Bruce Weinstein and Jared Flood have joined their knitting superpowers once again to create this book. Weinstein knows how to design classic unisex garments while Flood knows just how to photograph them. These two knitwear superstars have created a book that is both useful and beautiful to look at.
“Boyfriend Sweaters” is divided into four different technique chapters that focus on the said technique. These chapters are, Line and Drape, Texture, Reversibility, and Color. Each chapter begins with an introduction into the technique and a list of tips and how-tos that will be used in the chapter. After this intro section there are four or five projects dedicated to the techniques explained. Each chapter is then concluded with a brief personal essay. These little essays are a sweet way to end each chapter as they are both informative and a cute look into Weinstein’s life. The first essay addresses the curse of the boyfriend sweater, that being that if you make a boyfriend a sweater while you are just dating that your relationship will be doomed. Though I don’t expect any issues to come about, this was something I did not know and wish I had known before I spent two months making my boyfriend the Jared Flood designed sweater ‘Brownstone.’ Another essay talks about Weinstein’s connection with one of his father’s sweaters that he stumbled upon after his father’s death. Each one is a nice little anecdote that made the book more about the process of making a sweater than about the end product.
One thing about the book that I found particularly interesting were the tips on each project page that are intended to help the knitter choose more masculine or feminine colors for the patterns. Weinstein really worked hard to make a book that is not limited to a just female or just male audience. I appreciate his attempts at creating flexibility among knitters.
At least half of the sweaters in this book seem to be worth making, while the other half are able to be adjusted to be worth making as well. I am not a fan of intricate color work or off center zippers, or zippers on a knitted piece of work period. These factors turned me off of many of the patterns but I do believe these offensive features can be easily removed and replaced to conform with my classic knitwear preferences. The best sweater in this book is one that I plan on making immediately as a Christmas present for my Dad. It is the Shaker Cardigan with can be found in the ‘Texture’ chapter. It is a simple button up v-neck cardigan in a classic shaker rib stitch. It is pictured in a lovely heathered chocolate brown in the book. I know that if I made this sweater for myself it would be the only thing I would wear for the rest of my life. Throughout the book I have found that Weinstein’s designs are their strongest when he sticks to a simple, clean cut, and natural style.
Although the book is entitled “Boyfriend Sweaters” not all of the projects are sweater patterns. When I discovered this I was a little disappointed as I had hoped for a comprehensive collection of classically shaped sweaters that can be easily adapted to fit and represent the style of the people I would make them for. Where there could have been five more sweater patterns, there were four scarf patterns and a hat pattern. And of those extraneous patterns only three of the scarf patterns are worth looking at. I have no idea how the double knit scarf and hat in the Reversible Section even got into the book. The colors used are garish and the patterns are way too gaudy to be in a book of natural toned sweaters. Perhaps this was the publisher’s choice as they know that the majority of knitwear book buyers are older ladies who enjoy this sort of thing.
Overall, I am glad to add this book to my collection of reference and pattern books but it did not quite meet my expectations. I would recommend it to knitters who are looking for jumping off points for their own designs. For Weinstein’s next publication I ask him to add a pattern for a simple, shawl collared cardigan in a natural fiber and tone. If he publishes nothing else in his life, let it be that pattern.