Cathartic Ink

putting my own spin on things

Surprise, Surprise, Baby Surprise


In a crowd of knitters, if you mention Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket, you’re likely to be met with one of two reactions. Either they’ll have knit it, probably more than once, or they’re intimidated by the scant instructions and “trust the pattern” nature of the knitting. I hadn’t knit one, although I purchased the pattern several years ago. There’s a lot of great patterns for wee ones out there, and I keep getting distracted by other patterns when I needed gifts for new little people.

It seems I am again at a point where many of my friends are expecting children, or have just given birth to a child. While scouting patterns for a baby due earlier this month (he arrived on the 15th, healthy and with a great appetite for living) I decided to take a stripey yarn (schoppelwoll’s crazy zauberball in fresh fische) that looked kind of clunky in the ball and turn it into a crazy rainbow bsj. Because of the way it utilizes miters, it’s a perfect pattern for yarns with long, gradual color changes. It’s true that for most of the knitting, it looks like you’re knitting a big, blobby amoeba. But if you trust Elizabeth’s guidelines, you take that amoeba and fold it quickly into a wee sweater. Two seams and a few buttons and you’re done.

The nature of the knitting forms those perfect square cornered stripes and then also some lovely horizontal stripes across the back:

I finished the sweater with 5 buttons from The Button Emporium in Portland. That place is a wonderland of buttons and ribbons. Almost any kind of button you might imagine wanting (although we did manage to leave without finding the right buttons for a sweater Jodie was finishing though). The rounded square shape and slight divot in the button provided just enough interest in a fairly busy sweater.

The sweater was a hit with the new little one’s mama, and a joy for me to knit. I suspect it will not be the last one I knit.