I've been so distracted with "A Knitted Wonderland"* that I've gotten behind on my blogging. I have two FOs, a cake and a new WIP to talk about. I'm starting with the WIP.
It's my very first Baby Surprise Jacket!
Back in January I said I was daydreaming of a sweater made from my stash. I wanted a cardigan that was seamless or almost seamless. Mom suggested that I look through her old Wool Gathering newsletters for patterns. When I saw the Baby Surprise Jacket pattern, I immediately knew that was what I wanted to make.
In The Opinionated Knitter there's a pattern for an "Adult Surprise Jacket," the Baby Surprise Jacket's grown up counterpart. It's perfect for my epic stash sweater.
But first, I'm taking the author's advice and making a Baby Surprise Jacket before I embark on a larger sweater. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the pattern.
The Baby Surprise Jacket is both very simple and very complicated. Basically, you knit a wonky rectangle, fold it, seam the shoulders and end up with a cardigan.
At the beginning of the jacket I had no idea what went where until I did a row of increases to create a cuff. At that phase it was hard to imagine that I was knitting sleeves. A little while later, I was binding off a few stitches for the collar. It started making sense in my mind.
There are diagonal increases and decreases that work well with variegated yarn and makefor some interesting stripes. I went with some variegated yarn from stash. I would have liked to add some stripes, but I don't have anything that works with the yarn I found.
I'm using Baby Bee Sweet Delight from Hobby Lobby. I bought it ages ago for because I liked the bright colorway. So far, I'm happy with it. It's a nice for a machine washable synthetic yarn.
There's a point where the increases and decreases meet in the picture above. That's the armpit. If you fold what I have so far, you get this:.
This pattern, like most Elizabeth Zimmerman patterns, is more like a recipe than a set of instructions. Specific row numbers aren't listed. So I want to leave some notes about row numbers, increases and decreases for myself and anyone else who's interested. If you follow her original instructions exactly, you'll probably have the same row numbers.
The original pattern suggests a gauge of five or six stitches per inch. I'm knitting five stitches per inch, mostly because that's what I got with this particular yarn and the first needle I could find. Five stitches per inch makes a size for a baby around one year old. Six stitches per inch will get you a newborn size jacket.
I think row ten was where I did the increases for the cuff. I spaced them out so that there was no M1 next to the marker.
At row 43 I found myself with 91 stitches, not 90 as the pattern says. I looked carefully at all my decreases. I think I decreased by two stitches instead of three in the first row. So on row 44, the first of the "work three rows even" I knit two together at the corner where I made the mistake. I think it'll be fine.
Row 47 started the increases, and I think row 60 was where I added the increases to add fullness in the back. I don't think I did a very good job of spacing them out. I miscalculated and one M1 was too far off to the side.
On rows 72 and 73 I did the neck shaping. As of right now I've finished row 79, and on row 80 I'll be doing some more mind bending shaping.
If you're new to the Baby Surprise Jacket you're probably still confused, I'll leave you with "Baby Surprise Jacket - The Movie." It's a short (14 second) video that I posted for the first time in 2008. I tmade it when we found an unfinished Baby Surprise Jacket that Mom had started years ago.
* - We recently found out that our display will be up another week. Now you have until March 25 to see the the installation.