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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Baby Surpise Jacket, One, or maybe Two...

Elizabeth Zimmermann is a wonderful fabulous woman and knitter.  She has inspired thousands and thousands of women to knit, one of whom is me. I  had already started knitting but when I read her book, Knitting Without Tears, I fell in love with Elizabeth, and with knitting all over again!  Since then I have acquired all but one of her books and several DVDs which she did with her wonderful fabulous daughter, Meg Swansen, and continue to be inspired by them on a regular basis.

When my friend Laura was expecting her first baby (little Freya) I decided I wanted to knit up a Baby Surprise Jacket because I wanted a challenge and felt sure I could follow the directions and do it.  Another friend suggested I get the Lion Brand Microspun yarn because it was "awesomely soft"...so I purchased six or seven colors and started in on BSJ.  WELL, that darn yarn WAS soft;  it was also very split-y.  It drove me crazy and eventually I stopped altogether and threw the whole project in my knitting project trunk (which I got from my Grandmother Corwin!!--well, from her estate, anyway...) and felt sad that I had not made a gift for Freya.

Fast forward to this fall when I received a flyer about fall classes at the Country Woolens yarn shop in Lebanon.  There, among many other lovely sounding  classes, was a class for the Adult Surprise Jacket!  I flew down to the shop to look at Debbie's sample.  Oh. My. Goodness!  It was just what I wanted, and in the yarn I wanted to use:  Hilda Yates' Bartlettyarn.  I already had half a dozen colors but knew I just had to go to Hilda's yarn sale weekend again this year with a plan!  AND Hilda's yarn sale weekend is coming up NEXT WEEKEND!!! Perfect timing, Debbie!  Perfect timing, Hilda!

SO, up to the workroom I went to see if I did really have the previously started and yanked out BSJ.  There it was, so I sat down and went to work.  I had no trouble at all and in about three evenings I finished knitting it up.  It looks nothing like a sweater until you fold it:

The red strip is the cast-on edge of this BSJ and the purple/yellow strip with holes at the right and left is the buttonhole/button band in the front of the sweater.
For some reason I had NO TROUBLE with splitting stitches this time.  Perhaps it is all the knitting I have done since the sweater went on vacation in Great-Great Grammie's trunk!  Be that as it may, the sweater knit up really fast:  knit every stitch with a few decrease rows and a few increase rows.

Here is the BSJ folded and ready for the seam...
OK, well, rotating the photo is not my strong suit, but I think you can easily see this is a great little sweater.
Last Monday J and A and family were here for supper and the evening...such a treat as they have not been here for ages and ages...and when I showed the sweater to A, she thought it would be great if I made one of those for L, for whom I had already planned a sweater, though my original thought for L's yellow sweater (to use up some yellow Bartlettyarn I had) was to knit it on my Bond America Incredible Sweater Machine.  WELL, the idea of hand knitting a BSJ for L really hit the spot with me because not only would I get her a sweater made, it would be a giant gauge swatch for my Adult Surprise Jacket which I will be knitting in class in November and December!  Done!!!  Cast on immediately!

Well, I did cast on immediately and on two long trips I did a fair amount of knitting.  Today after Church I did another four garter ridges and have now started the increases....not quite half-way done. I hope to finish this week, though it is a pretty busy week.

This is the beginning of L's Baby Surprise:
As you can see..yellow was the cast on row and every time there is a change in pattern instructions I have used yellow, since this is supposed to be a yellow sweater, BUT  "I like pink and purple, too, Grammie!"
At Church I measured L (for the first time) to see if there was the remotest possibility that this sweater would fit.  I do think it will happen.  Last Thursday I sent an email to Schoolhouse Press to ask about sizing with worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles with 3.5 stitches per inch gauge and CULLY wrote me back.  CULLY who was the recipient of the very first Baby Surprise Jacket ever knit by Elizabeth Zimmermann!  It was so lovely of him to take the time himself to write back.  He gave me the information I needed plus some wonderful advice.  I am so grateful.  It is making my mind much easier.

Well, the cinnamon buns are now on the 2-hour rest so I will move to the upper regions where I will sit beside my love and knit on L's BSJ for a while.  I will postpone kitchen cleaning until later!

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