50 Shades of Gray-ish: Sweaters Men Will Actually Wear

Finding knitting patterns for men is a special challenge. There are plenty of men’s sweater patterns out there, but finding the “right” pattern to knit can be difficult. The root of this problem is often the guy himself:  non-knitting men generally want “plain” sweaters, “simple” sweaters, featureless sweaters that can crush your soul with boredom and turn that gift of love into a grim-faced slog. If you have knit 70 square feet of plain stockinette for someone who thinks ribbing “looks a little fancy,” you know whereof I speak.

Then there is the matter of color: a recent survey of husbands, boyfriends, friends, fathers, uncles, and other random menfolk led us to the following truth: a man will wear any color as long as it’s blue.

How, then, to find a sweater pattern that will please the male recipient while being a satisfying knitting experience? The trick is balance: simple designs that have enough texture to keep things interesting, preferably in shades of blue, gray, brown, and something called “greige.” Below are several choices we think fit the bill, along with some free patterns you might want to check out.

knitting patterns for men

A knitted take on the “athleisure” trend, the Nelson Pullover mimics a plain drawstring sweatshirt until you notice the clever cable running up each arm. This is perhaps my favorite men’s sweater pattern EVAH, enough that I’m willing to risk The Curse of The Boyfriend Sweater to make it.


Jared Flood cracked the menswear code over 10 years ago with his iconic Cobblestone Pullover. Crazy for circular-yoke sweaters? Try this masculine version in a rustic tweed or woolen-spun yarn and bask in the love you will get.

knitting patterns for men

Amy Christoffers excels at classic American sportswear, and her Whiskey Creek Pullover is no exception. Stockinette and reverse stockinette play together exceptionally well here, and the elegant shawl collar gives polish and panache to an otherwise straightforward and simple design. Looking for something slightly more textured? Try the garter-ribbed Hank’s Pullover for a surprisingly quick knit.

knitting patterns for men

Meghan Babin’s Bear Lake Pullover combines a broken rib pattern with some super-sneaky cables that seem “cool,” not “fancy.” If he still demurs, tell him it’s inspired by medieval armor and watch his eyes light up.

knitting patterns for men

The Donegal Sweater is the fanciest, cabley-ist of all the sweaters here, but we had to include it. If the guy you’re knitting for has some sartorial swagger, this is a no-brainer. From the sturdy shawl collar to the cashmere-blend yarn, this sweater is downright lordly.  Oh, and did I mention that it’s blue?

If there are other sweaters you like to knit, be sure to let us know.


Looking for knitting patterns for men? Look no further.