"Masculine" (or at the very least Unisex) Crochet
One of the challenges in building a cohesive collection of crochetwear designs is creating patterns that would work for everyone. By its nature, crochet creates an open, lacy fabric that is perceived as more feminine. Be it writing a book of crochet designs, simply not liking lacy items or making something for a boy or bloke in your life, it can be tricky to find something that fits the masculine/unisex button.
There are ways to work with crochet to give it a more unisex feel ranging from stitches to the wool choice to the design...
- Cabled crochet: using crossed Front or Back Post (UK= raised, front and back) creates cables. It can be tricky to get your head around at first, but once a basic cable pattern is established, its an easy way to add a bit of detail to a project and really gives a project a chunky, rugged feel.
- Ribbing: using either slip stitch or single (UK= double) crochet through the back loop only, makes lovely ribbing. Slip stitch ribbing strongly resembles knit fabric, while single crochet ribbing reminds me of garter stitch.
- Tweed/Granite/Seed stitch: I have seen this stitch refered to in many ways, but its basic pattern is *1sc, 1ch, skip the next stitch* repeat from * and then on the next row *sc into the ch-sp, 1ch* repeat from *. If I had a favourite crochet stitch, this would probably be it. It creates a fabric with a lovely drape and the stitch pattern is really magnificent in garments.
- Basketweave is another new favourite. I love the strong fabric it creates...though it is slight pain to design with, as its 8 stitch/8 row repeat it is a tad inflexible.
- If you crochet, you know that a crochet stitch is connected at the top and the bottom to the other stitches, with the body of the stitch open (unlike knitting that connects each stitch through the stitch below). Crochet stitches that minimise the open section will reduce the laciness of the fabric. For solid work, I find that either basic sc, or a solid half double (UK=half treble) are best. Solid Half Double is worked into the space between the 2 stitches of the previous round/row, rather than into the top of the stitch.
Yarn choices play another role in making items that are more unisex, of course. Tweedy wools, those more on the matt side (without too much sheen), colour choices all play a role. I also have found that thinner wools - (DK and under) and thicker wools (chunky/bulky) are better for more masculine items. With thinner yarn, the gaps that exist in crochet fabric are less evident, therefore removing much of the lacy-ness, whereas at the other end of the spectrum, chunkier yarns give the stitches a bit more heft, making the stitches pop.
And while I can't share any of my designs, I can share a bit of my moodboard for men's crochet. However, suggestions are MORE than welcome!!!