Baby Surprise Jacket

11 May 2009

Last summer, when we vacationed in Colorado, Wendy and I took a little drive to Ft. Collins to go to a yarn shop called My Sister Knits. In addition to buying way too much yarn (none of which I have knit with yet), I bought a copy of Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Jacket. The shop was selling it for $3, and it came with notes on what to do on each row of the pattern. Knowing that many people have had trouble with the pattern and it’s lack of row-by-row instructions, I thought having the extra info would be good.

I finally had a chance to make the sweater recently. My boss is having a baby in June, so my department threw her a baby shower last Thursday. I started knitting the sweater for her several weeks ago. I only finished it last Wednesday night at about 10:30 pm. How’s that for working ’til the last minute? It turned out nicely despite my exhaustion at time of completion (I was working on about the third night of little sleep). I have to say that the pattern wasn’t nearly as complicated to make as I’d heard. I glanced at the row-by-row instructions only once. I found the pattern otherwise to be pretty logical and intuitive. And that origami construction? Genius!

BSJ front

The yarn is Vanna’s Choice. I was at Walmart one day and saw giant 7 oz. skeins of this yarn for only ~$4 each. Can’t argue with that. I was really pleased with how soft it was; definitely not your garden variety acrylic. Not squeaky or rough at all. I bought the 2 skeins – one of each green color – and there is enough left for me to be able to make a hat for my niece in the fall.

I used size 8 needles. I read somewhere on Ravelry that to make the sweater large enough for a 6 mo. old, you had to get a gauge of about 5 st/in. Size 8 needles got me pretty close to that. I figure if the baby is born in June, then by winter, he/she will be big enough to wear the sweater.

You’ll notice that there are only 3 buttons instead of the 5 called for in the pattern. I really didn’t want to sew on 5 buttons, so I made only 3 button holes. Actually, what I originally planned was to do attached I-cord around all the edges and I-cord bobbles for “buttons”. I realized as I was sewing up the shoulders at 9:30 the night before the shower that I-cord wasn’t happening. I tried to do the bobbles anyway, but failed miserably. That’s when I just about had a heart attack because I didn’t think I had any suitable buttons in the house. Then I remembered that at one time I had an old spice jar full of the extra buttons that often come attached to store-bought shirts and sweaters. Thankfully, the desk where the jar was stashed was in the garage and easy to get to. I retrieved the jar, emptied the contents onto my lap, and breathed a sigh of relief when I found 3 matching buttons.

So there you have it, my first Baby Surprise Jacket.

BSJ back

Cleo wanted to help take pictures.



  1. I love the color combination!! I’m about to embark on my first one too. Glad you had the buttons too!

  2. Found you!

  3. Nicely done! I’ve gotten in the habit now of snipping buttons off of store-bought items that are no longer wearable as well.

  4. Why do I not subscribe to your blog??? Bah. I do now!

    This is excellent information in addition to a cute version of that sweater (I dig VC’s for baby knitting) I am heartened to hear that Ft. C has a yarn store. I lived there for about a year after we first got married, but I wasn’t into knitting then (and that was nearly 10 years ago…gasp!)

    And yes, I do still enjoy my wheel. I’m sure you’ll dig your Bellus!

  5. That’s adorable! I love the colors.

  6. […] carry any superwash wool suitable for this project. After using Vanna’s Choice for the Baby Surprise Jacket, I thought I’d look for some more of it in a different color for Grandma’s shawl. That […]

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