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A simple black sweater made with plain black yarn. That’s all I want. Simple. No zips or tricks or twists or folds or historically accurate cables or textural trickery that depicts the fall of the Second French Empire. Just a black crewneck sweater.

I have a friend whose mother refers to any excess decoration or flippity flappity frippery as “frenalia.” It’s a made-up word, but we all know exactly what it means, and that’s exactly what I want none of. I just want a simple black frenalia-free sweater. 

Look, sweater patterns for men are scarce enough. A frenalia-free one is even scarcer. I’ve hunted in all the usual places, using search terms like “plain sweater” and “simple sweater” and “gimmickless sweater” and “OMG FFS WHY IS THIS SO HARD TO FIND sweater” and sure, there are some hits.

But then there’s always a hitch, either in the design or the acquisition process. The side panels are reverse stockinette or feature Dad-sweater-ish stripes or are made of shredded beer cans (NO I DO NOT WANT TO CUSTOMIZE IT MYSELF).  A broken download link because the pattern was uploaded on like the very first day the internet existed. A checkout error because it turns out you cannot actually pay in lira anymore … one auto response I’ve seen said “sorry, the designer died. SAD CRYFACE EMOJI”

I’ve found a few that are acceptably plain. But not perfectly plain. And—based on the links people send me, it’s apparently harder than I thought to explain exactly what I mean. But like obscenity or Hellman’s mayonnaise ruining a sandwich: I’ll know it when I see it. 

And it turns out the only thing tougher to find than a perfectly plain sweater pattern is perfectly plain black yarn. And I get why it’s tricky (from several angles). First: turns out people don’t love to knit with it. It’s hard to see the stitches as knitters knit with it, even using a light needle. And second: it’s actually kind of hard to dye wool and get it to turn out genuinely black and not, oh, on the deep purplish side (no thanks, “darkest midnight”) or on the dark greenish side (nice try, “peat”). Even when you find a good, true black base, the chances of it being frenalia-ed and tweed-ed up with sprinkles and sprankles and sprickles of another color are about, oh, 107%. I want black. BLACK BLACK BLACK. Only black. 

Here’s the part of this piece where I originally had a long list of yarn requirements, basically ensuring that no black yarn would ever satisfy me. But I had to delete that temper tantrum because looky here! Turns out my own place of business is coming to the rescue! MDK has a brand-spanking new limited edition BLACK Atlas! [Editor’s update: Black is now out of stock … before DG could claim a sweater quantity! We don’t have more Black on order, but an expanded Atlas palette is in the planning stages.]

oh hello. i’m not truffle. i’m duskier and more saturated. I’m right here.

I still haven’t found the right pattern, though of course it’s only been three paragraphs since I originally brought that up. But it’s not like I’m sitting here yammering into the void, making no effort … though of course, that’s EXACTLY what I’m doing.

I did get close once. My second-ever sweater—whose name is now lost to the ages—was almost exactly plain enough but there was something about it that wasn’t quite right, something about the way the imperfect collar style hit my flawless scapula. I never wear it. And no, it’s not because I dropped so many stitches seaming the sleeves on that whenever I do wear it, it appears that I have very hirsute armpit areas and the people sitting behind me at the opera ask me to tamp it down a little so they can see. THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. It’s just not right in other ways.

So there’s your challenge, Instagram-famous fancy-schmancy designers! Now that I have the perfect plain black light-swallowing yarn, I’ll be right over here, nude from the waist up, waiting for a 100% personality-free sweater pattern, devoid of all frenalia. I dare you. I double-dog dare you. 

A Giveaway!

The prize? Three MDK Field Guides with sweater designs PERFECK for Black—or any other color you fancy—MDK Atlas yarn.

Sue McCain’s Easel Sweater from MDK Field Guide No. 3: Wild Yarns, Norah Gaughan’s  Calligraphy Cardigan in MDK Field Guide No. 9: Revolution, and Erika Knight’s Old Friend Pullover designed for Atlas in MDK Field Guide No. 20! Each design name links to our Patterns Library where you can see yardage, and more pictures and specs.

Make your own Field Guide bundle right here and save 15% off the single-copy price.

How to enter?

Two steps:

Step 1: Sign up for MDK emails, right here. External Link. Opens in new window.. External Link. Opens in new window.. External Link. Opens in new window.. If you’re already signed up, you’re all set. We have a new option for texting, so when you sign up for those, you’ll get a coupon code good for 10% off your next MDK order.

Step 2: You know just the sweater pattern DG is looking for, right? Name it (no links, please!) in the comments.

Deadline for entries: Sunday, July 2, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • I might have the perfect super plain sweater pattern for you … it’s called Horan and you can see it here. (It’s tricky to find on Rowan, but I can hook you up.)

    • Well, it has no name, just google WW2 woman’s sweater, the patterns were free, along with needles and black yarn, in hopes folks would support our troops with warm items

  • I might have the perfect super plain sweater pattern for you, called Horan. You can see it here. (It can be tricky to find from Rowan but I can hook you up.)

    • I consider Flax plain but than realized it has a garter panel down the sleeves. You could easily leave it out but it’s not plain.

    • Thank you, Jen. Do you have a very plain zipper cardigan? My husband’s request

      • I haven’t knit one yet, but His Classic Crew by Knitatude looks promising!

        • No suggestions but reading along.

  • Black sweaters, they never get dirty, the longer you wear them the stronger they get!
    With apologies to the old camp song – Black Socks)

    • The Felix Pullover by Amy Christoffers is a good one

    • YESSSSS!!!! I still sing black socks to the grandkids.

    • Elizabeth Zimmerman gives you instructions for making just such a sweater in her books, using her EPS (Elizabeth Percentage System). You could go fancier, if that was what you wanted, but obviously it’s not. Her system shows you how to take your gauge and customize your sweater to fit you exactly. She is my hero. I found her books as a new knitter, and wanted to weep with joy, because she understood me, and taught me how to design my own sweaters and be the boss of my own knitting. Good luck, and may your path run smooth.

      • If it was good enough for The Gaffer, it’s good enough for anyone loving honestly brilliant knitting.

      • Flax by TinCanKnits

      • Yes! I was going to suggest this!

      • This is exactly what I was going to suggest, I love her EPS (and all her wit and wisdom)!

    • Patina Pullover by Hannah Fettig sounds like the ticket (available on Ravelry)

      • Men’s classic raglan pullover by Jane Richmond

      • Corinne Tomlinson’s Vanilla sweater fits the bill. Almost 950 projects on Ravelry….

    • Sometimes I think I should wash them but something inside me says no no not yet! (We sang that with the kids at art camp last week!

  • How about Simple Sweater by tincanknits? It’s perfectly plain and their patterns are alway approachable and user friendly?

