Baby Surprise Jacket

There are some patterns that it feels like everyone must knit (this feeling has only been magnified now that people can track their projects on Ravelry, and you can see the thousands of versions of the same sweater or scarf). Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket is one of those patterns. It’s unusual in that it was published in the late 60’s (most of the bandwagon projects have been published online in the last few years).

In theory it’s a simple knit, because it’s all garter stitch. The odd part is the construction – the cardigan-style sweater is knit in one piece – you cast on along the line that runs from the cuffs of the sleeves, along the top of the arms, and across the back of the neck. You strategically decrease for a while, switch to strategically increasing, and then bind off along the line that extends down the middle on one side of the front, around the bottom of the back, and then up the other side of the front. The directions are easy to follow, but trying to envision the finished pattern as you work is truly mind-bending.

Here’s my progress at the end of the decreases:

The right and left sides are the completed sleeves. Ultimately, I’ll fold the bottom edges of the sleeves up to the top and seam them to make the shoulders and the top of the sleeves. I think I finally understand what I’m doing, but it’s very convoluted. Based on other people’s gauges and results, I think this will turn out to be a 6-9 month size – perfect for early next spring. I wasn’t entirely sure about the purple (I think I’ll probably omit it in the next two balls), but otherwise I love the yarn – a very soft washable cotton with interesting and pretty color variation.

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