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Beagle Boys and Navy Seals

a.k.a. how not to get bored out of your wits when knitting a sweater for a man

Let's face it, knitting a sweater for a man seems like a pretty insurmountable task. I mean, just knitting a sweater for myself can take months, let alone for a much larger person. Endless swathes of stockinette with nothing interesting happening because there's no shaping of any kind.

And men are fussier than little kids about what they wear. No patterning or fancy-schmancy stitch patterns. V-neck? Ridiculous. A henley? Are you kidding me!

Then there's the question of color, or rather, lack thereof. Men prefer black, gray, or if they're feeling really adventurous, brown. Don't even entertain the idea of multiple colors in one sweater. And stripes are definitely out of the question.

Add all those up and what've you got? zZzzZzzz

With all that said, I've actually been pretty lucky and not have had to knit a black all-stockinette sweater in a man's size. (Not even in gray. I've offered to knit a gray sweater but no takers yet.) Here are a couple of male sweater patterns that get the thumbs up from me and my partner, plus a bonus pattern that's going on the needles next.


Beagle by Norah Gaughan

This is quite a simple sweater with a round neck, dropped shoulders and absolutely no shaping. There are a few different textures and stitch patterns to give the project at least a little bit of interest: ribbed panels on the lower body, a few rows of garter stitch, and a double seed stitch yoke.

I must admit, I was a bit disappointed with the sizing of this sweater. Ravelry comments on the pattern say the sizing runs quite large but had to go down two sizes. Not two needle sizes, two sizes on the garment. Oh yeah, and the pattern's written for knitting in pieces. I didn't.

Click below for a slideshow.

  • On Ravelry: Beagle Boy

  • Pattern: Beagle by Norah Gaughan from Norah Gaughan Men

  • Yarn: 1150 meters/1260 yards of Berroco Ultra Alpaca (50% wool, 50% alpaca) in #62173 Forest Mix

  • Needles: 4.5 mm for ribbing, 5.5 mm otherwise

  • Mods: Stitch counts from size XS to make a finished size M, knitted in the round.


Durrow by Jodi Green

This project was supposed to be made after an entirely different pattern, Thornton by Martin Storey, but I couldn't get a hold of the pattern leaflet no matter how hard I tried. Instead, I went with a free pattern that looked sort of similar. The original pattern has cabling on the sleeves but I worked the sweater in an all-over ribbing pattern.

There's nothing fancy about the sleeves and body but what's interesting happens at the top: the yoke is worked in one piece and after a bit of raglan shaping, the tops of the sleeves form saddle shoulders.

This pattern, too, was written for flat knitting but I converted everything to knitting in the round.

Click below for another slideshow.


Jaiden by Isabell Kraemer

This last one I haven't knitted yet but the pattern's been pre-approved and the yarn chosen. It's interesting that while the most popular women's garment patterns today are top-down and seamless, the men's pattern — at least from the big publishers — are still worked in the traditional way.

Indie pattern designers to the rescue! Jaiden by Isabell Kraemer looks pretty similar to Beagle but this one's worked seamlessly from the top down and it's got raglan sleeves. The yoke is done in double seed stitch (like in Beagle) and there's a bit of garter stitch separating the lower body (like in Beagle). A fun little detail are the elbow patches that look to be worked in some sort of purl pattern.

The pattern comments on Ravelry are pretty unanimous: a well-written pattern with great fit. I'm definitely looking forward to knitting this one. If only I could make it in gray...

Jaiden by Isabell Kraemer, knitted by Raveler jurga
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Susanna Winter is a knitwear designer, creating timeless and elegant pieces with clean lines. She has been knitting for over 20 years, knit blogging since 2007, and designing knitting patterns professionally since 2016.

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