Monday, April 23, 2007

Baby Surprise Jacket and notes

Last night my spouse saw me looking at the camera screen and asked, "Are you admiring your knitting or your photos of your knitting?" Good question. I must admit, I enjoy both: the finished knits and attempts to capture what I like about them in photographs.

This captures what I like about the Baby Surprise Jacket I finished last week:

Pattern: Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket (from Knitter's Workshop and Dawn Adcock's cheat sheet)

Yarn: Regia Bamboo Color 1066 (approx. 1.1 skeins) and some cream wool that my MIL says she used to make my younger son's baby sweater

Needles: Brittany circular size 5

Cost: $18 in yarn, but most of skein 2 remains; with better use of the cream, I'd have gotten away with one $9 skein.

Notes: I spent a lot of time on-line trying to figure out how the thing went together. EZ has a diagram of the finished flat piece in her book. Most people show their "before and after" photos. But I had a hard time finding in-progress pictures to help me imagine how the thing comes together and where I was in relation to the finished object. If that describes you (and also for my own future reference), here are photos and descriptions of the where/when:

1. This is in the first section. All you're doing is knitting mitered corners by double decreases. Note that you're knitting the jacket from the top down.

If you're on circular needles, you can lay it down, flip up the end edges and see that you're constructing the sleeves and top back of the jacket at the same time.

3. Eventually you stop double decreasing and start double increasing. It will fill in that semicircle from above and start expanding the fabric.
4. At the point where the instructions have you put stitches on holders, you can again fold in to see that the stitch holders are at the edges of the right and left cardigan fronts and your needles are knitting the length of the sweater downward.

5. This is the classic "before" photo, the finished piece minus the sleeve seams.

6. If I straighten out the lower right edge, you can better see where the front cardigan edge is:

7. By folding that edge in and the sleeve up, the form begins to take a more recognizable shape.

8. Doing the same to the other side, you see a sweater at last.

Two seams and four buttons (I didn't make the last button hole) later, you have a sweater. Front:

And back.

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Anonymous naomi dagen bloom said...

good work! will we learn how bamboo holds me with baby?

6:15 PM  
Anonymous marianne said...

I love this little jacket. I have 2 colleagues having babies at the end of summer. I was thinking blankets, but this is pretty darned cute! Is it in a book or what? LOVELY!

8:12 PM  
Blogger mamaloo said...

Psst! Did you read the copyright notation on the pattern notes?

Sorry to be a downer, but I thought I should point it out.

Your jacket is nice! The progress photos are pretty cool - thanks!

11:11 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

Mamaloo, thanks for raising that copyright point. I subsequently e-mailed the notes' author and got her permission to link. I'm glad you caught that!

Marianne, details about the pattern are available from the Dawn Adcock link in my post. The pattern itself is in the book, "Knitter's Workshop" by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Naomi, I hope to get a report on how the bamboo wears. This sweater's on the way to a former doula client whose second child is due next month. I made it small, though, so I suspect the baby will outgrow it before it gets any major use...

9:24 AM  
Blogger Nicolle said...

I am working on the Baby Surprise Sweater from E. Zimmerman's book. Unfortunately, I am stuck. I finished the part where it says, Row 9: k30, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k78, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k30 (140 sts) Row 10: (5 ridges) INCREASE 9sts (K3, M1) across end sections. My question is about the "After 22 decreases (90 sts) work 3 rows even...Well that part I understand but at what number am I making my decreases. I would truly appreciate any help you can provide.

11:03 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...


Have you looked at Dawn Addock's cheat sheet that I link to in my post? I think it's very helpful in terms of telling you where to put your decreases. Basically, the decreases come one stitch sooner each row. So you start with knitting 37 stitches, then do the decrease. Next time it's 36 stitches and then the decrease, etc.

I found that neither EZ's directions nor Dawn's worked on their own. But together I could figure things out.

Does this help?

8:40 AM  
Blogger annemknits said...

I'm, also doing EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket. I find EZ's
pattern confusing. It's hard to tell where you are
just from following EZ's pattern. Dawn Adcock's
cheat sheet makes life a lot easier. Also, your
step by step photos of putting this object together
makes sense. I'm posting the finished sweater on my

Happy Knitting,
Anne M.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Sheila said...

