What is the Gavle Goat? Read and laugh here.
Approximate steps to making it:
- make a basic sweater using the Perfect Sweater pattern from Mason Dixon Knitting.
- Get feltable blue and white yarn and knit a square panel that fits across most of the front of the sweater, knitting the blue in stockinette and the white in garter.
- Find some gnome and gingerbread patterns on Ravelry and make some adjustments to them, do some crocheting. Make up bows and (feltable) arrows. Add a little moon because I'm moon-obsessed.
- Make up a Gavle Goat pattern, kinda based on the aforementioned stuffed goat except flat. Copy the fence that I've seen in goat pictures online.
- Pin and sew the pieces on to the blue and white piece.
- Break out my felting needle and felting stash and hand felt up a little flame. Felt-attach it to the bow/back piece with the hand needle.
- Get a small battery pack of white lights at Rite-Aid. Poke the lights through the front piece to simulate (a) stars, and (b) how they light up the horns. Carefully put some extra sewing in between each light to hold it in place. No, I am never going to wash this sweater.
- Sew the entire front piece to the front of the sweater. I left a hole in the white section by Santa for messing with the battery pack.
- Make up some crocheted lettering and sew it to the piece.
- Write up an explanation of what the Gavle goat is to put on the back (see below), because clearly one is needed for the general public. Go out and buy iron-on T-shirt transfer paper (for dark shirts) at Office Max. Grab a medium green T-shirt and very tediously follow the very specific instructions to iron it on. It's not perfect, came out a bit blurry in spots, but it was hard enough to do that I'm not gonna worry about it. I sewed it to the sweater with a sewing machine and zigzag stitch, and then realized the edge looked a bit rough.I crocheted an improvised goat pattern around the border (inspired by a hen edge pattern I found on Ravelry) and sewed it on both with a sewing machine and with yarn by hand.Sewed the parts of the sweater together.
Here's shots on the mannequin:
In 1966, someone in the town of Gävle (pronounced "yeah-vleh"), Sweden, got the idea to make a giant traditional Swedish Yule Goat every December and erect it in the town square. On New Year's Eve, someone set it on fire. This has led to an over 40 years long tradition of burning or otherwise destroying the goat approximately every other year or so (even years seem to be likely). Sometimes it's burned right after it’s built, sometimes it gets burned before they finish it, and sometimes they just get stolen. For the record, the town of Gävle does not want to actually burn the goat. They would like to not have to remake the goat every year, or sometimes twice a year--they would like to save it for later. At this point, two different organizations are erecting goats, because they need backup. It costs around $30,000 American dollars to erect one goat.
Every year the Swedes insist on putting up the goat, though they do attempt to make them less flammable. This isn’t going so well, as techniques such as freezing the goat with water don’t actually work. The Swedes especially don't like the fireproof solution that turns the goat brown, because that makes it less pretty.
People are paid to guard the goat--firemen, police, hired guard, volunteers, taxis, the Home Guard, an infantry regiment at one point.... but that doesn't always prevent burning. Heck, people will run out in the middle of a heavy blizzard to burn the goat. Once money to pay the guards runs out, the goat usually ends up burning.
There is a fence around the goat, but it's not exactly the world's most badass fence. Because the Swedes like things to be pretty, the fence is rather small and easily jumped over. Putting webcams on it doesn't prevent burning, but does lead to several helpful flaming goat videos on the Internet. As for catching the burners, it very rarely happens. In 40+ years, only four burners have been caught at it, and so far none of them have paid for the damages.
Of COURSE people take bets on the goat's survival.
Goats have been run over by a car, kicked to pieces, and thrown in the river. The webcams have been hacked. One year some guys tried to bribe a guard to look the other way while they attempted to grab the goat with a helicopter and haul it to Stockholm. Four men burned the goat in 2012, got tattoos commemorating the event, and posted pictures of them along with an anonymous confession on the Internet…and they still weren’t caught.
This sweater is to commemorate the burning of 2005, in which a guy dressed up as Santa and another guy dressed up as a gingerbread man showed up with crossbows and shot a flaming arrow into the goat, burning it down. Not only were these guys not caught, they were featured on Sweden's version of the "Most Wanted" TV program.
I'm thinking of doing a series of ugly holiday sweaters. Next up: Hawaiian....