A Christmas sweater in April?! I know, it’s weird, but I finished this sweater a few months ago and since I already had taken pictures of it and I finally had some time on my hands waiting at the airport, I really wanted to post about it instead of having to wait until next Winter 🙂
I had been wanting a red and white knitted sweater for a while, thanks mostly to all the wonderful Christmas projects I’d seen on blogs such as Untangling Knots, By Gum By Golly or Rue des Renards (who made me chuckle with her post title “At least it’s not Easter yet”, ahem!). The Perfect Christmas Jumper (made par Andi and also Tasia here) is pretty, but I’m getting tired of cropped sweaters and cardigans and I wanted something with more ease and less busy looking. Enter the Bubbly sweater by Isabell Kraemer.
I’ve already mentioned my newly-found passion for Isabell Kraemer’s designs, after knitting the Il Grande Favorito and the On the Beach sweaters. Bubbly is THE pattern that made me fall for her designs, with its minimalist and timeless colorwork detail. It’s the perfect pattern to get started with stranded colorwork, since there isn’t a lot of it and the pattern couldn’t be easier to memorize. I hadn’t knitted stranded colorwork in a long time; I made a snood a long time ago but never a sweater, and I was a bit afraid of having issues with my gauge. To deal with the tension changes I went up a needle size for the colorwork part and it worked perfectly.
This was also the first time in a looong time that I was making a sweater in fingering weight! I think the last one was back in college, way before I signed up on Ravelry. The endless stockinette stitch in the round required some patience, but I’m in love with the thin and drapey result. Now I want to knit a bunch of other sweaters in this weight, and to do so I’m planning to learn to knit holding the yarn with my left hand so I can knit faster. I started knitting the Boxy sweater so I can get used to it: 390 stitches in the round for 40 cm, this should do the trick!
Going back to this Bubbly sweater: the yarn is Drops Alpaca. The yarn was gifted to me by my parents last Christmas, and they actually sent it to me a few weeks in advance with the condition that I finish the sweater in time to wear it over Christmas (my mom likes to set the bar pretty high just for funsies). Of course I didn’t manage to finish it early enough, but I made a lot of progress, and after some relaxing winter holidays knitting by the snowy beach, the sweater was done and it only took me two months. Not too bad for a fingering-weight sweater!
Drops Alpaca is really nice to knit and super soft. I wear a lot of wool and in general I react to it well, but I know many people find that alpaca is very itchy. I’ve worn this sweater almost every day at the end of winter, and I only thought that it was slightly itchy around the neck on one occasion – even though my skin is kind of sensitive and I often have red patches on the upper chest area. The only issue with this yarn is that it piles a lot, but that’s expected for alpaca, and I just bought a life-changing defuzzer so that’s not a problem for me anymore.
I knitted this sweater in size M2, which is 103 cm at the bust. To be honest I’m not sure how I ended up choosing this size: I remember I wanted an oversized sweater, and I was afraid that the bust would be too tight if I messed up the gauge of my colorwork, but size M1 would have been just fine with 7 cm of positive ease instead of 15 cm for size M2. I also thought my swatch was right but now I’m wondering if maybe I had a few rows less than I should have in length, because my sleeves ended up super long after the planned decreases and I had to skip some of the ribbing. With all this I ended up with pretty low armholes, like it was the case on my On the Beach sweater already. This and the long sleeves were a little annoying at first but I got over it and in the end it is super comfortable to wear.
The one problem that remains with this pattern are the very visible increases at the yoke, even though after blocking the sweater the yarn bloomed beautifully and now they are less visible. I also wasn’t a big fan of the mismatched ribbing (1×1 at the neckline and brioche at the sleeves and hem) so I did 1×1 ribbing everywhere.
I love this sweater so much, I’ve been wearing it non stop, only switching back sometimes to my Il Grande Favorito that is my winter staple. The big question is now: until which month is it okay to wear Christmas sweaters..? I’m thinking since it’s abstract, all year long is fine!
I can’t get enough of Isabell Kraemer’s patterns which are such a joy to knit. I think my next one will be Daelyn. I’m thinking about unraveling a project I’ve finished to reuse the yarn for it. It’s been months now since I’ve finished my Myrna cardigan and I still haven’t blocked it, and I guess I have to take my lack of enthusiasm into consideration. I strongly dislike the sleeves that look dumb on me, but even if I changed the sleeves I don’t think I’d wear it much. It fits great and everything, I had even bought an additional skein to finish it (sunk cost fallacy anyone?) but if I don’t wear it there’s no point in keeping it as is. So I might reuse the yarn for Daelyn… Have you ever frogged a project that was just finished just because you were underwhelmed with the result?
Minimalist Christmas Sweater
Bubbly – Isabell Kraemer
Size M2 (41.5”)
DROPS Alpaca – 6 skeins Red + 1 skein Off White
Ha! To answer your last question first, definitely! I made a Kim Hargreaves jacket in big wool when I was living in Madrid. It was long, very fitted, with a collar….. Sewed the buttons on, put it on, took it off, and started unpicking it immediately:). And right now I am going through a major reorganisation thing which includes looking at WIPs and mostly unpicking them – plus looking with a very objective eye at handknits and sewn stuff and giving a bunch of stuff away:). I too am mostly over the cropped sweater/cardi thing, I’m sick of my low back feeling cold in winter. Also, I’m more into boxy and drapey things even if some of them are semi cropped to wear with wide legged pants:).
I love this sweater, I wouldn’t even call it a Christmas jumper, it’s totally wearable all winter long..practically a classic except sometimes classic can be a little boring and this isn’t. And that gorgeous colour! Suits you so much! And like I told you on instagram, as a lipstick it’s amazing on you. You should always have something in this colour in your clothes and lipstick wardrobe. Beret? little neckscarf?
Don’t let those increases bother you. They’re part of the style. I still remember big (rich) sis showing me her latest maxmara or whoever cashmere sweater which had the same circular yoke increases – she pointed them out to me like they were a real big deal lol…. I have it no cos the idiot machine washed it on hot and it’s going to make awesome fingerless elbow length gloves and a beret:D…
Haha the fancy sweater increases thing made me chuckle! I’ll wear them proudly now 😀
Thanks a lot for the compliments on the lipstick, that made my day. I still feel a little self conscious wearing bold lip colors but I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone so this helps. And I’ll definitely go ahead with unpicking the sweater now, life’s too short for keeping around clothes I don’t like.