You have the best pictures of the Baby surprise jacket in process. I am making my first jacket and this helps clarify the folding for me. Thanks.

1:27 AM  
Blogger annemknits said...

Hi Doulicia,
You posted to m blog a few weeks ago, and I
l'll put up a photo soon if I can figure out how to
do that. Now I need some help with the increases
around row 47. Do you increase with the M1 before
or after the markers? The number of stitches seems
to increase between the markers. Is this also
Anne Maurer

7:09 AM  
Blogger doulicia said...


I am so sad to say I don't remember. I know that with both the increases and the decreases I wasn't confident that I was doing it right.

What I remember eventually worked was *counting* stitches each row to see if I had the right number before and after the markers. I also seem to remember moving the markers right (or left?) each row so they moved with the increases.

At the time I thought, "I'll remember this next time." Now I can see the flaw in THAT plan. Knitting this pattner next time will again involve a certain amount of winging it.

You might try posting to the Zimmermania knit along...

I wish I could help more.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olá gostaria de saber com faço para adquirir o livro que tem a receita do BSJ, pois estou ficando quase louca, tenho tambem um casaco de bebe que nunca vi na net.
Obrigado e aguardo retorno.

8:28 PM  
Blogger TheresaB said...

Hello, there. It's a small world even on the Internet. I googled "Baby Surprise Jacket" because they're offering a class on it at the local knitting shop and your site was the second one listed.

Your jacket looks great. Congrats.

3:00 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

Hi TheresaB! Wow! I had no idea I was so easy to find. Reading back over this makes me want to knit another one (but I'd need Dawn Adcock's cheat sheet again). Take the class!

8:51 AM  
Blogger Morticcia said...

I'm just beginning my first and doubting myself at every stitch. Thanks for the pictoral, and the reference to the cheat sheet. I know I'll be needing that.

Beautiful sweater, by the way.

Thanks again!

9:33 AM  
Blogger karen said...

I'm on my second jacket and would like to make the sleeves longer but don't know how. Can you help?

1:50 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

I wish I knew more about lengthening the sleeves, but I don't. Sorry!

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for posting this cheat sheet! i started on the baby surprise jacket last night and i was mighty confused after the part where you have to increase at the end sections 9 times. ez's pattern doesn't specify at which points the decreases are to be made - and we have to make 22 more ridges i think! Anyway, thank you for looking out for the baby surprise jacket knitters out there! y. lee :)

6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

karen asked earlier about lengthening the sleeves. you could pick up the stitches from the cuff of the sleeve and add a few more rows.
y. lee

6:56 AM  
Blogger Knittinreed said...

Your BSJ is wonderful! I just started mine (for the third time) and found the cheat sheet clarifies a lot!! Thanks for that link.

I bought my pattern at SchoolHouse Press.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Jenny said...

Greetings. I am so happy to find this q and a! I am knitting EZ's baby surprise as my first attempt at making a sweater. Her directions are so confusing, and I'm not having much luck with Dawn's either. Dawn says: "1: 34, 86 (SK2p between sections)." So am I supposed to be SK2P from 34 to 86 and knit from 87-160? And then what about the following odd rows? Also SK2P between the markers?

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just started this pattern. I have 140 stitches on my needle. In row 11 I did the 9 increases,k2,sk2p,k76,sk2p but ended up with too few stitches for 9 more increases. I tried again, same thing. Do you count the M1 as a stitch when increasing?

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:34 PM  
Blogger cmaur said...

I'm in the middle of my first BSJ.I ordered an adult size and a BSJ from School House Press. Woe as me ,I received two of the adult size- They sent me a PDF which seemed to be missing instructions-I then bought EZ's book-I was still confused-I wasn't sure what a ridge was...The cheat sheet did help-for some reason I have more stitches on one side then the other- I guess it is time to RIP. My daughter's baby is due in April. I will try again. I fell like there should be an Ah Ha moment when it will work.
Your pics and sweater look great.
Happy Stitches,

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't thank you enough for taking the time for putting the pictures and the link to the notes. I do have a question regarding at what row to switch to the main color at the start? I'm guessing it is on the row that you increase 9 stitches for "fullness above the cuff". And then the switch back to the cream once you start to knit the stitches off the holder for the button hole section. I don't understand that yet, but figure when I get to that point it will make sense. =) Thank you, Lisa

8:29 PM  

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