Style Sunday: The Christmas Sweater
After proclaiming just yesterday that I shall allow myself to begin the celebrations and preparations for Christmas on the first of December, I have thrown myself into task by looking at endless Christmas Sweaters.
For so many people, the Christmas Jumper is a humorous piece of clothing. Not something that should be taken seriously. However, as a child growing up with a superbly talented knitter mum, it was not uncommon for, often in the first week of December, to head to the shops to pick out a knitting pattern and yarn for a suitably garish (c’mon I was only a Little at the time) Christmas Jumper. So, having a fancy sweater, with a festive motif is an actual reality from my childhood. Yes, they’re the butt of bad taste jokes now, but these were an actual thing when I was growing up. Give me a break, this was also the time of fluro tights, rara shirts and hair crimpers. What…is my age showing?!
At the time, I was really only interested in the fact that the sweater featured a teddy bear surrounded by wrapped gifts in front of an enormous star-topped tree decorated with strands of (hand-stitched) sequins. Now, with a couple more decade of knitting under my belt, I have a new appreciation of the sheer volume of colourwork and technique that has gone into this – and many other sweater like it – hot dang, it’s a good job I wore that thing threadbare that winter!
So, it is with great fondness, and of course a healthy portion of tongue-in-cheek, that I fully welcome this resurgence in the (ugly) Christmas Sweater trend seems to be enjoying a long lasting revival. These sweaters have been revamped, have a dinstinctly retro feel, feature a whole host of incredible colourwork and design.
High street stores are jumping on this merry bandwagon and festive patterned knitwear is jumping out at us on all sides. Some stores are taking a more refined, modern and ultimately more wearable approach, while other have gone all out – in a shower of candy cane vomit – with designs that really push the boundaries of taste and style.
1 Christmas Sweater • men’s sizes XXXS-XXL • £30 ASOS
2 Fun Rabbit Sweater • women’s sizes 6-22 • £28 Next
3 Red & White Reindeer Sweater • women’s sizes S – L • £29.95 FestiveChristmasJumpers
4 Blue Striped Reindeer Sweater • women’s sizes S – L • £16.11 PinkQueen
5 Hilba Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal • women’s sizes S/M – M/L • £15 Boohoo
Now, that’s more than got me in the mood to knit something a little festive and fancy this winter, so here is my favourite designs for a handmade Christmas Sweater.
The Perfect Christmas Jumper by Susan Crawford featured in her book Vintage Gifts to Knit £14, Arbour House Publishing, also available as an ebook. This stylish knit has all the elegant – and flattering – shaping of a true vintage knit, and is teamed with just the right amount of kitsch with the glorious reindeer motif.
Jamieson & Smith 100% Shetland wool, 2ply jumper weight, 25g £2.75, available in a wide range of shades, shown here in shade 125 & 01A.
The reindeer motif is a favourite of mine – so, about Susan’s mini design for the Littles?
This adorable Junior Christmas Sweater by Susan Crawford is so heart-achingly cute – and the smaller design is far more manageable for those a little frightened of Fair Isle!
If I had my way Christmas Sweaters would be compulsory on the big day! So, does the Christmas Sweater fill you with joy, or does it make your otherwise festive blood run cold?