Where I write about knitting, crocheting and lace, and, on occasion general comments on other topics

In honor of EZ’s Brithday: Baby Surprise Jacket KAL

Written by: Lindy

August 30, 2010

Elizabeth Zimmerman’s 100th birthday was August 9. One of our expert knitters in the Nebraska Knit & Crochet Guild (NKCG) started a knit-a-long (KAL) of the “Baby Surprise Jacket” in honor of EZ’s birthday. I had never done this baby sweater pattern, so I joined in the KAL.

It turned into on of those obsession driven projects. You know the ones — where you become so intrigued by how the pattern is unfolding that you simply.cannot.put.it.down. Yup, your fingers just itch to knit and your brain refuses to think about anything else — especially mundane things like laundry, cooking and other housework. That’s what this little project became.

You see, the BSJ is knit entirely of garter stitch and involves a series of increases, decreases and center double decreases to make your knitting go at right angles. It is knit in a single piece — and the fascinating thing is that it turns into a sweater without the normal sweater type shaping that you usually do. As I knit this project, I kept marveling at the ingenuity of the designer — how in the heck had she figured this out? It’s a combination of understanding geometry and the shaping required for a baby sweater — and EZ was someone who took theoretical concepts like right angles and turned them into pragmatic knitted garments. Perhaps a few pictures will help.

When you finish knitting the pattern — you end up with an oddly shaped piece of garter stitch fabric that looks like this:

Garter stitch fabric - Baby Surprise Jacket

As you can see, I knit this with two different yarns to create stripes. Now, when you fold the edges together, this striped fabric turns into this:

Baby Surprise Jacket, folded

A jacket. That’s the surprise — it actually turns into a little sweater jacket with nifty right angle striping on the front and horizontal striping on the back. And — there are only two seams to sew! Just two — the sleeves at the top. The button band is done as part of the bottom of the knitted piece, so you just add buttons and you are finished. (I’m still looking for buttons, so I don’t have a photo of the finished jacket.)

Now, the written pattern is somewhat confusing at first. There are several resources available to help sort out the sketchy instructions given in both the Knitter’s Almanac and Knitting Workshop. However, the biggest question I had was “if I knit this at a gauge of 6 stitches per inch, what size is my jacket?” EZ just tells you it will fit an infant if you knit at that gauge and if you knit it at a gauge of 5 stitches per inch, you will get a bigger jacket that will fit a larger child about 1 year old. This is this question that seems to cause knitters the most problems.

I knit this BSJ using Dale of Norway Baby Ull, which is a fingering weight wool yarn and my gauge was 6 spi. The jacket measures 15.25 inches across the chest, just at the point where the underarm is. Looking at a standard body measurements chart for baby sizes, This jacket is a 0-3 months size.

Now this sizing issue really bugged me — so I had to figure out the sizing for different gauges and correlate them to actual baby sizes. (Yes, I am a geek.) After studying the pattern, I discovered that the chest measurement is at the point in the pattern where you are knitting 90 stitches. (90 divided by 6 equals 15). So, using this point of reference, I have calculated roughly what the corresponding size will be if the BSJ is knitted at gauges of 5.5 spi, 5 spi, & 4.5 spi. I put this into a table to help others who might be bugged by this question:

Gauge Chest Measurement Size
6 spi 15-16 in. 0-3 mos
5.5 spi 16-17 in. 3-6 mos
5 spi 18 in. 12 mos.
4.5 spi 20 in 18 mos.

Pattern: Ez’s instructions for the Baby Surprise Jacket can be found in Knitter’s Almanac or Knitting Workshop and/or it can be purchased from Schoolhouse Press.

Row Counter: A handy tool for keeping track while knitting the BSJ can be found here: http://www.box.net/shared/eugvsfb3lt

Video: There is a six-part video series on the BSJ, here is the link to the First Episode.

Ravelry Knitters — there is also a Rav Group for the BSJ.

