It’s with some amusement I made my first Baby Surprise Jacket (BSJ).

Most knitting patterns let you see the garment as it’s being made. Sometimes, as in the case of knitting a hat on circular needles, socks from the toe up, or even a sweater in flat pieces you can try on the garments as you work, customizing as needed. Even when knitting a sweater in flat pieces, you can still check your measurements as you go.

The BSJ though is different.

It’s more of a puzzle than most knitted garments. And it uses one of my favorite stitches, garter stitch. Here you can read garter stitch knitting instructions.

Here are my results of following the pattern:


It hardly looks like a jacket in progress. I stand awe of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s genius. Both in creating the BSJ, and in writing its knitting instructions.

As I followed her simple yet complete instructions, I kept checking to be sure I was right. You see, the original knitting instructions are, well, brief. They’re not given line by line. Which can be a bit disconcerting if you’re used to more complete instructions. By the way, line by line knitting instructions for the BSJ are available through a new printing of the pattern by Schoolhouse Press.

You may find, like me, the easiest way to keep the stitches straight is to simply count the symmetrical stitches on each end. As you can see, the folded jacket worked:


Folded Baby Surprise Jacket Following Original Knitting Instructions

After knitting this far, it was apparent I’d run out of purple before I could finish the jacket. So, I ripped out most of the last stripe and redid it. As sometimes occurs, I also modified the pattern. Instead of buttons, I opted for no buttons or buttonholes. My buttons just didn’t look right.


Front Baby Surprise Jacket Using Modified Knitting Instructions


Back Baby Surprise Jacket Using Modified Knitting Instructions

Currently, I’m considering a zipper down the front. Of course, I’m reserving the right to go frogging, and redo the last few rows with buttons. Should I find the perfect ones, of course! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And while, yes I can be precise with instructions, I also enjoy the opportunities for exercising creativity in less precise instructions. How about you?

Check out more fiber artists and their projects at Fiber Arts Friday.



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