  • How about Jane Richmond’s Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover? It’s about as plain as it gets, the fit is great, and it has been approved by my frenalia- hating husband

    • It would be easier if we knew what you were looking for – Raglan? Saddle shoulder? Collared?
      I agree with other posters about the Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover
      by Jane Richmond

    • I second the Jane Richmond sweater! Her patterns are always great.

    • Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover
      by Jane Richmond, on everlovin Ravelry! Try it DG! Plain as mayo on white bread. Or in your case, squid ink mayo on rye

  • Valley Yarns B11 Basic Men’s Pullover Found at

    • Old friend Pullover is a lovely oversized cozy sweater and I the Purl Soho The Daily Sweater is a great v-neck classic, especially in black Atlas yarn.

    • I love the Flax pullover by Tin Can Knits. You’ll have to ignore the design on the sleeve, but the sweater is an awesome basic.

      • I vote the Flax Pullover as well!

      • Madeline blouse.
        Top down, so easy to choose the length of body and sleeve.
        I made this in a gorgeous black cotton from my deepest stash and it looks great. Might not be plain enough, but finished sweater looks fab on me.
        Here is ravelry project page:

    • I have a super plain men’s sweater pattern called Horan – it’s tricky to find on Rowan, but I can hook you up if you like it.

  • Purl Soho has a plain jane crew neck pullover pattern. It does have a bit of frenalia in the cuff and bottom but you can change that to ribbing easily. It’s my favorite hang around sweater. It would be perfect in black.

    • Maxim Cyr, So Basic Sweater (fingering). Also his Single Malt (Aran). x

  • Here you go DG once you sub in atlas yarn I think this will be the perfect thing for you 🙂

  • I think this will be perfect for you DG all you need to do is sub in atlas yarn 🙂

  • Ann Budd’s The Knitter’s Book of Sweater Patterns would be a good place to look.

    • That was my thought as well.

    • My first thought

    • I heartily concur!

    • Yes!

      • Double yes!

  • Gather ye black skeins while ye may. Considering their scarcity you are practically doing us a public service, MDK. There was a guy – Bruce something or other, sorry I can’t remember – who did a whole book on men’s sweaters. Surely there must have been at least one plain, john, sweater among them? Can’t wait to see the final product. Chloe

    • Bruce Weinstein, Knits Men Want.

    • I think it’s called Knitting for Men.

    • In our family we call excess frippery “all that jazz”. Bob Fosse posing while saying it is optional.
      Good luck with your sweater. Knitting with black yarn gives me a headache!

  • Drops design 224-17 with the unlikely name “Flaming Mountain” is a very plain raglan pullover.

  • Oh, it’s Bruce Weinstein. He does have a plain sweater on Ravelry. Chloe

  • Oh, it’s Bruce Weinstein. “Knits Men Want.” Maybe it’s still available on line.

    • I have a copy of Knits Men Want – happy to donate to the cause….

  • My husband has very similar sweater requirements. First I made him a raglan sweater using the EZ Percentage system. He didn’t like it because it was too close to his neck. New search for vanilla sweater with a v-neck. I settled on Lion Brand’s Custom Classic Pullover ( I knit it out of indestructible Plymouth Encore back in 2014 (in a lovely heathered red). It looks as good as the day I finished it and he still wears it all winter. Success! (I’m grateful he didn’t ask for a black sweater, although I have about eight pounds of yarn I need to pick up from the local mill that was spun from our black sheep so sourcing yarn would not be an issue!)

  • Gotta agree with The Knitter’s Book of Sweater Patterns.

  • Flax by tincanknits? Best of luck

  • I agree with Isabel, the Simple Sweater by Tin Can Knits is an excitingly simple worsted crewneck sweater. Another choice is their Flax sweater (this one is FREE and is on their new lovely app) which is also crewneck but with garter stitching down the sleeves (this may or may not count as frenalia, you decide, lol). It has the added options of knitting it in sock weight, DK, or worsted/Aran.

  • What do you mean “Hellman’s mayonaise ruining a sandwich “?

    • Anybody’s mayo ruins a sandwich. Mustard rules!

    • , second that question

      • Third that question. What “do” you mean?

    • DUKE’S OR NOTHING. We ride at dawn.

      • Second that! Duke’s or nothing!!

      • lololol! Afraid to have anything other than Duke’s in our fridge since we moved to South Carolina!

      • I second it! Dukes and ONLY Dukes!!!

      • Gentlemen, to bed! We rise at 8:30 for 9:00, for it is a continental breakfast . . .
        (Search YouTube for “The trip with Steve Coogan We rise at daybreak,” if the link doesn’t come through!)

        • That was hilarious!!

      • Erp! My emoji did not come through. TEAM DUKE’S!

      • Where do I sign up?

      • Hear, hear!

      • Game on sir. You may choose the sandwich.

  • Quick search on Ravelry brings up the Mens Classic Raglan Pullover by Jane Richmond.

    • I also came here to recommend the tin can knits simple sweater

      • Elizabeth’s tried and true EPS.

    • This is the best-fitting men’s sweater I’ve knit, and so simple. I just finished a Tin Can Knits Simple Sweater for myself and love it, but I prefer a raglan for a man

      • So, dangerous to come here and say this as they would be a competitor, but I choose bravery for this is important! Have you checked the sweater patterns on KnitPicks website? They did a book of simple crewnecks for the whole family. Don’t give up!

  • Ann Budd has a book where you get all sizes (okay most) at many gauges. I’m sure you MDK peeps could help map it out if need be.

    And that black Atlas is dreamy.

  • The Easy One by Joji Locatelli. It’s unisex, written for fingering but you should be able to upsize to Atlas. It’s Not a Sweatshirt by Pernille Lawson. Sweatshirt Sweater by Purl Soho. The Daily Sweater from the MDK vault in book two, Mason Dixon Knitting: Knitting Outside the Lines. First Raglan Sweater by Jared Flood. Rift by Jared Flood

  • Cozy Classic Raglan by Jessie Maed – that’s what I’ll be knitting!

    • I instantly thought of Tin Can Knits Simple Sweater.

  • Simple Sweater by Tin Can Knits. We call the extras froufrou here. None of that in this pattern.

  • Use any one of the Ann Budd basic books and the formulas for sweaters. Her top down raglan is just the thing. I love a bog standard sweater, though I am a v-necker, not a crew necker.

    Alternately, the Elizabeth Percentage Sweater is also great.


  • Easy – Ann Buddy’s Handy Guide to making Sweaters. Works for your gauge. Pick you sleeve and neck style and you’ll be away laughing (as my old boss from NZ says). Happy knitting!

  • Sadly out of print but if you can get your hands on a copy, Leisure Arts #216 has all the frenalia-free men’s sweaters anyone’s heart could desire. My dad loves the cardigan I knit him.

  • Definitely check out Bruce Weinstein’s Knits Men Want. After you finish his Basic Pullover/vest, you could make the Cardigan, Henley or Baseball sweater— more details without being fussy. And of course, Ann Budd’s two sweater books give you all the numbers if you want to design something that is exactly what you want.

