12:43 PM

Hi, I am a man who knits or tries to,  any of these sweaters here look good, but why is it so difficult to find a decent pattern for a cardigan.  I am a cardigan kind of guy, I live in a climate that can be very hot or very cold, sometimes in the same day; therefore cardigans are ideal.  Can we have more patterns for men's cardigans anything from Aran weight (betraying my British background there) to super bulky would be great.

crellis wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 11:15 AM

A SAAADDDD story about knitting for men.

I knit three fishermen knit sweaters, one for my husband, one for the 7 year old and one for the 2 year old. They came out beautifully. I was sooo proud. I always washed clothes in cold water except whites. The first time I washed the three sweaters at once, of course, I had previously washed something white and forgot to change the water temperature. All three went through the hot/hot cycle and came out looking felted but fit NO-ONE.  The only thing sadder in my life was when I was rear-ended in my car by the CVS Good Samaritan.  

LRL wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 11:06 AM

I knit a sweater for my boyfriend when we were in college.  This was when the extra heavy yarns were popular, and his sweater was an olive green.  Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to measure, and consequently, the sweater was enormous!  His solution was to wear it with a red cap and go trick or treating at Halloween as a pimiento stuffed olive!!  We have laughed about it many times during the past 45 years!

on Apr 23, 2012 8:21 AM

For our 6th "Monthiversary", my boyfriend was the proud recipient of a scarf knit by his dearest. It was the very first garment I had ever knit to completion, and I used a somewhat complicated colour pattern. I used to knit it at my desk on slow days, and my colleagues were all enthusiastically involved in the whole process.

Anyway, since I knew nothing, I made the scarf so insanely long that it can pretty much go around and around his head, but my colleagues were right - he was very happy with it, and he still has it (although it's impossible to wear).

Lol, ragnheidurr, you seem to have much more accommodating men in Iceland! (Must be something in the water...) Thanks also for sharing that website.

JeannineB wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 7:06 AM

I've knit for my husband several times in the 37 years we've been married.  I've found that I have the greatest success when he is involved in the pattern/color/style selection.  Also, he tends to prefer the lighter weight yarns, as he works in an office, which can get quite warm when the heat is on.  He also enjoys sweater vests - they're not as warm as a long-sleeved sweater - and again, I make them out of sport and fingering weight yarns, primarily wool and wool blends.

ragnheidurr wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 6:22 AM


I was a little bewildered when you said that knitting for men is hard. Here in Iceland we knit the typical icelandic woolen sweaters and they love them! They come in various shapes and thicknesses depending on the yarn you use. My favorite is lettlopi which is lighter than the other types and my man is always warm so I made him an open sweater. There is an icelandic website called (I think you can choose an english version) and there you can design your own patterns.


clarelou wrote
on Apr 23, 2012 2:51 AM

I knitted a sweater for my boyfriend, many years ago, when I was at college and in my early 20s. I had long blonde hair then and knitted long blonde hairs into it! How romantic, but don't think he ever noticed!