MANSWAP #2 – Polo (turtle) neck Pullover Pattern

Gus wrote a post about his first hand knitted jumper. That turned out to be my most popular blog post ever, and I didn’t even write one word of it! Thank you everyone who made a comment – I know the warm feedback will encourage Gus to write again, as we go on.

Anyway my MANSWAP plan includes two jumpers.

Gus has requested is a polo neck (also known as a turtle neck in the US) to keep his long neck warm.  I asked for suggestions of a polo/turtle necked pullover with set in sleeves not raglans. I thought maybe cables and rubbing. Thank you SO MUCH for your suggestions of knitting patterns –  lots that did not fulfill the brief exactly, but are nice jerseys in any event.

Here are some of the proposals you kindly put forward. There are some brilliant looks here. I have shown them to Gus. I have also started a Pinterest page for him if you want to see what I have saved.

I absolutely love these suggestions. In terms of meeting the brief I think Stephanie’s Vika (lots of you suggested Jared Flood of Brooklyn tweed, who designed this one) and Verona’s vintage gave us what I really wanted. So what is Gus’s opinion as in this matter the customer is always right? Gus admitted he didn’t really know what he was looking at in terms of specification. He tried to imagine wearing the item, but found it hard to get past some of the model pictures. He turned down an illustrated pattern because it was not a photograph. He evaluated some of the patterns in terms of did the model look like him or not. So he turned down a) and related to b), even though he definitely didn’t want a cabled cardi with a shawl collar. I must admit the vintage sweater really appealed to me, mainly because it is body hugging, has the slim sleeves that I think Gus likes. I thought the subtle stripes at the extremities. I think I could knit this nicely for Gus’s “carrot” shape. On the other hand although many of the Brooklyn Tweed outfits are modelled by beardy young model-boys but maybe a bit too “flappy” for Gus (his words).

I have got an image that Gus is comfortable with. It is a 1952 vintage pattern, and I was just about to buy it as a pdf, when I discovered it is free to down load here. It appears to be a very simple pattern and I think it would suit Gus (obviously very boring to knit but what else is Netflix for?). I do need a little help please. What sort of yarn would this use? The original pattern specifies 23oz of “AMERICAN THREAD COMPANY “DAWN” KNITTING WORSTED” in “Nylon or Wool”. It seems worsted is an American type of yarn. The guage is 5 and a half stitch per inch.  Is it double knit or finer? And are the needle sizes ie “3” and “5” correct in terms of modern needle sizes? These very simple jersey shapes and patterns seem to be too boring for the modern knitter, but I really think this may well be the kind of jersey that men prefer to wear. I am not sure what sort of yarn to use, but I would like to use a deep grey-blue – airforce blue. Again, any suggestions would be warmly welcomed.

Men's beige turtleneck
Men’s beige turtleneck

14 Responses

  1. Ellen

    Nice! Based on the photo and your description I would guess it was a DK weight yarn, knit on US 5 or 6 needles (or maybe 4? 3.75mm up to 4.5mm?) I would buy a ball and try some swatching to see the right combo to get that nice old school fabric feel. As every knitter will attest, the more you knot the more you value the swatching process.

    My local yarn shop carries a Jamieson wool from the UK that might be finer than DK but has a nice lanolin-y feel, like the sweaters my grandfather used to wear in Maine. You want, I would think, something with a stiff-ish hand, and not too soft. I would also definitely use a smaller needle to get that nice tight ribbing. My mom always did that and I rately do–one of those vintage details that will make it pop.

    I love the idea of a deep indigo for something like this. Can’t wait to see what you decide!

  2. Anne Frances

    Since this is a US pattern I would think that the needle sizes are the standard US ones – 3 = 3.25 mm and 5 is 3.75mm. As I understand it US worsted yarn is a heavy double knitting weight, somewhere between UK Dk and Aran. You can get some worsted weight yarn in the UK,- Deramores mail order have some – but I might also be inclined to see if I could find a good firm Dk and get the gauge. I know you have used Colourmart before and some of their Dk blends might work, but the colour choice is a bit limited. I’m currently using Yarn Stories merino Dk on 3.75 mm needles and it is a delight to knit with and seems to be coming out firm but soft, but again the colour range isn’t great. Always worth looking on Ravelry at the comments on yarns and the projects made from them . Good luck! Anne

    • fabrickated

      Thank you very much for taking the time to guide me Anne. I will try the Ravelry site now. And then I will try a swatch with some DKs I have already to get an idea of it. I have used Colourmart for my “ski” jumper but I am a complete novice really.