  • First Raglan Sweater by Jared Flood seems to meet all of your criteria and would be great in the black atlas yarn

    • Tin can Knits flax?

      I remember one of my first forays into a “real” yarn store (not a craft superstore) and they had their yarn arranged by color, including a whole wall of black/grey/charcoal yarn. Glorious!

  • Tramonte in CustomFit. Your measurements, your gauge! I’ve made several of these for both the men and women in my life who are knit worthy!

  • Expression Fiber Arts Knit your first sweater

  • Oh, DG. If the Simple Sweater pattern from Tin Can Knits doesn’t float your boat, I don’t know what will!

  • I’m sorry, but frenalia sounds too much like the plural of frenal. Frenal attachments are thin folds of mucous membrane with enclosed muscle fibers that attach the lips to the alveolar mucosa and underlying periosteum. Mother of a dentist

  • As others have said, Tincanknits’ new Simple Sweater might just be it. There’s also Knitting Pure and Simple’s Neck Down Pullover for Men, they do nice raglans.

  • In our family it’s “avecky,” from the French “avec” (with). My husband grew up in Beirut, where the fancy restaurants were French and the fanciest ones had the most dishes “avec this” and “avec that” on their menus. So he and his siblings began calling anything overly fussy “avecky.” It’s so perfect and useful a word I sometimes forget it’s not a real word for the whole world.

  • One of the crew necks from Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns?

  • Good luck with your sweater pattern search!

  • The internet ate my comment. Apologies if this appears twice!

    My husband has similar feelings about sweaters. I first tried knitting a raglan EZ percentage system sweater, but he found the neckline uncomfortable. It was back to the drawing board for a v-neck. I eventually found a Lion Brand pattern, Custom Classic Pullover. I made it in 2014 out of Plymouth Encore and it looks as good as ever. He wears it all winter long.

  • Purl soho has a plain sweatshirt pattern that’s basic

  • Look for pattern booklets from the 1950s and early (not mod or hippie) 1960s! If you can get a copy of [Bernat #530]( (that’s a Ravelry link), you’re set. Not the argyle pullover on the cover, of course, but look within: several plain stockinette styles.

  • When you said you were looking for a basic, plain, simple sweater I immediately thought of a book I have from Paton’s. I went and found it to post a link, and found it achieved for free! This book is only plain sweaters. You can choose from 3 necklines, 3 sleeves, and if you want a pullover or a cardigan.

  • I see a number of comments mention Tin Can Knits sweaters, which I highly recommend. Knitting Pure & Simple’s Neck Down Pullover for Men pattern is also a great choice.

  • Design your own using Ann Buddy’s “The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns”

  • I concur with many of the suggestions here, though the only ones I’ve made are from an elderly Paton’s ‘top down’ pattern booklet, 719/Upside Downers. The patterns in the booklet are basically variations on a theme, for size, putative gender, and degree of folderol. The lala is easily omitted, in my experience. Sadly, this booklet is out of print, and though an example is shown on Ravelry, the pattern appears to be unavailable A similar pattern, Family Raglan Sweatshirt, is currently free; the suggested needle sizes align with the “light worsted” of the MDK Atlas in BLACK.

    • That Patons booklet 719 is available as a free PDF on the Internet Archive.

    • That Patons booklet is available on the Internet Archive. Not sure whether it’s to “borrow” or to download and keep, but either would work.

  • Ann Budd’s Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns has a Basic Sweater – the pattern book has a roll-neck, a turtle neck, and cardigan instructions, but I’m guessing you could sub any neckline that you liked.

  • My 16 yr son asked if I could knit him a hooded sweatshirt (!) and I had a similar dilemma in finding something plain and straightforward. I did end up getting Knits Men Want: The 10 Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting for a Man Plus the Only 10 Patterns She’ll Ever Need (Bruce Weinstein) from the library. Other than the fact that most of the writing about gender would be more comfortable in 1952 (I kept thinking/hoping the whole thing was maybe a very dry parody?) there are several very plain patterns including a teenage boy approved hoodie and a quite straightforward crewnwck sweater.

    • Hooded Sweatshirt! Carol Anderson’s “The Wonderful Wallaby’

  • Have fun with the black yarn – I have oodles of naturally black alpaca yarn from a cutie pie named Black Ember compliments of my daughter working for an alpaca ranch last year. I’m on a search for a lacy shrug pattern (too hot for alpaca in NE Alabama most of the year).

    But for a plain crew neck sweater, I got nothing other than guessing that Tin Can Knits might have one. I looked through all my sweater patterns and it’s obvious that we’re a family that loves texture and cables!

  • The Fibre Co’s “One Sweater Pattern: designed by Becky Baker:
    For a woman or man, all sizes, child to adult. English, French, and German. Perfect!

  • I’m going to repeat the reco for Simple Sweater by Tin Can Knits.

    Two completely plain sweaters with options if you have a change of heart.

  • Southwood

  • I think DG will love, and look fabulous in, these sweaters knitted up in Atlas Black! The crowd will ooohh and aaahhh with envy your perfect black sweater!
    A basic raglan
    Bc it’s a PetiteKnit pattern & it’s lovely
    This sweater uses the Double Seed stitch for the yoke, so maybe a bit of frenalia/personality but I think you’re worth it!

  • Commented a couple of hours ago, but it hasn’t shown up . . . anyway, I suggest looking for 1950s and early ’60s (before mod and hippie eras) knitting booklets. I’ve been happy with [Bernat #530, Fashioned for Men]( (Ravelry link) – not the argyle on the cover, of course, but with the several plain stockinette sweaters included in the booklet. Pullovers and cardigans with V-necks or crew necks, set-in sleeves or saddle shoulders in various yarn weights. Classic!

  • How about the So Basic sweater by Maxim Cyr? It has a slight ribbing detail on the sleeves you could omit.

  • How about Knitatude’s Stockinette Beginner Raglan Lite?

  • Um, just wondering–since true black is a truly basic neutral, why in the world is Atlas Black a limited edition?

    • Black is traditionally a pretty slow seller regardless of the kind of yarn – it can sit on the shelf a long long time, so it doesn’t make sense to have it in large quantities.

  • I think Hannah Fettig’s Lesley sweater would be so chic in black!

  • Does Jared Flood’s pattern, Cobblestone, qualify as frenalia-free?

  • How about the Equinox Raglan? It was designed to use Noro, but no reason it couldn’t be done in witchy black as well! I made it (in Noro) and it was a quick and easy knit.

  • I suggest the Puntal sweater by Belén Fernández. It comes in a male and female version. It calls for 3 colors and I used it as a stash buster, but it’s a perfect simple sweater for knitting in one color. Great, clear pattern, great fit.

  • Men’s Crew-Neck Pullover

  • Cobblestone by Jared Flood immediately came to my mind.

  • I see someone has already mentioned the Tin Can Knits sweater. It seems perfect for you.

