Manly, Yes – Design by Committee

OK, I can’t seem to get away from these gender issues. At Men’s Knit Night at ye old local yarn shop, there were voices raised in complaint that there is a dearth of manly shop models. Women, they said, knit things they think men want. Men do not want them. This is all hear say, mind you. However, I heard it say from people who were there. Men want neutrals. Men don’t like teal. Men don’t want vests. Men don’t want tweed. One man who was there told me he likes vests and teal and tweed, so don’t I don’t know that we need to take this all that seriously.

However, a result, I was asked to make a ‘manly’ shop model. I needed a new photo for a older sweater pattern of mine, so I agreed. It’s a basic top-down raglan in bulky weight yarn. I chose Cascade128 in olive green. Way manly. But I thought a few stripes around the chest couldn’t make it less manly, could it? I choose black and oatmeal for the stripes. All well and good. I was working on the sweater in a meeting and one of the men asked me about it. He agreed, yes, the olive was manly, indeed.

Fast forward to a recent Saturday night, listening to music at a local coffee shop. I had my knitting and heard from behind me “Wow, what a manly sweater.” Same guy from the work meeting, and his wife, who was in a sock class of mine many moons ago. I was on the striping, so I thought I’d solicit more input. A small gathering of folks discussed the striping. (During a break, of course.) What I was planning was dismissed by every male as “too Charlie Brown,” but by adding a much wider band of stripes it would become manly. OK, I can take constructive criticism. I doubled the width of the striped band. I left the finished sweater on the couch when I went to work. Later that day, I got an email from Mr. Guy saying nice sweater and who is that really nice sweater for? Not him, sadly. I made the smallest size so I could get it done. It is now hanging in the shop with a big tag on it that says “Manly Sweater.” Really.

So, what do you think? Manly enough?

Thanks to Theresa for taking up some of the posting slack here. I was traveling for work and visiting family and then catching up on work. I also have a bit of the blues. Not, I think, the biological blues, but the existential blues, brought on by visiting all the generations of my family in very short order. I may knit some of this into a future post, but I assume most people visit here for knitting blather, and not reflections on spending the day with my 88-year old aunt the nun who doesn’t knit.

Yesterday it was 65 F. Today it may snow. That’s March in Minnesota. Maybe the  uncertainty of the weather reminds me of the uncertainty of life and the existential blues comes along with it.



3 responses to “Manly, Yes – Design by Committee

  1. My husband would not wear that ever and dismiss it as being not manly enough. However, I would have happily knit that for any man I know. He has many rules about clothing that I can never hope to understand.

  2. As the other one in our very small club of Knitting Gales, I must also comment 🙂
    Definitely manly. While some men might not wear stripes, those are clearly manly stripes and so is their placement. Looks great to me. Let us know what the customers say in the shop. (Hope you feel brighter tomorrow)

  3. I don’t have a man nearby to ask, but I am going on my own reactions. I like the colors very much but don’t like the placement of the stripes. If a larger man wore this, it would only broaden his appearance. If the stripes were placed lower, just above the lower body ribbing (or even as part of the ribbing, I think it would be much more attractivre, and much less “ordinary”. Just my (devalued) two cents worth from Canada!

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