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Epic Christmas Sweaters!

December 23, 2021
Seven children of various ages in white sweaters with bright colourwork yokes.

This year, I’ve been thinking a LOT about how my kiddos are growing up…maybe I’ve been thinking about it a bit too much.

I think about coming moments: when they won’t wanna go camping or hiking with me anymore…when they’ll only want to hang out with friends…when they’ll no longer want to wear my handknits. As they grow, they are developing their own lives, separate from me. And of course that’s OK. It’s good because their independence is a big part of what I’m going for as a parent.

But today? Today they are all still little. They will be little for a little while longer, and I want to soak up and savour every little second.

They still love heading into the woods with me, baking cookies together, and doing crafts. They still love wearing their special, handknit sweaters, and they don’t ALWAYS want to hang out with their friends instead of their parents. I plan to take full advantage of these short years. And so, with their fleeting childhoods on my mind, I embarked on an EPIC Christmas sweater project.

Seven sweaters for seven cousins

As usual, my plan didn’t start small and grow; it started big, with a sweater for each my three kids and one for each of my four nephews. That’s seven sweaters for seven cousins! And all this work would culminate in a fun photoshoot, with all the kids showing off their special knits.

I so enjoy knitting colourwork, and I especially enjoyed creating colourwork in the bright, fun holiday palette that I created out of odds and ends from my stash. I was inspired by images of vintage Christmas baubles, with a pretty rainbow of warm golds, all different reds and greens, a bright teal blue, and even a hint of pink. The sweaters are all variations on a theme. No two have exactly the same colours, and they each have a different colourwork motif. Just like my kids and nephews, they are all different but have some family resemblances!

I originally planned to knit them all myself, but once I’d gotten through all of the yokes, I took up an offer of help from my sisters-in-law, Emily and Michelle, who knit the bodies and sleeves for their kids. It was a classic, epic knit, with late nights and a last minute block – but we got it done. To Michelle’s credit, she got it done with lots of time to spare. Emily and I were the ones knitting well into the night before the photoshoot. We never learn…!

Special memories

I’m so pleased with how the sweaters and photos turned out. When our little ones eventually do grow up, I hope photos like these remind them of childhoods spent with cousins and the special bonds they forged. It is a joy for Gary and me to raise our kids alongside our own siblings, with all the cousins growing up together. I know that someday soon they’ll prefer friends to family time, so for now, I treasure every moment of this special time.

Seven children of various ages in white sweaters with bright colourwork yokes.
49 Comments leave one →
  1. Mary Ann Clark permalink
    January 23, 2022 5:51 pm

    Love your Christmas sweater project! What weight yarns did you use? I have knitted many projects from your Strange Brew book and have lots of Ginger Twist Aran weight yarn in my stash. What yarn is the cream color of the sweater bodies?

  2. Miamiolivia permalink
    December 27, 2021 9:16 am

    Just absolutely beautiful, wow. Those kids are some lucky kids. I bet they always will love your sweaters.

  3. hollandteach permalink
    December 26, 2021 8:04 pm

    Just beautiful, from the sweaters to the motherly sediment. Enough said!

  4. Susan permalink
    December 24, 2021 9:03 am

    Love it! Know just what you mean, I’m a grandmom now with 9 grandchildren and they grow up too fast! Bless their sweet hearts. No bigger gift than having family.

  5. Isobel permalink
    December 24, 2021 3:34 am

    This is the most adorable pic I’ve seen. Merry Xmas xx

  6. Kirsty permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:21 pm

    To be inspired is wonderful but to inspire others, now that, that is the greatest gift of all.
    Thank you for inspiring others.

  7. mystiknitter permalink
    December 23, 2021 8:11 pm

    what lucky cousins to share such wonderful memories! nothing like knitting against a deadline, eh? now you’ll have to knit matching sweaters for the aunties and uncles (or at least hats…)

  8. Nilda permalink
    December 23, 2021 4:18 pm

    What a group of lovely photos an what a treasure to keep.

  9. Mary lynn permalink
    December 23, 2021 3:59 pm

    Love this!! Beautiful sweaters and children🎄

  10. Meredith Coelho permalink
    December 23, 2021 3:48 pm

    So much love!

  11. Theresa Hofstetter permalink
    December 23, 2021 3:23 pm

    What a wonderful project! It is even more special having shared the knitting. I know these sweaters and photos will be treasured forever.

  12. Alicia C Hathcock permalink
    December 23, 2021 3:12 pm

    The sweaters are beautiful! Brava, moms!!

  13. December 23, 2021 2:22 pm

    Special memories for sure, beautiful, beautiful knitting

  14. Julia Badger permalink
    December 23, 2021 1:30 pm

    Fabulous. This really made me smile 😍

  15. Joanna Hunt permalink
    December 23, 2021 12:52 pm

    Great post with wonderful photos! Do you have it documented somewhere what each pattern is, and the specific yarns and colourways that you used?

  16. Patti Lake permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:54 am

    So beautiful!! Thank you for sharing. When I think of how long it takes me to knit one sweater, I realize how amazing that picture really is.

    Merry Christmas to all!