  • Simple tee from Churchmouse

  • How about this one, The So Basic Sweater by Maxim Cyr?

  • I suggest Flax by Tin Can Knits, as others have suggested. You can just omit the garter panel on the sleeves.

  • The booklet Berroco Vintage Men (#266) has a sweater called North which is the plainest thing I’ve ever seen. It has a roll neck, but you could skip that if you want a plain crew. Only trouble is, it’s knit in bulky. You could double strand the Atlas or, probably better, just make a larger size to compensate for a smaller gauge. Here’s the link (it’s available for sale on Ravelry of course):

  • Here are 3 from Jen Geigley and ROwan: Bford, Horan, Cosley and Fairdale

    • Should be Bedford lol Typo

  • Try “The Sweater Workshop” by Jacqueline Fee or look at the patterns from Önling.

    • She uses EZ’s EPS (with permission) as her formula, actually. The sweater sampler is a lot of fun. I made my first one many years ago and am thinking about a remake in wool. (My first was in acrylic.)

  • If it were me, I would go with by EZ, or another of her formula sweaters. Or maybe use Ann Budd’s Knitters Handy Books of Sweater Patterns. I get that you might not want to do the math, but sometimes, if you want what you want, it’s the only way to fly.

  • How about the simple stripe pullover by Purl Soho… without the stripes?

  • You are right! It is not easy…how about #215 basic vest for men. Could be a nice and « passe-partout » garment , especially in black! Good luck!

  • The black is very nice. I loved knitting the Old Friend with it. Alas, I had planned to make one for myself in Truffle– such a sophisticated color–but see it’s not even listed now. If I were to knit a simple sweater for my beloved, I would choose Peaks by Jared Flood, in one color. It does have that shawl (?) collar but is raglan-sleeved (handsome on anyone and magic to knit) and very simple. I do love the clarity of Tin Can’s patterns, but even what they call simply has decorative stitching.

    • Truffle will be back; we’re at the mercy of the dye house schedule at present. But we are lucky and have alllllmost all of the rest of the entire Atlas color palette in stock right now.

      • DG, I’m glad to hear there will be Truffle again…
        My hubby doesn’t want a sweater, but if he did, he would want the simplest design, like you, or something with vertical stripes, maybe cables so it’s all in one color (like Truffle, or a dark blue or brown). I think the Father Son Pullover (Peace Fleece) mentioned somewhere above would be a good candidate for a simple, basic pattern (but why is a woman modeling it??). In the meantime, hubby gets all the hats he wants. The hat I made using patterns from FG Master Class with multiple colors of felted tweed is one of his favorites.

    • Oops, should have reread what I wrote. To be sure, I knit Old Friend in Teal, not black. And the penultimate line should read “simple,” not simply. I need to take my thumbs to training camp.

  • I love to knit the top down “Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover” by Jane Richmond. Brilliantly simple once you plug in all your numbers. I’ve made several sweaters for him from this pattern and, they are definitely no nonsense or rather do not have a lick of frenalia. I often knit dark colors including basic black wearing my ‘Pezel’ headlight. In fact I have four spare batteries so I’m never without illumination.

  • Back in the pre internet world, there were sweater wheels, for raglan and set in sleeves, cardigan or pullover, v-neck or crew, 6 month to adult sizes. I still have mine, and they were well used!

    While very difficult to acquire these wheels now, has replicated the basics. You choose the size and yarn, plug in your numbers, and ta-da!

    No special stitches need apply.

    • The concept of a sweater wheel was so interesting to me, I followed the link. Since I love old vintage stuff, and past wisdom, I searched for such a wheel on a popular online artist/vintage/small business site (should I name it? I am a keen user.) and there is one offered from someone in Nevada. Outside my price range, but such a cool idea!

  • Use Ann budd’s handy book of sweater patterns to make it your own. I’m pretty sure there are 2 books to choose from. One may be for top down?

    Or use Barbara walker’s top down book.

  • Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover by Jane Richmond.

  • Purl Soho has a great Classic Crew that would be fine for men or women.

  • My suggestion would be “Whispers” by Les Garcons. They are on Ravelry and have a website.

  • Take a look at a the Churchmouse Saddle-Shoulder Men’s Pullover pattern.

    • This is the one I’d suggest as well! Or anything by Maxim Cyr. Good luck knitting with black though! I made a black hat and had so much trouble seeing!!!!

  • Lillet by Thea Coleman

  • Take a look at Churchmouse’s Men’s Saddle-Shoulder Pullover.

    • I was also going to suggest Churchmouse’s Saddle-Shoulder Men’s Pullover. If I ever decide to try making a sweater for my husband, that’s the one he’d wear.

  • Classic men’s sweater: Saddle-Shoulder Men’s Pullover by Churchmouse Yarn and Teas.

  • I agree. Tin Can Knits. Simple Sweater. Ravelry. Their patterns are as simple as their designs and they have MANY sizes and yarn weights.

  • Take a look at Churchmouse’s Men’s Saddle Shoulder Pullover pattern.

    • Sorry, I didn’t mean to post twice.

  • I would suggest Simple Sweater by the lovely TinCanKnits ladies. It’s perfectly simple in myriad sizes and weights and can be tricked out (by those of us who prefer not-so-simple)

  • @caidree on Instagram (I’m sorry I don’t know her name) has a bunch of beautiful, plain sweater patterns in different weights – I’m sure she must have a crew neck in the bunch.

    @s.knits (Instagram again) is coming out with a pattern soon (I can’t wait!) called the Resource Raglan. It looks kind of like a choose your own adventure type of thing- you choose yarn weight, sleeves, etc. I’m guessing crew beck will be an option.

  • I have been wanting to make the Mabel by Jen Geigley and I always miss out when Truffle gets restocked. NOT THIS TIME!! I have my yarn and soon, I will have an amazing every day cardigan. *so excited*

  • i ran out of eyes and minds before i ran out of almost black yarn. i wanted all black everything, everything plain, everything loose, everything knit in round, all knit no purls no fuss no muss no froufrou frofro frafra UNISEX EVERY SIZE FFS.
    oh well. someone needs an everything plain collection of everyday every occasion every size reality wear. YOU HEAR ME MDK GET ON IT.

  • “Plain”, OK. “Crew neck, got it. And DK/light worsted weight. But you’ve left out an important detail — what shoulder construction floats your boat? Round yoke (Simple Sweater by Tin Can Knits)? Raglan (Jane Richmond’s Men’s Classic)? Seamed (Custom Fit will tailor to your measurements & your gauge). Good luck!

  • How about Tin Can Knits “Simple Sweater”.

  • Tin Can Knits “Simple Sweater” available on Ravelry. The gauge is correct for Atlas and it also is written for Worsted and Fingering so DG may discover it is his new go to for non frenalia sweaters.

  • My husband just recently said he would be interested in a sweater…after seeing some pictures, he’s leaning toward a vest! Lol. I’ll have to follow these comments, maybe the answer to his request will be in here?

