Ugly Christmas Sweater

There is a new phenomenon in the last few years among hip-Christmas party goers:  the ugly Christmas sweater party.  Tevis told me about it in November last year while I was living in New Zealand.  At first I just laughed and thought, since Tevis has not encouraged me to knit for him for years (except a blanket) at least I do not have to worry about him wearing one of my sweaters and calling it ugly.

Then I started to think about what I would knit if I did knit an ugly Christmas sweater.  And I was browsing in the Maskel’s wool shop in Auckland and saw 2 skeins of bright red super chunky wool in the bargain bin.  I took it home and began imagining what I would knit for Tevis.

I went onto the Ravelry web site (a kind of facebook for knitters) and looked at various patterns.  Early on I decided that if I were going to knit an ugly Christmas sweater it was going to be a vest.  I do not enjoy knitting sleeves all that much and a vest can be even uglier.  It was clear that 2 skeins was not enough, but I already bought all of the red at Maskel’s.  What to do?  Make it with a snowman and  find white super chunky wool.  Lucky me, it was also in the bargain bin.  (It would seem like violating some ugly sweater rule if I spent a lot of money on the wool.)

I did not cast on the sweater until I was back in Sacramento and able to get Tevis’ measurements.  I had a super chunky men’s vest pattern as a guide, but I allowed myself to riff as I knit.  It turned out to be really fun.  The freedom of knitting ugly is wonderful. If you make a mistake, who cares?  I could take risks without fear of failure.  (Is it a risk if there is not possibility of failure???)  The worst thing that could happen is that someone would think the sweater is cute.  And someone might think so–for a 6 year old–not for a 25 year old.

I finished knitting the sweater the day before Easter and then I began to think about embellishing it.  Googley eyes (for the Googler) were a must.  I looked for a carrot button for the nose. When you think about it, why would button makers create carrot buttons?  For that really big bunny knitter demographic?  Felt solved my dilemmas.  I remembered Mr. Bill when I was cutting out the mouth.  All in all, the result is very silly and a little hideous.  And a lot of fun.

Strangely, Sarah and Marcos want me to knit ugly Christmas sweaters for them too.  One night I stayed up late doodling their sweater designs and caught inspiration for a trio of sweaters for next year.

So now for the big reveal:


It will look even better with a white turtleneck, don’t you think?

6 thoughts on “Ugly Christmas Sweater

  1. I’ve heard it said that only a great singer can making singing badly funny. You must be a great knitter indeed! I loved it. (Hey that trim is fabulous.)

  2. Wonderful! My favorite part of the job is how it awakened your humor.

    And, by the way, I don’t think anything is a risk without the chance of failure. But what made these risks so fun is that you were free from the FEAR of failure! That must be truly liberating!

    Big hugs ….

  3. Ha ha ha! I agree with Michelle in her comment above. My son started attending “ugly Christmas sweater” parties in about 2005. The most humiliating part was when he started pulling MY Christmas sweaters out of my closet! I had collected them over the years. I never wear the festive sweaters now. I just save them for all of the ugly Christmas sweater parties they attend. Even my daughter-in-law has borrowed one over the years. (Though she does have her own mother’s closet to pull from.) Christmas sweaters must of been a 1990’s phenomena.

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