Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baby Surprise Jacket

Baby Surprise Jacket - Unfolded

Knitting ingenuity at its best!  Elizabeth Zimmerman has long been a favorite designer of mine.  I love her books, her newsletters and only wish I'd seen more of her original PBS show from the 70s.  One of the things I like best about her is that although she loves knitting, she's forthright about the parts that are a pain in the butt.  Happily, she and I generally agree on these parts, with seaming being at the top of the list.  I don't know why I waited so long to try her Baby Surprise Jacket, but having never made it for my own kiddos, I decided to try it out for my new niece -- scheduled to arrive sometime in March.

The brilliance of this design (as those familiar with it already know) is that it's knit flat in one piece and when you're done, you have only the tiniest bit of seaming to do on the sleeves.  The first time through is an act of faith that is generously rewarded.  As you can see from the picture above, when you're done knitting this one piece, you're left with an amorphous mass that most have difficulty folding into anything resembling a sweater.  It's fun to amaze your family and friends by challenging them with this misshapen, towel-like object.  Most give up and then stand in awe as you fold it up neatly into a sweet little sweater like this:
Baby Surprise Jacket - Folded into cardigan shape
I used Cascade 220 Paints #9938 (Superwash -- cause you know, I like this Mama-to be).  I striped occasionally with a chocolate Cascade 220 Superwash I had leftover from a sweater I made my brother for XMAS last month.  But, this being my first BSJ -- I made a rookie mistake and it's bugging me to no end.  I'm seriously considering ripping back to fix it.  I added a stripe one row after finishing the bind off on either side for the neck.  I just wasn't thinking.  Because you bind off the 1st 5 stitches on two consecutive rows, one side has an extra row and when I put in the next stripe (the one that runs along the bottom front and up the 2 front sides (near the button holes), it came out perfectly on one side and with extra space on the other.  As you look at the picture, it's the right side that has the extra space and now that I've pointed it out, I'm sure it's all anyone will ever see when they look at this sweet little sweater.  Now normally, I wouldn't think twice about ripping, but this is literally the only mistake I think I made on the sweater and I firmly believe every piece of knitting should have one good luck mistake.  I think this is called a "God's Eye" or a "Devil's Eye" -- it's one or the other and folk knitters who could easily produce perfect work would always add one mistake out of respect because perfection is the realm of God -- and only a devilish usurper would dare aspire to such lofty heights.  So, far be it from me to mess with such a tradition -- I guess the mistake stays and lovely little Aurora (my niece to be) will be free to be as perfectly gorgeous and talented as she's likely to be.  I've got her covered.


  1. BEAUTFUL! I got the how-to DVD for my birthday last month and am looking forward to knitting this adorable little sweater.

  2. The DVD is great. I have the EZ book with the original newsletter, but I understand there's a modernized version for sale at Meg Swanson's site. There's also a wiki on Ravelry I found very helpful: Be sure and post pictures of yours when you're done! :)