  • How about the “Simple Sweater” from Tin Can Knits?

  • I knit Ann Hansen’s Wild Horses for my husband ( the pullover version). I omitted the saddle shoulder to keep it really plain. You might have to play with size because gauge isn’t that same at what is recommended for atlas. See my Ravelry notes.

  • Tin Can Knits Simple Sweater – you are giving me ideas!

  • Tin Can Knits is the way to go! They have several simple, lovely sweaters to choose from — love the black.

  • Look at the vintage knitting 1940’s patterns at the UK Albert and Victoria Museum. The practicable pullover sounds like it would be perfect….and in black!

  • My (somewhat abandoned) instagram name is blackyarns because I am long obsessed with black yarns, and am very familiar with how difficult it is to find a true black, which is one way of saying I am swoooooning at the black Atlas.

  • I’d go with Elizabeth Zimmerman. The EPS sweater is totally customizable.

  • Monsieur Plastique by Stephen West. But you’d have to omit the 2 color design and leave out the thumb holes (patttern had instructions for this) but it’s probably still too frenalia-y for you even with those modifications. But it is a great sweater pattern. Made one for my husband and he loves it.

  • Correction, the Patina pattern is not available on Ravelry. The magazine where it was published is now defunct and well outside of copyright restrictions, so if it is THE pattern, I can provide a copy without issue.

  • Simple Sweater by Tin Can Knits

  • Here y’a go!
    Basic V-neck pullover knit picks design for beginners. Free pattern

    • It’s a very very shallow V

  • The obvious choice is Flax, omitting the garter stitch detail.

  • Would you like ‘Basic Round-Yoke Unisex Pullover’
    by Hannah Fettig? It’s a simple knit and easy-to-follow pattern.

  • The Basic Men’s Pullover by Kirsten Hipsky sounds like what you are looking for.

  • It’s Not a Sweatshirt! Knitting for Olive

  • Karen Templar long ago abandoned her blog (sob) but it’s still out there. Go there and look up her improv sweater pattern – if you just follow its bare bones instructions you will have a perfect, plain sweater.

    • I worked for Karen (and Fringe) for many years. This is of course the advice she gave me the ENTIRE TIME.

  • Southwood by Galt House of Yarn. No frenalia. And it’s written for worsted!

    • Hurrah, local Ontario reference!

  • Saddle-Shoulder Men’s Pullover from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas:

    Pony, by Lisa Richardson (ignore the contrast color suggested for the bands)

    #247 V-Neck Down Pullover for Men from Knitting Pure and Simple

    Durak, by Mel Kenelly (ignore those three narrow contrast-color stripes across the chest)

    Take a clue from Tim O’Brien, and “small up and simple down” — go find a “learn to knit” book. Or a “recipe” patttern generator where you plug in your measurments and gauge, like the Ann Budd books. You’re overthinking this.

    And good luck!

  • Forgot to add the link

  • Back in the pre-internet days where you would search garage and library sales for patterns I picked up some small books by Paton and Leisure Art that would give patterns for extremely basic sweaters in every conceivable size. For the small encouragement of three Field Guides I would happily search the house and find what I have!

  • The book: Knitting it Old School. The Sweater: Rude Boy. I made Rude Girl for me, and my boyfriend is getting his, minus the wee bit of checkered fair isle. DG! These are incredible designs!!!

  • My First Seamless Sweater by Wendy Bernard!
    You could modify the cuffs and waist to be ribbing if you think that garter is too girlish looking!
    It would look gorgeous in black!
    It is offered as a Craftsy class but you might be able to find the pattern somewhere else; often Craftsy has very special promos for joining and also for the cost of the classes.

  • Simple Sweater by Tin Can knits.

    A free, seamless, saddle shoulder sweater, Erik, from filcolana.

  • The Drake Pullover by Todd Glocken on Ravelry, perfect for you DG

  • Men’s classic raglan sweater by Jane Richmond on ravelry

  • Jared Flood’s Rift is pretty plain and a nifty pattern to knit — I made one for my son.
    The neckline might not be as crewneck snug/plain as you are seeking tho.
    And geez it really is hard to find plain sweaters that guys like

  • Oh please pick me for the giveaway with Atlas

  • How about Basic Pullover and Vest, by Bruce Weinstein?

  • I love the perfect black! It’s a good thing I have a black cat.

  • Fibre Company’s One Sweater – a good go-to plain sweater or Melissa Leapman’s 6,000+ Pullover Possibilities – knit a swatch that gives you a fabric you like then customize what you want from there, round or v-neck, different sleeve types and lengths, etc.

    • I kept scrolling through the comments and couldn’t believe how far I got before coming to this suggestion. You can make it a crew neck or vee neck. It gets my vote and I hope yours too. But I’m sure going to check out the other great suggestions too.

  • simple sweater – tin can knits

  • Easy! Just get yourself a copy of Knitting from the Top by Barbara G. Walker. Then you can easily knit any sweater you want.

  • You do realize you may need to model for us???
    Perhaps a new design can be called “The Prince and the Pea…”

    • and I hear you ….
      though for years everything in my ‘go to’ wardrobe was black: skirt, jacket, dress …. now I crave color.

      My (late) Aunt (who worked in a very fancy dress shop) – used to say that there were two colors you could never match … and black was one of them.

  • I am hoping it occurred to you, after finding the perfect yarn at your place of work, your co-workers might know of a pattern, or be willing to write one up for you. Maybe you already asked, but it wouldn’t make for nearly the zippy post. And, your posts are the best.

  • Bibliophile 3 by Alicia Plummer is a classic unisex raglan pullover with a crew neck. It calls for DK weight but I’m sure you’d be able to adapt

  • Your dilemma sent me down the Ravelry rabbit hole and there were a few more than I expected that met your criteria so I created a bundle just for you.|803926|692791|629241|22837|688470|458066|25233|184946|326388|345064|862617|973451.

    The Patons 501001, Canadiana Back to Basics is out of print but I found a few copies online. (Much as I enjoy your writing, I’m not willing to give up my tattered old copy.)


    Tin Can Knits Simple Sweater!!!

  • Tin Can Knits

  • A few suggestions might be ‘Glasgow Top-Down Pullover’ by Sue McCain, ‘Drake’ by Todd Gocken (bottom up), or ‘Him’ by This.Bird.Knits (raglan bottom up). Good luck on your search for the perfect pattern.

  • Bruce Weinstein Boyfriend sweaters

  • May I suggest The Step by Step Sweater by Florence Miller? It’s quite plain. And I enjoy the video assistance. Good luck!

  • Nothing new to add to the list of suggestions…

  • My First Raglan Sweater by Brooklyn Tweed’s Jared Flood

  • LOVE DG!!!

  • Tin Can Knits Simple Sweater was the first pattern that came to my mind. Looks like a lot of knitters had the same idea!

