Wool and the Gang: Jasper Sweater

What was the first knitted (or crocheted!) project that made the whole thing click into place for you? When you were first able to make something that you would actually buy from a normal shop? That was actually – dare I say it – good? Mine was the Jasper Sweater from Wool and the Gang. Before this kit, my attempts at making sweaters had been… interesting. At best, they looked handmade (but not in a good way!) and at worst, they just didn’t fit. The Jasper Sweater is where everything turned around for me. To this day, it’s one of the best things I have ever made.

So, I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write a review of this wonderful kit. I’ve had a very busy few weeks, as term has recently re-started (yay! Library access!) and, to make matters more complicated, I’ve transferred from one University to another. This hasn’t left much time for knitting, let alone writing about knitting. It doesn’t help that my photos of the Jasper Sweater’s making process are a bit older. At the risk of sounding very pretentious, I hadn’t yet found my style with photography and I’m not overly fond of the way that I used to photograph my WIPs.

But here we are! In this post, I want to talk you through why I think that this is a great kit for new-ish knitters who want to refine their skill set with a more challenging project.

Let’s go!

Kit profile

The Jasper Sweater is an intermediate kit for a jumper worked in bubble stitch all over, with 2×2 rib trims, and a loose, boxy fit. It is mostly worked flat on 3.5mm and 5mm needles and is seamed together.

The kit comes with 18-26 balls of Super Trouper Wool, which just so happens to be my favourite yarn from Wool and the Gang (review coming soon!). This is a 100% merino superwash wool that comes in 11 delectable colours. I’m a big fan and should really use it more, as I love how it knits up and then wears. In the context of the Jasper Sweater, this yarn strikes a great balance between structure and squishy-ness (which is definitely a word…). It is a spun yarn that has a lot of bounce, but it also has enough integrity to support the 3D bubble stitch beautifully. It would work really well for any project that needs good stitch definition, including the Jasper Sweater.

Anyway! The kit is available in 6 sizes – I made size 2 – and retails for £117 up to £164, depending on the size. If you choose to buy the two sets of needles to your kit, you can add an additional £20 to your order. I’m sure that these needles are lovely but, as with all kits, I recommend that you buy them separately… The size range claims to cover UK sizes 6-8 (size 1) to 26-28 (size 6), which is really great to see. It’s a little bit tricky if you’re, say, a UK size 8-10, 12-14, etc., like me, as you will need to either choose to size up or down slightly. I sized up slightly and would probably advise that others do the same.

Overall impression and finished garment

I looooooooove this sweater. As I’ve alluded to above, it was the first garment I made that looked good. Not ‘good for something you made yourself’. Just good. The best thing I can say about my Jasper Sweater is that it doesn’t look like I made it.

The bubble stitch is super fun and cute, but the long 2×2 rib hems, cuff, and folded collar make the finished piece look stylish and modern. The designers of this kit have struck a really nice balance here.

I’ve had this sweater for almost a year now, so I can also say that it wears really well with time. The stitch has maintained all of its lovely, bouncy structure. The yarn has hardly pilled and it has washed really nicely. If you tend to be hard wearing on your knits, this is a great option!

The only minor gripe I have with the kit is that the sleeves are hard to wear under a coat. They’re quite full, which, again, is very cute and modern… But they don’t fit under any of my coats! In the dead of winter, I have to walk around looking like the michelin man if I want to wear a jacket. However, the sweater is generally warm enough that I don’t need to wear a coat over it very often.

A more major gripe is that I had quite a lot of yarn leftover from this kit – almost two skeins! I followed the instructions carefully, so this was quite surprising. If anything, I think I actually made the body a bit longer than the pattern states. I really don’t mind having the extra yarn in my stash, after all, it’s one of my favourites. But given that knitting kits aren’t cheap, it’s still a bit frustrating.

How does it look?

I think this sweater looks great on me. Typically, I think that you can get a better fitting garment if you make it in the round. This, alongside a couple of the other patterns I have reviewed and written (hello, Vicenza Cardigan!) are the exception to this rule. There’s something about the boxy fit with the drop shoulders that just works really nicely for the Jasper Sweater. I think it’s the combination of the bubble stitch and the thick, folded collar that is particularly effective here.

I can imagine the Jasper Sweater suiting a lot of different people and different body types really nicely. You really can’t go too far wrong with a boxy fit like this! The fabric also has a lot of stretch, so I can see this still being a good option if your body changes over time.

The colour of the yarn is also really cute. I call this my ‘strawberry sweater’, as I always feel like a giant berry when I wear it! I chose the shade Coral Crush, which is more red than coral to my eyes, but still. The Jasper Sweater was part of WATG’s 2019 Cosy Collection, which came with some new yarn colours. These are all very pretty shades, but I’m happy I went with a brighter option. In the dead of winter, it’s nice to have a pop of colour!

What makes this kit special and worth purchasing, as opposed to buying the yarn and a pattern separately?

I always find this question difficult to answer and my answer is always wishy-washy. Kits are an expensive way to buy projects. Yes, they are very convenient and I think that they are great for beginners or any makers looking to build their confidence, but they are expensive. I think I got my Jasper Sweater when WATG were running a 25%-off discount, which made the purchase a little bit less painful… But still not great.

For me, a kit is ‘worth buying’ if it works for you as a knitter. If you are able to learn new skills, make something unique, and build your confidence, then it’s worth it – no matter the price. This ticked all of these boxes. Let’s go through them.

I learned how to work bubble stitch and how to fold a collar when I made my Jasper Sweater. Bubble stitch is super cute and fun and, although it’s not the type of stitch I would really use regularly, I’m glad I know how to do it. Folded collars, on the other hand, are one of my all-time favourite design features. I love them so much and will always love my Jasper Sweater for being the project that introduced me to them.

The design of this kit is also pretty unique. I’ve had a look through Ravelry and can’t find anything similar using the searches ‘bubble stitch’ and ‘bobble stitch’.

It is the confidence boost that sets this kit apart for me, however. At the risk of sounding immensely soppy, I learnt so much more than how to work bubble stitch from this kit! I gained a better understanding of fit, construction, and my own preferences from this kit. If you’re looking to build up your confidence, then this is really worth checking out!

Would I reuse the pattern?

In theory: yes, absolutely. I found no issues with the pattern whilst I was using it and I love the finished sweater and wear it often in the winter.

In practice: I’m less likely to make this again, simply because it was quite a time-consuming pattern. Last year, I was commuting into London a couple of days a week, with each journey taking about an hour. It took a term’s worth of train journeys and evenings knitting to get this finished – and I’m a fast knitter! WATG estimate that this takes 55 hours to make and, in truth, I have no idea if this is accurate for me. I just know it that it took me a while. For me, this is in the WAK Sabrina Sweater (review here!) category of projects. I love it and enjoy wearing it… But between the statement design and time-consuming nature of the stitch, I wouldn’t rush to make either kit again! A mini one for a kiddo would be very cute, though.

This is by no means an inditement of the pattern quality – merely my own impatience!

So, there we have it! One of my all-time favourite projects. Tell me in the comments about your favourite kit!

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