Vintage Holiday Sweater
I really do enjoy holiday sweaters. Not the Kmart variety with tinsel and applique candy canes, but the handknit styles with reindeer and pine trees.
Many years ago, as twenty-something knitter, I received my copy of the Winter Vogue Knitting c. 1985 in the mail and lightning struck! This sweater HAD to be mine:
As a starving newlywed, I could afford only acrylic yarn but didn’t let that stop me. I promptly made it up in red and cream working the intarsia as it should be done, and going the extra mile by decorating the trees with red sequins. Alas, upon wearing that beauty the next holiday season, it fell apart beyond any repair after washing (intarsia ends cut way too short and woven in badly; what can I say-lesson learned).
Ten years passed by with me no longer a newlywed (but still starving) and wishing every holiday season that I had that sweater to wear. One day in 1995, I came upon some beautiful black Ballybrae wool yarn, nine skeins worth at a thrift shop for $.50 each, which was plenty for one of the colors needed for that coveted sweater. What a find and what an omen! At that price I could afford to pay full boat for the other color needed, and did at my LYS with some Patons Classic Wool. Even though it was the middle of summer, I was completely inspired to have that coveted sweater finished by the following holiday season.
This time I decided not to take any chances and did the larger blocks of color first, only then duplicate stitching the details. A tiny skein of real angora that had been marinating in my stash became the perfect snowy accents. With my much-improved knitting skills and the better quality yarn, that beauty was once again mine.
This is still my standard holiday sweater. I know, I know; the shape is a bit dated 12 years later (22 years from the original publication) and that red is awfully bright. If I were to see it hanging on the rack in a store now, I’d wonder what the heck they were thinking. Even so, I reach for this when we are heading to Tahoe to play in the snow or just for a windy, cold evening walk in the neighborhood.
But still…I am considering knitting it yet again in colors that are slightly less contrasting (Charcoal and Cranberry?), maybe leaving off the angora and possibly racheting the shoulders down a few notches. Or not.