  • Tin Can Knits Simple Sweater, maybe?

  • Barbara G. Walker’s “Knitting from the Top” teaches you how to make an absolutely plain crew neck sweater.

  • Have you looked at MDK’s Perfect Sweater? Even though it’s been knit mostly for women, it is frenalia-free and size inclusive. It’s the first thing that popped into my mind.

  • Good luck with your search. I hope you fine “it”!
    How about:
    Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover
    by Jane Richmond

  • Tin Can Knits Flax is a great plain sweater pattern especially if you don’t do the pearl stitches on the sleeves. I’m doing on right now for my first grandchild. Plain and simple!!

  • A perfectly plain sweater – the Vanilla sweater.

  • Do you suppose “phrenalia” is a sort of back formation of “paraphernalia”?

  • Try the “So Basic Sweater” by Maxim Cyr. Forget the pocket and knit the sleeves in stockinette to match the body of the sweater.

  • I vote for the Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover by Jane Richmond.

  • I checked Ravelry and found} Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover
    by Jane Richmond; Single Malt
    by Maxim Cyr; and 10584 Classic Crew Neck
    by Sirdar. I hope one works for you!

  • Rowan Gansey by Sarah Hatton. You aren’t required to do the cabling.

  • Vanilla Sweater by Corinne Tomlinson. In Ravelry.

  • There is an old Leisure Arts Leaflet 159 (January 1, 1979) that I use for seamless raglan sweaters for all ages, crew neck and v-neck, pullover and cardigan.

  • I love the Drake pattern by Todd Gocken. Nothing frippery about it. Best thing about it is it’s totally seamless but still has set in sleeves.

  • Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover.

  • Another vote for the Flax by Tin Can Knits…a pleasure to knit!

  • Try Tin Can Knits basic collection.

  • Tramontane by Amy Herzog. It’s a worsted weight, suitable for Atlas, with a set-in sleeve. It’s perfectly plain and can be customized in many ways.

    You are so right: I sometimes knit for my partner, and there is far less choice for men.

    Good luck with the black!

  • In Ann Budd’s Book of Sweater Patterns, you can build a simple sweater pattern based on your choice of cardigan vs. pullover, neckline and shoulder styles, size and yarn weight, and any stitches that you want. It’s all up to you.

  • Madeline blouse.
    Looks amazing in black; made it in black cotton from deepest stash. Top down design allows for personalized body and sleeve length.
    Ravelry project page with links n notes:

  • What could be simpler than the Simple sweater from the Basics collection of four patterns by Tin Can Knits?

  • Don’t Ask by Isabel Kraemer

  • I haven’t read through all the comments so no idea if this one has been mentioned…
    The Everyday Raglan by Renate Dziedataja on Ravelry

  • I would recommend Jaiden by Isabell Kraemer. I made a Plain Jaiden (read no frenalia) for my son who just wanted a plain white sweater. Pattern is very well written and finished sweater is just what he wanted. I hope this helps!

    Did you see this one?

  • One Sweater by Becky Baker / The Fibre Co.

  • It looks like Knits Men Want is the ticket?

    Written for multiple gauges, crew neck and V-neck. Updated in 2010 so should be reasonably au courant?

  • Autumn League Pullover from 2 of Wands might work also?

  • Stephen West’s Garter Marler is actually a very simple sweater if you just skip the whole yarn marling bit and do it in that beautful Atlas black. Personally, I prefer his Briogarter Sweater. The sleeves and sides on that one definitely count as frenalia but also looks to me like it would make the sweater incredibly comfortable since brioche stretches when you do. I don’t like super baggy sweaters since they make me look a bit like a potato famine victim but also dislike feeling constricted by knitwear…

  • Melange Sweater Man. Skip the melange-ing and just use your lovely black!

  • Ann Buddy book of patterns lets you design and fit your own. Try it, you’ll like it!

  • I don’t have a sweater recommendation, but that black is gorgeous! But really, what’s your beef with Hellman’s? Is it that you are from the south and prefer Duke’s? Please don’t say it’s because Miracle Whip is your choice.

    • Bring out the Hellman’s and bring out the best… I’ve lived in NC for over 25 years and still prefer that mayo. Miracle Whip is too sweet but I have learned to love Duke’s.

  • Let me send you my husband’s number. You can commiserate together. I have knit him exactly 2 sweaters in our 40 years of marriage. No cables, no stitches other than stockinette, no shawl collars (he likes cardigans), no pockets. Not too chunky. No that DK is still too heavy. Don’t they make anything skinnier for sweaters like they do socks? And can it be in grey, medium grey or charcoal?

  • Simple Sweater by Tincan Knits should fill the bill!

  • Knitting Workshop (I think), Elizabeth Zimmerman, has choices for necklines and shoulders, including a saddle shoulder which looks quite handsome on men’s shoulders. One of the best reasons to knit it to make yourself exactly what you want! Play some AC/DC while you work on it.

  • How about
    Simple Something @ankestrick

  • The No Frills Sweater by Petiteknits can be knit for men as well as women. I know someone who made it for her husband and it was just what he wanted…a plain simple sweater. Good luck with your quest to find the perfect sweater!

  • Knit Picks has an ebook on their website entitled “Knit For Everybody Sweaters”, which contains the exact pattern you’re seeking.

  • Great read for a Monday morning. Thanks!

  • FINALLY got my Safari to allow me to leave a comment! DG: Please define what would be a perfect crew-neck men’s sweater… boxy? Fitted? Type of sleeve: raglan, drop-shoulder, standard, set-in sleeve, yoke…….then we can help hunt even better. For example, I love the look of raglans, but despite having broad shoulders they fall off me when cardigans. I second the idea of Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweaters. Literally you pick your yarn gauge, size, neck, sleeve style, fitting (or lack thereof) and go….. the only drawback to it is that gauge is for 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 stitches to the inch. Not 5 1/4. etc.

    If you want a comfy slouchy Andrea Mowry has a new sweatshirt-ish one called The Traveler that comes with instructions for with or without hood. You could make it totally plain but just knitting solid stockinette (not 4 rows regular, 4 rows reverse, as she does…that would be the only modification). I found one pattern on Ravelry, the Stavanger, but the maker must be new to designing as it is only in 2 sizes. Luckily it fit my son’s size. Crew neck, set in sleeves, I added the striping (his favorite sweater died), plain.

  • I’d say see Ann Budd’s Top Down Sweater design book.

  • Good luck in your search. I looked at the comments and there so many good suggestions. I think it is time that my husband receives a new sweater for Christmas. I would love to knit for him if he would wear it.

  • Ann Budd’s book of patterns. Pick any version. Good for any gauge.

  • Simple sweater by tincanknits

  • Simple sweater by Tincan Knits, possibly their Flax pullover or Rowan’ Horan.

  • LOVE a good black!

  • doesn’t MDK have the something called the perfect sweater? a crew neck from ages ago??

