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?