10 April 2010

Baby Surprise again and again

I've been teaching Elizabeth Zimmermann's classic Baby Surprise Jacket as a class that meets three times. This is such a fun class to teach, as every student ends up with something different. This is a pattern that can be customized in a variety of ways. I've had some students make it with doubled or tripled yarn on large needles so that it becomes a jacket or coat for a young child. One student was knitting for her twin grandsons, so she made two in coordinating but not identical colorways. It always looks good. And it is always fun to watch people's faces as they try to figure out where they are as this thing unfolds on their needles.

Most times that I teach it, I knit another Baby Surprise Jacket. It has been fun for me to try different things. This little jacket is made from Koigu KPPPM (the orange and the purples) and Plymouth Happy Feet (the red). The whole jacket weighs 65 grams, with the buttons. Note to self: finding small orange buttons is not easy. I got lucky at the big box store. Because I was working with Koigu, I worked all the stitches in this project through the back of the loop. In this detail, you can see how the twisted stitches "pop" with strong stitch definition.

I also changed the back a little bit. Because I needed more rows to keep my pattern going (2 purple ridges, 4 red ridges), I worked the back extension for 12 ridges. Also, I usually break my yarn for the back extension. If you are working in all the same yarn, then it is easier to follow the pattern. But if you have a specific stripe pattern going, you may get better results by dropping (but not breaking) the working yarn, attaching a new yarn in the middle to knit the back and forth back extension for ten ridges, breaking that new yarn, and then returning to your original yarn when you are back to working all the way across the rows.

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