Friday, August 10, 2007

Another baby, another gift...

My sister-in-law is pregnant, which means I'll be an aunt soon! As soon as the first trimester was over, I set out to find a pattern and yarn for a nice baby blanket. I have a plan, and plenty of yarn, but it's far from being done... I've kept it all a secret, so more on that in a few weeks...

In the meantime, I wanted to give her something hand-knitted for the baby shower scheduled for mid-July. I had been toying with the idea of knitting a "Baby Surprise Jacket" for a while now. I bought The Opinionated Knitter, by Elizabeth Zimmerman, last winter and hadn't knitted any of the patterns yet. I was intrigued by the pattern for the BSJ, and even more so after seeing a few pretty examples in the blogosphere, including one by Brooklyn Tweed last June. So, with a good excuse to knit a baby garment, I looked up the pattern, chose some yarn in the stash, and set out to knit a BSJ. I cast on on July 6, and lo and behold the Yarn Harlot also knit her own version of the BSJ that same weekend! She's a much faster knitter than I am: she says it took her 6-8 hours to knit the whole thing. Granted, it wasn't her first one, but after 8 hours I was probably a quarter of the way done...

It's a really fun pattern to knit, even though I had trouble visualizing which section would become which part of the jacket as I was knitting... I guess that's why it's called a "surprise" jacket! I followed the pattern to the letter, and it turned out perfectly.

I ended up knitting the last 15 rows on the plane the day before the baby shower, casting off while waiting for the plane to take off in Toronto... (after sitting on the plane at the gate for 90 minutes, we all had to get off and were eventually transfered to later flights: I finally landed in Montreal 6 hours later than expected... but that's a different story)

Here are a few pictures of the finished garment, before knitting the seams. Here it is before it is folded (cast-on on top, cast-off at bottom):

In the process of folding the right side (left on the picture):

Right side completely folded (left on the picture), beginning to fold left side (right on the picture):
Still folding left side (right on the picture):

Completely folded:

My mother, who used to knit a lot when we were little, was duly impressed by the genius of the pattern. I gave it to my sister-in-law before knitting the seams. I thought it would be fun to have people guess what it is and try to fold it correctly. Apparently, non-knitters don't appreciate the genius of this pattern as much as I do... The BSJ is now finished: seams done, crochet edging all around, four pale-blue buttons on the front, and wet blocked. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture!

The details:
Baby Surprise Jacket, from The Opinionated Knitter, by Elizabeth Zimmerman
Started July 6, 2007
Finished July 20, 2007 (buttons and blocking on July 31, 2007 (not shown))
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted, in Icehouse (about 1.5 skeins)
Needles: US size 8 (5mm) Addi Turbo circular needles
(this is a larger size needle than recommended in the pattern: the end result is a BSJ in a larger size)

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