If you are knitting a Baby Surprise Jacket...

sheilajoyce_gwMarch 17, 2008

If you are knitting Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket, I have some suggestions to make to improve it. The problems that I try to resolve:

1) neck is too small/tight

2) neck finished edge is too unfinished looking

3) sleeves are too short

4) picked up stitches look messy.

Here is how to resolve the problems. Some solutions I have read online and one I developed myself.

#1--Neck is too tight: Cast on an extra 6 stitches to make the neck wider. The center of the cast on row is the neck. Knit those extra 6 stitches for 5-8 or even 10 rows and decrease by decreasing the center stitch and one stitch about 5 stitches from either side of the center stitch. Knit one row even, then repeat the decrease row.

#2--Neck edge looks unfinished: Knit an attached icord edge around the neckline to give a finished look to the collar. If you use an icord finish for the neck, the top buttonhole will be too far down, so be sure to make the top buttonhole higher than EZ directs.

#3--Sleeves are too short: cast on by long tail method and add 18 stitches when you do your original casting on. Then when it says to increase for the sleeves in the first several rows, omit that step as you have already done so in casting on. You have to remember to allow for the 9 additional stitches for each sleeve before you mark the stitch where you will be decreasing on each side. After you omit that line in the directions about increasing 18 stitches, your stitch count matches the instructions and you will proceed as EZ directs. When you finish knitting the sweater and have bound it off, before sewing the sleeve seams, pick up the sleeve stitches at the extra loop of the cast on stitches (45 or 46, as I recall) and knit an inch or two more. Then decrease about 9 stitches and do a ribbed cuff for one or two inches. Bind off.

4--Messy look from picking up the 10 extra stitches at each side of the back after knitting the extra 10 rows along the back. Do not follow her directions. Instead, at the end of the row when you are ready to do the 10 extra rows across the back, cut the yarn. Put the stitches for the two fronts of the sweater on stitch holders. Knit the 10 back rows and then cut the yarn. Now, with the right side facing you, go back to the beginning of the sweater; knit the stitches from the holder, pick up 10 stitches from the side of the back where you added 10 rows; knit the back stitches; pick up 10 stitches from the other side of the back; knit the stitches from the last stitch holder. Now proceed as the directions say for the rest of the sweater. You have placed the messy looking picked up stitch ridges on the inside of the sweater by doing this.

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Great information. Thanks for sharing so others don't have to find out the hard way. You are so nice to take time to type it out.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2008 at 9:05AM
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I finally got Opinionated Knitter from the library. The pattern is in there, but I wonder if the one from Schoolhouse Press has been rewritten and maybe updated a little. Not sure if I could make it from the pattern in the book. (Not sure I could manage it at all anyway, but it would be fun to try.)

But I REALLY enjoyed looking through the book. Such beautiful sweaters which I would not even think of attempting. Darling baby items, and darling babies in the book too! Elizabeth Zimmermann was such a leader in the knitting world. She used to knit as she rode on the back of the motorcycle with her DH, but she had to lean back a bit so she didn't bump his back because he didn't like her to knit on the bike. If he felt her knitting, he would know. He wanted her to LEAN at the proper times when they were on the bike. It's a very fun book to look through. Much of it is the newsletters she used to send out.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 6:38PM
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I have been borrowing my sister's copies of her books since Christmas. I heard of her only recently from DS. Go ahead and start the sweater from your copy of her pattern. You do have THE pattern in the book. She laments she is not a very good pattern writer, and I have to agree. Lots of online information, however, is available on her pattern too. One lists how to vary the size by using other weights of yarn and needle sizes. I am using worsted weight and size 6 circular needles for DGS who is 15 months old now.

But ask here if you get stuck. Once you have made one, you will be addicted. And it is a great way to use up yarns you have not known what to do with as well as scraps too. I had a couple of varigated yarns that just did not look right in other patterns I tried, but they look great in the BSJ. And then stripes look great in this pattern, especially with a solid main color, so the scraps are disappearing too.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2008 at 11:11PM
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