Saturday, January 19, 2008

Baby Surprise Jacket

I made a Baby Surprise Jacket for my 15 month old niece, but I don't know how long she can wear it because I didn't take measurements when I saw her last month. It looks like she's going to be a tall kid, so I'm more concerned about length in the body and sleeves than the body width.

Full disclosure: I haven't actually sewn the buttons on yet

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmermann ~ can be found in The Opinionated Knitter or purchased as an individual pattern from Schoolhouse Press, it's still only $3.00 plus s&h.

Yarn: mystery unlabeled worsted wool from a thrift shop, stripes/collar/trim is Lamb's Pride worsted in Wild Violet (yarn left over from the Bunny Fun project). The main grey yarn is slightly variegated (subtle, the way I like it), and a shade of violet in it matches the Wild Violet perfectly, it looks like these two yarns were meant to go together. Serendipitous.

Buttons: 19 mm, purchased at Joann Fabrics

I promise to learn how to activate the macro feature on my new camera soon (and maybe take pictures again when it isn't overcast and raining?)


applied i-cord
The i-cord trim was knit with the wrong side of the jacket facing me as I worked it, because I like the back side of applied i-cord better than the front -- mainly because it's smaller and slightly neater looking.

I learned Joyce William's trick to cover up the color blips on the front side by watching Knitting Glossary. (If you've done applied i-cord then this should make sense: make a YO after the usual slipped stitch, then pass both the slipped stitch and YO off the needle during the PSSO step. This covers the blip nicely.) So I started the i-cord trim using Joyce's trick and the jacket's right side facing. But halfway through I decided I still preferred the look of the back side so I ripped it out, and started over again with the wrong side facing. I'm happy with the results.

The i-cord starts and ends at the back of the neck, it was done before the collar was added.

The collar is 11 ridges (22 rows) of garter stitch, first stitch of every row was slipped as if to knit. I simply determined where I wanted the collar to start and stop and picked up sts around the neck between point A and point B. There's no shaping at all, this couldn't be easier. You may need more or fewer rows, depending on yarn weight and how big you want the collar to be.

I added a couple inches to the sleeves and I'm not sure if it was the right amount, I need a fitting with my supermodel niece.

I know everyone talks about this, but it's true: the construction on this thing is super crazy, interesting, and mind-boggling. You need to make one as a sample, just so you can count ridges and plan out the striping and color changes on the second BSJ you knit. I neglected to take a photo before sewing up the sleeve seams, but you can see a BSJ in its unfolded state here (plus other useful tips for this pattern): KnitWiki page for the Baby Surprise Jacket @

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Christmas Bunny

I knew mom would appreciate a handmade bunny more than anyone else I know. She decorates the house for every big holiday/season, and Spring time is when the bunnies appear. Here's an early arrival:

Pattern: Fiber Trends Bunny Fun
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride worsted - Sable and Wild Violet
Eyes: Darice brand, 15 mm, purchased at Joann's (99 cents for four eyes)
Nose: black sock yarn
Tail: pompom made with the Wild Violet yarn
Height, to top of ears: about 11"

I was hoping I could use just one skein of the Sable (190 yds/skein), but I needed a couple yards from a 2nd skein to finish sewing up the pieces. For this reason I don't recommend using Lamb's Pride unless you plan to knit a solid colored bunny (2 skeins of 1 color) or you don't mind buying 3 skeins. The contrast color used for the feet and ears only requires about 30-40 yards so it'd be smart to check your stash for leftovers.

I like this bunny a lot, and there wasn't anything complicated about it. It's knit flat in four pieces (front, back, two feet -- the ears and arms are part of the front and back body pieces) and then sewn together before a trip through the washing machine.

Idea for next time: install a wind-up music box inside bunny, find some orange wool for a felted carrot, maybe make a teddy bear instead -- all I'd have to change is the ears.