Decorating Yule

My family includes pagans, and non-pagans. Together, we celebrate secular Christmas traditions with a Christmas tree and decorations, and gathering over the Christmas holidays, though not necessarily on Christmas day if people are working. This extends the time we are celebrating at this time of year, and happily takes the winter solstice in its stride. It also fits in with the spirit of Yule and the extended festive season.

The pagans in the family add to the general brightening of the home, with decorations for Yule – not necessarily traditional. The photo is self-explanatory!

The little Yule jumpers are quick and easy to make. I thought you may like to have a go at making some of your own. They are made from oddments of wool and can be any colour you like, or any combination of colours. The letters are sewn on afterwards, using Swiss darning technique, where you follow the shape of the knitted stitches to guide your embroidery. They can be hung up individually, or threaded on to ribbon or tape or plaited wool.

I used double knitting wool with size 12/2.75 mm pins. This makes the finished item slightly stiffer which is better as we are using it as decoration.


Jumper body – make 2 for each jumper – 8 in all

Cast on 15 stitches.

1st row             K1, P1 to end

2nd row            P1, K1 to end              (rib)

Repeat these two rows once.              (4 rows rib altogether)

5th row             knit

6th row             purl                             (stocking stitch)

Repeat these two rows 6 times.          (14 rows stocking stitch altogether)

Cast on 9 stitches, knit to end.            (for arms)

Cast on 9 stitches, purl to end.

Next row         Knit

Next row         Purl

Repeat these two rows twice              (6 rows stocking stitch altogether)

Cast off 14 stitches, knit to end

Cast of 14 stitches, knit to end.          (5 stitches left on pin)

Knit 4 rows.

Cast off

On one jumper body, with right side facing, embroider letter, using chart below. Stitch on top of the knitted stitch, making V shapes to cover the knitted stitch. Each V on the chart represents one knitted stitch. Start the embroidery on the first stocking stitch row after the rib at the hem. The letter should be placed centrally.

Place jumper body with letter and blank body with wrong sides together. (These items are too small to stitch right sides together and turn.) Join sides, underarm seams and top seams, and neck. Leave the ends of the arms open to thread through hanging tape. Use stab stitch, passing the needle back and forth through the knitting. Stitch close to the edge, passing through the ends of the rows. It will leave a slight ridge.

Repeat using different letter till YULE is spelled out. Cut tape as long as you need to thread through jumpers – this depends on where you want to display them. Remember to cut enough to make a hanging loop. Thread the tape through the arms of the jumpers. It may be easier to put a safety pin in the end of the tape.

Make a loop at each end of the tape, securing it in place by tying a knot. If you find the jumpers slide along the tape and won’t stay in position, secure in place with a few stitches through the jumper into the tape, using matching cotton.

I don’t know about you, but despite everything, I am really looking forward to Yule. A bit of light in what for most people has been a dismal year.

Written by Portland Jones, PF Disabilities Liaison for West Midlands