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Lace Knitting and Menswear

LBHandknits

manlace.jpg

I have recently finished a sweater for my husband, knitted in Donegal Tweed. It is a fairly basic, top-down pullover, with lace-embellished raglans. As usual, this was an improvised, off the cuff type of project. But unusually for me, I actually wrote everything down this time! So I considered writing it up as a pattern, and first went on ravelry to check whether a similar design might already exist. I used the advanced search feature, and selected options such as 'eyelets' and 'lace,' along with specifying men's patterns. To my surprise, not only did the specific design I knitted not come up, but very few results came up at all.  

I guess it shouldn't come as a complete shock that lace is not a popular design feature in menswear these days.

But I'd like to make the argument that it could be.

Even if we accept unquestioningly the most stereotyped aesthetic parameters of maleness and masculine presentation, there is actually nothing inherently 'un-manly' about lace and eyelet motifs - which need not be floral or ornate, but could just as easily be plain and geometrical.

But more importantly, the eyelets actually serve a very practical purpose, in that they provide ventilation - which is why I did the raglans this way on my husband's sweater; he tends to get overheated and I thought this would be a fine solution.

Happily, he agrees, and finds the lacework on this sweater entirely acceptable. In fact, he generally tends to like botanical and floral motifs, preferring them to what some might consider more 'masculine' designs. 

Encouraged by this, I'd like to experiment more with lacework in menswear, and see where that leads.