  • I cannot fathom that this pattern has not crossed your path, but… Cocoknits Antonio/Antonia pattern is immediately what I thought of. If you haven’t tried the Cocknits worksheet system, it is amazing and SO friggin’ easy to follow. Now, caveat here, as I search for that pattern, all I find is the cardi. But… BUT!!! I made this the 2nd time as a pullover and it was not at all difficult. However, if that is more modifuing that you want to do (basically knitting the 2 front panels as one continuously in the round for the whole sweater once you’re past the armholes) then I do also have another suggestion: Hannah Fettig’s Basic Unisex Round Neck Pullover is as basic as can be! <3

  • Basic Pullover and Vest by Bruce Weinstein. Published in ‘Knits Men Want’ with a smug subtitle “The Ten Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting For A Man”. This one has a set-in sleeve.

  • How about The Aran Sweater by Ethan Barclay-Ennew. Plain crew neck sweater, set in sleeves knit in pieces from the bottom up.

  • If you can pardon the feminine names, Julie Weisenberger has a bunch of pleasantly plain sweater patterns – Emma & Molly in her book – and her newer pattern Mabel (think Only Murders In The Building) –
    Good luck on the hunt!

  • I too love a great basic (classic) sweater. Bradbury by Julie Hoover is a classic raglan sweater. I knit it for my son and he loves it.

  • Found another, The Wanderer by Jie. A crew neck set in sleeves, bottom up but in the round.

  • Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover by Jane Richmond

  • Lily Kate France movement sweater. That’s what I’m going to knit in black atlas when it arrives. Maybe not quite totally plain, but I can’t stop knitting this pattern!

  • Ann Budd’s book should be just what you need. Most people make the mistake of not measuring a sweater they love the fit of and then adjusting their pattern to those measurements.

  • I made Puntal for my husband and he loves it (make it extra plain by not doing the colors):

  • Look no further than Tin Can Knits designs. ‘Simple’ should fill the criteria and their designs are impeccable, much like your own. 😉

  • I have knit Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan by Pamela Costello, and it was exactly what I wanted. No frenalia at all unless you decide to add some. It will require some gauge swatching and some math, but it is guaranteed to fit. The pattern is free on Ravelry.

  • I look for plain sweaters also. (can I knit a colorwork pattern and leave out the colorwork part?) I think I will try Tin Can Knits Simple Sweater next.

  • Simple Sweater by tincanknits – you didn’t say set-in sleeves, raglan, etc.

  • —Carly pull over (Drpos Design).
    — Wallace sweater.
    —Fitzgerald Cardigan by Amy
    Christoffers (nothing like you
    want, but you could knit it to
    console yourself that you can’t
    find the perfect crew neck
    —Basic Men’s Sweater by Bernat.
    —Mens Mans 90s simple and easy to knit crew neck raglan aran sweater jumper pullover pdf knitting pattern 36″ to 44″ PDF download 3907 (Etsy).

    The question is, DG, if you finally find your perfect pattern, what will you then have to look forward to? 😉

  • —Carly pull over (Drpos Design).
    — Wallace sweater.
    —Fitzgerald Cardigan by Amy
    Christoffers (nothing like you
    want, but you could knit it to
    console yourself that you can’t
    find the perfect crew neck
    —Basic Men’s Sweater by Bernat.
    —Mens Mans 90s simple and easy to knit crew neck raglan aran sweater jumper pullover pdf knitting pattern 36″ to 44″ PDF download 3907 (Etsy)

    The question is, DG, if you find your perfect crewneck plain sweater what will you then have to look forward to? 😉

  • Ash and Fire Pullover

  • 3 come to mind – Ann Budd’s sweater books – regular or top down; EZ’s no nonsense sweater system; Tin Can Knits simple sweater. Oh, and MDK had a better than a sweatshirt sweater in one of their books );

  • I have made the So Basic by Maxim Cyr. Easy to eliminate the frenalia !

  • Check patterns on Etsy. Here is one you might like: KNITTING PATTERN ⨯ Raglan Sweater Knitting Pattern, Basic Sweater Knit Pattern ⨯ Easy Pullover Knitting Pattern, Jumper Knitting Pattern at DarlingJadore

  • One sweater. By fibre arts…any neck you want – v? crew? personally I think that a turtle neck would be perfect…all you’d need!

  • Drk everyday sweater!

  • Blank Canvas by Ysolda Teague!

  • Vanilla Sweater by Corinne Tomlinson

  • PetiteKnit’s patterns are always good, so their plain, top-down Northland is good, as well as the “Melange Sweater Man”

  • Tin Can Knits Simple Sweater

  • Sorry, I have no sweater pattern name. I have to admit, I never thought it would be that hard to find a plain sweater pattern. Are you sure, it’s not just you! You may be too picky! Ha Ha But I have to say, one picky person to another, it does seem hard to find that perfect sweater pattern. Guess we will both have to learn to design our own.

  • Basic Round-Yoke Unisex Pullover by Hannah Fettig

  • Not plain, I know, but practically perfect in many ways is the Anker Sweater (My Size) by Petite Knit. If the Black Atlas is still in stock by this weekend, I am going for it.

  • DG, For the height of recent male frenalia, please see Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs in “The Match” 6/29/23 in Nike knitted golf sweater and UGLY knitted shorts. Worn in Las Vegas.

  • Paton’s Easy Knit Sweater, though I know they have several others.

  • The Magic, custom fit raglan patteen.

  • I’m entering before I search for the perfect pattern because I will get lost in the rabbit hole and forget to come back and post. I hope someone can find one for you!

  • The comma sweater – it is a lovely fluffy cardigan!

  • I don’t mean to demand customization, but seriously, couldn’t you use the near-perfect pattern with “side panels are reverse stockinette” and not reverse? Just plain stockinette? That’s not remotely hard. I have used patterns and simply left out cables, garter or seed stitch when what I want was the basic shape without the gewgaws.

  • Old Friend Pullover by Peg Richard

  • Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover by Jane Richmond

  • Simple crew neck sweater? Two really basic options:
    The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Budd
    The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters by Ann Budd

    The first has a bottom up set in sleeve, the second has several different top-down sweaters. I’ve made plain stockinette sweaters from both books. They may be out of print but are available used or possibly from a nearby library.

  • How sad that there’s not enough black Atlas and it’s not coming back!!!

  • I love the Felix raglan by Amy Christoffers.

  • DG, You don’t need a pattern. You’re surrounded by great yarns. Find a copy of Knitting Without Tears, by Elizabeth Zimmerman. She gives you clear instructions on how to knit this crew-necked sweater-of-your-heart’s-desire.

    • Gib by Andrea Mowry for the shape. You don’t have to do the stitch pattern.

      Agree with all the comments about atlas black… seems there’s interest…

  • Flax by Tin Can Knits. You could skip the garter stitch detail on the sleeves (if you must) but it looks great on men and women.

