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Designing For Men April 12, 2012

Posted by myblueheavenknits in Uncategorized.
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Men, men, men.  What would we do without them?  My husband has accepted my ever increasing yarn stash (OK, sometimes he calls it a yarn hoard), and is my photographer/designer for pattern covers.  I have created some really great patterns for women and children, but have only done hats for men.  So, recently he said, “How about doing a man’s knit necktie?”.  After a brief pro and con discussion where he asked if I subscribed to the “never listen to any ideas from anyone other than myself” and other such banter, I relented and said I would work on a man’s tie.

I immediately went to the yarn store to get a selection of self-striping wool sock yarn since I didn’t have any of that type in my stash and started the process.  Of course, men have many sizes of necks, heights, and methods to tie the knot which make a huge difference on length, where the decreases are and thickness of the end product so it doesn’t look “oaffish” (his words).  Each man has his way of wearing it, wouldn’t you know, so how do you design for every possibility?  Well I can tell you, it is frustrating and depressing to work all day on something you think should be simple and present it to your man and he tells you it is all wrong!  This one was too short, that one was too long on the front and too short on the back, this one is too narrow, that one is twisting…..oh the pain and agony of spending days of making nothing but wrong, wrong, wrong.  He tried to help by bringing out some of his favorite silk ties, but you can’t compare it to a store-bought silk tie because knit ties are made a different way and evoke a different appeal.  And don’t get me started on solid color and textured knit ties done in a small tuck stitch which stretch in the width and not the length.  I am still recovering from that one.

We did check quite a bit online to see if there were any standard measurements for ties.  Of course they will specify the width and average length which changes season to season, but it seems to be a designer’s secret on where the decreases start to get the proper width to accommodate a perfect 4-Hand knot, go under a button-down collar and long enough to make it lay sufficiently well under the front part of the tie.

I think everyone has seen an example of the “oaffish” look, where the tie front is not long enough to cover a beer belly and the skinnier end is not long enough either so it sticks out high on the shirt – if you have seen a Laurel and Hardy movie, that look is quintessentially clownish.  So, it is REALLY important that any pattern for neck ties have sizes from the Collegiate (short and slim) to the Banker (tall and stout).  Woe is me, pattern designing is always so hard!!  And now we are talking about a man’s only real accessory, so they are all quite passionate about it being an asset to their look, not making them look like a clown.

Also, I am working on a beautiful pullover for a man with some nice architectural details.  It is a classic, and so won’t go out of style.   I knit one for my husband and he really likes it enough to suggest I do the pattern for it.   So, waiting for me is all the agony and heartbreak on something that should be a joyous pursuit.   I will have to press through my current necktie dilemna first.   Note To Self: Think, Knit, Pray !!

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