  3. Martina

    Hi Kate,

    Here’s a link to a chart.

    Worsted is what is most available here in the US. I’ve seen sport weight yarns, but light worsted would probably only be in a specialty yarn shop. My sister knitted me a beautiful sweater in worsted wool, and it’s heavy enough to sub for a jacket in the spring and fall. I can wear it indoors, but it’s pretty warm.

  4. Stephanie

    You know, I like the fancy sweaters but sometimes you just want something basic with clean lines, in a beautiful colour. Stocking stitch knitted evenly and smoothly makes for a beautiful fabric, and it’s easy to do. Then you see the nice cuffs and collar. I would take the time to do a neat cast on (not sure what you are using) and cast off.

    I remember knitting worsted from when I was growing up. I used to think of it as knitting about 20 stitches to 10 cm/4 inches on 4 mm needles, if I remember correctly, although I think it could also veer towards what in the UK is called an aran or a light aran (i.e. slightly thicker). Others have gotten to this first, though, so see Anne Frances above. If the sweater did use “worsted” and did use 3.25 mm and 3.75 mm needles (I always forget the conversion of US needle sizes as I always think in metric, i.e. mm for knitting, although a quick check shows this to be true), you’d get fabric that is slightly more dense than the classic DK fabric. I would say swatch with DK yarns (typically knitted at 4 mm) and if you can find something slightly heavier swatch with the smaller needles. (Rowan, which is an English company, of course, has often had slightly heavier than DK yarns in their range – usually the tweed varieties – although I think the latest one (Rowan Tweed) has been discontinued). In the end, all you really care about is the gauge. You want to match the gauge of 22 stitches per 10 cm/4 inches (or 5.5 stitches per inch), as described in the pattern, but you can decide how you want the fabric to be (i.e. less or more dense). If you knit with a slightly thicker wool than a DK but knit it on smaller needles than 4 mm in order to match 22 stitches to 4 inches, you will get a denser fabric than if you knit a classic DK that knits to 22 cm to 4 inches on 4 mm needles). The stitch gauge of the pattern is the classic DK stitch gauge knitted with 4 mm needles so this actually makes it really easy for you to find yarn if you want to stick with a classic DK and be done with it! I am sure there is lots of choice of DK in the UK market so I am sure you will find something in a nice colour. You can go for something sheepy and woolly or there are lots of merino and merino-silk blends that would give you something softer or drapier. This is the well-stocked middle range of the knitting world so there is usually lots of choice – a bit like if you wear a size 38 shoe. 🙂

    • fabrickated

      Oh bravo Stephanie. This is exactly what I wanted and needed. I am going to try out a few different yarns. Also I have to take Gus’s preference into account here, but as you say a nice, smooth knit is what he is after and I think something with a little drape, and maybe lustre. So I will now spend a bit of time having a look around wool shops and the internet. Thank you so so much for sharing the benefit of your experience.

      • Stephanie

        No problem. The only other thing I didn’t mention is that you may need to think a tiny bit about the row gauge (the number of rows in the vertical), if the yarn is different than that used in the pattern. A classic DK will probably result in a few more rows to 10 cm on the vertical than the slightly thicker yarn used in the pattern. I doubt it is going to make much of a difference for you though. I would need to see more detail of the pattern in terms of whether it tells you how many inches to knit or how many rows, but as I said I think the differences are going to be relatively minor. I would just make sure to measure the armholes and measure the distance to the start of the armholes as you knit to make sure you are coming up similarly. I assume this is knitted flat, although you could convert it. Have fun! This should make for a beautiful garment. I want one!

        • fabrickated

          Ok. Got it, I think. I also need to follow up your remark about different ways to cast on. I have been measuring as I go (learning from you, of course), but find that yarn, knitted, is not obedient (compared to most fabrics) and does its own thing – growing and shrinking as it wishes. The Cyrene jacket feels a bit small, but I think it will expand a bit once I put it into cold water and dry it flat. The Lorelle seemed a bit big (compared to the design) but I love its comfortable sloppiness. It’s all part of the fun, eh?

  5. Ms. McCall

    I know you are looking for knitting patterns, but the fine-knit look if that 50’s pattern leads me to think that sewing might be a good option. I don’t know what’s available in the U.K. but The Fabric Store here in L.A. Has beautiful fine merino knits that would be a super comfortable polo neck.

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