    Patti Lake

  17. Anne Whitley permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:19 am

    Fabulous. You are so talented! Have a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for 2022

  18. Susan Atkins permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:18 am

    Bravo Alexa. Gorgeous photos, gorgeous kids, gorgeous sweaters. Hope your family and children enjoy those photos for years to come. Your project is creative and memory building for the cousins. “Remember the Christmas that our moms knit us all sweaters with the pretty yokes?” Congratulations on your epic project.

  19. Marie permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:12 am

    Precious, wonderful, and lovely expressions of love!

  20. Josee permalink
    December 23, 2021 10:03 am

    Very inspiring

  21. Connie W permalink
    December 23, 2021 9:55 am

    Absolutely charming and utterly fabulous. You gals are amazing.
    Holiday blessings to you and your family.

  22. December 23, 2021 9:48 am

    Not having knitted a fair isle jumper in the round before, but inspired by Strange Brew, I set out to knit a fair Isle jumper for my 4 grandchildren (aged 6,6,4,3) this year.
    I did it just in time for Christmas! But unfortunately, some are beginning to grow out of them already. They are lined up to be passed onto my daughters’ friends’ children. The mums I’ve known since they were children themselves. There’s certainly something special about having something handmade.
    I’m now working on one for me!
    Thanks for making everything so accessible and for enthusing us with your passion.

  23. Lee permalink
    December 23, 2021 9:27 am

    Wonderful! Merry Christmas.

  24. Joanna Hunt permalink
    December 23, 2021 9:00 am

    Brilliant post and photos! Do you have it documented anywhere what each of the specific patterns are, and the yarn and colourways you used?

  25. Cyndi permalink
    December 23, 2021 8:38 am

    I so love everything about this! Beautiful kids, beautiful sweaters, a lovely time to cherish!

  26. MSueM permalink
    December 23, 2021 8:37 am

    Wow! Just wow!

  27. Sidney permalink
    December 23, 2021 8:34 am

    There are no words to express my total love for this! The photos of the cousins are simply priceless.

  28. Jennifer permalink
    December 23, 2021 7:57 am

    I so so so enjoyed this email! These photos are making me teary-eyed with smiles. I can feel the the giddiness through the pictures and the results of such an undertaking are beyond fantastic. It makes me think about my kids in the same way. Thank you for sharing.

  29. Debbe Jantz permalink
    December 23, 2021 7:53 am

    WOW! WOW! How long did it take to knit 7 sweaters?

    • December 27, 2021 10:14 am

      Half of the year! This project was a long time in the planning and making :)

  30. Debbe Jantz permalink
    December 23, 2021 7:52 am

    WOW! All I can say is WOW! How long did it take to knit 7 sweaters?

  31. December 23, 2021 7:27 am

    🌸❤️🌸Beautiful sweaters for even more beautiful memories! 🌸❤️🌸

  32. Jan Clark permalink
    December 23, 2021 7:27 am

    This article is very touching. We have a large extended family that has been split between all Four coasts so getting together has been near impossible. As we’re aging we’re coming together but we’ve missed a lot of time.

    I love all these color combinations. They are so bright and happy. Thanks for taking on the project and then sharing it with us. I have to agree it did make for a great photo shoot. And they are all Smiling with eyes open. Amazing.

  33. Christine permalink
    December 23, 2021 7:24 am

    What a beautiful gift. The sweaters and children are gorgeous. : )

  34. permalink
    December 23, 2021 7:21 am

    Amazing, beautiful and so joyful! Thank you for sharing this. ❤️ I’m wishing each and everyone of you a very happy holiday and all the best in the new year.

  35. Linda Guinan permalink
    December 23, 2021 7:14 am

    Adorable! Kudos to you!

  36. Maria Mendes permalink
    December 23, 2021 7:12 am

    Parabéns, amei super super lindas.

  37. jane kirk permalink
    December 23, 2021 6:54 am

    the cousins are just adorable and so are the pics of them in their Christmas sweater. Hats off to you and you 2 helpers.

  38. Penny S. permalink
    December 23, 2021 6:48 am

    As always, absolutely beautiful sweaters!! What yarn did you use?

  39. donnacarolmorgangmailcom permalink
    December 23, 2021 6:43 am

    These are totally fabulous! I DO hope they are going to become a pattern for us to buy!

  40. Karyn Croll permalink
    December 23, 2021 6:26 am

    Wow!! I’m impressed. My goal was to knit 2 Gramps cardigans for my twin Baby Grands (boy & girl). One got washed, blocked, and on the drying rack at 11:30 last night. Pockets are not done or buttons sewn on yet😕 I’m sewing pockets on the other now but no buttons yet. Oh well, lol

  41. jmhirst permalink
    December 23, 2021 6:21 am

    Beautiful I want to learn how to do that

    Sent from my iPhone Jean Hirst


  42. Julie R permalink
    December 23, 2021 6:17 am

    What a wonderful project for all of you! Great team work and the results are outstanding. My kids grew up close to their cousins as well. They still like to get together as adults. And now the next generation is hanging out together.
    Continue to make wonderful memories and beautiful knits.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  43. December 23, 2021 6:06 am

    This is so very cool & you’re right, it’ll create some amazing memories as the kids get older.

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