The first project out of Elizabeth Zimmermann’s The Opinionated Knitter is the awesome and ingenious Baby Surprise Jacket.
I read and re-read the pattern about 5 times, before deciding to dive right into it, still without the slightest clue on how it’ll turn out. The pattern was written in late 60’s, I thought, and it’s insanely popular, so it must work. (Or so the thinking went.) I had 2 skeins of each colour left over from the OpArt blanket (which I initially planned to be knitted into the larger size, but subsequently decided against), which should be enough. (Or again, so I thought.)
Well, everything turned out OK — I had enough yarn, and the pattern certainly didn’t disappoint. Here is what the project look like when I finished binding off:
See what I mean by ingenious? It was knitted in one piece and didn’t resemble a human-wearable garment! (One guess I received on Facebook was “jacket for pet.”)
And here it is, after I sewed the two shoulder seams:
I was watching TV with Daniel when I bound it off. I had already told him this project was supposed to be a baby jacket, but when he saw this “thing,” he was like “what the heck is it?” When I folded it up properly, he was amazed, “you’re CRAZY!” I promptly give proper credit to the pattern, since I couldn’t have come up with a design like this.
Almost as always, I made a few “modifications” to the pattern. First, I didn’t do any cuff shaping. That was totally the cuffs were knitted in the beginning of the project, when I couldn’t see how it would pan out.
The other change I made was the buttons and button holes. The pattern called for 5 button holes, but I was slightly lazy and thought 4 would be OK. In the end, I agree it should be 5, and should be spaced out better–to my dismay, the top button isn’t closed enough to the neck.
For the buttons, I decided to use knitted bobbles as buttons for safety reasons. (I’m quite paranoid about choking hazards when it comes to baby garments. Especially when it’s a gift.)
It wasn’t until about an inch after the neck shaping was done that I was finally able to visualize the finished product. From there on, the knitting itself became automatic, but my mind was already thinking about different ways of knitting it. (What if I knit it from the bottom up? From side to side? What type of embellishments and edgings would look great? Can I use something other than garter stitch? What about colour?)
Alas, time was tight–my target is to have 2 jackets done by Sunday, and I only finished the first one on Wednesday night. Without fail, I immediately casted on the stitches for the next one. (Daniel’s response was, “you’re knitting again?” He didn’t know about my plan.) I’m about 1/3 done now, and I have yet to decide on what customizations to make. Hopefully I will finish it in time!