  • Monday Sweater by Petite Knit would fit the bill!

  • Hanstholm Sweater by PetiteKnit. Looks easy!

  • Oh wow, definitely took more than a cup of coffee to read through the comments today. And what a treasure box of suggestions! I can’t add anything new, but sure did find some great suggestions that I’m going to follow up on.

  • Super Simple Sweater by Debbie Bliss!

    • DG, bless your heart! After all these lovely suggestions maybe you can convince two lovely ladies to include the Winner in a Field Guide….just sayin’

  • Get Ann Budd’s handy books of sweater patterns. Your choice: top-down or bottom-up. Pick the construction you like, in the gauge you get. Make your size. Bingo!

  • Favorite Flannel Cozy by Alicia Plummer. I made this for my husband this last year and he loves it.

  • Tin Can Knits “Flax”

  • What about Flax without reverse stockinette sleeves? It’s a simple raglan.

  • use Ann Budd’s Handy Little Book of Sweater Patterns. Any size, any gauge, any collar, frufru is optional.

  • May I suggest getting a book on basic sweater patterns and designing your own? There are many available to suit every shoulder style, by Ann Budd, Barbara Walker, and other knitting luminaries. If every basic pattern is slightly wrong, just make your own – guaranteed to be free of any frippery!

    If you absolutely MUST have a pattern, check out Jared Flood’s menswear on Brooklyn Tweed.

  • No idea

  • The Vogue knitting book has a whole section in the back with plain vanilla sweater patterns in all sizes.

  • oh gosh, might not have the perfect one, but I love the Wonderful Wallaby, without the hood w/ a placket neck.

  • Caramel Vanilla by Suvi Knits, you can skip the fancy lower half. I’ve made, I don’t know, maybe ten of these. Great pattern.

  • Fisherlad Guernsey, just knit knit knit without the pattern parts. I just finished my husband’s and it came out perfect!

  • Northland Sweather by PetiteKnit

  • Main Squeeze Pullover. Yes, it has a simple pattern, but it would look elegant in black!

  • Basic sweater or easy raglan from Green Mountain Spinnery.

  • The Copley by Purl Soho. It’s my go to!

  • Vanilla sweater

  • Check Etsy. I saw several plain patterns for sale there.

  • TinCan Knits Flax pattern

  • I suggest Imagine by Emile Luis. A very straight forward crew neck, raglan pullover.

  • I also want a plain sweater (but not black!) and I picked the Felix Pullover.

  • Vanilla Sweater at the Woolly Thistle

  • How about the Tin Can Knits “Flax” sweater? Seems like it might be the right fit! 🙂

  • I have the perfect black yarn, looking for the correct pattern.

  • The single malt sweater by @maxtheknitter (Maxim Cyr). You’re welcome.

  • One Sweater by Becky Baker may fit the bill. I cannot believe how difficult it is to find such a pattern. I appreciate the desire for a plain sweater—they are my go to in when designing and knitting for myself.

  • I don’t have a recommendation. I just want to say thanks for the word “frenalia.”

  • I wish I had the answer but I am also in search of the right pattern. I want a neck that is not too clingy but also not too fussy.

  • Flax by tin can knits

  • maybe albrecht’s sweater from morehouse farm?

  • First raglan sweater, Jared Flood

  • Look at James Cox Knits – the Jamie sweatshirt and the Jean pullover are both plain. Maybe plain enough for you?

  • Tin Can Knits Flax – but without the garter stitch detail.

  • My favorite is Men’s Classic Raglan Pullover by Jane Richmond. I made one like it in high school. That makes it a timeless pattern.

  • The seamless sweaters in Knitting without Tears are decidedly frenalia-free (and I feel your pain WRT the search for black yarn- I’m trying to find dark brown!)

  • Resource Raglan. New pattern that you can totally customize.

  • The Weekender Andrea Mowry at dreareneeknits

  • The ‘One sweater’ pattern by The Fibre Company might be what you’re looking for

  • Try Valley Yarns B11 Basic Men’s Pullover on Webs ( It’s a good looking basic sweater.

  • I think DG is looking for Lento by Jonna Hietala. (But also second using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s “EPS” recipe for making a sweater.)

  • Newbridge Pullover by Rosemary Drysdale is frenalia-free (unless, of course, you count the 4 or 5 stitch raglan as frenalia).

  • TinCanKnits has so many simple sweaters, but the aptly named Simple Sweater comes to mind.

  • Melange sweater by PetiteKnit

  • Weekender sweater

  • DG, I made a solid color (red) cabled hat for a fisherman friend a while back, and after telling me it was the warmest hat he ever had, perfect for shoveling snow in the PNW, he complained it was too fancy… so now I’ve been looking for a plain hat pattern and have had similar challenges to your quest for the perfect sweater. I’m going to use a tweedy blue-gray yarn from my stash and will make a wide ribbed brim and plain top. I’m melding two different patterns to come up with (I hope) the perfect result. Good luck with your sweater – I love the black Atlas, but I think I will choose truffle for another perfectly plain hat.

  • Saddle-Shoulder Men’s Pullover by Churchmouse or Drake by Todd Gocken

  • Patterns on Ravelry or Knitty or in most magazines and books are all about “frenalia” (love that word). Go to Ann Budd or EZ’s books for their basic sweater recipes.

  • I’ve made plain sweaters by just using Elizabeth Zimmermans percentage system. I agree, sometimes you just need a plain, well fitting sweater.

  • Gib II by Andrea Mowry

  • Tramontane by Amy Herzog

  • I would get Elizabeth Zimmerman’s book Knitting Without Tears and use her methods to design exactly how you want your sweater.

  • Man’s Sweater by Shirley Bradford.

  • The “Old Friend Pullover” is what I would choose. I love big, loose sweaters and they are hard to find when you’re a bit taller . The perfect sweater to hibernate in.

  • Easel Sweater for me! Love the fun sleeve finish.❤️

  • How about Bibliophile 3 by Alicia Plummer? That looks classic in all the best ways.

  • Vanilla Sweater by Corinne Tomlinson of the Woolly Thistle – as it’s designed to be boxy it is also gender neutral. Good luck!

  • Design it yourself, oh picky one!

  • In “Knitting without Tears,” Elizabeth has a few basic sweater designs, such as the saddle shoulder cardigan or pull-over.

  • I find Tin can knits Flax where you just knit the sleeves in garter to be a great plain sweater. Yes technically you have to customize, but it’s the world easiest customization.

  • I have no suggestions except for store bought (GASP!).

  • Knitting Pure and Simple
    #991 Neck Down Pullover For Men

  • Jane Richmond’s Men’s classic raglan pullover might fit the bill

  • If I may make a suggestion? Find a sweater pattern you like (even if it has a design of some sort) and simply leave out the design. Knit it up in plain stockinette. You would do the shoulder shaping, sizing, etc that the pattern calls for, you simply wouldn’t be knitting the stripes or doing the color work.

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