Finished: 2015 Christmas Sweater - 1940s Reindeer Sports Jumper

20:18 Renée 10 Comments

Just before Christmas 2014 I came up with the idea to knit myself a Christmas sweater every year. It was already too late to cast on at that point, so I was finally able to start my new tradition this Christmas. At first I considered knitting The Perfect Christmas Jumper by Susan Crawford, but it seemed like too obvious a choice, since so many people have already knitted it. So I looked a bit further and was reminded of a pattern in my Ravelry favourites called the Reindeer Sports Jumper.

Since this was my very first attempt at stranded colour knitting, and because this jumper was mostly for fun, I decided to use acrylic from my stash. Quality wasn't that important for me with this project and I didn't want to waste lovely wool in case my first stranded knitting attempt turned out disastrous. I had both a red acrylic 4 ply as well as a navy blue 4 ply in my stash in a sweaters quantity so I swatched with both. After a long internal debate I decided to go with red. However, after knitting the ribbing for the waistband and starting the actual pattern, I suddenly realised something was off. I re-checked my gauge swatch and discovered I had calculated my gauge wrong. The red yarn is actually more like a sport weight and I simply could not get the gauge I needed without the fabric getting much too thick and stiff. So I ripped it all out and switch to the navy blue instead. In the end I am glad I had to switch to the blue because I actually like the colour a lot better! Although I started well in time on October 11th, I actually finished it on Christmas morning :') When I was working on the sleeves (I knit them at the same time) I got little fed up with the triangles and wasn't very motivated to work on it for a while. I also had to re-knit the sleeve heads because they where way too big (in the end they still where, but I managed to ease them in).

My first attempt at stranded colour knitting turned out better than I expected, but I definitely need to improve my skills a lot more. At first, I caught some floats at the same stitch in a few rows because I figured it would give a neat result, but I soon learned that this is something you should not do. You need to stagger them as much as possible instead. This is why a lot of the white is peeking trough between the reindeer. I also made my floats too tight at the reindeer, not taking into account that the blue yarn has a lot less 'bounce' than the white yarn, and thus had to be looser on the back. It is causing some puckering at the reindeer which you can kind of see in the first picture. I also made my longest floats too long (only 6 sts.), evident by the major snag you see in the innards picture below, where I caught my nail on it. One thing I also learned from this project: I am definitely knitting colour work in the round from now on! Purling was incredibly tedious.

I'm guessing that this design was very popular in the 1940's. The picture that the original pattern uses is a photo of actress Joan Lorring from Warner Bros. They seemed to have reproduced the pattern from the picture but slightly inaccurately. The pattern's snouts of the reindeer are not as pointy as in the picture and the ground that the reindeer are standing on is quite different. The same jumper also appeared in the Sears and Roebuck catalogue of 1946 (which pre-dates the pattern from 1949), but here the pattern on the sleeves mimics that of the body in stead of having the triangles all over. (I would LOVE to knit that jumper in the middle for next year, by the way!)

Reindeer Sports Jumper
Reindeer Sports Jumper, Australian Home Journal, 1949

Sears and Roebuck, 1946, via Tuppence Ha'penny


  1. That jumper turned out lovely! Well done for a first stranded knit.

  2. wow, this is so neat for your first colour work, it's lovely. I'm am currently knitting a Christmas jumper and my first colour work too but i'm a bit late finishing! It'll have to do for next year.

    1. You're not late, you just had a very early start! ;)

  3. Absolutely lovely! The navy was a good choice, and the pattern is very nice. Happy New Year to you!

  4. It turned out AMAZING!! It's beautiful inside and out, great job on it!

    Carla, Tiny Angry Crafts

  5. Wow! You've done such a good job for your first stranded knit! I think it's amazing work ~ the sweater turned out so beautifully inside and out. Well done!! ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  6. This turned out lovely Renee! I love the colors that you chose. You have encouraged me to try out that pattern once again. :)

    the Middle Sister and Singer


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