Stitch Pattern: The Trinity Stitch

Written by: Lindy

August 19, 2010

Knitted Trinity Stitch

I used the Trinity Stitch pattern for dishcloth # 6. This stitch pattern produces a lovely textured fabric and is relatively easy to do. It is also known as the Cluster Stitch or Bramble Stitch. The fabric produced has a “knobby” texture and would make a lovely scarf or hat. It could also be used as part of the textured patterning in an Aran style or Fisherman style sweater or as a panel mixed with other textured patterns in an afghan or shawl.

The pattern is a multiple of 4 stitches done over 4 rows:

Row 1: (Right side) – Purl
Row 2: *(K1, P1, K1) all in same stitch, P3tog. Repeat from * across.
Row 3: Purl
Row 4: *P3tog, (K1, P1, K1) all in the same stitch. Repeat from * across.
Repeat these 4 rows for the desired length of your fabric.

Reference: Barbara G. Walker, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns

Summer Knitting: Dishcloths # 4 – 6

Written by: Lindy

August 12, 2010

I am now half way through my Summer Knitting project of knitting a dozen dishcloths. Here are the three I have just finished:

Dishcloth #4 – Crocus Buds
Knitted dishcloth in crocus buds pattern
Pattern from the Leisure Arts “Knitting Kitchen Brights Dishcloths” brochure. Yarn: Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton, color Banana. This was an interesting openwork pattern. The “crocus buds” are created by pulling a stitch over the next two stitches on the needle. It is a simple 6 stitch pattern over 4 rows with yarn overs creating the open patterning between the “crocus buds”.

Dishcloth #5 – Elfin Lace
Knitted elfin lace pattern dishcloth
Pattern from Leisure Arts “Knitting Kitchen Brights Dishcloths” brochure. Yarn: Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton, color Natural. Easy lace pattern, that knits up into a nice dishcloth. The Elfin Lace pattern is an eight stitch pattern done over 8 rows.

Dishcloth #6 – Trinity Stitch
Dishcloth knitted using the trinity stitch
Pattern from Leisure Arts “Knitting Kitchen Brights Dishcloths” brochure. Yarn: Lion Brand Kitchen Cotton, color Natural. Lovely textured pattern produced by using the “Trinity Stitch”. I loved knitting this one. The “Trinity Stitch” is a neat textured pattern.

Link to “Kitchen Bright Dishcloths” from Leisure Arts (2004).

Stitch Patterns: The Bee Stitch and Knitting 1 Below

Written by: Lindy

August 4, 2010

As I have been knitting the different dishcloth patterns in my Summer Knitting project, it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to write a post in this blog about how to do some of the textured stitch patterns used in knitting the dishcloths. So, I am starting with the Bee Stitch.

Bee Stitch

The Bee Stitch is an easy textured stitch pattern and it produces an interesting textured fabric. It is a variation of the garter stitch and the edges do not roll. I think it would make a nice textured scarf or baby afghan. It certainly made a nice dishcloth.

The Bee Stitch is a multiple of 2 stitches plus 1 over 4 rows. It is made by “knitting 1 below (K1b)” and you need to have an odd number of stitches.
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: (Right Side): *(K1, K1b); Repeat from * across to last stitch K1.
Row 3: Knit
Row 4: *(K1b, K1); repeat from * across to last stitch, K1b.
Repeat these 4 rows for desired length of fabric. This 4 row repeat creates a diagonal patterning.

To “Knit 1 Below” , you put the tip of your needle through the center of the stitch below the stitch on the needle and slip off both strands at the same time. Tip – make certain that you are going through the center of the stitch below and can see the two strands of yarn when pulling the yarn through the stitch.

Knit 1 below

Here is a link to a YouTube video demonstrating “Knit 1 Below”: Knitting Demo Video.
Note: New link as of 10.9.2016.

Kitchen Bright Dishcloths, Leisure Arts
Knitting on the Net (www.knittingonthenet.com)