Wednesday, March 11, 2009


While it's easy to acknowledge the cleverness of a knitter like one Elizabeth Zimmerman, there are times when one suddenly comes to truly appreciate her brilliance. I had such a moment after knitting her Baby Surprise Jacket (<==Ravelry link to my project page for this one).

Pattern: Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Heavyweight. Colorway: Jade
Needles: Addi Turbo Circulars, Size US5
Yarn & Buttons purchased at Twisted in PDX

As she says in the pattern notes, " looks like nothing on earth when you have finished knitting it. Sew up two seams and you have the nicest little garter-stitch baby sweater you could wish to see..."

In true Liz Z. fashion, her pattern instructions were a bit more free-form than, perhaps, I would have liked. Don't get me wrong: one of the things I LURVE about Ms Z is that all but commands knitters to become the Boss of Their Knitting. Really, her "unventions" all but challenge a knitter to remain fearful of their knitting. But I the case of this pattern, something just wasn't working out for me.

I was aware of the supplements available for this pattern, but I have a double dose of the Stubborn gene (which is dominant, as you may know), so my needles were set against making use of any of these. Until a friend surprised me by emailing one to me. Really, though, that was the best thing, as my refusal to use the supplement really meant that this project was sitting un-knit for a couple of months.

Once I swallowed my macho pride (has that ever been said before in reference to knitting, I wonder?), though, this crazy garter-stitch concoction went very quickly. And so clever, too! Decreasing to create miters, increasing to add fullness, more decreasing, then increasing...and so on. And really, when the knitting is done, it doesn't look like anything.

Fellow knitters not familiar with the pattern occasionally would ask what I was working on and then stare with puzzlement at the not-quite-a-parabola thinger hanging off my needles. It became really fun to lay it out and fold it up into what it would become, though.

True to Liz Z's words, though, sew up a coupla seams and voila! Baby Surprise Jacket! For those who are curious: I knit this for a dear friend's baby. While I'm not the kind of knitter to make something just because I can, I was curious about this little feat of knitted engineering, and was actually glad to have a legitimate reason to do so. :o)

Until next time, my knittas, keep on knitting because it's comforting, knit because it's fun, knit because it gives you something to do with your nervous hands, knit because you always wanted to learn how, knit something pretty, knit something tacky, knit something you've always wanted, but keep on knitting.


Yarndude said...

Those might be the cutest little buttons ever! I hear ya on the macho pride thing. I plan to tackle that beast (the BSJ, not my macho pride) at some point as well.

elif said...

baby surprise! always better than a surprise baby.

it looks really charming - nice job!

Emily said...

Love the scrumptious, un-gendered green!

And um, yeah. The stubborn gene. I think I come from grandparents who were all FOUR doubled up on that one. :-)

Moomin said...

Nice to see something for babies that is fun to make, AND practical for wear! Most baby stuff is so tacky, I have a crusade on to change that ;o)

WonderMike said...

Lovely wool but even cooler buttons!! EZ would be proud.

Bee said...

F'ing LOVE the color. And the buttons make me weepy. Lucky little bundle, that one is!
Nicely done, but then you know that; which is as it should be.

Hege said...

Love the buttons!

Maven said...

Love those buttons. I have the little chipmunk ones in the same series. I got them at Button Drawer.

Love your blog!

John Larson said...

Homero.. Bella loves her sweater and we get great comments about it from the locals... We miss you and hope you are doing well. If there is wool or yarn (or both) that you would like from Austria, Switzerland, Germany or the like, let us know and we will get it for you. Ciao..!